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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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I said this during the season: if anyone needs to be replaced defensively in the late innings of games, it's Howard, not Burrell. The first baseman gets a lot more opportunities than the left fielder to screw things up defensively.

That said, I don't believe in removing any key player from a close game. For every time that the late inning substitution of Burrell has actually saved a run on defense, I can probably point to 10 times that it may have cost us on offense after the other team came back to tie the score. Besides, it's not like we have any great defensive first basemen on our bench.

My vote would be -NO.
I don't favor defensive replacement for Burrell either- unless we have a large lead.
Plus- who do we have that's a true first base defensive upgrade. The depth chart lists Dobbs as back-up - if he's not already in the game -he's the best pinch hitter.
Utley , Coaste and probably others can play first but we don't have anything like gold glove defense upgrade no matter what

If they had a player like Doug Mienkewicz(sp?) who had no purpose on the team outside of his defensive skills, I could see him coming in in the bottom of the 9th - or 8th depending on where the lineup was at - when he wouldn't have to bat. That being said, it would be unwise to waste a roster spot on that and it would kind of make howard look bad.

Reposted from last thread:

I love ESPN radio, but at least on Mike & Mike, you'll get baseball coverage. Cowherd's fantastic when it comes to football, especially collegiate, but he already pretty much said not to expect virtually any talk about the World Series if it ends up being Phils-Rays. Then again, you have to be fair and look at his audience. I could be way off base, but at least NYC and probably a lot of other areas of the Northeast don't get Cowherd's show. He also rarely gets northeastern callers. Well, college football is not that big in the northeast comparatively speaking. He's almost more concerned with the audience in Norman, Gainesville, Baton Rouge and Lincoln as he is NYC, Philly and Boston.

Q: Who got the ONLY hit against Hong-Chih Kuo in game 4 in his stellar 1 1/3 innings pitched?
A: #6

If they substituted for Howard late in game 4, they don't win the game! I think this is a stupid question, as there are more pressing issues facing this team heading into game 5 tonight.

From previous thread

My grandfather had '15, '50, '80 and '83
Dad had '50. '80, '83 and '93, and me also.

So this may be a magical time for some Phillies Phans. Some of us may be the first ever in the history of the Phils and our families to actually witness 5 appearances in the World Series. Maybe there is a Phils Phan still alive born in 1915, but hard to believe their play hasn't done them in already.

Yes, I believe we get this done and get it done tonight.

you don't sub for howard, period. though he is cold right now and pretty bad defensively, it doesn't negate the fact that he's a threat to hit a HR every time up and the opposing team must always account for him.

though slump-prone and not great defensively, he's just too dangerous to pull (much like burrell).

for what it's worth, i think howard is close to breaking out. he had much better AB's on monday then he had been having.

Seriously? Back to this?

Is Jason just trying to bait us? ;-)

It's a preposterous suggestion.

If it's a defensive question, who are you putting at first? Coste? Your backup catcher really? Utley? If so, who are you putting at second?

If it's an offensive question, who are you pinch hitting with? Coste? Your backup catcher really? Bruntlett or Taguchi? Really?

This just doesn't make sense any way you look at it.

Right on, diggity. It seems to be overlooked that Howard's hit off of Kuo set up everything else that happened in the 8th inning. The 'should Howard be the DH' debate, though, is definitely in play in 27 more outs...

Look, Subway has paid for those adds for the entire game. Subway fake Cheesesteak Poster Boy has to play the entire game or Fox and MLB lose money. Eat your Subway fake Cheesesteak and be happy!

There is absolutely NO WAY you can pull Howard from a game. It's not even a question. As f4f mentions, Howard is close to breaking out again. He's a pretty simple - albeit frustrating - guy to figure out: he'll get hot, pitchers will stop throwing him fastballs, initially he shows patience and will lay off the junk in order to wait for a mistake, but eventually the opposition wears him down and he starts swinging away...which throws his timing off and he's cold again. The cycle continuously repeats itself. If we can win another game, I see him having a BIG World Series (especially if it happens to be against Tamapa).

PhilR took a lot of heat in his day and sometimes justifiably so (who can forget: "Shane Victorino is actively hurting this team"?), but his cries to trade Howard now, at the peak of his value, although mocked at the time, may well prove prophetic.

Trading Howard and signing Texiara would amount to a large net talent increase. Unfortunately, in the real world, it's not happening.. So at the very least I do hope the Phillies continue to arbitrate year in and year out and not let his likely (and bogus) MVP award pressure them into giving him major years and money.

But platooning him is stupid since Howard's chief value is his ability to pop one, anytime anywhere. I mean why suffer his bad defense and poor plate appearances for 7 innings and then deny him his last, perhaps decisive, at bat?

in the last thread Jake posted a great Joe Posnanski article on Stairs, well worth a read.

It seems more often times than not that Howard makes up for bad plays in the field with big hits later on in the same game.

It would be a mistake to remove him from a game and more than likely a mistake the opposition would exploit.

Klaus: Why would you trade away a guy under your control and cheaper just to sign a guy who you'll have to overpay and will be much more expensive when the benefit will come down to a better fielding percentage at first base. Why would we waste what little money we have to spend for free agents on Teixeira when we already have Howard?

For a man with monster HR and RBI numbers he seems maddeningly easy to get out. When he gets in a groove, for whatever reason, its rediculously fun to watch. 2006 was simply amazing. But MLB has adjusted to him and learned not to throw the outside fastball. Howard has not learned to adjust to MLB and layoff offspeed outside breaking balls.

If we're going to run with this idea he's too aggresive to layoff then he needs to wisen up. Otherwise he's a huge hole in the lineup and a rally killer (see game 2). Throw in the fact that hes a BUTCHER in the field and this kid needs to take some serious steps to tighten his game.

If it were within the realm of possibility I'd love to sign Texiera and trade Howard for a nice crop of talent to restock the cupboard.

If you decide to defensively replace Howard. Than you CANNOT replace Burrell defensively. Their batting order positions are back to back. If they were 2 or 3 spots apart, YOU MIGHT be able to do it.

But given Howard's ability to put a hurting on a mistake outweighs everything else.

Besides, if Texiera were in Philly it doesn't seem implausible to project him putting up 45 HRs 140 RBIs while hitting .290 and actually being able to throw to second base.

CJ:

I mentioned Texiara only to illustrate the point that a worthy 1st baseman plus the prospects/players reaped in a Howard deal would easily result in a net talent increase.

FOWIW, I think Texiara is a better player than Howard in a number of respects, not just fielding percentage. Of course, even if the Phillies were so inclined, it would be really difficult to sign Tex and trade Howard simultaneously since attempting the former would badly upset the value of the latter.

That's why I said "real world" and kept to advocating for arbitration.


I'm not a big fan of the defensive replacements. Howard is a threat every time he comes to bat to put one out (or strike out, I know), and you don't want to lose that bat. There is only one Matt Stairs on the bench! In addition, we don't exactly have an ace/gold glove caliber replacement for him at first base.

In addition, I think there is something to be said for a player (even a marginal fielder) having been in the whole game and being in the flow, hopefully already having contributed something productive, and playing "loose". Even Howard, having played the whole game, may be a better bet than someone who plays the position sporadically and is nervous when that first twisting grounder comes his way.

I remember the guy who went in LF for the Phils earlier this year, a minor league callup whose name does not come to me. The first game he was in, he had a fly ball pop right out of his glove. Sheer nerves, he had the ball easily caught. I remember Jason actually posted "What an absolute bum" when he dropped that ball. After a number of games, he seemed to get into the flow and actually made a couple of decent plays and throws, but that first play was a doozy. Would hate to see Coste, Bruntlett, I dunno whoever, miss a scoop or have to jump off the bag due to poor footwork on a crucial play late in the game while they were getting their sea legs under them.

On another note, will coverage of the presidential debate impact the Fox coverage of the game at all?

CJ and Avery have it. Everyone else is crazy. We've seen Howard bounce out of these slumps and go crazy, and in fact he seems to be coming out of this one as well. Please stop the "trade Howard" talk--this is exactly the kind of stuff that gives Phils fans a bad reputation.

I can't believe we are one win away from the World Series and the topic is whether or not to trade Ryan Howard.

Vintage Philadelphia. And I don't think I would have it any other way.

just to let everyone know 1210 will be synced up with the fox broadcast so mute the tv and listen to real announcers.

Fox is leaving the debate to the other networks and broadcasting baseball- as I understand it.

Since TK already mentioned it I don't feel it too premature to throw out the DH question.

Should the Phils lock it up this evening - Do you have Howard DH? Or do you DH PtB, move Werth to Left, and stick Jenkins in right? Or are we gonna see Dobbs DH?
Maybe we just stick Myers in there...

I agree that Howard could have a breakout WS. Especially with the fastball-throwing Rays. Will they make some adjustments? Maybe. But some of those guys like to just hurl it over the plate, which Howard loves, of course.

Howard DH definitely.

Since we are still paying a chunk of Thome's salary, it would only be fair that we can call him up from the White Sox, add him to the postseason roster, and use him as the DH.
(MLB rules- I don't need no stinking MLB rules!)

What about Stairs as DH? That's what he did in Toronto before he came here so it's not like it's a new position for him...

Joe, who do you put at first? Bruntlett? I guess I can see that.

Teixeira is a great player and it's not just on defense where he brings more to the table than Howard. He's also a considerably more complete and consistent offensive player. That's not to say he's better, but Howard clearly has holes in his offensive game that Teixeira doesn't have.

But, in addition to what CJ said about salary, it's just not all that easy to sign Player A and trade Player B. You can't trade Howard before signing Teixiera because there are 29 other teams out there & there's no guarantee (or even a likelihood) that you'll be the one to sign him. And if you sign Teixeira first, then you've put yourself into a situation where every other GM knows that you HAVE to trade Howard. We've seen what happens in that situation because it happens to the Phillies almost every off-season. First there was Thome, for whom we got decent, but certainly not equal, value. Then there was Lieber, who we were unable to trade at all after acquiring Freddie Garcia. Then there was Helms, who we wound up giving away for nothing after signing Feliz. In short, this kind of move sounds better on paper than in the real world. The minute you sign Teixeira, you diminish Howard's trade value by at least 50%, since everyone would know that you're desperate to trade him.

Postscript: anyone who feels this DH discussion is gonna cause some sort of jinx, just say the word and we should stop it.

On the music topic, I have to admit to owning a number of Michael Jackson albums on vinyl, including Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. When I went on to duplicate my vinyl collection to CD, he became a social pariah and didn't make my cut for the digital upgrade, although I do own in CD form, Robert Johnson and the Phil Spector Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison ones.

Speaking of records, I remember a 45 record that came out in 1964 called "Go Phillies Go." Does any one have it?

This is ridiculous enough for me to make my first post. Taking Howard out would be a terrible move. He got a huge hit in the 8th inning the other night anyway. He goes yard tonight, they win by a score in the 7-2, 6-1 range.

Didn't Mike Schmidt have a game where he struck out his first 4 times at bat, then hit the game-winning home run the fifth time up? I don't think you can take Ryan Howard out at all. He's too dangerous.

K of P is mentioning a jinx from talking about the DH prematurely and Lake Fred asks about a 1964 recording.
Sounds like pre-game jitters are setting in on Beerleaguer.

Go Phillies- win this one !

PHIinBK:

Why would it seem plausable to project HR and RBI totals never achieved by a player in his entire professional career?

Tex had a GREAT year in 2005 when he hit 43 HR and 144 RBI. Since then, he's never hit more than 33 HR in a season or had more than 121 RBI. But by all means, let's assume he'll have Howard-like HR and RBI totals when he dons a Phillies uniform.

BAP:

I'll point you to my remarks at 3:27.

Bubba, I would love to hash out some DH strategies. I just don't want to become a scapegoat should the bats fall silent this evening.

So we DH Howard and start the Gnome? Or leave Howard to butcher at first and maybe DH Stairs or Dobbs vs a RHP?

Stairs should most certainly DH against a right hander, no bloody question

Of course, that assume you're playing Dobbs at third. Feliz-lovers would rather see Dobbs DH

Who plays first if Howard doesn't?

Three of TB's four starters are RH... only Kazmir is a lefty.

CJ, I'm guessing Bruntlett.

Does anybody see Cholly using the DH as an opportunity to keep Burrell out of left for "defensive reasons"?

Howard will play first base in Tampa. Sorry to disillusion anyone who thinks otherwise. Manuel already has that part of the line-up card filled out. We might see Burrell DH and Bruntlett field against a LHP. But against a RHP we'll either see Stairs or Dobbs DH.

Chollie will reason that the most dependable defenders are the ones who have received the most repetitions. IOW - His basic approach is to keep his basic line-up. Howard's playing. Burrell's probably fielding.

We have a pretty solid bench to the point that we can keep arguing back and forth who to plug in there (including Howard and Burrell). I think it'll be Dobbs against righties and Coste against lefties. Coste is our best righthanded bat off the bench

LA Times article on the unruly fans at Dodgers Stadium.

If the answer to the question who replaces Howard is Eric Bruntlett... than it's pretty clear we don't need to ask the question.

Klau, it is a bloody question. I'd rather have Dobbs than Stairs. Dobbs has just as much chance to pop one as Stairs does, and he's a better hitter overall.

Matt - I'm not sure it's wise to play the back-up catcher at DH. (Unless you have Myers pitching, in which case allowing him to hit is an asset.)

I like Dobbs as the DH. Gives you some pop to the bottom of the order. In other news, is any one surprised with the play of Ruiz? He has come through with some timely hits this postseason, certainly not the least of which we saw in the 8th on Monday.

Wow, CJ. Dodgers' security better get a handle on that wild behavior! Next thing you know they'll be, like, booing Santa Claus!

(Okay. I know. No one would ever boo Santa.)

Dobbs, Bruntlett, or Coste could play first. Or Utley could be moved to first and Bruntlett or Dobbs could be moved to second. I don't understand why we should do this in the playoffs though.

As for trading Howard, after next season would be the best time to do it. Especially if he puts up numbers closer to his 06 season. But do you trust the Phillies to get equal value whenever you trade him? After the Abreu trade I wouldn't trust Gillick (although it is a different situation) with that task, and certainly not Amaro Jr or Arbuckle. If you ever trade Howard you can't get CJ Henry in return. I think the Phillies will just go year to year in Arbitration and then let Howard walk after 2011 and reap the draft picks. That would give the Phillies plenty of time to find another 1B.

I like Dobbs as DH and batting Feliz 9th, but I am willing to predict that Chollie puts the DH 9th (whoever it is) because that's the pitcher's spot. (Just like 8th is the catcher's spot.) (Of course.)

Good article, CJ. I especially like how they talked to Robert Wuhl, the actor and self-described passionate Dodgers fan, who left in the 8th freaking inning with his team down by only two runs. What is it with those people out there?

It is also possible Dobbs could play 3B and Stairs could DH against RHP. Feliz would be able to pinch hit for Dobbs later in the game if needed.

"do you trust the Phillies to get equal value"

No.

Cholly would DH Dobbs and play feliz against a RH.

Probably the right play overall. Keep stairs as a PH and keep feliz playing the field.

Lefty, I am not sure.

Against a Lefty, maybe he experiments with Burrell as the DH. I like Dobbs as a DH, and after Stairs' storybook homer the other night, he at least looks like a threat. But I don't see any of our right-handed bench bats as potential contributors (except of course Brett Myers, ha). Am I missing/undervaluing anyone?

"Klau, it is a bloody question. I'd rather have Dobbs than Stairs."

Matt:

I was assuming you'd start Dobbs against a right hander. And lest it seem that I am advocating Stairs on the basis of his home run I point you to Stairs's career numbers against RHP:

which I can't seem to find but their good. Like .275/high three/ mid four.

Like I said, I think Coste is our best righthanded hitter off the bench. Conceivably, if Ruiz were to get hurt during a game that Coste was DHing, Coste would move to catcher and someone would fill Ruiz's spot as DH.

Klaus, I'd rather have Dobbs's hitting and Feliz's glove in there at the same time. That's just my opinion, though.

LA Times article on the unruly fans at Dodgers Stadium.

Posted by: CJ | Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 04:12 PM

CJ, good article. I was there the other night and I had never seen a worse crowd at Dodger Stadium. Maybe it's due to playoff baseball (and, as always, alcohol), but it was very uncomfortable for anyone in a Phillies hat. I wasn't wearing one, but got some seriously dirty looks when I celebrated Vic's homer.

Howard? No, you never take him out of a game. The potential for a big hit is too high.

We played 6 road interleague games this year. Here they are:

vs. RHP, Jenkins DH, Feliz 3B (Loss)
vs. LHP, Howard DH, Bruntlett 1B (Win)
vs. RHP, Jenkins DH, Dobbs 3B (Loss)
vs. LHP, Howard DH, Bruntlett 1B (Loss)
vs. RHP, Dobbs DH, Feliz 3B (Win)
Vs. RHP, Dobbs DH, Feliz 3B (Loss)

What does past history tell us? Not a whole lot. I'd guess we'd see Dobbs DH, Feliz 3B against a RHP and Howrd DH, Bruntlett 1B agsint a LHP. But that's just from looking at what Manuel's done in the past.

Matt: Wouldn't work. If the DH becomes a position player, the pitcher is then forced to bat if they come up in the lineup.

Here are my preferred lineups for American League parks:

Versus RH pitchers:

Rollins, SS
Utley, 2B
Werth, RF
Howard, 1B
Burrell, LF
Dobbs, DH
Victorino, CF
Feliz, 3B
Ruiz, C

Versus LH pitchers:

Rollins, SS
Utley, 2B
Werth, RF
Howard, 1B
Burrell, LF
Victorino, CF
Coste, DH
Feliz, 3B
Ruiz, C

As you can tell, I'm a fan of breaking up left-left and right-right situations in the top and middle of the lineup. I think you can do that with this team without hurting yourself and it makes the opposing manager think twice before sending out a relief pitcher. Plus, I like Victorino bringing his spark toward the bottom.

Howard is DUE to break out...you really think he'll go this whole series without a HR???

You're right, CJ. Thanks for the catch. The probability of the catcher getting hurt and leaving the game is so low, however, I still put Coste in as DH.

Wheels just said on DNL that the lineup will be the same as game 4, except Feliz is playing 3B.

Two comments reegarding Mr. Howard:

First, that he certainly is due to break out. Imagine how easy this all would be if he were hitting.

Second, that he will not be traded unless it becomes obvious up the road that the Phillies cannot sign him long term. He is a big part of the team's marketing strategy, especially so with the growing African American fan base.

Let's jump on Billingsley early and put this Series away. I'm out of nitro pills! Go Phillies!

Lol! Just goes to show that after an off-day, folks are having such serious withdrawal symptoms that they need to dream up ideas like pulling Howard from the lineup. The only way you'd do that if you were up some three runs or so in the last of the ninth.

Against a little league team.

Game 5 Lineup

Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feltz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Hamels, p

I'd rather see Coste at least once in this series in place of Ruiz than anybody ever replacing Howard.

If we get to the World Series, then we should play Dobbs at DH, but just once in this series I'd like to see Coste take over for Ruiz.

The anti-Howard bias on this board astounds me. Howard hit 48 HR's this year. No one on the team came even remotely close to his stats. Furthermore, the last two games, Howard's been doing nothing but getting on base and scoring pivotal runs.

Even assuming Howard's not doing well, who do we replace him with? Stairs? Please...

Take a seat.

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