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Thursday, September 25, 2008

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The Phils have to get a win on Friday. Win and they are in great shape to make it. It is highly unlikely the both the Mets and Brewers win out. A Phils win (at any point) combined with any Met or Brewer loss clinches a tie for a playoff spot. The Brewers are taking a chance by throwing Gallardo tonight, but they should be able to beat Zach Duke. The Mets do not have a favorable pitching match-up tonight at all.

With lefties the next 2 games, Rollins is all the more important to get this team going again. Weak fly balls to center will not cut it. The key to this series will be what Rollins, Werth and Burell can do since paper tells us they should mash Lannan and Perez. Unfortunately, it comes down to Feliz and Ruiz too, since they'll be in there Friday and Saturday.

JW: Interesting take. It certainly has been a bizarre year for him, but I highly doubt that he changed his approach from last year on purpose.

Brian G: I disagree. The walks and 55/55 K/BB ratio is marked change in his approach.

I'm guessing someone else mentioned this, but the Marlins manager said he'll be playing all his starters this weekend, "for the integrity of the game."

It's amazing how much the rest of the NL East hates the Mets.

I really wonder how much that awesome performance on short rest actually hurt Brett Myers. He's reverted to pre-minor's form since then. I think he needs some rest.

With an off day today, Myers isn't scheduled to pitch the rest of the regular season. If there is a one-game playoff, he'd be the one to get the call on regular rest over JA Happ. We really need to avoid that scenario. Get the job done. In fact, get the job done by Saturday and give Hamels Sunday off as well.

Best case scenario, we can start Hamels on Oct. 1st on 7 days rest and we can start Myers on Oct. 2nd on 7 days rest with Moyer starting Oct. 4th on 6 days rest.

does anyone remember anything about Rollins changing his workout program or something? Did he slim down in the offseason and aim for more speed over power?

The only good news to be salvaged from the last two games is that Lidge is surely rested.

also, what's the scenario if the Phils, Mets, and Brewers all have the same record? Is it a two-game playoff or do the Mets get the division because they won the season series?

Whatever JR is doing, he's still not a good lead off hitter. Maybe with trying to be one this year he'll improve even more next year. But, for 2008...
OBP when leading off a game: .282
OBP when leading off an inn: .267
OBP with no runners on: .303

Reyes, same stats and order: .368,.367,.350
Ramirez, same same: .353,.388,.391
Blanco, (led off 60 for ATL): .317,.322,.338
Lopez, (led off 42 for WAS): .238,.270,.309
Guzman, (led off 40 for WAS): .450,.373,.339

Some last place team's leadoff batters...
McClouth: .342,.352,.332
Gerut (SDP): .333,.289,.307

Food for thought:
Victorino: .429,.388,.357

Re: Rollins' approach

He's seeing about the same number of pitches per plate appearance this year (3.80) as he saw last year (3.86). In fact, despite walking more, that number has decreased slightly.

Is that unusual for someone to walk more but not see an increase in their P/PA? Does it suggest that Rollins has just been better at identifying pitches to hit early in the count?

dwr: I believe that was before the '07 season.

dwr - Phils and Mets play for the NL East title. The winner wins the division. The loser plays Milwaukee for the wild card.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080925&content_id=3544933&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Continued from the last thread . . . a rainout tonight would be the worst possible scenario for the Phillies. The game would be rescheduled to Monday (if necessary) and, instead of being Rich Harden against a totally washed up Pedro, the pitching matchup would probably be Maine or Oliver Perez against a Triple A pitcher.

As for Rollins, yeah his walks are up this year, which is good. But they're not up nearly enough to make up for his falling batting average and power totals. A .276-hitting Rollins would be ok, if it came with 80 walks or 20 or 25 homeruns. But Rollins is never going to walk 80 times so, if he's only going to hit 11 homeruns, he needs to be hitting .290 to be a productive player. He really hasn't had a good season.

tom- Vic to lead off, Jimmie to 3 slot and Jason to 6th??

CJ, I saw that "for the integrity of the game" comment on the ESPN screen crawler and nearly jumped out of my seat. The Cubs took the same tactic into New York and the Marlins plan to follow suit. A fitting way to go out of the season, rooting for the Fish.

Man the Mets must really be hated. We have the Cubs, Marlins, Braves and Phillies. I assume the Cards hate them, too, taking them out on the way to the Cards improbable WS title in 2006.

This is a great point- after years of wishing Jimmy would become a more "normal" leadoff guy, we realize that maybe that wasn't what we needed out of him. What made Jimmy unique was his significant power for a SS- he is almost always in the top 3-4 of SLG for SS. Good point on the defense and baserunning, he really has played well in those facets of the game, which has kept him as a significant contributor despite his mediocre offensive season (by his standards).

Btw, I'd like to point out my two "everyone knew these were incredibly stupid ideas as they were happening" moves from last night.

1. Cholly sending Myers back out after he gave up 9 hits the first 3 innings. Lucked his way through the 4th then got rocked in the 5th. Stupid Cholly.

2. The Cubs giving Endy friggin Chavez an IBB with 2 outs and men on 2nd in 3rd in the 8th inning last night, followed by them walking in the tying run. You never, ever intentionally walk Endy Chavez. Luckily it didn't change the game's outcome.

Not having Rollins' power threat sucks, but he's still doing the job of a leadoff hitter and by my standards he's A-OK in that regard. He's a superior defender as well, and will likely garner his 2nd Gold Glove this season, so I still view Rollins as a top-notch shortstop and asset to this club.

"He's seeing about the same number of pitches per plate appearance this year (3.80) as he saw last year (3.86)."

Interesting, and it sort of refutes the notion that Rollins has changed his approach. Does it mean that Rollins has become better at identifying pitches to hit? If it did, then I would expect his average and BABIP to be up this year but, instead, they're both down. Here's my theory: Rollins' increased walk totals are a statistical fluke.

bap: On BABIP, I believe I saw somewhere that Rollins LD% is as good or actually better than in the past. It's possible that he's just run into some bad luck this year.

I am beginning to wonder about a team who's most reliable starters down the stretch are a 45 year-old veteran and a 25 year-old rookie w/ a handful of starts. Hamels better get an extra day's rest on Sunday.

Brian G.: It has always boggled my mind how often managers intentionally walk the bases loaded. It seems like a good 25% of the time, the pitcher then walks the next batter to force in the run.

Pitching with the bases loaded puts an enormous amount of pressure on the pitcher. It also practically forces the pitcher to throw fast balls -- particularly if he should fall behind early in the count. Unless Albert Pujols is up and Eric Bruntlett is on deck, with no more pinch hitters on the bench, I don't know why a manager would ever intentionally walk the bases loaded.

Rollins is a great baserunner and, when he gets on, the Phillies usually win. I hadn't realized he'd evened out his K/BBs. I am not surprised since he's made much more contact this year, especially swinging early in the cuont. he still doesn't get on enough. I sometimes wonder what the lineup would do with Vic at the top and Rollins 2, 3, 5 or 6

bap: If you need the force at home, it makes sense. But last night there were already two outs.. and ENDY CHAVEZ WAS UP. You are absolutely correct in that the batter has a huge advantage bc he knows the pitcher would be taking a big risk throwing a breaking ball out of the strike zone and hoping the guy will chase, unlike if a base is open.

JW - Interesting post but I wonder about this - JRoll has to generate alot of power from his lower bottom to really drive the ball and ever since that leg injury early in the season hasn't had the same pop/lift in his swing.

I wonder if it has kind of lingered all season and robbed him of some of his power.

JW: He might have only been 1-11 in the series, but he had a lot of hard hit balls that either hung up or were right at people. Real buzzard's luck.

Looking back at Pecota projections before the season, the Phils have already exceeded their win total by 3 (the Phils were projected to finish third in the division with 86 wins).

The Phils are also 63 runs below their projected runs scored, but a whopping 118 runs below their projected runs allowed.

PECOTA projected a line of 264/341/450 while thus far this year, the Phils are at 254/332/436.

Brian: Yeah, I remember reading that too. I think Encyclopedia Sophist posted that stat awhile back. Based on my purely subjective recall, I sure don't remember too many of those line drive outs. Watching the games every day, it feels like every Rollins AB results in a ground out or a weak pop-up. But I guess the stats are more trustworthy than my subjective recall. Still, that LD stat doesn't explain his drop in power.

In the 8 games before his injury, Jimmy Rollins had a line of 314/351/543 for an OPS of 894.

His OPS for the season hit a low water mark on Aug. 24th at 732. His line over the 98 games after his injury was 250/318/399 for an OPS of 717.

Since Aug. 25th, Rollins has done 353/432/521 for an OPS of 953. That includes his 1-11 stretch. In fact, before that 1-11 stretch, he boasted an OPS of 1.001 over 26 games.

I'm not sure Rollins changed his approach this year. I think Rollins got injured and lost his pop for the bulk of the season. Right now, he's playing like the Rollins of last year.

JW: My one problem with your intersting take on Rollins' season; he's scored only 75 runs this year, as compared to 139 last year. That's slightly more than half of last years number. Deduct the 19 home runs from last year and he'd have still scored 120 runs last year. Sure he missed 25 games or so, but that doesn't account for it either. Lesser seasons by those behind him aren't even so pronounced. Ryan Howard is near his numbers from last year, Werth has more or less made up for a good deal of Rowands production from last year, and Burrell is having a Burrell year. The only thing I conclude is that the drop in runs is attributable primarily to Rollins himself. Look at his TB numbers. Last year he had a ridiculous 380 TB as compared to just 239 this year. 19 less homers, 2 less doubles, 11 less triples. His power drop has greatly affected his run scoring ability. Even in 2006, when he scored a healthy 127 runs, he had 329 TB. His R and TB numbers in 2005 were 115 and 292, 119 and 299 in 2004. Obviously, there is an inherent connection between TB and Runs scored so the cause and effect isn't exactly seperable and thus this isn't the best analysis. Either way, it seems, that his dropoff in runs scored is the most glaring hole in his 2008 season, even when considering the time he missed due to injury. Any thoughts?

lekh: I think it's more than just the time missed for injury. I think it's pretty clear that the ankle injury caused a steep decline in his power, lowering his total bases and his runs scored. I think he's been healthier over the past month or so than he's been all year. Ankle injuries are tricky... and linger.

I think we're seeing the real Jimmy Rollins again.

Good points all. Nice to have a good, old-fashioned discussion for a change. That's why the off-season, without game chats and trolls, is when Beerleaguer is at its best, I think.

Jason: Here, here!

The game chats can be fun and at the same time gut-wrenchingly bad... but it's these discussions that truly set this blog apart from other blogs. I can hardly imagine a level-headed discussion like this about David Wright over at Metsblog.

CJ: BP article indeed a good one, you could see the JManuel strategy of throwing every reliever he has every game would backfire.

Wonder if a rainout or two will help some of their arms or if it's too late?

Weather Channel says 40% of showers in the NYC area starting around 7:00 PM. They probably end up getting tonight's game in. However, it does not look good for either the Mets or Phillies to play tomorrow. Saturday looks even worse. Would both teams play DHs on Sunday? Probably have to - right? Postpone Friday to Monday and not play it if it ends up not mattering.

Beerleaguer jinx in effect in regards to the defense. After posting how solid they've been, two-straight games of poor defense. Werth's misplay in right, Howard's throw ...

Lou walking Endy absolutely killed me. It is a little league move that you make if you are worried your infielders can't throw it across the diamond.

Or Lou was just testing the young pitcher.

Also, why was the infield not in DP depth in the 9th with one out. Shouldn't you be playing for the DP to get out of the inning? Church hit a perfect DP ball.

Luckily it didn't cost us b/c the Mutts can't capitalize on anything.

I definitely don't want any rainouts tonight, as Pedro most likely won't be able to go a full 9, and after last night's game, there won't be as many rested BP arms available to pitch in the back end.

Of course, the Cubs' BP arms didn't look all that sharp last night, either; I would say the Mets hitters got themselves out quite a bit by chasing stuff out of the zone.

Howard's throw was where I lost hope.

JW - I agree. BL is best in the off-season, by far.

THis is the first year I have even read during the regular season.

Slow times at work. But I work for AIG, so......

AccuWeather guy on ESPN2 says he expects the rain to come to Shea by the second inning.

He also said both games tomorrow (Phi and NY) should be able to be gotten in, but with delays.

We'll see how Accu that turns out to be.

It got pretty troll-y here back when the Mets clinched the division when the Twins gave them Santana.

Good article, CJ. Thanks for posting. I looked up the '97 Mariners since I saw their WXRL was incredibly low and man, that was an awful relief corps. They had 3 guys who won at least 16 games (including a Cy Young worthy year from Randy Johnson) with ERA+s of 115 or better and STILL gave up 833 runs while winning the division.

JW- If Jimmy Rollins could dial-up repeats of last year at will he would be HOF material.
I think what we have is CBP Wall of Fame type of player& that's not bad

Rollins: I don't really see any difference in his approach this year so I will agree with BAP and say that the BB/K ratio is a stat fluke. I do think that his injury earlier in the year is hampering his power. I said it before with Utley and I believe it's true with Rollins also, your power comes from you lower half and when your legs (ankle in JR's case) aren't right you just don't have the same power. I can do nothing but rave about Jimmy's defense, Gold Glove #2 should be forthcoming.

CY: Win a playoff game.

Bubba: Or you could say his fame is due to the short wall you have out there. But, he is pretty good.

EastFallowfield: Well, you guys haven't done much against Santana. Plus, the Twins "gave us" Santana, pretty much like we gave you the division last year and are attempting to do the same thing this year. Will you take it though?

If you do, can you win a playoff game? Been a while.

PtP: nice to see the Mutts giving out crying towels right when you come into the stadium. You needed them last night.

Purely subjective comment about J-Roll. I've noticed the change in stats, but whenever I get cranky about this year versus last I think of:

-What an unbelievable year he had last year, and what the team's final place would likely have been without the MVP season.

-How often he makes a slick fielding play that cuts a potential rally off at the knees.

-How it's never an adventure when there is a shot in the direction of shortstop.

-How much better he is than the "average" ML SS.

-How often the Phils win when he gets on base.

-Where the Phils would be with an average ML SS over the past few years (and this year.

-What it will be like when he is gone. He won't be around forever, and it was a pretty long day in the wilderness between Bowa and J-Roll.

Yes CBP is a bandbox...they actually move the fences in everytime the Phillies come up to bat but push them out when the visitors are hitting...CBP is the reason the Phillies have offense...blah blah blah blah.

CBP doesnt help guys that dont hit HRs and its not even THAT bad of a HR park. Its got nothing on Wrigley with the wind or Coors or several others.

Wow, The Blue Carpet Treatment? Surprisingly good album from a guy I thought was completely washed up, but I haven't listened to it since it came out.

Sloppy defense hurt but when you get a start like Myers gave them last night, you have almost no chance.

Hopefully the off-day allows the Phils to give a rest to the guys in the pen and clear their heads. If they win 2 of 3 against the Nats, they are in the playoffs and that is what matters.

PtP: nice to see the Mutts giving crying towels away right when you enter the stadium. You certainly need them.

Yeah, this is a really thought-provoking post, and its nice to have one's thoughts provoked these days by something other than the impending collapse of the entire US financial system.

On the plus side, it might be fun to huddle around the radio and listen to Phillies games next year with a roaring fire going in a nearby trash can.

Vonderful: Yup, I used mine last night. It was very sad to see Brett Myers get shallacked last night. It was tough not winning last night. Would have put the Mets .5 game behind you guys and in control of our own destiny as far as winning the division. Why? Because we won the season series. I would LOVE to see you in the NLCS...if DWright decides to make contact today.

MG: 2 of 3 doesn't guarantee them a playoff spot. There can still be a 3-way tie. If there is, see you in Philly.

Do we think Werth
A. Lost the ball in the lights
B. Took a bad route to the ball
C. Flat mis-judged the ball and just missed it.
I vote A. Jayson is to good a defender to have done B or C.

NEPP: I'm not saying that they move the fences in for the Phillies. I'm saying home runs Ryan Howard hits are aided tremendously by how th eball takes off in that park. Deep fly balls at Shea are homers at CBP. I think they help a guy like J-Roll out.

Put it this way. Reyes would hit about 25-30 HR at Yankee Stadium. But hey, take advantage of your home field.

Vonderful: I choose D) lost it in his ugly a$$ flavor saver. That dude needs some facial surgery.

PtP: Would the NLCS games be 6 or 9 innings? We all know that the Mets would be 162-0 if they only played 6 innings.

timr,

We can use the fire cans in Apri, then when it gets hot, bring out large ice blocks with portable fans that blow cool air in our direction.

Also adding to the last post about J-Roll and evaluating his value to this team: Think about what another team would pay to have him. Think about what the Phils are paying him and his contribution to the team relative to his salary. Then think about what he'll need to be paid next time around to keep him here and about the Phils FO's typical mode.

JW- You put the BL jinx on us by your no trolls comment.

Vonderful: I never complained about that. It was an article published by ESPN. But I do think the NLCS would be about 5 or 6 games.

Santana (ace) over Hamels (joker)
Pelfrey over Myers
Moyer over Ollie
Pedro over Blanton
Santana over Hamels

Pedro over Blanton? Really?

"-How often the Phils win when he gets on base."

I hear that comment a lot but it's a comment in a vaccuum and doesn't really illuminate anything. Are the Phils with Rollins getting on base any different than the Mets when Reyes gets on base or Marlins when Ramirez gets on base?

If Jimmy could get on base at a .375 clip, would the Phils win 100 every year?

I'm sure even the Nats win more when their lead-off hitter gets on than when he doesn't.

If I were the Phils' manager, I would have tried Victorino at leadoff and moved Rollins down to 6th. But Chollie's great strength is knowing his players and there might be something about the players' makeups that has him setting the lineup the way it is. I'll certainly defer to his judgement on this one.

"Would the NLCS games be 6 or 9 innings? We all know that the Mets would be 162-0 if they only played 6 innings. "

I think a smart game plan for the Mets tonight is to take a lot of pitches early in the game, do a Phillies' level of mound visits, drag things out. They take their customary early lead, hope that the game drags on long enough to be called after 6 innings.

I love how every Muts fan can't wait for an NLCS with the Phillies. They are like the little loser now that just wants one more shot to prove they are better. One more shot please!

I don't think any Philly fan would ever be bragging about us taking the season series last year without winning the division also.

Divisional Update:

Detroit 4, Tampa Bay 1 in the 6th (TB magic number is 1)

St. Louis 2, Arizona 1 in the 2nd (LAD magic number is 1)

Ryan Howard no longer holds the single season record for K's. Congratulations Mark Reynolds!

if you are scared, get some bottled courage

updated ELO-adjusted playoff odds:

division

Phils: 91
Mets: 9

WC

Mets: 47
Brewers: 45
Phils: 7
Astros: .2

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