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Friday, September 19, 2008

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First.. And also, the Phillies just need to do the hitting/bullpen/starting pitching at the same time for longer periods of time!

Rubbish-free and healthy. Yep. It did take them a little too long to switch Happ and Kendrick, and -earlier- right Myers' ship, but otherwise.

No question the big season story is the consistent success of the pitching (and the inconsistent success of the bats.) But just to focus on the last 28 games very quickly. Here's how you go 19-9 (and how Howard adds 34 RBI to his total in 28 games.)

Rollins: .330/.406/.487 -- 16 R
Utley: .314/.421/.410 -- 22 R
Werth: .337/.445/.622 -- 22 R, 20 RBI
Howard: .318/.403/.766 -- 25 R, 34 RBI

Those group has batted 1-2-3-4 (in some order - including Werth 2 and Utley 3) in 14 of the last 19 games. And in 16 of the last 28 games. Burrell hit third from the 22nd to the 28th. The Phils went 5-2 in that time, but his .235 OBP that week got him moved back.

Great post Jason, top-notch!

The pitching has carried this team all season. I'm hoping Scott Eyre sticks true to his word about wanting to stay in Philly and willing to accept a 1 year deal. Having him back, with Romero, Madson, and Lidge is a solid bullpen foundation. The rotation is pretty much locked in too- Hamels, Myers, and Blanton are back, with Moyer likely to re-sign too. 5th spot will come between Eaton, Kendrick, Happ, or possibly someone outside the organization.

Go Phils!

Pitching match-ups (according to ESPN.com)

Phillies:
9/19 - Myers vs. Johnson (FLA)
9/20 - Blanton vs. Sanchez (FLA)
9/21 - Moyer vs. Volstad (FLA)
9/22 - Happ vs. Jurrjens (ATL)
9/23 - Hamels vs. Hampton (ATL)
9/24 - Myers vs. Reyes (ATL)
9/25 - OFF
9/26 - Blanton vs. Lannan (WAS)
9/27 - Moyer vs. Perez (WAS)
9/28 - Hamels vs. Martis (WAS)

Mets:
9/19 - Perez vs. Reyes (ATL)
9/20 - Martinez vs. Campillo (ATL)
9/21 - Pelfrey vs. Parr (ATL)
9/22 - Niese vs. Marquis (CHC)
9/23 - Santana vs. Harden (CHC)
9/24 - Perez vs. Zambrano (CHC)
9/25 - Martinez vs. Lilly (CHC)
9/26 - Pelfrey vs. Volstad (FLA)
9/27 - Niese vs. Nolasco (FLA)
9/28 - Santana vs. Olsen (FLA)

Brewers:
9/19 - Suppan vs. Ramirez (CIN)
9/20 - Parra vs. Cueto (CIN)
9/21 - Sabathia vs. Arroyo (CIN)
9/22 - OFF
9/23 - Sheets (maybe) vs. Karstens (PIT)
9/24 - Bush vs. Duke (PIT)
9/25 - Suppan vs. Maholm (PIT)
9/26 - Parra vs. Dempster (CHC)
9/27 - Sabathia vs. Marquis (CHC)
9/28 - Sheets (maybe) vs. Harden (CHC)

If Eaton gets more than a cursory glance in the competition for the no. 5 spot next year, it's a disgrace. Happ might not be a superstar, but he's got a promising future. Eaton is a lost cause.

Couple of things from previous threads...

1. Pat Burrell has 21 go ahead hits this year, although I'm not sure how many were game winning. (Ryan Howard has 30, Chase Utley has 17)

2. Adding Lou Marson to the postseason roster would necessitate a phantom 60-day DL injury to a postition player currently eligible for the postseason roster. There's little chance the Phils would carry 3 catchers in the postseason.

We're set up to win it, question remains will we?

Hey, we miss Tim Redding? Nice.

Postseason Roster:
Rotation:
1. Brett Myers
2. Cole Hamels
3. Jamie Moyer
4. Joe Blanton

Bullpen:
1. Brad Lidge
2. Ryan Madson
3. Scott Eyre
4. JC Romero
5. JA Happ
6. Clay Condrey
7. Rudy Seanez
8. Chad Durbin

Lineup:
1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Chase Utley
3. Jayson Werth
4. Ryan Howard
5. Pat Burrell
6. Shane Victorino
7. Pedro Feliz
8. Carlos Ruiz

Bench:
1. Greg Dobbs
2. Chris Coste
3. Eric Bruntlett
4. Matt Stairs
5. Geoff Jenkins

I'll carry this through as we move toward a potential playoff appearance.

Here are the players eligible for the postseason roster (asterick by the players I believe would be on the playoff roster):

Pitchers: Blanton*, Condrey*, Durbin*, Eyre*, Hamels*, Kendrick, Lidge*, Madson*, Moyer*, Myers*, Romero*, Seanez, Gordon (60-day), Mathieson (60-day), Rosario (60-day), Zagurski (60-day)

Position players: Coste*, Ruiz*, Bruntlett*, Dobbs*, Feliz*, Howard*, Rollins*, Utley*, Burrell*, Jenkins*, Stairs*, Taguchi*, Victorino*, Werth*

That's only 24. I believe the Phils will add Happ to replace Gordon giving them 11 pitchers, assuming Happ pitches well in his next appearance. The only way the Phils could add Golson or Iguchi would be to invent an injury for one of the position players listed above that would necessitate a trip to the 60-day DL.

GM: Interesting... you take Seanez over Taguchi? That's probably where the decision will come down to. Would you rather have the 6th man off the bench or the 8th man in the bullpen? Would Seanez see more action than Taguchi in a close game or in extra innings?

I can't stand Taguchi and therefore chose Seanez over him. I could see the Phils going either way though.

GM: Can we agree that (should we make the playoffs) we hope a playoff game wouldn't come down to either a Seanez pitch or a Taguchi at bat?

I can't stand Taguchi either, Thats because I'm a Mets fan.

The braves are so worthless, On the other hand you have to give credit to the Phillies..Who seem to always play well in September. I see the Met posters who harrass you guys have vanished.

I have no confidence in the Mets even if they do make the playoffs, Cause that bullpen is so bad its comical.

bballscientist: Here's a question--do you have more confidence in the Mets' BP or the Brewers'?

That game yesterday had to hurt.

Ohh, so that's how they can get Happ on the post-season roster, because of injuries to guys who were on it on Aug 31? Cool!

Phillies web site has Thursday's started listed as "To Be Announced." Which is odd, since you'd think it would be Hamels.

Normally I'd just assume it's just slow to update, but with Cole's claims about his tiredness, I'm naturally fretting.

So, Carson, you think Feliz should start against RHP?

I would think that, in the playoffs, having an extra bat is more important than an extra RP. There are days off, etc., only the best relief pitchers gets used. Not the same is true of the bench, though. Especially with the double-switch, PR-happy Manuel.

I haven't read/thought about this much, but those are my initial thoughts. I'd choose a bat over Seanez.

Taguchi is useless but, still, if it's the 11th inning and you've emptied the rest of the bench, I'd rather have Taguchi at the plate than a pitcher. I'd say this scenario has a much higher likelihood of occurring than a scenario where we need an 8th reliever. Seanez goes; Taguchi stays.

For those who haven't seen it, ESPN has added this useful Hunt for October page. Current division and wildcard standings, remaining schedules, magic numbers, playoff matchups, etc.

That postseason pen is impressive in that the Phils have plenty of guys who can pitch long-relief and go a few innings: Durbin, Condrey, Madson, and Happ. With two good LOOGYs on top of that I wouldn't think Seanez would be necessary.

Doubleh

Thats a very good question, I don't know lol. I'll say this...When you have greg norton hitting a clutch 3 run bomb to destroy a Met victory then you have to worry about the bullpen.

I'm with you bap, I don't see much of a chance that Seanez would see the field, so it would be nice to have the extra bat off the bench. Plus, having Taguchi means that it frees up Bruntlett to pinch run more, which is a necessary weapon in the playoffs.

The Brewer pen is definately worse than the Mets. Obiviously it's a big, big concern. The only positive is they have 3 starters who can go 9 in a pinch. As tough as missing John Maine in the playoffs will be, he usually hits 100 pitches by the 5th-6th innning.

Lastly, I do think should the Mets make the playoffs, all of that choke pressure will be lifted from their shoulders and they'll be a lot more loose.

All speculation...

Clout- I think Dobbs should start maybe a game or two at 3rd depending on the match-up in the playoffs. I just put Feliz as part of the lineup because that's how Charlie would do it.

John: I doubt Hamels is seeking extra rest unless there's an injury we don't know about (knock on wood). Hamels has been pretty vocal that the routine is important to him. He's actually complained more about getting extra rest those times it's happened.

rollinssux


As far as making the playoffs and being loose, Thats a possibility...But who knows. The met bullpen on paper is good, and has historically been good before in the past, But now its ridiculous. Sanchez and his loss of velocity really hurts the pen as well. Some people say he'll never get it back while bullpen coach Guy Conti says Sanchez is yet to "let it loose"

I agree So-Tag may be a better postseason option than Seanez, because of the extra-inning potential bat dilema.

I said 93 wins in March. Just sayin'.

Pitching since Aug 17th (30 G, 21-9)

2 CG, 9 SV, 271 IP, 1.291 WHIP, 109 R (3.49 ERA)

----------

Brewers pen or Mets pen?

BP.com uses WXRL and FRA (sorry, jhs) to rank pens. They did a first-half and second-half breakdown a few days ago of the playoff contention pens. Here's the NL season-long breakdown. This is as of a few days ago:

Phils - 12.5
Dodgers - 11
Astros - 10.6
Cubs - 8
Marlins - 8
Brewers - 6.7
Mets - 5.7

This is season-long, which means it incudes the days of Wagner. in the second-half:

Brewers: 2.6
Mets: -0.4

I should have defined these terms. FRA is a solid stat: "fair" runs above average:: RA with inherited/bequeathed runners included.

WXRL is more new-fangled: "Expected wins added over a replacement level pitcher, adjusted for level of opposing hitters. WXRL combines the individual adjustments for replacement level (WXR) and quality of the opposing lineup (WXL) to the basic WX calculation."

Looking at those famous playoff odds...the Cubs are at 99.9. What odds did the Mets and Padres have last year about this time? Mid 90s?

so, you guys think you have the division locked up?

NEPP: As one of the 86 win predictors, I thought 90 wins or more was way optimistic. You guys (I think CJ was 90 or more wins also, for one) are looking pretty good now. Let's hope you continue to be right and make the rest of us look like the perennial pessimists we are!

EFF - According to Nate Silver, the Padres had an 83.37% chance to make the playoffs on Sept 20th, 2007.

The Mets had a 99.8% chance to make it on Sept 12th, 2007.

what record do you think it will take for the phils to win the division? 6-3? mets would have to go 7-3 to tie.

I think I said 91. I don't recall. It was somewhere between 90-93.

Manuel - No. But I think we're getting (over)-confident about the playoff odds. 2 up on the WC.

Manuel,

Anyone who seriously thinks the Phils have the division locked up is either out of their minds or has only been watching baseball for about two weeks.

it's certainly a bit different on here than before the brewers series. not that i blame you guys for being down then.

Sophist is right. No one on this list should believe the Phils are a lock. There just way too much baseball left to play. Talking about a potential playoff roster is not the same as believing the playoff spot is a lock. It's just good conversation.

EFF - One other odd for you. '64 Phils had a 96.15% chance to make the playoffs at their peak (15 games to play.) 25-1 odds against. The Mets last year had 500-1 odds of missing.

Looking back, here's my favorite prediction from the preseason:

"clout: But if there's anything I feel close to certain about, it's that the Wild Card will come from the NL Weat."

And clout wasn't alone. Many on this list considered the West a lock to get the wild card. Could that have been more wrong?

Yeah, I mean, the Phils went from losing 2/3 to the Marlins to sweeping the Brewers series and the Braves series. Damn Marlins.

i love how the braves just totally lay down for the phillies. you know they will play their asses of and cox will manage like it's the playoffs against the mets. i hate them.

sophist: You're right about the xtra bat in the playoffs, but they'll keep Seanez and leave Happ off since Happ is not a reliever. If one of the starters got hurt, they could reactivate Happ.

i love how the Phils dominate the Braves. You know the Mets will fumble an early lead against them and give a game or two away.

Here's the prediction thread from earlier this year for those who are interested.

For the record, this was my prediction:

"92 wins. And I'm not that worried about this team this year. I love what we have at the top of the rotation and our lineup is the best in the league. I think Moyer and Kendrick will be just crafty enough. I think our bullpen will be better than last year and Lidge will have a very good season. I think we'll pick up enough help here or there to fill the major holes. We win the East and lose in the NLCS."

clout - which is supported by Happ's terrible (but few) appearances as a reliever this year.

Manuel, yes because the Marlins are just going to lay down for us in these next few games...we'll gladly trade places with you. Mets can play the Fish for 3 starting tonight and we'll take the Braves for another 3. How's that?

who knows, maybe the mets pen puts together another scoreless streak. stranger things have happened. like lidge not blowing a save all year.

hmmm, doubleh...tempting. ill pass, though. josh johnson is good.

Sophist: I'm not sure Happ is as bad as you think as a reliever. The issue would be how we would use him. If we used him primarily against lefties, I think he may be effective.

In his first relief appearance (vs. Fla) he had an okay first inning, with a walk, WP and single (wild early, maybe nerves). And then had a bad second inning.

In his second relief appearance he had a scoreless inning vs. the Nats giving up a hit and striking out two.

In his final relief appearance, he was brought in to rescue Kendrick vs. Florida. His first 2 innings were scoreless with just two singles and three K's. Then the wheels fell off with a couple of home runs to Jacobs and Ross.

Lefties are hitting just .200 vs. Happ and OPS'ing .639.

Here's mine:

I agree with AWH's ceiling and floor. I think they'll win 91 games, outperforming themselves and their PECOTA prediction. Good enough for at least second in the division and a tie for the WC.

Manuel - Yes, that is quite the thing to rely on. Who knows? Maybe one of the NL's worst pens will suddenly have another good streak? Your offense and some solid starts from Santana, Pelfrey, and Perez will get you in, I think.

------

CJ - Yeah, I didn't look at his stats before I said that. I just recalled that his ERA blew-up a bit because of his appearances. Not a big track-record there, though. The general point: I'd favor an extra arm over a extra bat. Whether that's Happ or Seanez, I don't know.

hmm, i predicted 91 wins...but missing the playoffs.

haha, i wasn't exactly saying i was relying on the pen to take us to the postseason. more a response to your previous comment about us blowing an early lead in 1 or 2 games vs. the braves. however, the pen HAS put together some scoreless streaks this season. one of them was pretty recent, actually. don't get me wrong; i know they suck.

Sophist: Right... the last two spots on the roster (should we be fortunate enough to get there) would come down to Taguchi, Seanez and Happ. I believe they definitely take Taguchi as the extra bat and I have a feeling they take Happ over Seanez. Rudy hasn't made it into a game since Sept. 9th.

Yeah, I was just pulling your chain. Mets offense is good enough that, like the Phils last year, they can overcome the pen. And they have great 1-2-3 pitchers. Also, you're playing the Braves this weekend.

i'm sure kelly johnson or some ridiculous pinch hitter will hit a soul-crushing HR or two

I don't know what they'll do. The Phils don't cease to surprise with these things. That's just what I hope they do. But, yeah, Seanez has only thrown 3.2 IP this month and all before the 9th. Although on that day he did SO both Marlins he faced. Maybe he has some of that magic in him this weekend.

ben sheets sure went down like clockwork. what mess that team is.

i could see the same thing happening to harden. him and dempster don't scare me in the playoffs.

Better watch out for Johnson. Dude's batting .375/.423/.604 since Aug 21. Phils held him to 3 singles.

haha, so he's ready to explode!

Just glanced over the comments from the link CJ provided relating to March predictions for this season. Another interesting comment was gm-Carson's comparison of Kendrick with a "train wreck waiting to happen".

It would be great to have that thread mined after the season and put up some of the more accurate (and crazy) predictions together with what actually transpired.

Sadly, work - which is way overrated - makes that type of production tough.

Sophist: Well, 2 singles and 1 questionable single anyway...should have been scored an error

well well well

weitzel likes some good music

CJ: I'll be happy to bet against you on Happ for these reasons:

1. He's a starter, not a reliever.
2. They already have 2 lefties in Rlmero & Eyre.
3. With no legitimate setup man, it means middle reliever Chad Durbin will be put into more important spots. That means Seanez is needed for middle relief.

My post from the predictions thread-
"I've been a combined 4 games off in the past two season when predicting the record.

2008 record for the Phils- 82-80.

NL East:
1. Mets
2. Braves
3. Phillies
4. Nationals
5. Marlins

Obviously no playoffs for the Phils, they're pitching is going to kill them."

Wow, glad I was wrong!

Thank God the Baby Backs choked the NL west. Does anyone else think they are incredibly boring to watch? I'm sure the networks are pleased. Also, Webb and Haren in a short series is kinda scary.

Webb, Haren, and Randy Johnson in a short series is really scary.

But so is Zambrano, Harden, and Lilly.

or

Johan, Pelfrey, and oh wait...not so scary.

ha, GM-Carson

you still think oliver perez sucks?

yawn

Rollinsx: "Webb and Haren in a short series is kinda scary."

And Billingsley and Lowe aren't?

No, I don't think Ollie sucks, just think he might become incredibly erratic in a playoff game...just a hunch.

no, billingsley and lowe are not as scary and webb and haren

ollie's MO is that he pitches extremely well against good teams. he is also incredibly talented and has had a great stretch these past 2 or 3 months. can't blame a non-mets fan for doubting, though.

here's a question: would you rather have perez or moyer as your 3rd starter in the playoffs? i'd take perez :). obviously an arguable question, though, as moyer has had a good season.

Clout: Sorry, Webb and Haren would scare me a lot more than Lowe and Billingsley. With full appreciation for how they've pitched this year, they don't scare me. In fact, besides the Manny-factor, the Dodgers don't scare me much. They prosper from being in a AAA division. Maybe it's just memories of the Mets wiping the floor with them in 06'.

And GM-Carson: Feel free to disrespect Perez. The guy can be agrivating to watch, but he's pitched 23 innings against the phils and given up 1 ER. Say what you want, he's shut you guys down. And, let's not forget, he's pitching for a Scott Boras style contract down the stretch here. He sees those millions are for the taking.

rollinsux, perez hasn't been aggrivating to watch for some time now.

ERA+

Webb 140
Haren 139
Billingsley 137
Lowe 130

Not a big difference, especially between Billingsley and the top 2. But here's something far, far scarier and backed by a better offense:

Harden 271
Dempster 149
Zambrano 132

This is why it's important to win the division.

Manuel: Perez vs. Moyer is arguable if you ignore the actual statistics.

Perez ERA+ 101
Moyer ERA+ 116

harden leaves games early, though. have to consider that. he is a great talent, for sure.

what's perez's ERA+ since his dramatic turnaround? i think that would be a more accurate depiction of perez as a pitcher right now.

Oh man, people are really counting their proverbial chickens here. The team is in good shape, but its hardly a comfortable lead for either the division or the wild card.

Here is my one prediction for the rest of the season: Lidge will blow a save. Yep. Its bound to happen. He's been amazing, but there have been some shaky ones lately. Anyway, hope they are in a position to survive whatever loss that turns out to be.

Rollinsux: If Perez has pitched for a contract down the stretch, then he won't be getting a very big one. He has just 2 decisions in his last 7 starts with a 4.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.441.

myers' ERA+ is 110. is moyer better than him right now?

Webb and Haren have a slight edge (based on this year's performance) over Lower and Billingsley.

Webb: 139 ERA+, 7.19 K9, 1.189 WHIP
Haren: 140 ERA+, 8.56 K9, 1.123 WHIP

Billingsley: 137 ERA+, 9.06 K9, 1.32 WHIP
Lowe: 130 ERA+, 6.18 K9, 1.14 WHIP

The LAD guys are both RHP; the ARI guys are also both RHP.

It's close. But K9 plays big dividends on the playoffs.

Manuel: As I just pointed out, Perez has been bad in August and September.

In a single game, or a single series, luck matters far more than anything else. Any club will have a decent shot at beating any other club, regardless of pitching match ups.

your logic is off, CJ. carry on.

timr - I've had the same bad feeling (really raised now) that Lidge is bound to blow a save at some point. It doesn't necessarily have to turn into a loss though - the game could just be tied or the Phils could rally next week at home in the bottom of the 9th.

Manuel:

Do you watch all the games?? How can Perez not aggravate you when he pitches 3.1 innings against the Nats and gives up 7 earned runs??

In his last 6 starts, he's walked 5 3 times. That's not good...

Not saying he doesn't have the ability to be domninant, he's just always been inconsistent.

Manuel: 116 vs 110 is a lot closer than 116 vs 101. I'm as comfortable with Moyer on the mound as I am Myers on the mound. And I'm more comfortable with either of them than I would be with Perez!

perez ERA in 1st half: 4.44
2nd half: 3.60

couldnt find ERA+ for this

Manuel: Perez was fine in August, but has been bad this month:

.750 OPS against, 5.82 ERA in 3 starts.

Manuel: Ah, so you're just a troll, then. I present actual facts to back up the fact that Perez has sucked the last month and a half (unless you prefer a 4.68 ERA and a WHIP of 1.441), and you respond with "your logic is off, CJ, carry on." Thanks for playing, you win a one way trip back to Trollville. And I don't feed trolls.

rollins: yes, i watch every single game. his start vs. the nationals was bad, yes. i have a feeling that that one start has a lot to do with his ERA in his last 7 games.

CJ: come on, you know i have a point. using split stats is a better way of evaluation where perez is right now. just like myers. a 101 ERA+ is not indicative of perez's current value.

After June 2nd, Perez' ERA was 5.70. Since then:

19 starts, 6-3, 118.1 IP, 3.27 ERA, .673 OPS against.

Pretty good. However, Moyer's been better all year. Also, Moyer's last 19 games:

8-4, 114.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, .664 OPS against.

factoring in ballparks, Moyer's been better all year and in this time period.

CJ: Correct, he has been inconsistent down the stretch. But, we Met fans hold out hope that his last couple starts and maybe a potential good couple playoff starts will be motivated by $$.

My gut is he'll be pitching for someone else next year (maybe the Yankees!). Either way, he will command A LOT of money. He's 26, lefty, has great stuff, has been durable so far, and is a Boras client. He also pitched well in game 7 against the Cards (they didn't score for him). He won't be worth the money, but someone will think they can "fix his head" for 75 mill.

"Manuel: Perez was fine in August, but has been bad this month:

.750 OPS against, 5.82 ERA in 3 starts."

agreed, clout. that start vs. the nationals was horrible horrible horrible and makes those stats look rather ugly. i can't think of the other 2 right now.

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