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Sunday, August 24, 2008

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never trust a man with two first names... even if one of them is a girls name.

just playin, hope the guy does well if called upon. for us and him.

Tracy is a prototypical minor leaguer who is perfectly suited for Japan. Good quad-A bat, limited defensively, but not good enough to carry on a 25-man roster or start at 1B. Some players go to Japan, hate it and perform terribly, but if you can handle it, there's much more money to be made there than cling to the Major League dream at 34. It worked out for Tracy, who's back in the show with the Phillies, who like making the dreams of minor league journeymen come true.

Andy Tracy seems to be the right choice, given the Phils' options (or lack thereof). Is there a worse bottom 20 of a 40-man roster in all of baseball? Eaton, Cervenak, Bruntlett, Taguchi, Bohn, Swindle, etc.

Actually, Japan or Korea would be a great option for several guys at AAA, including Les Walrond and Brian Mazone (who was in Korea last season). John Ennis recently went to Korea.

It's interesting how going overseas is becoming a legitimate option in sports beyond baseball. With technology and easy travel (although not cheap anymore), it's not as big a deal as it used to be. I know I'd rather be king of the world in Japan than player of the week on the IronPigs.

But the bottom line is, can Andy Tracy really help the Phillies?
Answer: No. Unless you thought Pete LaForest and Joe Thurston helped the Phillies.

Thurston with the weird honor starting in left field in place of both Pat Burrell and Manny Ramirez, after playing almost no outfield in the minors. His outfield career basically started when Gary Varsho liked the way he tracked down fly balls in batting practice. How do you become a starting left-fielder in the Majors? I guess that's how.

clout: It helps if he can get a key hit for us as the last guy off the bench in an extra inning game. But I agree with you.

Still, it will take Donald a good week-plus to get over the jet lag from being in China for several weeks, so I am not sure if there was anyone else that would be a great fix right now -- with the apparent recent struggles of Snelling and Bohn.

Mets-Astros at 1:10 today with Randy Wolf on the mound versus Oliver Perez. Hopefully we see bad Ollie today and Randy can have a good outing to help out his old squad.

Also, with Jenkins out, if you are facing a tough righty with Moyer or Kendrick on the mound, do you start Feliz at third and Dobbs in RF? Charlie hasn't done it much this year, but he did do it a bunch last year.

Will Cholly finally do the right thing and leave Burrell in between Utley and Howard for the rest of the year or is he just going to do it for this Dodgers series?

Easy prediction:

- Andy Tracy won't see a single AB before the roster expands on Sept. 1

Difficult prediction:

- Exactly which players the Phils will call up on Sept. 1 and if they actually start to taking any playing time from likes of Ruiz, Bruntlett, or Taguchi (my bet is no).

The sliver lining in the Jenkins DL stint is Mr. Werth playing a full time role. There is something about him that I really like. I expect him to come up big in this challenging stretch.

There is nothing good about Jenkins injury solely because it means that Bruntlett and Taguchi get more PH and late-game appearances. Neither one of these guys deserve more playing time or will contribute in any meaningful way down the stretch.

I agree with MG. Jenkins was finally starting to not miss the ball, too. If he was blocking some AS in the minors, I could see being happy about him being out of the lineup, but he's not.

I hope Werth is up to the task.

The AAA call-ups this year have been the absolute worst I can ever remember. At least for position players.

I wouldn't have thought Victorino would ever make a good five-hole hitter, but it looks like it's working out okay. The one thing I do like about him hitting there is that he puts the bat on the ball more often than just about anyone in the lineup, which is to the team's advantage when they've got all the higher on-base guys stacked in front of him.

I still find it astounding that Manuel would *just now* figure out that hitting Utley and Howard back to back was bad for the offense. That's sort of like getting lit on fire, standing around for about a half-hour, and then suddenly realizing that you're in pain.

RSB: Unfortunately, I think that this modification is in place only because the Dodgers have 2 stud lefty relievers in Beimal and Kuo. However, hopefully if Pat keeps this going then the lineup change will remain in place. I like Victorino and Werth's speed lower down in the lineup even if the bases get a little clogged with Pat and Ryan in front of them.

The Phillies are just like Costco, dealing ass kicking in bulk. 8 runs Friday, 9 runs Saturday. Do I dare suggest they go double digits tonight?

It's a small sample, but Werth's line agaisnt RHP in August is very good. He always had a high OBP agaist RHP but he's actually gotten hits agaisnt them this month. I don't have the line at the moment, but last I checked it was something like .270/.370/.530 IIRC (which I probably don't.) I'll find it when I can.

Randy Wolf is walking runs home and not doing much to help his former team today. Thanks Randy.

Has anyone been reading Randy Miller's blog lately? He's pulling no punches over the inaccessibility of players after the game this season, most notably, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Miiler, in the past, has not been Burrell's biggest supporter, and I guess yesterday he didn't speak to the local media after a big afternoon.

A name I wish the Phils would look into is Mark Kotsay, I don't know how much you'd have to give up or if the Braves would deal with us, but he has good numbers off RHP (.310/.362/.463/.825)

On mlbtraderumors it says the Brewers and Red Sox are interested. He could take Jenkins spot in the platoon, and gives us a player who puts the ball in play.

Jason, I've heard/read in various sources that they players don't particularly care for Randy Miller, so that could be part of it. I have been reading his blog; I can see why Rollins would be dodging the local press lately, but Utley has always been that way. He has to be the *worst* interview I've ever seen. Personally, I don't care so long as he's playing well. Burrell's been stung quite a bit by the local media, so I understand that he wouldn't want to stick around for their obsequiousness now that he's playing better.

JW - Miller might have an ax to grind with Burrell but you get the impression that the Phils' big-name stars just aren't very accessible.

Doesn't mean they don't play hard (I wouldn't say that is true of a single player on the Phils) but you do get the sense that there are no natural vocal leaders on this team.

Also, I get of get the impression that Cholly has to deal with a ton of diverse personalities with a very loose hand because of the lack of accountability of the players on this team to police their own ranks.

Seems like it has worn on Cholly both personally and professionally this year. Cholly doesn't seem to be this easy-going country rube but seems to be more of a guy who knows not to get agitated because he has a wicked temper when he does. Cholly also seems to be big into the issue of each person dealing with their own accountability.

Basically, Cholly has had to deal with a couple of players on this team who are already knuckleheads (Myers and Vic) and things have just been compounded by JRoll this season. Seems like it has worn on Cholly's temperament a bit and he is just tired with this team's "leaders" not demonstrating it off the field.

I love the way Utley plays and has tried to improve parts of his game since coming up. Still, it is pretty evident that Utley just isn't a born leader.

Yeah, yeah leading by example is important but you also have to be a vocal leader too. Don't care how qualified you are at doing something or diligent. If you don't/can't speech well to your peers or others, you work ethic and diligence at your job can only reach people to a certain degree.

I get largely the same from Moyer too. While he is arguably has the highest degree of personal accountability on this team, he just isn't a guy who is going to be vocal in regards to speaking out the shortcomings of others or challenge teammates directly. That is a good thing 95% of the time but this team desperately needs sometime at times who is vocal and can take the pressure/heat.

You should talk to the media if you win and if you lose...the fact that Moyer was the only guy available the last few bad losses shows a lack of leadership...sit up there, take it from the media and move on...what's the big deal?

On Tracy: Donald should have been called up but I imagine the logistics of bringing him back from Beijing and burning an option were too much to handle. Tracy is about as useful as Cervenak.

So is it sad if my first reaction of receiving tickets for tonight's game was "fantastic - now I don't have to listen to Joe Morgan and Jon Miller!"

I'll be there tonight, too, with my BFF, who is 3-0 lifetime at Phillies games. She's my lucky charm (and doesn't know a lick about baseball). Hope the streak continues.

Well Heilman is coming in the top of the 7th, with Pence on first and 1 out trying to hold a 1 run lead for Oliver Perez....

First pitch from Heilman is a double to Geoff Blum and now is 2nd and 3rd 1 out.

Did you know that Joe Morgan's daughter is going to Stanford?

Stros tie it up 4-4

Heilman being replaced with Schoenweis

And a tie game, although Blum was throw out by 10 feet at home with 1 out so it could and should be better, but still guy on 2nd with 2 outs.

NEPP:
Haha that was absurd. I forget who it was (maybe MG) on here who put it best:
"unprofessional and obnoxious"

By the way, it seems like Houston is trying to lose this game, as they sent Geoff Blum home from second on a single with only 1 out.. Oh well..

Mentioning his kids is one thing...going on about it for 10 minutes at least was ridiculous. JOE, nobody cares about your stupid daughters!, especially when the game is actually going on and you're ignoring it. I dont care that one daughter is going to Stanford and one is going to USC blah blah blah blah quit trying to impress everyone that you used your money and fame to get your dumb kids into those schools.

Bourn walked by shittenweis

Reggie Abercrombie & Fitch grounds out 4-4 Bottom 7

MG - good commentary on the Phillies' lack of vocal leadership, which contrary to what a lot of fans and players alike may have believed beforehand, has definitely been an issue with this years' team.

As for Burrell: there has to be a reason why his theme song is 'Dirty Laundry'...probably the same reason why Miller doesn't like him.

RSB: Well, he has always detested the media--hence the "Rat" comment of Wagner always running and telling the press everything.

Articles like "50 Million Dollar Mistake" by the Inky probably don't help their cause, though, either...

Extras at Shea...

Ayala looks to be a great pickup for the Mets bullpen, at least so far.

GoStrosGo!

Hahahaha, Feliciano gives up a bomb to Ausmus, the first batter he faced.

Ausmus!

I loves me some Feliciano. He's my second fave behind Heilman.

Ausmus Homers 5-4 Astros Top 10!

And now Erstad homers.

Erstad w/ another bomb! 6-4!

houston takes lead in tenth vs Mets yay!

Erstad!

I love the Mets Bullpen!

Exceptional effort by Feliciano today to give up two home runs. Valverde better hold onto this one.

troh-olls, come out and play-yeh!

Berkman and Tejada batted that inning, yet Erstad and Ausmus are the ones who hit the home runs.

Love that Mets bullpen!

I wonder what kind of dance Jose has for grounding into a 4-3 putout?

Stros Win!!!

And we're only a game back

Nice game all around, but it doesn't mean much unless the Phils go out and make it actually mean something and get out there tonight and take care of some bizness..

But I'll revel for now in yet another game blown by the Mets 'pen!

If the Phils end up winning the division all our players should buy the Mets bullpen like a new house and car or something. A watch just doesn't seem like enough for all they've done for us this year.

This now becomes a huge game tonight. I've given Blanton a free pass up to this point, but he's got to step it up for this game: this is why he was acquired.

how clutch is Tampa? great game on TBS!

How's it work for post season with Marson and Donald, do they need to be on 25 team before Sept or just or as long as they are on 40 man, can they be put on post season roster. My gut is i would like to see them both and go with one less pitcher. of course if we make it.

Clout remember our bet - Phils win division and I take you to playoff game, But if Phils overtake Brewers for Wildcard, we go but you pay for your ticket and the food and soda or beer. We have seen the Phils close out the past few seasons on fire, I'm thinking we will do it again

All the people posting about how the Mets are assured of playing .500 ball the rest of the way need to wake up. That team has problems, too. Maine might be out for the year, and the bullpen has been awful all year.

I would not count on Marson or Donald to be in uniform with the Phils in September. Mike Radano indicated today that the Phils probably won't start their clocks.

Thing to remember is September call-ups rarely make a difference besides run-and-catch outfielders like Michael Bourn. They already have that in Taguchi to some extent. Guys who probably will get a look include Jaramillo as third catcher, Happ, Eaton. Maybe Walrond.

My prediction: Phils win wildcard as the Brewers fold and we beet Cardinals by a game and we face the Cubs. Meanwhile Dbacks hang on and face the mets. Mets advance while Cubs v. Phillies go to 5 games with the Phils winning to face the Mets for NL championship. Wow exciting!

Oh man, I don't know about your predictions. I think the Brew Crew not only makes the playoffs, but might even win the World Series.
Sheets and Sabathia are two of the best five pitchers in the NL right now pretty much, and having to face them in potentially 5 games in a 7-game series (or four games in a 5-game series) is a pretty daunting opportunity. Not to mention Prince is clobbering the ball (and his teammates), and Braun and Hart are coming up huge. Only thing that concerns me is their bullpen...

JW,

Cheap bastards but it makes sense. Look at the Twins with Liriano and D-Rays with Longoria at beginning of the year. Both have seemed to get away with it. I think Twins win the dividion and White Sox beat Red Sox out for Wildcard. Anyway, I would rather see Donald or Marson as pinch hitters than Taguchi, Ruiz, Tracy or Cervanek but the FO has to pinch pennies.

Boy, Eaton is sure showing that he deserves, yet another look, NOT!

Does everyone agree with me that I would love to see Junior in the playoffs.

diggitydave - On paper yes but the Brew Crew is still stocked with a bunch of chokers look at last September or when they have had big games v Cards or Cubs. Bullpen still sucks, Sheets isn't looking like he was earlier in the year. CC only starts every 5th day, Braun is beat up. Lokk for the Phils to sweep them in Philly in September.

The Rays catcher belongs on the Brew Crew. Anderson was dead at the plate and Riggens drops the freaking ball.

If Adam Eaton does somehow find his way back to Philadelphia, he better not touch the field. I don't even want him out there in a 10-run blowout; that's why God gave us Clay Condrey.

You hear that the Ray's catcher hasn't thrown out a runner stealing this year. The guy is Rod Badarajas reincarnated.

diggitydave - rest my case, another blown save by Brewers

Hello Fellow BLers. Today is shaping up great so far. Just watched the mets lose in extras, some grilling, some drinking and getting ready for tonight's big matchup. I hope Blanton Shows up!

might be a stupid question, but are games blacked out on mlb.tv if they're on ESPN?

i just moved and don't have cable (plus dont want to listen to joe morgan and the big lebowski)

Just got on here for the day dunno if it was posted earlier but....

John Maine may be done for the season!!!!! As if this day could not get any better and we still have a game tonight!

I hate to put a damper on the celebration, but check out who the Phillies opposing starting pitchers will be for the remainder of the month of August, starting with tonight:

Hiroki Kuroda
Chad Billingsley
Pedro Martinez
Johan Santana
Ryan Dempster
Rich Harden
Ted Lilly
Carlos Zambrano

Impossible? No. But very, very tough going over the next 8 games...

DiggityDave: Yes we know for the millionth time.They are tough, it is because this is our tough part of the schedule left. After this stretch we play DEAD teams except for the mets once more for 3 and the brew crew for 4. The other 17 or 18 are against the braves, WSH and Fla. Relax, we realize the pitching matchups already.

diggitydave

That's no problem, the Phillies do most of their damage against good pitching remember....

what an awful call against the Rays.

Thanks MVP for that completely unnecessary and obnoxious response.

And to respond to your point about "we're playing good teams, so we all know we're going to get good pitchers.." That's part of what I was trying to show with the last there - we're not getting the shitty pitchers from LA, NY, or Chicago for this week and a half.. We're getting each team's ace, as well as the next best pitchers from each team.

Oh and just a general question, have we gotten Santana every single freakin series we've played against the Mets??

Guys go to the metsblog and read all the frontrunning mets fans. This day is just getting better and better, hopefully we can finish it off with a happy ending of a win.

Who woulda thunk that the bullpen could be the Fightins' savior????????

Diggity Dave: Sorry to sound overbearing but every day for the past week someone has said the same thing you did and frankly I am tired of hearing it. Because to be honest our rotation has proved to be no cakewalk eithier.

diggitydave - totally agree about the next 8-10 games. I worry that the Cubs might sweep us but MVP is right that the Phils play their best ball vs tough and "KNOWN" pitchers, they struggle vs. unknowns.

Yup Johan goes against Phils, meanwhile Hamels only 1 game v Mets.

BTW - this gift to the White Sox today will be very big at end of year.

It's interesting to note how wrong most of us, including me, were about Jenkins vs. Cameron. Going into today, Cameron had a 119 OPS+; Jenkins is at 79. Cameron's hit 23 home runs in just 93 games, has a .981 OPS on the road, and for the month has an OPS of 1.199. Not sure if there's any way we could've known how much better the one would be than the other, but it's turned to be a pretty disastrous decision all the same.

JW: Per your message of 2:14 about Miller (and granted I hold Miller with "a minimum of high regard"), it sounds like this is all about an access problem that he has helped create. In other words, perhaps if he (Miller) didn't go onto the shows in this town that only worry about Eagles access (e.g., WIP) and flap his gums and talk smack, then maybe Pat and Jimmy and Chase would talk to him. His illustration of using Billy Wagner as his defense is illustrative of this bigger point, it appears that Billy was not a locker room favorite with teammates while in Philly. His continued quotes after leaving town give credence to why this is probably the case. Furthermore, his use of anonymous reporter and player quotes in the blog entry only to support his argument seems quasi-flippant -- and fairly reminiscent of the "officious" brouhaha between Marcus Hayes and Ed Wade that caused folks like Bill Conlin to circle the wagons around Marcus.

Tray: not to disagree that Jenkins has been a bust, but had the Phillies signed Cameron, he'd have taken ABs away from Werth. The Phillies still have 26 homers from he and Jenkins. The idea was to find a complementary piece to Werth, and Jenkins seemed like the best one out there. It really can only be called a mistake in retrospect.

e: yes, the game tonight will be blacked out, you can't view it on mlb.tv.

Its funny. Everyone at ESPN and in NYC all excited how "great and powerful" the Mets were by beating bottom feeders and a Braves team that is falling apart at the seems. They played a more credible foe this weekend and only split.

No team is good enough to really build a ton of momentum nor or a big lead. Basically, it is going to come down to those 5 games the Mets/Phils play yet. Phils have to find a way to play better against than they have all season and win a min. of 3 of 5.

With almost 2 hours until gametime, i am trying to think of what Morgan will say tonight, that will be eithier wrong or funny.

Steve Carlton didn't talk to anyone. Curt Schilling talked to everyone. Loved to watch both of 'em pitch for us.

ooh, grammatical gaffe. "HIM and Jenkins." Thank you.

MG: Agree. Now the question is who are the mets going to start in plac of Maine the rest of the season??

EastFallowfield: Good points. Of course, in retrospect, it's probably better that Lefty didn't talk then considering what we know now....

mvp - That is a good question. Brings up a larger question in how a majority of Mets' fans seem to have this delusion that the Mets have a clear advantage in their starting rotation.

If Maine goes on the shelf for the year or misses a substantial portion of time, the Mets have two question marks in their rotation (Pedro and who fills in for Maine). Let's not even mention the supposed issue that Pelfrey is only going to start once a week supposedly.

Phils have maybe one in Kendrick but just about every night the Phils can put out a credible starter on the mound and three of their starters (Hamels, Myers, and Moyer) have been pitching at a very high level over the past month.

Let's not even go into the advantage the Phils' bullpen has now especially that Eyre looks like he is settling in as that situational LOOGY and even Seanez is back. Meanwhile, the Mets have Heilman closing and a bunch of guys who are very erratic.

If I had to make a bet on which pitching staff performs better down the stretch, I would clearly take the Phils' staff.

MG: Yea i hope your right. But look no further than today in the 6 or 7th mets are winning 5-1 and in come joe smith, schowenwies, heilman and feliciano the usual suspects and bam just like that it is 7-5 astros.

The mets bullpen is a mess right now and now with as you said 2 of their 5 starters in serious question, what are they going to do to get voer the hump with their toughest part of the schedule coming in 2 weeks?

I meant yesterday and today feliano got the loss. Sorry after all their bullpen mishaps it is hard to keep the runs they let up straight.

Saw that note that Cholly made Howard watch tape of his 2006 swing and that Howard was incredibly reluctant/normally doesn't watch tape.

Kind of reaffirms my opinion that Howard has tried to get largely with just with his talent this year/done little to make the necessary adjustments.

Meanwhile, other teams (with plenty of scouting and tape) had made considerable adjustments to pitching to Howard and defensive adjustments including emphasizing the shift/position of OFs.

It is a testament to Howard's strength/ability that he is still hitting a ton of HRs but others things (including his BB rate, AVG, K rate) have started to fall by the way side this year.

Basically, the Phils have to make a make real difficult assertion this offseason and determine if Howard is going to be committed to doing the things during the season (including watching tape, taking extra BP, et) that is necessary to continue to be a premier hitter.

If not, I wouldn't blame the Phils if they were reluctant to invest in over $100M in a guy who just tries to get by with talent because the book is out on Howard. Still, a ridiculously strong hitter who punishes mistakes and you have to be careful with but also a guy who go after in certain situations particularly with a lefty on the mound.

MG: Couldn't agree with you more. If he is not willing to do the things in order to improve as a hitter After next yr I would seriously give him an ultimatum and if he does not ablige then trade him while you can.

Metsblog check...

When Mets are 2 1/2 gms behind Phils, it's described as "2 games back in the loss column"

When Mets and Phils are even in that loss column, Mets are described as "1 game ahead"

Sure, everybody does it, but they do post their standings in "Losses Behind" mode, not the traditional way.

Yea but i agree with that method because losses can not be made up.

MG: Where was the 'note' about Howard being reluctant to watch '06 tape?

MVP: At this time of year, I would rather that my team has played more games (i.e., ahead/closer in the WIN column). Bullpens/pitching staffs are overworked and tired. So I would rather have the win under my belt.

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