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Monday, August 25, 2008

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It might not be hittin' season, but they're scrapping together the necessary amount of runs. Sure, it took them until the 11th, and Kuroda owned us again, but.....wasn't that a fun game?

I watch the whole game. Yeah if Manny would had something on the throw. Victorino would of been out. I can't believe how Charlie Manuel knows when to plug pinch hitters in. When he put Feliz in the 9th. Manuels hunches come through like 95% of the time. Balnton didn't pitch all that bad. He kept the team in the game.

Whos gone to pitch Tuesday Night. I thought I saw Moyer was suppose to pitch against Martinez.

Great win for the team...it had the feeling of a playoff game with some of the great defensive plays...especially Howard's webgem.

Vic has really stepped up this year and become a contributor.

Parker: There are actually stats that can measure your perceptions that Madson comes up small in key situations and Feliz comes up big.

You are basically correct on Madson, less so on Feliz. Madson's numbers with men on base are not good: .770 OPS, and worse than his overall numbers. And his numbers in tie games and games within 1 or 2 runs are worse than his numbers in games where the difference is 3 or more runs.

On Feliz, his numbers DO increase with RISP (.747 OPS vs. overall OPS of .733) But that only looks good because they're increasing from a low base. In fact, almost anyone else is better. Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Burrell, Werth and Dobbs all have better numbers with RISP. With runners in scoring position Feliz is actually WORSE than most of the lineup.

However, in late & close (clutch) situations Feliz steps it up even more: .892 OPS. This beats Howard, Utley, Rollins (just barely for all our griping about him), Victorino and Werth (barely). Burrell and Dobbs beat Feliz.

Bottom line: Compared to rest of team Feliz is bad with RISP but good in late and close situations. And Dobbs is better than Feliz in both.

Is it time for the requisite, "The best move the FO made this season was not making a move involving Victorino" comment?

Read in the LA Times that Torre has told his team to skip BP and turn up as late as possible to take their minds away from the game for a while, hoping to salvage a game in this series.

Insert your own Rollins joke here.

I don't think the Phils were ever serious about trading Vic. His name naturally comes up because he's so desirable. He's arb eligible for the first time this off-season, which is hard to believe since he's been around for so long and first tasted the Majors years ago. Arb could get hairy.

I didn't quite imagine myself asking this question before the season started, or even early in the season when it seemed motivation was becoming an issue for him, but is he a potential long-term contract candidate?

DP: They DID make a move involving Vic. They moved him from RF, where he was substandard compared to rest of league, to CF, where he is superior compared to rest of league. It was a smart move.

I wonder how much he'll get in arbitration...$3-5 million probably?

I think it's about time that Victorino got his due and is slotted in the lead-off spot. Wouldn't he be a much better option than Rollins at this point?

That motivation comment was slightly inaccurate... I'm not exactly sure what it was. Let's just say his documented disagreements with Charlie.

Although none of them had a huge game, I hope Cholly doesn't abandon the move to put Burrell between Utley and Howard. Although, I don't know that you need to move Utley up to the 2 hole to do it. I'd almost like to see Werth or Vic in the 2 hole, Utley 3, PtB 4 and Howard 5.

As good as the Dodgers seem to be... it's amazing they are still only .500.

Which was their record on July 31 before Manny.

They are .500 since then and that includes the 4 game sweep of the Phils.

The Phillies are 12-10 in that span. And lost their lead. But had they made the Manny trade (losing either a Burrell or a Victorino). I don't think the the Phillies record would be better.

Had they had a sufficient replacement for Jenkins and/or Feliz during that stretch, they probably would still hold the lead.

Personally it makes more sense to have Vic batting 5th right now as he's really hitting the ball...he adds a bunch of speed and playmaking ability to the bottom half of the lineup.

Also...I really like Utley as the 2 hitter.

inky, just because Victorino is speedy, getting on base and helping to manufacture some runs (something we accused the Phils of not doing very well early this season), doesn't mean that he's the logical choice to lead off.

Sure Rollins has the lowest BA on the team when leading off an inning (which he does every game in the lead-off spot, by definition). However, have you considered the fact that JRoll has almost ALWAYS led off, therefore logic should not enter the argument? Let's not let facts get in the way here.

Victorino should definitley hit 5th or 6th, preferable 6th. It's like a 2nd leadoff hitter and erases the black hole down there.

"Joe Blanton, who survived a shaky first inning to pitch six, 1-run innings."

That sounds like Blanton gave up 6 runs in 6 innings. :)
He wiggled out of some messes with minimal damage last night -- seems to have some bulldog in him.

You're right. I've clarified.

Joe Blanton is like Adam Eaton with KK's mentality. Not great stuff but he battled all night. He made some big outs when it mattered.

mike c: Really? Manny totally controls what the Dodgers do? They only win or lose because of him and that would also apply to the Phillies had they traded for him? I sort of think there's other factors.

NEPP: Amen brother! I love Uts in the 2 hole. He's the best OB guy on the team and power out of the 2 hole beats power out of the 6 hole IMHO.

The Phils are dead average in terms of OPS this year after leading the league last year. Timely hitting with RISP has helped them put up runs on the board, but the vastly improved pitching has covered the drop offs from Howard, Rollins, Ruiz, and Rowand to Jenkins/Vic. The Phils are 4th in the league in ERA+ after a below-average year last year.

I thought it was cute when the Dodgers hugged Manny after his lazy play allowed the potential (and eventual) game winning run to go to 2nd.

Gotta cheer up the 36 year old gazillionaire for his little mistake.

The best thing about the Phils rotation right now is that there's no dead weight. I personally don't ever say, oh s%*t, such and such is pitching tonight. (I used to do so with Eaton and 1st-half Myers) You don't always know what you're going to get with Kendrick and Blanton, but you know it's not an automatic "L."

@clout -- uh... that's sorta the point. you are starting a fight for no reason.

That was for the folks who cried that the Phillies "didn't do anything" at the break.

Secondly, it does make sense to ask the question, "What has the Dodgers record been since Manny arrived, because boy this line up looks really good now?"

And as such there's been no change in their record, even if their offense seems to have improved.

EF: I thought that was pathetic. You don't encourage a teammate when he's being lackadaisical. I doubt the Rays did that to BJ Upton yesterday when he slept on a tag from first.

That was the 2nd best game all year, just behind the So Taguchi at Shea game. Good vibes are comin' from this team now.

I couldn't believe all the web gems out there--it sure didn't look like the '08 Phillies we all know and love. I've never seen Howard so dirty; he looked like Utley.

Who needs Rowand? Vic sounds just like him, yelling at guys, cheering them on...he seems to have stepped up where others have faltered leadership-wise.

The entire ballpark wanted to cheer Rollins all night. Every at bat, people around me said "Come on, J-Roll" and then the inevitable booing when he failed. He is pressing.

I actually like the Blanton trade at this point though we did likely overpay. We're gonna miss Cardenas I think...more so than Outman probably.

That was the best game I've watched all season and I was actully on the edge of my couch from the 9th inning on.

To anyone who was there...it didn't sound like Howard was booed when he struck out late in the game...was he and they just cut it off or did the fans just give him the silent treatment?

Pete Happy's HR aside, I'm most pleased to see that they're working to manufacture runs. All it took was a 2 month long snooze-fest by the offense to get them stealing bags, moving runners via sacrifice (very impressive so far this series) and all out "scrapping." The ballpark causes them to fall in love with that long ball, but its the "little things" that have them at 1/2 game back right now.

This may sound strange, but my favorite part of last night's win was Blanton's battling. I loved his approach to Manny, a guy who's pretty much owned him throughout his career. "Bulldog," I think is a great moniker for Blanton.

How about Blanton's Bulldogs? That should take off as a fangroup down at CBP...hell he even looks like one.

mike c: I must've misunderstood. I thought your point was that Manny hadn't changed the Dodgers record, ergo he couldn't have changed the Phillies record. There's no connection between the two.

Overpaying is the tradeoff for immediate help. It was a fair trade that will help Oakland in the long-run, Philadelphia in the short-term.

I'm not going to go back and read the game chat... but how about Casey Blake grounding into that double play in extra innings???

Wow. Talk about a game-saver.

If it wasn't mentioned in yesterday's game thread....

Carrasco was terrific again at LV yesterday (6 IP, 0 ER, 8 K's). Left with a lead, and the bullpen imploded. ERA now in the low 2's, since his promotion.

Carrasco has really looked good most of the 2nd half of the year at AA and AAA. Has been much more consistant and has really piled up the K's.

I hope he and Happ are brought up on Sept. 1, and put on the active roster down the stretch. Both are very capable of stepping in, should a starter have to miss a turn. Both, are major league-caliber pitchers, with no current spot in the major league rotation for them (and that is a good thing).

Q. Berry stole his 50th bag yesterday at Clearwater, as he continues to add to his franchise record for SB's in a season. Now has over 100 SB's in the minors, the last 2 years. Don't know if he ever will hit enough to be a regular major leaguer, but he could have a future as a 5th OF/base stealer at the big league level. He can fly.

Drew Carpenter has really turned it around the 2nd half of the year, after a disasterous 1st half. Again, this kid just needs to keep himself in shape in the offseason, and come to camp next year ready to go. Probably will start in LV next year, should he do so.

Jaramillo has had a solid 2nd half as well with the bat. Could finish over .270 for the season; which after being buried under .200 for the first 30 or 40 games, is pretty impressive. His defense is a bit inconsistant, but he has a good percentage throwing runners out and seems to have worked well with guys like Happ and Carrasco.

I think Golson will get called up as well. Just to play that "late inning pinch-runner-role" that Bourn did a few years ago. Last night, Cholly had to use Taguchi and Kendrick to pinch-run late in a close game. Golson would be a huge upgrade for the bench in that role. If he scores 1 run and wins 1 game, by scoring from 1st on a double or stealing a base and scoring a run on a single, in a late-season game, it will have been worth the call-up.

And, I think we have to see Donald called up soon. In fact, I would make sure he was called up before Sept. 1, to make sure he can be elgible for the playoff roster. The kid is a good player and he performed well in the Olympics. He has a really good stroke. I am sure the Phils would drop a pitcher from the 25 man roster in October (good bye Rudy). Keep the 4 top starters (although the 4th starter may not be used early on), put KK in the pen as the long-man, and go with Lidge, Romero, Eyre, Madson, Durbin and Condrey as the regular bullpen.

11 pitchers and 14 regular players.

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Dobbs, Burrell, Vic, Werth, Jenkins, Ruiz, Coste, Bruntlett, Taguchi and Donald.


Now, all we have to do is actually get to the playoffs.

NEPP - I hereby sign up as an official member of Blanton's Bulldogs.

NEPP: There were a smattering of boos, but mostly stunned silence. From where I sat (which was way, way, way up--second row from the top fence, dead center behind home plate) even though we were down, everyone thought we were going to win. It was weird and so un-Philly-like.

denny b: Regarding your fantasy about all the callups, did you see Conlin's column today? Ain't gonna happen.

I don't like the Coste's Ghosts fangroup, though. They look like KKK members. Eek.

I practically had my son knocked out of my arms by one of the Flyin' Hawaiian group members. Apparently, they must also get anywhere within the park by taking bad routes and running really fast...I keed, I keed, I love ya, Vic.

I shudder to think where we'd be without Victorino. He hits, hustles, and covers ground like Maddox did back in the day. Everyone has been on J-Roll's case for the last couple of weeks, and with good reason. However, the Phils really need Rollins to have a strong finish, and Tuesday night would be a good time for him to step it up. If he can break out of his slump, we'll beat up on those Mutts like a red headed stepchild.

doubleh: That's cool to hear that the crowd had a positive vibe. I felt the same way watching on TV. I just had a feeling that they were going to win that game. Almost like some kind of imperceptible change has occured in the last few days. Probably just imagination but it sure felt a little different. My head almost exploded when Howard got picked off though.

Weitzel: Overpaying is the tradeoff for immediate help. It was a fair trade that will help Oakland in the long-run, Philadelphia in the short-term.

I agree completely with that statement. It so far looks to be a smart trade...as has not trading Donald for Mahay and picking up Eyre for nothing. Gillick's had a good run so far this season with his trades...all starting with Lidge.

Carrasco looks like he'll be pushing Kendrick for a starting role next season...I smell a trade in the offseason with the pitching as Happ/Carrasco are both essentially ready for the Majors. One will make it on the team...which barring a trade means bye bye Kendrick as a starter...which is somewhat unfortunate for him...Though if Moyer retires (I doubt it personally) that would open a spot.

The crowd was very positive last night. I noticed the Rollins reaction as well. The fans, at least where I was sitting, where pulling for him and the smattering of boos (not many) came afterwards. When he came up in the 9th with Kendrick on 2nd, people in my section (not sure it was elsewhere) were chanting MVP. The table is set for Rollins' triumphant return.

Manny is batting .380/.479/.646 since joining the Dodgers (6 HR, 21 RBI in 22 G.) If they're .500 since he joined, he's not adding any loses. He's 2-10 against the Phils. Someone has been managing this staff well all year.

Vic is actively hur.....oh, never mind..

I like Vic batting closer to the bottom of the order, at least for now. It's a good way to solve the "black hole" problem. Nice to see the "front runners" giving Vic his props.

2-10 against the Phils *this* home stand.

PHils 5-1 at home since the initiation of Campaign Cheer...just saying.

Clout- regarding moving Vic to CF from RF- I'm the last guy to argue stats with you, but I thought that Vic was good in RF. I remember several good throws home to get a runner, and I'm pretty sure he was at least ok at fielding. Not that it matters, really, since he's in CF because we don't have a CF, not because he couldn't play right. If you say he was less than average in right I'll believe you, but it didn't seem to hurt us much.

Sophist - Fans may be giving more cheers to JRoll than boos at this point but man he looked lost at the plate last time. Tenative and unsure of himself to stay the least.

I am not goign to suggest something nuts like "JRoll should be benched." Still, if Donald was up today I would give him the start at SS to give JRoll a mental breather.

At the bare minimum, Cholly needs to drop JRoll to the 6th in the lineup and move Vic up the leadoff spot. If it hurts JRoll's ego too bad. He isn't hitting at all nor is he coaxing any walks either. Until he starts to get on base more frequently, he should be dropped in the order.

squatter - Vic's range in CF is not quite as great as advertised but Clout is 100% right that he is an average/above average offensive option in CF while he below average offensively in RF.

People who are still booing Rollins at this point are idiots. You can hear them just waiting for him to fail so they can boo. It was fine at first to express displeasure with the frontrunner comment but what are they trying to accomplish now? Get a life.

Agreed - Brian G

Squatter:

Clout's point (and accurately so) is that Vic's offensive stats in RF were below league average. The corner outfield spots are generally power positions, which is a phase of the game Vic lacks. His skill set, when moved to CF, makes him statistically in the top tier of CF in the league where power numbers (high HR and RBI) are not stressed as they are in the corners.

...that is what you're saying, right Clout?

Brian G: The people still booing are idiots, but they aren't waiting for him to fail so they can do it. They are waiting for him to come up big; everyone around me wanted him to succeed. They were chanting "MVP" as Sophist said. It's more of the frustrated, disappointment showing. They should find another way to vocalize it, but it seems to be all they know.

Personally, I just take another swig and clap for the next guy to get it done. Silence would be a better reaction.

NEPP: I still don't see Carrasco as ready for the big leagues yet. He's been ok at AAA, but he's still giving up a ton of hits there. And while his ERA looks great he has given up double that in unearned runs. There's no one he'd be an obvious upgrade over, so I'd give him some more time to get the polish he needs. He's still young. Happ's still ahead of him. There's no rush.

I see him as a 2nd half 09 guy in all honestly...he'll be pushing them very soon though. I agree that there's no rush and its a nice problem to have.

squatter: I should've been more clear. Vic was a substandard RF because of offense, not defense. Most of the NL's RFers are superior to Vic on offense. However, in CF, HE is superior to most of his peers on offense.

Billingsly: Exactly right.

Brian G: Your comments on Happ & Carrasco are 100% correct.

clout- I went back and re-read, I thought you meant defensively. My bad.

Clout: I didn't want to put words in your mouth, but I was pretty sure that's what you were driving at. Vic is much better suited for CF both offensively and defensively. I have been very pleased with the season he is having. I don't think anyone can argue with what he has done recently.

I agree with the general principle, but Vic is 5th in OPS among NL CFs and would be 6th in RF. Not a huge difference this year in the quality of each crop.

i think that jroll is now getting booed less for his comments and more for his performance. if he had never made them, would he be getting booed during this awful slump he's in? i'm not sure. but his overall numbers are starting to look abysmal to say the least. his performance is starting to drive the boos at this point. you can say many of the same things about howard as well.

3rd Phil in a row for MVP - Victorino ?

By the way, after last night's game, I had to tell my wife that my least favorite Phillie almost single-handedly won the game for the Phils. I've obviously not had very many good things to say about Pete Happy this year... but...

Way to go, Pete!!!!!!!!!!!!! That base hit was huge and then the bomb he hit. Sure felt like last year watching last night's game.

With all the rumours about Vic right before trade deadline-- you just got to be glad he's still in town. Go Vic!

HHH: I appreciate your comparison of Vic to Garry Maddox, but I knew Garry Maddox and Shane Victorino is no Garry Maddox. The Secretary of Defense was one of the all time best. His range was breathtaking. It had to be with The Bull in LF. Vic is merely very good.

I keep reading over at Metsblog how the Mets have a vastly superior starting rotation to the Phils. Hmmm...

ERA+
Hamels 139
Moyer 126
Blanton 111 (with Phi)
Myers 94 (1.94 ERA in 6 starts since returning)
Kendrick 91

Santana 155
Pelfrey 106
Perez 103 (big workload, # of starts to be cut)
Maine 98 (shoulder hurt, could get shut down)
Martinez 83

Hard to look at that and say the Mets starting pitching is vastly superior to the Phils!

One last comment on Maddox. He played the shallowest CF I've ever seen. He could read a ball off the bat so well, it didn't matter, he could easily get back to the wall despite playing so far in.

CJ: Isn't it funny how the Mets poster "Manuel" was on here for several days last week talking trash and now has disappeared completely? Predictable.

clout: I think the only CF I remember being close to Maddox was the early Andruw Jones. He also caught everything in front of him and had no trouble getting back to the wall.

Maddox was smooth and graceful, gliding around the outfield, catching everything and he made it look easy.

Vic is like a tazmanian devil out there, flying around like a maniac, catching everything, but often turning it into an adventure.

But the results are pretty much the same, Vic covers a lot of ground and catches everything hit out there and he has a nice arm as well.

In my opinion, Maddox and Vic have different styles, but similar results. Although you have to give an edge to Maddox.

The Phillies should absolutely be bashed if they don't at least bring up Donald and Golson next week. It's a joke to keep sending out a 39 year-old with average speed as a pinch-runner, embarrassing to keep sending Eric Bruntlett up as a pinch-hitter in late innings. There's just no excuse for not improving the team once the rosters expand. It would be a travesty if they actually put that service-time concern above the interests of having the strongest possible team for the pennant race.

WP - You make a good point. Given the spark he's added to the bottom half of the lineup, moving him wouldn't make the most sense. We just have to hope that Jimmy's awful slide in his last 11 games (4 for his last 46) will end soon.

Also, I hope people didn't miss Werth's excellent at bat in the 11th. With two strikes he fought off a tough inside pitch to hit...BEHIND THE RUNNERS...GASP...and effectively moved both runners up a base. He easily could've pulled the inside pitch down the third base line setting up an easy double play. But he didn't, and it shocked the heck out of me.

Actually, watching the replays, I don't think Manny was too non-chalant in getting the throw into second base. Vic just had superior speed and hustle -- I don't think a quicker-and-still-accurate throw was possible from Manny

RSB is so right about the potential lack of Sept. call-ups. This team is right in the middle of a division race and has some holes on the bench. There are actually players in the minors that could fill some of those holes.

The purpose of Sept. call-ups is twofold 1. to improve your roster for the final weeks of the season and 2. to give your prospects a little taste of the bigs which can assist their development so that they can potentially be ready to provide more help the following year.

By not calling up some combination of Donald, Marson, Golson, Happ, Carrasco or Jarimillo, the team is hurting itself in the present and the future.

When your fans are filling the stadium every game, even in a terrible economy, it would be a crime for the front office to not put the best team on the field, because they are worried about service time.

If anyone other than Pujols wins the MVP it'll be a joke...he's having a phenomenal season even for him.

I was bored at lunch and clicked over to the MetsBlog to find this gem comment from one of their fans: "The Mets bullpen is a giant game of Russian Roulette, really. You put somebody in, you cross your fingers, and you pull the trigger, while praying that you aren’t just about to blow your brains out." I got a good laugh out of that.

I'll join Blanton's Bulldogs, too!

I was at the game, and agree with those who reported all of the positive energy.

It was an awesome game, and the Phillies' D was fantastic. If ever the team appeared to want it, it was last night.

That game-saving DP by Feliz was amazing. And there aren't words to describe his walk-off HR.

As for J-Roll, he was only getting booed after his ABs. People really seemed to be pulling for him, especially in the ninth.

Most of the negative vibes were reserved for Manny. "Manny sucks" chants were ringing in the outfield stands all evening long.

Why does Taguchi still have a roster spot? Golson could at least serve as an adequate situational pitch-runner, late-inning out fielder.

NEPP - I think Reyes or Wright may win it depending on what the Mets do between now and October.

I'm going to put OPS+ and VORP next to their names, even though such things only enter indirectly the voters minds.

If you assume that the winner comes from a playoff team, that eliminates Pujols (190/78.4), Berkman (173/70.3), Hanley (144/64.8), Holliday (158/62.2), Chipper (173/59.3), Ryan Ludwick (154/47), Carlos Lee (144/41.8), and Brian McCann (137/41.1.)

Just looking at VORP and OPS+, the most productive players in the NL left in that capacity are:

Pat Burrell -- 141/38.8
David Wright -- 141/48.3
Chase Utley -- 136/50.5
Reyes -- 122/52.4


There's a bunch of other guys who could win it with hot Septembers: Delgado, Beltran, Soto, Fielder, or Aramis Ramirez.

The Phillies are 4-0 this season on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

Mets game two weeks from yesterday will be our final Sunday Night Baseball appearance for 2008.

I'm fine with giving the edge to guys in playoff races if everything else is close to equal, but it has to be done within reason. If Pujols(whose team is in the race) doesn't win it this year then that's just a joke.

Brian G: While I agree that if the season ended today that Pujols would likely win the MVP... I don't think you can say today that he'll be the best choice at the end of the season regardless of what happens in September. Lots of MVP awards have been won in the final month of the season.

"I still don't see Carrasco as ready for the big leagues yet. He's been ok at AAA, but he's still giving up a ton of hits there. And while his ERA looks great he has given up double that in unearned runs."


They moved him up to AAA for a reason; and that reason is that they feel that he is close to the big leagues. His performance at LV, with a terrible team, has shown they may be right.

The "unearned runs" thing is a product of the terrible defense and terrible team that LV has behind him. Add that with a bad bullpen, and you don't have a real positive atmosphere to succeed. These things have cost Happ at least 5 more wins that he deserved to get this year.

Again, my original point, is that both Happ and Carrasco should be called up in September, as a "just in case". Would you rather see Happ or Carrasco out there in a pinch, or JD Durbin or Adam Eaton? Easy call on that one. They wouldn't be used out of the pen, unless you would get into a 15 inning type of game or it was a total rout, and you would want to save a few of your relievers. And, they would be available, just in case, a starter has to be scratched/go down for some reason.

Golson, Donald, Jaramillo, Happ, Carrasco, Jenkins (when he comes off the DL) and another pitcher (possibly Castro) should be the additions to the club in the next week to 10 days. Keep Tracy as well when Jenkins comes back, since he actually showed some plate discipline last night, has had a big year (21 HR's and 84 RBI's) at AAA and hits from the left side. He can be the Pete LaForest of 2008 in September (hopefully, he can actually make contact though).

I'd leave Marson off the list right now; but give him a shot to win a job next spring.

Yo, new thread.

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