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Saturday, September 20, 2008



i think both phillies and mets will have clinched the playoffs by next saturday night. So here is the question for you guys.

Lets say both teams have clinched but NL East is still in play. Does Jerry Manuel pitch Johan to put the mets in a position to win the NL East, play the Dodgers and have home field advantage in the playoffs but with Santana starting only one game? Or play the Cubs without the homefield advantage but being assure that Santana can pitch game 1 and possibly 5?

I'd want to maximize the number of games Santana pitches in the playoffs.

Who is scheduled to pitch for the Phillies next Sunday?

It depends. The Phils are off on the 25th, so they could stick with their rotation or go with whoever is on normal rest. The normal rotation would have Happ/#5 pitching. That would be Hamels' usual day to start though (4 days in between his start on the 23rd and the 28th.)

Myers is scheduled to pitch against ATL on the 24th. Off day 25th, then it's either Blanton or Moyer (on 4 days rest) on the 26th for game 1 against the Nats.

elurstem - Jumping ahead just a bit but that is a really interesting question. Cubs clearly the better team because of their starting pitching (Zambrano, Harden, Dempster) but the Dodgers look like they may be tougher than people think because they have potentially have the best bullpen going into the NL playoffs (with Saito back and a bunch of guys who throw hard include Kuo and Broxton).

You to have figure that if a game in the NL playoffs comes down how has a better bullpen that the Dodgers have the best and deepest set of options.

Only reason I don't like the Dodgers is that defensively they aren't great and their offense still isn't great even with ManRam on fire since they acquired him.

I'm worried about getting swept, thankfully the Brewers might make it a moot point.

I can finally read something on this site without being disappointed. Wow.

I have been saying this all year about Coste when everyother Phillies fan was crying for Ruiz to be benched in favor of Coste, look Coste is a great story and everyone should appreciate that, but it doesn't come down to feel good stories it comes down to getting wins and the Phillies pitch must better when Ruiz is in the game and last night proved it. It is time to let Ruiz go the distance and re-evaluate the catcher position in the off-season. Myers pitch selection was brutal last night and it seems like everytime a Phillies pitcher has a bad start the ole 33 year old rookie is behind the dish.

Jason, I was thinking the exact same thing about Coste last night. I think you speculated in a previous post that he would be back in the minors next year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him with another club entirely.

I don't think either the Mets or Phils would pitch their aces on the last day of the season if the only thing up for grabs was seeding.

They've both won a recent division title so it's not that big a deal.

I will say this in defense of Coste - he was a very good part-time catcher earlier this year but it is evidently clear that he gets completely gassed by August when he is utilized as a part-time catcher on a frquent basis.

Not unusual considering that Coste is entering his mid-30s and that has to take a toll on him. Phils are going to have to reevaluate C again this offseason but Chooch should be the starter the rest of the way unless the Phils play a day game after a night game.

Coste caught Myers' 6-1 game vs Milwaukee and his 3-0 game vs the Mets.

As far as Blanton goes, Coste as the better history so far.

Ruiz:: .267/.370/.473 against (154 PA)
Coste:: .232/.298/.368 against (105 PA)

Ruiz caught Blanton's last start against the Brewers. Blanton pitched well that day. Ruiz also caught Blanton's start previous, against the Marlins, in which he didn't pitch so well but got the win.

I also feel that there is a theory to the start after the start on 3 days rest could have been a factor. I don't have stats on the history of this, but I could see fatigue as a major factor. Moyer struggled in his start after the start on three days rest and now so has Myers. Thankfully Howard and Madson bailed them out when Moyer started, but last night they weren't so lucky. So before we get all gung ho about sending someone else out there on three days rest this week, remember that the start on three days rest may be great, but the start after that may be a killer and they can't afford anymore bad starts.

To all the Philly fans, lets say Mets and Phillies have clinched the playoffs by next Sunday, but NL East is up for grabs. Would you want to send Cole out there and risk him being only available for only game 3 against the Dodgers or Cubs? As a Mets fan, I hope Jerry does not send Santana out in that scenario.

See here comes the Coste lovers...... I never understood the obsession with this guy it is plain and simple Ruiz is a better catcher. Lets just hope that Marson is the total package in the future.

Sorry Mets fan I am not worried about next Sunday we have to get there first.

Interesting post including the fact about the Phils being 63-39 (.618 winning pct) in Sept since Cholly took over as manager in 2005 (I will say this though the Phils are just 285-253 or a .530 winning pct which translates to a 86 wins).

So basically the Phils supposedly love playing for Cholly but he is a poor tactical manager and does an inadequate job of getting his team prepared in spring training as the Phils have a below .500 record during his tenure in April.

Also interesting to mention that Utley is +44 and being considered for a Gold Glove. Looking at some other stats, Utley does have the 2nd most errors (13) in the NL but leads in RF and ZR. Utley is 2nd in RZR but leads the league by a wide margin in OOZ.

Basically, I bet Utley does win the Gold Glove at 2nd this year (and it is a testament to his performance since April when he was below average defensively with several gaffes) but there isn't exactly a bunch of great glove guys right now playing 2nd in the NL either.

Meant the Phils are 285-253 under Cholly outside of Sept.

Manuel is not and never will be a good tactical manager and you could argue that this has cost the team lots of wins, but no one and no stat can measure the job he has done keeping this team relaxed and I feel baseball is at least a 50% mental sport. Ask Aaron Rowand he will tell you. And trust me I probably have called for Uncle Charlie's head about 100 times during his tenure.

If there was one guy I would have loved to have seen the Phils acquire was Burnett. He has pitched lights out the 2nd half and a rotation of Hamels, Myers, and Burnett would have looked pretty sweet going into the playoffs.

Jim - I think this year will state a lot about the Cholly if they make the playoffs and manage to make a decent run. Cholly has had a nice winning pct as a manager but also has had some pretty talented teams with some really good players.

Burnett has been great and he was my second choice, the guy I really wanted was Harden. The Cubs paid 50 cents on a dollar for him the Phillies could have had him, but they were scared of his injury history. Gillick said so himself, this was a huge mistake!!!

speaking of catchers, maybe we'll get Baker out today. The guy has killed the Phils.

Need a W today.

Jim - I still believe the Blanton trade was as much about money (getting a starting pitcher at a cheap salary for this year and next) as it was about talent. Not to mention the Phils paid a pretty high talent price for a back-end guy and this might come back to bite them in the a$$ if Outman turns into a serviceable starter for a few years/Cardenas eventually gives the A's a few decent year in the OF.

MG I totally agree with you. I think if they don't make the NLCS he should be gone, but it is hard to judge if they are winning on there talent alone or if his relaxed ways helps this time.

Your right they took the cheap way out by not going after Harden, but that's what they do!!!

The Feliz lovers (Jack & flipper) were attacking the lineup on the last thread, so let me respond.
flipper asks: "Do you have stats on the Phils' record when Dobbs starts vs. when Feliz starts?"
Here are the only stats you need to know about why Dobbs should start:

Dobbs OPS vs. RHP: .843
Feliz OPS vs. RHP: .630

Jack says, "Weren't we supposed to win last night with Dobbs starting and Utley and Howard split up?"

Jack, you got me there. That lineup only produced 8 runs. Had Feliz been in, they would've produced 14 runs for the 14-13 win. You're right.


Just can't see how the Brewers will make the playoffs w/o Ben Sheets. How more starts will CC have for them?

Clout - The easier number is this (.474) which is Feliz's OPS since he came off the DL. This is horrendous and keep close to the range of a decent hitting pitcher. No way this guy should be starting against any RHP.

Feliz needs to join the likes of Jenkins and Taguchi and ride the pine basically the remainder of the season.

Let me get in on this Feliz-Dobbs debate against a left handed pitcher it's a no-brainer I don't care about numbers you play Feliz, Dobbs can't hit left-handed pitching and Feliz is as good of a defensive 3b as anyone out there, and defense is very underrated this time of the year. Against a right handed hurler it is a closer argument

Jim: "it comes down to getting wins and the Phillies pitch much better when Ruiz is in the game and last night proved it."

Actually, the stats say you're wrong:

Coste CERA: 3.94
Ruiz CERA: 3.97

BTW, I too think Ruiz is the better fielder, but the stats suggest there's not much of a difference in game calling.

Apparently, Blanton was pitching with arm problems for a few weeks:

Of course, there could be a reason for that. Blanton said he pitched through biceps tendinitis for a stretch that started Aug. 13 in Los Angeles. The tendinitis cleared up recently, which might explain why he allowed three runs in seven innings in his last start, Sunday against Milwaukee.

Jim - No one is arguing that Dobbs should start against LHP.

Clout the offense didn't lose us the game Coste-Myers cost us the game

Jim: How many chances a game does a thirdbaseman get? How many At Bats does he get?

And I said I may choose defense over offense against left-handed pitching, but it is a closer call, I think defense is very overrated and Dobbs can be an adventure to put it nicely

How many double plays has Feliz turned this year that Dobbs wouldn't have had a prayer of turning!!!!!!!!

I meant to say defense is underrated btw

Jim - You don't need to choose defense over offense against LHP.

Dobbs' career OPS against LHP is .590. Feliz' 2008 OPS against LHP is .838. This is why there is no controversy on this issue when the Phils face a LHP.

"Kentucky Joe" needs to give the Phils a shot tonight. That's all. I say 6 innings and 4 runs. Phils just can afford a night where they need to score 7-8 runs just to have a shot to win.

As for Blanton, yeah he has been mediocre and the Phils paid a potentially decent price to get him but if the Phils make the playoffs this year it was worth it.

The Phils are 7-4 in Blanton's 11 starts so far and I don't think the Phils would have been able to duplicate that with Eaton or Happ on the mound.

I agree against rhp it is a closer call, but this time of year I would go with Feliz because I know nothing is getting by him at 3rd and that could save the Phillies a game.....I'm sorry meant to argue the rhp I did say lhp, your right it is a no-brainer against lhp

Jim: I can tell you don't watch the games. Nice chatting with you.

Phils were 8-11 in Eaton's starts and the wheels started to come off for him in early July. With Kendrick's 2nd half implosion too, the Blanton trade was the right move either if the Phils went the discount route.

Jim: Yes, you start Feliz against left-handed pitching, but I don't think there's a single poster who ever suggested to the contrary. The ongoing debate has been about what to do against RIGHT-handed pitching. And, if that issue was once a close call, it shouldn't be anymore. Feliz has been absolutely horrendous since coming back from his injury, & Dobbs' defense has been very good of late. Not "adequate." Not "good." Very good. Almost as good as Feliz's.

As an aside, I love all these posts that keep categorically declaring that Dobbs can't hit left-handed pitching. And we know that from his 8 ABs this year? Or his 28 last year? We actually have no idea whether or not Dobbs can hit left-handed pitching because Cholly has never let him do it. I do know, however, that he had a .307 career average and a .360 career OBP in 6 full minor league seasons. I do not know his lefty-righty splits, but it would be hard to put up such overall numbers without at least holding your own against left-handed pitching.

Jim - Feliz is basically giving up 3 outs up there right now. Howard and JRoll have covered up the fact that this offense is still pretty mediocre. With Burrell and Vic struggling (and Utley's relatively average numbers), the Phils can't afford to give away 3-4 ABs in the 7 hole each night with Feliz starting.

What's this whole deal with Myers' wrist tatoo? And why do I get the feeling that we've seen the last ace-caliber performance by Myers? I hope I'm wrong. Easily the worst performance of his career. Ugly game.

See I watch everygame, trust me Feliz frustrates me, but a great defensive 3rd baseman can save you games especially this time of year when you are playing alot of close games.

The Marlins were trying to play head games with him

i think costes deficiencies arent so much calling bad pitches, but more so setting a poor high target and his struggles with balls far out of the zone, primarily balls in the dirt.

the other night, with coste in, it was obvious lidge wasnt confident burying his slider, a pitch that he needs to be able to throw as one of his out pitches. i even think they let the tying run get into scoring position on a ball that got away from coste.

Jim - So can a guy who bats 4 or 5 times and can actually get on base. I'd say that will win you more games than a defensive thirdbasemen who is an near automatic out.

Mark B. -- Story on Lauber's blog about the tattoo. Manuel asked the umps to make the the Marlins' base-coaches were closer to their boxes, making sure they weren't stealing signs. In response, the Marlins' coaches asked Myers to cover up his tattoo.

I don't get the feeling we've seen Myers' last ace performance.

Jim: I'm struggling to recall a single 5-4-3 DP that the Phillies have turned this year. I'm sure there were a few, though. If you can show us a video clip of one which Feliz turned, and Dobbs would not have, that would be helpful to your argument. I sure don't recall any.

redbeard - It's true that Coste has caught Lidge in only 17 of his appearances this year (Ruiz: 51), which could lead to unease. But his numbers are similar in both cases.

Ruiz: .194/.295/.278 (208 PA) -- 13 R
Coste: .190/.277/.241 (66 PA) -- 4 R

I am a bit concerned about Hamels and Myers for two seperate reasons:

1. Hamels has had a lot of miles on his arm than at any point in his career by a long way. Basically if the Phils go deep in the playoffs, he will probably end up at 260-270 innings or so which is an awful lot for a season.

2. Guys who throw on 3-days rest tend to having lingering effects over their next few starts. I don't think it is much of an issue for Moyer as for Myers because Moyer keeps himself in better overall shape and doesn't relieve on velocity to get outs.

Here's hoping that getting Myers back on normal rest schedule allows him to rebound but the reality is that he hasn't looked as good his last few outings (the complete game withstanding but I would argue that the Brewers really helped him out that game by pressing way too much and chasing a lot of stuff early in the count).

Ok, Feliz has been involved in 19 DPs in 122 games. Dobbs has been involved in 6 DPs in 48 games at third base. Of course, Dobbs was pulled in about the 6th inning of most of those games, so they're not really full games -- but I'll go with these numbers anyhow. Using these numbers, Feliz would be involved in 25 DPs over a 162-game season; Dobbs would be involved in 20.25. So, basically, Jim is arguing for using a guy with an OPS that is more than .200 pts worse, because, over the course of the season, he will be involved in 4 additional DPs on defense.

Feliz has started 19 double plays this year if you want the exact number

MG I agree I said point number 2 about an hour ago that worries me as well because of the way Moyer and Myers pitched there last starts, lets hope that it is something they will both get over once they get back into there normal routine for a week.

And as far as the Feliz-Dobbs debate who plays at 3rd is not going to make a difference if this team makes it or not it comes down to the top of the order getting on base for Howard, the rotation holding it toghether, and the set-up guys for Lidge. The 3rd base debate would probably rank about 5th or 6th in most important things for the Phils right now, and I don't love Feliz I tend to think defense is underrated and Feliz is silky smooth, yes it is obvious Dobbs is a better hitter, everyone here tends to go with offense and that doesn't suprise me in the stats driven era were in. Lets just agree to disagree on this one............Go Phils.......Please don't let me see Geoff Jenkins in a game ever again

"Feliz frustrates me, but a great defensive 3rd baseman can save you games especially this time of year when you are playing alot of close games."

First of all, why are games this time of year any more likely to be close than any other time of year? Second, what about all those runs that he COSTS you by grounding into a pop-up or a rally-killing DP instead of driving the runner home? Third, while I agree that Feliz is a fine fielder, my memory banks come up empty when I search them for all those great plays that he supposedly makes. Simply put, he doesn't make them. He is a very solid, consistent defensive player with a terrific arm. He certainly does an excellent job making all the plays that he should make, and making them look easy. But I have not seen him make even a single diving, spectacular play this year. He is too slow to range more than a step to his side, and he is not agile enough to go diving for balls down the line. These tremendous, game-saving plays that are attributed to him are, in fact, a figment of his defenders' imagination.

MG: I tend to agree with you, I'm not a huge fan of pitching guys on 3 days rest, let alone doing it multiple times down the stretch run. If you're desperate, of course it's necessary. Certainly a couple dominant Myers performances helped the Phils get a ton of momentum, but how valuable is it if the guy runs out of gas for his last 2-3 starts and playoffs? I would only feel comfortable doing it the last week of the season in a necessary must win situation, or in the playoffs when all hands are on deck. I do think there is a lasting physical effect that you've started to see with Moyer and Myers.

Of course guys used to pitch a lot more in the old days, but babying the new generation has made them feel and think that they need the 4 days rest.

The fact that were arguing about 3rd base when it is probably the 5th most important thing to the phillies success is stupid...........I am as guilty as you are with this argument, but it is really pointless debate at this point in time. The Phils have this if they continue to get the starting pitching there getting accept for last night, if j-roll and howie continue to carry the offense and if they can get something out of the 8th inning...... it really doesn't matter who is playing 3rd base. Neither of them are Brooks Robinson or Mike Schmidt!!!!

And when you get into the playoffs you tend to play closer low-scoring games

It's not the babying them thing it is what there used to

but babying the new generation has made them feel and think that they need the 4 days rest.

Oh, is that what it is? So Moyer and Myers felt and thought they needed 4 days rest when they combined to pitch 14.2 innings and give up 4 runs? Or was it that the straight after they pitched on 3 days rest, which they pitched on normal rest, they thought and felt they needed 4 days rest the start before and it made them pitch badly even though, that day, they had their 4 days rest?

We are truly babying grown men here. I mean, what is Jamie Moyer but an impressionable, babied starting pitcher.

Your right about the generation thing, but the name of the game is winning and you have to do what's best for the team and if pitching guys of 3days rest will hurt the staff in the long run it may not be the right thing to do

Who's in favor of resting Utley, replaced by Tadiguchi, when they face a lefty?

Looks like the Phils aren't scheduled to face a LHP until the last two games of the Braves series (Hampton, Reyes.)

CC throws 26 pitches (20 strikes) in the first inning. Reds up 1-0.

To follow on the LSAT discussion of yesterday, I took the LSATs on Saturday, Oct. 8, 1977. To prepare myself mentally the day before the test, I watched the Phils-Dodgers' game on TV. The plan started beautifully. Great weather on Friday. A few beers. Burt Hooten coming unglued before 64,000 Philly fans. Things were shaping up very well. Everyone knows what happened next, and I hate to even recount the details.

Black Friday became Somber Saturday. Though I did fine on the LSATs and I have 27 years of practicing law under my belt, I'll never forget the mental funk I felt during that exam. So good luck to you taking it on Oct. 4. Maybe DVR the Oct 3 game (let's hope there is one) and watch it after the test.

One thing I am still completely mystified/baffled by is how this team just plays so much better in Sept. under Cholly. You have enough of a track record/data sample to know this is a clear pattern that has statistical significance (.530 winning pct vs. .618 in Sept).

Basically the Phils go from a competitive team (85-86 wins) to one that that would win 100 games. Once this month wraps up, it would be an interesting exercise to go back and try to find some of the root causes (e.g., JRoll and Howard both have their best career numbers in Sept).

Don't teams usually play many intra-division games in September?

It is going to see this next week if one team in the East really does take it or kind of backs into the NL East title be default. Everyone remembers the Mets' choke last year (and rightfully so) but it kind of gets overlooked that the Phils had a chance to wrap it up the 2nd last game of the season/lost to the Nats.

The only scenario I don't want to see at this point is the Phils/Mets tying for the NL East and having to play a one game playoff if both teams have already made the playoffs.

MG - there would be no playoff in that circumstance, Mets take Division, Phils the WC based on head to head record.

MG - There is no one-game playoff if both teams are certain of a spot. Mets would simply win the East by virtue of their superior record against the Phils head-to-head.

Well, MG, people also ignore that the Phils gained 8 games in the standings in 15 games, which is even better than the legendary 7 in 17.

Then each team went 1-1 to end the season.

I was happy the way last year ended.

If the Phils had won Saturday they would have only clinched a tie, then if the Sunday games played the exact same way the Phils would have clinched when the Mets lost, rather than we won.

Oy vey, again with the arguing about Feliz? Let's move on for crying out loud!

Am I the only one who thinks that the Phils might be better off starting the playoffs in a hostile environment in Chicago?

clout, it really is amazing how you so consistently mischaracterize debates.

You made some kind of statement about the Phils having a good chance of winning tonight.

Then you said, well, only if Dobbs starts and Cholly splits up Utley and Howard.

So, clearly, you think that Dobbs starting instead of Feliz, along with Howard and Utely being split up would be the difference between winning and losing.

So, I asked you simple questions: What is the Phils' record when Dobbs starts against RHP vs. when Feliz starts. Has it made a difference in their win percentage in the past? Further, given that Werth didn't do very well last night against a RHP, and since Burrell didn't perform very well when he was moved to split up the lefty/lefty combo of Utely and Howard, I asked who would you split Utely and Howard up with?

Your response? You avoided both questions: you neglected to post the Phils' record with Dobbs vs. Feliz starting against RHP, and didn't suggest who you'd bat third.

Maybe you avoided the questions because you really don't believe that starting Dobbs and splitting up Howard and Utely will really make the difference between winning and losing, as you had posted earlier?

Your boy Sophist at least stepped up to the plate, and said that one bad night wouldn't cause him not to play Werth, and that how well the #3 hitter hits is not necessarily the only reason to split up Utely and Howard.

Tampa Bay behind Scott Kazmir shutting out the Twins so far today. If they win they clinch a playoff berth. Will they celebrate wildly or play it cool doing the whole "We're trying to win the division" deal?

Oh, and btw clout. I'm not a "feliz lover," as you claim. I've never said anything other than that he's a mediocre player. I've also said that I would definitely "semi-platoon" him.

I'm simply not agreeing with your contention that starting Dobbs makes enough of a difference to merit your constant harping on the issue. There are upsides to starting him against RHP - given his higher stats. But there are also drawbacks, as I've said many times. First, he is weaker defensively. Second, you lose his bat as a PH late in games - which can be big at times and reduces the manager's maneuverability. Third, I still think it's possible that for some reason, he hits better as a PH than as a starter.

Micah Owings with the flared soft single to right with the bases loaded, 3-2 Reds vs Sabathia and the Brewers in the sixth.

Reds now lead the Brewers 4-2. If C.C. can't get the Brewers a win, then the Brewers are certainly in bad shape.

Flipper: You're quite a card. For a minute you had me believing you were really, really stupid, but I see you are doing this for comic relief.

If you really were that stupid I'd tell you to look at the very large OPS difference between Feliz and Dobbs vs. RHP. Finally, look at Sanchez's OPS against vs. LHP. Then consider how many balls are hit to thirdbase. Once you did that homework, I'd tell you to come back and explain why Feliz should start over Dobbs.

With regard to splitting up Utley and Howard, I'd tell you to consider how often good lefty relievers have gotten them both out late in the game and suggest that batting a righty between them would thwart that maneuver.

But I know you can't possibly be that stupid, so I tip my hat to your subtle sense of humor.

Cubs win the Central.

Selig's team's collapse took all the drama out of the NL Central race, and is working on taking the drama out of the WC race.

CB Bucknor behind the plate. Get ready for the moving strike zone.

The Reds are imploding.

Brewers go down.

Reds nearly squander it -- lead of HR, bases loaded 2 outs -- but Cordero gets Fielder swinging to end it. Brosers lose. Again.

Does anybody think the Cubs will rest their starters now that they have clinched? I'm behind - I don't know if this has been discused yet.

Somebody got Maybin out!

Braves start single, walk, double. Lead 1-0 with none out.

Blanton's stuff looks pretty good tonight.

Anyone else think Maybin looks WAYYYYYY to much like a young Flava Flav?

nice inning joe

Striking out the side, nice start for Kentucky Joe.

Shade of Nolan Ryan out there JB

2-0 Braves

Thanks for the story FPC, hopefully history doesn't repeat itself.

I'm due for one last night of drinking and smoking before the bluntmeister hunkers down. So far so good, at least.

Everything going right so far today except for Chipper - he's not starting. Otherwise, Brewers, Pedro, SO Blanton, Dobbs, Werth third.

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