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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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Phils have gone a little while since facing a guy like this.

REPOST:

MG made a fine argument for how Hamels has broken into the top 10 of National League pitchers. My argument is that he can't beat those in that same elite company. There were 10 starting pitchers in the National League who had a WPA above 2.00. Hamels was one of them. The others are Lincecum, Santana, Webb, Dempster, Peavy, Sheets, Volquez, Haren, and Billingsley.

But comparing game scores against those in that same top 10 reveals a very disturbing trend. I'll list in date, opposing pitcher, Hamels's game score, and the opponents game score:

4/18, Santana, 44-67
5/4, Lincecum, 47-55
7/13, Webb, 54-61
8/28, Dempster, 69-43
9/7, Santana, 36-63

And in those games, Hamels is 1-2 with 2 NDs.

To be the man, you have to beat the man. I'd be real interested in similar numbers for Santana.

No cake walk indeed. This is going to be a tough series, as will be every series if the Phils advance. I think they can do it though. Rain is forecast for most of tomorrow afternoon and that might be troublesome to Gallardo, especially if any kind of delay happens. I know the same can be said about Cole, but maybe his chiropractor could keep him loose in that situation.

I'm just so happy the Phils are back in the postseason and seem poised to make something more out of the opportunity this year.

This kids gonna get rocked.

Leaving Happ off the roster is a mistake. With Game 5 only 4 days after Game 1, and Hamels unable/unwilling to pitch on 3 day's rest, it means Blanton will start Game 4 -- which means he's unavailable for the bullpen. So what happens if Myers or some other starter is ineffective and needs to be pulled in the third inning? I guess it would fall on Condrey. But I'd rather have Happ than Condrey.

I just don't see the point of Rudy Seanez. You would never want him pitching in a close game. If he has to pitch, it means the game is already a lost cause. So why waste a roster spot on him?

Mike H your post makes no sense.
When you have to use that many stats to make a point its not too convincing.
PS those guys are home, Cole is pitching.

agreed bap - seanez is a waste of space - use that spot for someone who might be able to give you a few innings of effective long relief instead of a total mop up

They were home last year.
Cole pitched game 1 last year.
See results of last year.

Wake up, buttercup.

All this talk about matchups seems to be clouding the central question.

Are the Phillies better than the Brewers?

I think the answer to that question is "Yes."

PHI record: 92-70
MIL record: 90-72

MIL record since CC's first start on July 8th:
41-32
PHI record since CC's first start on July 8th:
44-28

PHI Sept record: 17-8
MIL Sept record: 10-16

PHI record vs. MIL: 5-1

well Happ's 7.88 ERA out of the bullpen pretty much explains why he's not there.

Phils need to be patient and get this guy's pitch count up. Coming off surgery, he can probably only go 80 pitches before he tires and makes mistakes. And, from what I read online about him, he's inefficient.

BAP: If the Phils are up by 2 in the 5th or down by 2 in the 6th and Chalie needs an out or two, he'll bring in Seanez

I can see the headlines now....."No name pitcher wins duel with Phillies Ace."

This is the classic BL jinx set up. Cole Hamels, the best thing since Steve Carlton against some stiff nobody's ever heard of. The meat of our line-up, Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Burrell will rack up a lot of strikeouts. Guys like Ruiz and Feliz will get fluke hits, but will die on base. Hamels will toss up some gopher balls and the Phils lose 2-0 and then we face Sabathia!

bap: You trust Happ out of the bullpen in a close situation? Have you seen how he's fared out of the bullpen?

Say what you will about Seanez, but he has a 127 ERA+ this year.

In his last 8 appearances, he has a 2.25 ERA and a WHIP of 1.000. He's also relatively fresh, pitching just 4 times since Sept. 10th.

Hold on, did was it Hamels fault they lost game 1 last year?

He gave up 3 runs in the 2nd inning and that was it. But the Phils couldn't touch friggin' JEFF FRANCIS (who finished 4-10 this year btw). Let's not revise history and act like Hamels flopped in the playoffs last year.

"They were home last year.
Cole pitched game 1 last year.
See results of last year."

By the same logic, should we not worry too much about game 2, based on Sabathia's postseason results in 2007?

michael: He has pitched all of 4 games in relief. Happ is not needed on the roster to pitch when the opposing team has 2 men on base and 1 out in the 7th inning. He is needed on the roster to pitch when Brett Myers or someone else gives up 4 runs and 9 hits in the first 3 innings. You need to have a pitcher who can come in and give you 3 or 4 innings in that situation. Condrey can do it, but Happ is a much better pitcher than Condrey. Besides, Condrey often pitches in more traditional relief roles and, if he does that early in the series, it will be difficult for him to throw 3 or 4 innings later on.

Jason: I don't quite buy the comparison to Jimenez. Jimenez had 15 regular starts before facing the Phils. Gallardo is coming off one start since knee surgery. Also, we faced Jimenez in Game 3. I think there was some pretty serious confidence issues by the time that game rolled around. We also had Abraham Nunez starting at third base. And... it took Jimenez 95 pitches to get through 6.1 innings. I can't imagine they'll let Gallardo get anywhere near 95 pitches. He threw just 67 pitches against the Pirates.

did I miss something? is the post-season roster set?

bap: So we'd carry a pitcher on the roster just to be a long relief man despite the fact that we already have Condrey to do that?

I guess I trust Condrey long, Seanez short a lot more that I trust Happ long, Condrey short.

CJ: ERA is not a terribly reliable stat with relief pitchers. Besides, Seanez was strong early in the season, but he was terrible in the 2nd half. His September numbers were certainly good but he obtained those numbers pitching in the most low leverage situations imaginable. He has not been a good performer since early this year.

I don't really believe in the notion that a guy can be a good starter but he can't be good coming out of the bullpen. There's really no rational reason why that would ever be true -- particularly for a guy like Happ, who wouldn't be pitching in late inning situations. Happ is a better pitcher than Seanez and I want my 25 best players on the post-season roster.

Now, we could've put Happ on the 25 man roster and had this headline for the second game....."No name pitcher wins duel with Brewers Ace."

b-a-p:
I often agree with your logic, but not in regard to Happ. He is a better pitcher, but only as a starter. He does not (yet?) have the ability to warm-up fast, come into the middle of a game and be effective. The numbers from the September are pretty clear on that. Since we do not need another starter we need someone else.

And even though, in theory, his arm is pre-stretched by being a starter, a long relief appearance is, at the end of the day (or in it's middle?) a relief appearance. he would probably not last long anyway, but decompensate within five or six batters. They needed to go with Seanez.

And it would have been better if they had a real set-up man instead. But clout never got his Christmas present.

I guess if my calculations are right -- about Blanton pitching Game 4 -- that would mean that, if there's a Game 5, it would be Hamels v. Sabathia. That would be a very intriguing matchup, but let's hope it never has to happen.

LF -
They probably would print something more like "Happ-y In Phill-y."

Incidentally, in the last thread, the Pelosi post was pure genius. Bravo!

bap: Say Myers obviously doesn't have it and has to get pulled after giving up 4 runs in 2 innings. Here's how the rest of the game goes (Pitcher/innings): Condrey/2, Seanez/1, Eyre/Durbin/2, Madson/1, Romero/1.
And then they have a day off the next day so it doesn't hurt us using the whole bullpen. It's not ideal, but I don't think Happ adds much value in that situation, which is worst case scenario (ie unlikely) and will probably be a loss anyway.

Well, let's hope a Game 5 never has to happen because the Phils win in 4 and not the alternative.

The Inside Edge player reports on the ESPN Phillies-Brewers playoff page are pretty interesting. Definitely check it out.

Andy: If I thought that Seanez really brought anything of value, I would probably agree with you.

Actually, clout did get his Christmas present -- or, given his command of Yiddish -- perhaps I should say his Hannukah present. Often, the toy you already have is better than the ones you have your eyes on; it's just a matter of trying it again. The Phillies wrapped up an old toy (Madson), and presented it as the new setup man. He has been lights-out down the stretch. Of course, with Madson, there's always the fear that he's going to implode at exactly the wrong time. But so far, so good.

bap: i see what your saying but that exact same thing happened on one of Kendrick's last start (before this past sunday) he gave up runs and Happ came in and got rocked. I have a lot more confidence in someone like Condrey than Happ in that situation.

Gallardo pitched 4 innings against the Pirates last Thursday. He threw 64 pitches, 38 for strikes. He gave up 23 hits, walked 2, struck out 7 and gave up 1 earned run, a home run to RF Steve Pearce.

So, ahem, I think the Phils are in a lot of trouble. Ryan Braun says that he is phenomenal, so they pretty much expect him to shut us down.

* oops, he gave up 3 hits, not 23 !

Thanks, Andy.

UD Hens, maybe the Phils can get 23 hits off Gallardo. Actually, we should feel pretty good that the Brew Crew is in such disarray that they start an unproven quantity like Gallardo against Cole. We should be able to beat these guys.

UD Hens: Dude, it was the Pirates.

Now, I'm not filled with any false sense of overconfidence here, and guys like Gallardo normally do shut the Phils down...but...it's only his second start of the season and it's in the most important game of the year. Not the best circumstances for the kid. There's no way, if the Phillies work the counts properly, that he goes a full 7.

I just have this feeling that the Brewers offense might just suffer from postseason sphincter clench (similar to the Phillies last year). They are similarly constructed teams that rely on the longball too much, difference being that Phils have played in October before and the Crew have not.

Bob, that is really, really interesting stuff. Here's a link for everyone on the Phils' report card. I think Jason should link this somewhere in his next post...

http://espn.inside-edge.com/reportcardrosters.aspx?enc=CsNdTaN2SU4lzc+zAjHPy12akj/7oqEKvwwqU7iolV8=

I agree with Ryan Braun that Gallardo is phenomenal. If he can stay healthy, he's going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He's already pretty damn good right now.

However, he's also coming off a major injury which kept him sidelined for nearly 5 months. He certainly looked good in his first game back, but he only pitched 4 innings & it was against a Pirates' lineup that is terrible to begin with & was without some of its regular starters.

Gallardo will rack up the strikeouts against the Phillies' lineup. But the Phillies should be able to hit him reasonably well. Even if they can't, he's likely to be out of the game by the 6th inning, and the Brewers' bullpen is almost as bad as the Mets'. If Hamels can merely perform to par, we should certainly have the advantage in this game.

On Gallardo: It's the playoffs. We're going to face good pitching. Facing young, inexperienced, and possibly rusty good pitching is a good draw. If you aren't happy about a matchup of a guy like Gallardo with our ace on the mound, then you probably didn't have expectations of the Phillies going anywhere anyway, so no point in getting upset over it.

Reposted from last thread.

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Forget who we're up against, the real question for Cole is: long sleeves or not?

Lidge won NL Comeback Player of the year. Link

I see where the Phillies have unloaded the Model Dictator by sending Fabio Castro to Toronto to complete the Matt Stairs trade. Carson will be heartbroken!

doubleh, yeah it was the Pirates. And the similarities between the Pirates and the Phils is just remarkable. Like, they both play in Pennsylvania. And they both have a "P" on their caps. And they both play in staduims named after banks. Stuff like that.

Congrats to Lights Out! Well deserved.

Formula vs. Gallardo is simple. Be patient and work a deep, favorable count. Then smoke his fastball all over the yard.

The key with Gallardo is laying off the first couple of pitches; he likes to have batters chase that first pitch.

But then again, I watched the game he pitched last week and he was throwing whatever Kendall was telling him to throw; so the key is to getting to know Kendall's tendencies.

The kid's fastball, which he usually throws around 90-91mph can be pinpointed on the lower corners and tails away from lefties sets up a 95-96 mph strikeout fastball that is enticing because it's high in the zone.
Gallardo also mixes in a sharp breaking 77-78mph 12-6 curveball that is thrown for strikes, and which a Brewers announcer says he likes to throw in fastball counts.
The third pitch is a 88mph slider which is usually out of the strike zone and not that great a pitch; he mixes this in after the first time through the order to give batters another look.

In his last game, Gallardo lost some velocity on his fastball starting in the 4th inning, or at 50 pitches. He still reached back to throw 92mph for attempted strike outs, but he couldn't elevate to 95-96mph.

The Pirates struck out swinging 4 times, and caught looking 3 times in 4IP. This is usually attributed to the movement on the fastball and the fact that Gallardo does a good job "hiding" the ball and that hitters have a tough time picking up the release point.

The Phils could tee off on him because they're a fastball hitting team although as JW said, they haven't seen a pitcher like him in a while that has such electric cheese. If they can tire him out and test his knee by bunting every once in a while, he could be out by the 3rd inning, after which the Phils can do their accustomed "Bash the Bullpen" routine.

Should be an interesting game for sure.

UD Hens: And that's about where the similarities end. (They do have a beautiful park, though) Didn't they assume the new mantle of consecutive losing seasons this year? It breaks the Phils' record, right--or did it only tie it?

I'd like for the Phils to shed all that old BS. Little by little, other clubs finally setting dubious records.

I'm with Andy & CJ on the Happ vs. Condrey debate. You don't start changing people's roles in the post-season if you can help it. Happ is a starting pitcher. Condrey has been an effective mopup guy. Edge goes to Condrey. In any event, if the bullpen plays a key role in this series, it won't be the mopup guys. It is far more likely to be the setup men.

Interesting... all 10 ESPN "experts" predict the Phils will win the series with the Brewers. Nine of them predict 3-1, suggesting most likely that they'll lose the Sabathia game. Tim Kurkjian says it will be 3-2 meaning the Phils will win Game 5 vs. Sabathia.

Here's some predictions on the series:

Game #1: Phillies 6, Brewers 2 - The Phils are patient against Gallardo and he leaves after giving up 3 runs in 5 innings. Hamels allows only an early solo HR and goes 7 strong. The Phils add a few against the Milwaukee bullpen and the Brewers just tack on one more in the 9th on another solo homer.

Game #2: Phillies 7, Brewers 6 (10 innings) - Sabathia seems like he is beginning to hit his wall, allowing 3 runs in 6 IP. Myers is somewhat shaky and the Phils find themselves behind 5-3. Milwaukee takes a 6-5 lead to the 9th, but Torres can't hold it. After Lidge pitches a perfect 10th, the Phils win it in the bottom half on a Howard walk-off against Mota.

Game #3: Brewers 5, Phillies 2 - Suppan goes Game #3 and outpitches Moyer. Moyer's good, but not quite enough as the long ball hurts him twice. The Phils never really get anything going and fall.

Game #4: Phillies 9, Brewers 5 - With Sabathia unavailable yet, Milwaukee goes with Dave Bush against Joe Blanton. Neither is great, but the Phils bust open a 4-4 game in the 7th with 4 more and end up cruising to the NLCS.

Great discussion , but I,m ready for some baseball with 25 hours to go.
Go Phillies - bring your bats with you tomorrow.

CJ: I'm sure if you asked Kurkjian, out of context, if the Phillies would beat Sabathia in Game 5, he'd say no. That's why listening to national sportswriters is usually just an entertaining distraction.

king myno: Absolutely correct. The Phils in 5 is probably a statement on how close the series may be. It ignores the fact that Sabathia in Game 5 would give the Brewers a distinct advantage.

By the way... this means the Brewers playoff rotation will have to be:

Gallardo
Sabathia
Bush
Suppan
Sabathia

Right?

Bob and ozark are on the money about how to handle Gallardo. Have to be patient, make him throw a lot of pitches. He won't have the stamina to go deep into the game and the Brewers pen is hittable. Gallardo also has a 70-point swing in his OPS between lefties and righties, which means Dobbs should start. He shuts down righties pretty well.

Lineup's career stats against Milwuakee:
1. Jimmy Rollins .257 average, .740 OPS.
2. Jayson Werth .340, 1.043.
3. Chase Utley .336, .906.
4. Ryan Howard .250, .874.
5. Pat Burrell .268, .915.
6. Shane Victorino .271, .752.
7. Pedro Feliz .260, .752.
8. Carlos Ruiz .237, .736.

Dobbs- .267, .933.

I'd serious consider starting Jenkins Weds. Even though he has one of the most god awful swings in the majors, Werth is nothing special against righties, and Jenkins has an added incentive to do well.

Clout- Yeah, with Hamels (strikeout pitcher) on the mound and a righty pitcher, Dobbs should definitely get the start.

Odds that he does? Normally, I would say Charlie will start Feliz because he seems to like playing the defensive guy in the big games, but recently he seems to have caught on to the positive effects of the platoon at 3rd base.

Happ is on the postseason roster per the DN's David Murphy. Doesn't say which pitcher is off.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/homepage/Happ_in_Golson_out.html

Curt, no no no. You go with what got you there. Werth has been much improved against righties recently and see GM-Carson's post for his numbers against the Brewers. And I'd probably Stairs before Jenkins anyway. Jenkins is fried

If Manuel starts Pedro Feliz... (I should end it there, I'd rather not make a promise I'd have to keep).

curt: I don't see the Phils sitting Werth for Jenkins. Jenkins had 9 ABs and only one start (last game of the season) since Aug. 22. In his last 16 games before getting injured, he posted an OPS of .618.

Despite Werth's struggles toward the end of the season, he still managed to get his OPS vs. RHP up to .767 and hit 8 HRs off of them and a .360 OBP. He's still a better bet to at least get on base and is much more selective than Jenkins.

Its playoff baseball, Gallardo going should be no surprise. In postseason the pitching you face becomes tougher and tougher. If the Phillies can't beat the Brewer's rotation then thats it. Usually the hotter teams wins these short series. Lets hope our offense gets hot and our pitching is solid.

I'd start Dobbs tomorrow and I think Manuel has made it clear that Werth is the everyday RF.

Bentz - I hope your predictions are correct because I'm going to game 2. EVERY game I've gone to at CBP has gone to extra innings ending with a Phillies win.

Some dude on Mike & Mike says that this series might end up being a trap series for the Phillies. Says the Brewers are the hottest team going into the playoffs. Excuse me? Didn't the Phils go 13-3 to finish the season? The Brewers went 9-7 or something like that...I'd say the Phils were hotter, no?

Anywho, when you really get right down to it, aren't all series "trap" series if you let them be? Couldn't the Dodgers feasibly beat the Cubs? I mean, come on. Whoever said it was right: these analysts are so full of hot air and most just talk to hear themselves talk.

doubleh: They obviously only saw the two games were Braun hit walkoffs, thus assuming that luck was augmenting the white hotness of the Brewers, making this a "trap" series. That's the only explanation I can come up with right now.

Mike: Luck or facing the worst bullpen pitchers the Pirates and Cubs could throw at him...the Cubs fans call that one guy homerun Howry for Heaven's sake.

We're screwed. Everyone wanted the Brewers but damn I was praying for the Dodgers. CC will pitch twice, those are losses. So we have to sweep the rest of them and gallardo is a legit number 2 stater and bush at home is also capable of shutting us down. I'm getting that sinking feeling that we are one and done again this year.

With Dave bush and Jeff Suppan going Games 3 and 4, and a good chance that the Phils see a lot of the Brewers bullpen in Game 1 - I find it hard to bet against the Phils in this series. Also, to repeat what others h ave pointed out - CC has given up 4 four runs twice on three days rest, he just has had the pleasure of pitching vs the padres and pirates on his other 3day rest games.

That Inside Pitch is very interesting. According to the reports most Phils hitters grade high in plate discipline and low on fastball/breaking ball performance.

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