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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Is it odd that I'm more concerned with Burrell and Feliz than Happ? That's probably not right.


We're starting Pedro Feliz based on a 3 AB sample against Jurrjens?

What is the world coming to?

From the last column:

Mets' fans and media are seemingly are obsessed with "heart and character" and that their players don't have while the Phils' players. BS. Can we please stop this ridiculous notion that it is because of "heart and character?" that the Phils won the division last year and have again retaken a very slid lead.

Last year, it was because this team's offensive continued to hit as it had all seasonn while the Phils caught lightning in bottle with their 4 relievers for a month (Geary, Gordon, Romero, Myers) who were lights out. Meanwhile, the Mets offensive woes from about mid-season on largely continued and their bullpen melted down.

This year, the Phils are still continuing to get the above average/decent pitching they have largely gotten all season. The difference this year is that JRoll and Howard have basically really picked it up the last 3 weeks and this has helped to turn around a stagnant offense.

Maybe there is a kernel of truth that JRoll and Howard tend to "plays more when it matters" if you look at their splits in Sept but this notion of "heart, character, and grit" is largely nonsensical dribble hyped by sport writers looking for an human-drama angle and fans trying to attach some type of emotional interpretation to the results.

I will add one last thing to my rant/post:

-There is a "human-element" to this in terms of how the managers and players react the results on the field.

Arguably Cholly's strength as a manager is that he has largely managed to keep the respect of all of his players this year despite some tough spots/decisios (JRoll's benching) and dealing with a couple of guys who are difficult to deal with (Myers, Victorino). Cholly does deserve some real credit for this.

However, unlike a task that might largely rely upon human relationships and work together in order to achieve a successful task, the outcome of a baseball game is largely determined by the talent on the field and the "heart, grit, and character" issues is a secondary factor along with general luck/circumstance.

It is tough to watch Cholly continue to make utter dumb strategical decision after decision. He is the kind of guy who is he ran a small business would be wiped out at the first downturn.

Being nimble with his onfield decisions and putting his players in the best position to achieve success is hands down Cholly's business weakness as a manager and he is one of the weaker ones in MLB at it.

Probably would have believed that about there not being an emotional step up of certain players when it mattered, but not after last season.

I mean, look at the way David Wright is slamming his helmet into the ground like a child. They're human beings there has got to be an emotional factor involved.

"this notion of "heart, character, and grit" is largely nonsensical dribble"

Kirk Gibson may disagree. (and I think you meant drivel?)

Lead off jack for Jose Reyes. 1-0 Mets

Hibachi - Not saying that but the "human-drama" is spun because is it easy to relate to, sells well, and easy to write about (although to write well about it requires really good access and lots of work).

Talent beats heat in baseball in overwhelmingly majority of the time - especially over a large sample size like 162 games.

I believe in "heart and character" in that I believe this can make an athlete who is less physically gifted play as well as or better than one who is more so. Whether it comes into play in terms of performing better in clutch situations, I'm less sure. Some of my friends who were athletes in high school or college strongly believe in "heart". I wonder if professional athletes do? And if they do, could you dispute the players who actually play the game?

Delgado homers. 2-0 Mets.


Happ needs to step it up. Howard has to stay red hot.

he cant be stopped

En fuego.

Howard is en fuego.

Howard blows. Just a single? We shoulda started Dobbs at First tonight.

I think the Big Man took Delgado's mojo.

Werth is a straight up playmaker.

Speed kills. I love Jayson Werth. He had that pitche measured... hopped a couple pitches before taking off.

werth making the everyday player question an easy one

Good news... the Bat didn't strike out.

brother - Yeah I dispute the guys who play the game because I have encountered slightly the same issue in healthcare from providers (especially specialists).

There is an "art" to medicine especially when dealing with an individual case but way too often you get punch back from providers (specialists in particular) when you hand them results & trends that are pretty damn accurate for a meaningful enough sample size over a prolonged time frame.

Now, there maybe be a number of reasons why those trends are occuring but generally it comes to the fact that it is pretty hard to refute the data in the end.

MG - The idea that we can quantify, say, the addition of Rowand's leadership in wins to the Phils this year is questionable. But you take the argument too far. The Phils have a track record of come-backs in games and in the standings. To me, coming back when you're down 7-0 or down 4 games is indicative of heart (or whatever you want to call it.)

MG: It's nice to see Howard is finally playing with "heart and character," "grit," "clubhouse leadership" and has become a more "dynamic" player.

Staking Happ to a nice lead early is really imporant. Lets him go out and actually "pitch" instead of being overly concerned about making a mistake.

Well, there's the way to make sure Howard gets pitches to hit. Just get a few on base in front of him.

Feliz works a walk? What's next? A Chooch Grand Slam?

"Leadership" is important but incredibly overvalued and overrated. Organizational literature largely shows that and just pick up and read (if you have plenty of useless time) the myriad of "business leadership" books that get published every year. They are usually in the garbage/discount bin in a year and for good reason.



2 runs is good enough for me--another/better defender would have had that


Just a single for Ruiz? When we gonna send that chump down and give Marson a chance.

(HUGE at bat there. HUGE!)

Big hit by Ruiz there.

How could this be the same pitcher who shut the Phillies down earlier this year?

Ruiz caught fire at the right time.

Plus, what's Jurrgens at: 38 pitches or so? That's huge to bat around top of the first.

Hope the Mets are into score board watching.

same pitcher, different hitting team

That's right, Mets: we see your 2-0 T1 lead and we raise it 4-0.

Your call. Or not. I would prefer not.

Lots of 1st inning action on the NL East scoreboard tonight.

Wow. Can't ask for much more than that. I really thought Infante would have that ball up the left side. Was he shaded over?

Our old friend Freddy Garcia is starting tonight for the Tigers. I am guessing he is either going to pitch a no-hitter game or be worse than Adam Eaton.

43 pitches in one inning for Jurrjens? Ouch.

So far, so good.

Down 4-0 and Chipper gets a hit so they have to do the chop? Sheep.

Nice first inning for Happ. Looks calm and cool.

Tremendous leadership by Chooch in that last at bat. Even Parker would agree.

Would like to see Happ be more efficient but he threw some well-placed pitches. Johnson-Chipper-McCann is tough opposition in your first inning of work in awhile. McCann was close to cutting the lead in half.

Tom Mccarthy sounds like a high-school history paper:

Tell them what you're going to tell them
Tell them
Tell them what you've told them

Good first inning for Happ...

Werth still can't hit a slider.

They just showed the Marlins matchups for this weekend. All RHP it seems, but Phils get virtually their top of their rotation (Myers, Blanton, and Moyer.) Who will play 3B against those righties?

Nats better start hitting this amateur Knight..

Hitters not as patient this inning...

Nats get one back, 2-1.

Right field seems like death valley down there these last two nights. Some pretty well hit balls haven't even scared the warning track. Bet Howard walks to lead off the third.

The Nats strike back! 2-1 going to the third.

2 IP, 57 pitches...I'll take that.

Granted it was hanging a little bit last night, but the home run Werth hit last night off of Parr was a slider

Wonder if Chooch's 2nd half performance is going to make the Phils still consider him an important piece of the picture at C . ..

So that is Happ's plan? Give up a single an inning? I think I can live with that.

MG - I actually think Coste's future with the team is more in doubt than Ruiz' next year, but that's just my intuition at the moment in response to your comment.

Ok. Everybody owes me a quarter. Pay up.

I think Coste is almost gone after this year personally.

Pregame conversation in clubhouse:

"So J.A., we've probably got an opening in the rotation next's 5th starter sound?"

"Wow! Really?"

"Yeah, consider tonight your audition."

"Right Skip!"

Not so quick to mention its 6-1 now Mets.

I would agree Ruiz has more standing than Coste. Younger, better defender, finishing strong. I think it's Ruiz and an outside veteran starting behind the plate next season, with Marson and Coste in LV.

Interesting Note:

Burrell: .249 avg
Howard: .250 avg

I just got home, just in time to follow a great opening first inning on Gameday.

So here it is, third inning, I catch up on what you all have said, and **sigh**.

Loosen up, fellas. We're in first place and winning the ball game. Can't you wait until the game actualy starts before you start complaining about Mr. Manuel's latest faux pas, which didn't actually happen yet?

Jason, I was thinking something similar. Also, Coste's finish to the year, his inability to hit LHP, and his age are a concern.

I worry much more about OF and 3B than C for this team.

Wow, I never thought I would see Burrell's BA dip lower than Howard's this season.

I would like Coste as a RH bench bat. He could be a RH Dobbs in that role.

Would we be Phillies fans if we weren't complaining about something? Clearly the answer is no.

I don't know JW, they might give Marson a shot to win the job out of Spring Training and basically platoon Marson and Ruiz.

NEPP: You think they high fived on the way past each other? I think the next time you hear of Chris Coste he'll be coaching or in the broadcast booth. (I'm betting on the booth) It's a shame he got up to the bigs so late. I love the guy.

The bigger the lead the bigger the choke job for the Mets.

I'm fine with the Phils standing pat at C with Coste and Ruiz, then calling Marson up if there's a problem and he's hittting well.

Happ is pitching a passable game. Outside of maybe pitching a few more early strikes, he doesn't seem to be leaving many over the plate.

I just don't want another Rod Barajas type signing, although he is actually doing decent for the Jays this year.

Two of Ruiz/Coste/Marson with the other in AAA with Jaramillo sounds fine to me.

I don't know how Happ will finish out tonight's game, but I think we've already seen enough to know that Cholly definitely made the right call by starting him instead of KK.

Under 15 pitches per inning for Happ, I'll take that.

Squonk, I'd say 0 R and 2 H (both with 2 outs) in 3 IP is more than passable. He's also brought his pitch/IP down since the first. Just need to keep everyone but Johnson-Chipper-McCann off base.

Feliz got out before the commercial break ended!

NEPP: Yes, I know. I am continuing my futile attempt at getting people to treat professional sports as it is--entertainment.

Jason: BTW--thank you for the "Balanced Approach Not In Our Blood" post.

On Werth and hitting sliders vs RHP. It's not that he can't hit them, it's that he shouldn't try when they're low and away. If he learns to lay off that pitch (and he's already been getting better at it) then he'll continue to improve.

LOL!! Someone calling ME a sourpuss. That's a switch on this blog.

good hustle jroll

So did someone mention to Chooch that we have a hot catching prospect in the minors? Maybe around the AS break???

I would be shocked if Marson skips AAA and jumps right to the show. Look at how much faith they have in him now. None. We haven't seen him. Ruiz is the No. 1 unless they acquire someone better, which is a real possibility. I would anticipate a demotion or much less playing time for Coste, who stopped hitting after June and will be 36. And I also don't think Romero's recent actions on the mound and Hamels turning his back on Coste twice recently should be ignored.

apparently while in panama during allstar break, chooch's mom reminded him how well he was hitting last yr and told him he will hit like that when he goes back.

thanks mama chooch.

Hey Squonk. Close out your italics.

Perhaps Coste will enlighten us to the issues in his next book.

Sophist: I am just a realist. So I expound a bit.

Through three innings 44 pitches, and 28 of them for strikes. That's slightly less than the "2/3 of pitches for strikes" goal you expect from an MLB pitcher, but passable. Less pitches for strikes mean a shorter outing, and the likelihood of getting tired faster. Getting tired faster means he'll start leaving something over the plate at some point.

But as I said, he isn't leaving anything over the plate. Inside/out, but staying up or down for a particular batter depending on, what I guess is the scouting report. Good prep, but I'd like to see more strikes earlier in the count.

J.: I suspect your post may have just triggered a Google alert

Werth is clearly better than Jenkins in all aspects of the game... and the Phillies have been better off since putting him in an everyday role.

NEPP - It sounds like Ruiz' mom did.

Jason knows HTML!!! I did put the close there, but I'm really not sure how typepad handles them. And I am not about to open Dreamweaver to post my comments.

Not to turn this into a Coste ripping session, but he also dropped a Lidge(admittedly not the easiest guy to catch) fastball last night.

Personally, I'd bring the Ruiz/Coste tandem back next year until Marson hits too much at AAA that you have no choice but to promote him or the guys at the big league level fall on their faces again for half a year. I think Coste still has value.

7 in a row for Happ. Sweet.

Happ is going on 3 for 3 this year in starts where he's shown himself to be competent. When put in the role he was prepared for in the minors he has succeeded.

Mets are up big and Milwaukee up 3-0 already.

Its only 4 innings in for quote Mr. Wolf "Let's not start sucking each others dicks quite yet gentlemen."

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