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Friday, October 17, 2008

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Great comparisons. Only 4 days of no games to come up with material for!

Ron Reed and JC Romero.

I’ve been troubled by all this talk of momentum. It’s true that, in the last two years, one team rode the momentum of a tough 7-game win into a decisive win over a team with a long layover. But it doesn’t make sense to assume that the team who struggled in the LCS is automatically going to have an advantage in the World Series. You’ve got momentum on one side, but you’ve got fatigue and pitching alignment on the other.

So I took a look, and actually, in the last 30 years (29 playoffs), the team with the longer LCS has had a pronounced DISadvantage in the World Series. Out of 29 Series, 10 were played between teams with equal-length LCS’s; 7 were won by the team with the longer LCS (shorter layover); and 12 were won by the team with the shorter LCS (longer layover).

The only significant momentum factor I saw was this: In three World Series, a team that swept its LCS played a team that won its LCS 4-3 — 1988 and the last two years. The team that swept its LCS lost all three Series. So statistically, the smartest thing the Phils could’ve done was to lose Game 4 against the Dodgers.

In a two-game differential (Rays win tomorrow), rest has trumped momentum in 6 Series out of 9. In a one-game differential (either team wins in 7), rest has trumped momentum in 6 Series out of 7.

So take heart!

Interesting comparison (numbers aside). Nice work JW to find a slightly different spin but the next 4 days are going to be tough to come up with new material.

Sct - Nice numbers! Thanks for putting some real numbers behind the empty "rest vs momentum" argument.

The rest may also help Chase Utley continue his great performance from the LCS. There was a lot of talk after his sub-par performance at the end of the season and in the DS about potential(probable?) hip problems. 3 days of rest between the DS and CS (which I think is the most he got all season) and he looked like the player we all love again.

Stretch: Great point about Uts. I think he'll be at his best for the Series.

Larry Christianson used to scare the bejeezus out of me every time he went to the mound. Just like Brett Myers.

Posts like Sct's are why I read these Beerleaguer comments obsessively. Thanks for doing the legwork, Sct!

Interesting Sct. I wonder what the makeup of those teams are though. I.E. younger or more veteran. Would be informative since the Rays are younger than the Sox. I don't see them getting fatigued, but I could see them cooling off. I hope they win tomorrow regardless

Great set of photos from Wednesday night posted over at Philebrity, including a couple nice ones of Nutter enjoying the victory.

http://www.philebrity.com/2008/10/16/slideshow-oh-what-a-night/

Excellent, Sct.

Hopefully, these will not be where the similarities between the 1980 club and its current incarnation end.

I second MG's praise, Sct. That said, to play devil's advocate--won't the momentumologist argue that less recent LCS matchups are proportionally less statistically relevant, as network interests have only created the possibility for these game vaccuums between series in the past few years?

All in all, though: it'd be tough to blame rust on wins or losses in any but the first game of a series, right? And so even if there is a rust factor that should be accounted for, it seems crazy to me to blame very much on that factor. Maybe a few bad swings in the first few innings? Maybe control issues against the top of the order? The Rockies lost 13-1 in game one last year; that was bad. But they hung in there in game 2, losing 2-1. I don't know. I think the most telling evidence of a rust factor, then, would be systematically bad first games on the part of the team with extensive layoffs. But I'd bet that evidence doesn't show up, especially when Sct.'s numbers suggest the opposite.

And again... I'll remind people the Phils have momentum in the form of a 20-5 record in their last 25 games. I'm not sure how a team that scratches out an LCS win could boast more momentum than that!

OT, but does anyone else here think that Rays pitcher Balfour has an unfortunate last name?

HH - I heard he wanted to get it changed, but his wife, for some reason, didn't want to be "Mrs. Throweffinstrikes."

Andy: LOL, good one. Last night he probably wished he had changed his name to that.

I always thought Outman was a great name for a pitcher. Sadly, he will never pitch in a Phils uni. Hopefully, Blanton makes us not miss him by getting us some W's in the WS.

I thought Bob Walk was an unfortunate name for a pitcher.

Since we have a little time for this n' that:

Can anyone tell me when and how Carlos Ruiz acquired the name "Chooch"?

doubleh: The Phils are 2-0 when he starts in the postseason and we're already in the WS. I don't miss Josh Outman or Adrian Cardenas one bit!

CJ: My post was tongue-in-cheek. Should have used the ;-), but I really don't like emoticons. I wish there was a way to show sarcasm without them.

phargo: I don't know how Carlos acquired the nickname, but the definition of it is hilarious--

1. adj. Term coined in the restaurant industry to refer to a guest who is very arrogant, ignorant, and generally annoying. When asked a common definition is "a man with no penis."
2. An a**, a foolish person.
3. Very, very stupid person. Similar to ahole, dumba**, etc.

I'm guessing the nickname is Spanish and thus, the English definitions don't apply.

Nice comps in your post, JW, but let's not dis the Scretary of defense by misspelling his first name. It's Garry.

Thanks, doubleh, that is very funny.

On wikipedia (yikes, sorry, it was the only place that offered any explanation) it said that he got the name because he quarreled a lot with Cholly.

When I was thinking of Chooch as somehow related to trains, it did not make sense. But if it means someone annoying, then the explanation fits, I think.

clout: It means pretty much the same thing in Spanish. Basically just means idiot.

I thought Larry Christenson had a very respectible era in the 1980 world series.

ROYALS 1ST: Wilson singled to left; Wilson was picked off first but was safe on an error by Christenson [Wilson to third]; White flied to right; Brett tripled to right [Wilson scored]; Aikens homered [Brett scored]; McRae doubled to center; Otis doubled [McRae scored]; NOLES REPLACED CHRISTENSON

He did go 6 scoreless in the first game in Houston in the NLCS.

I thought Ruiz had the nickname Chooch before he ever came up. I knew a kid with the nickname Chooch who got it because he kinda chugged around the bases like a train.

Teammates in Reading called him Chooch. I don't know if that's where it started, however.

Another comparison between this teams and the '80 squad is how they played so-so most of the year, but terrific, inspired ball down the stretch and into the playoffs. The '80 team survived a five-game NLCS, going to the very brink of elimination before pulling out a miracle off Nolan, who almost always won if leading after 7 innings. The team of 28 years ago had very little time before the first game of the series and that actually helped them. They went into the first game tired. Tug was unavailable becuase he worked almost every game against Houston , I recall. But they were a confident group. I think the layoff could negatively affect this team.

>reach the World Series the way Abner
>Doubleday would prefer.

Weitzel --

I think that you mean Branch Ricky. Inventor of the farm system, and the grand poobah of racial integration.

Good Job Sct. Weitzel - are the Rays or the Sox built more like the Royals? Whose got this year's Amos Otis, Willie Wilson, and George Brett?

Continuing with my political asides - I'm visiting Ryan Howard's hometown of St. Louis in advance of getting back to Philly for a possible Game 5 a week from Monday - and low and behold who is also in town this weekend, both Barack Obama and John McCain. I imagine both will be rooting for the Phillies if we play the Red Sox, since their respective White Sox and Diamondbacks have already been eliminated, but if it is a battle between Philly and Tampa, their allegiances might be torn by the battle of swing state teams!

In case you haven't seen it already, Jim Salisbury's article on June Manuel is very touching.

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20081018_A_Virginia_town_remembers_Charlie_Manuel_s_mother.html

my mom reminded me yesterday that i was born during game 5 of the 1980 world series, and she really just wanted over with it so she could put the tv on.

speaking of chooch, i wanted to re-post the info i put up yesterday since that was a pretty short-lived header. carlos is signing autographs in northeast philly, between 4 and 6. they're giving away nice 8x10s for him to sign plus anything else you bring. if anyone's interested, it's at NE lincoln mercury @ tyson and the boulevard. he had a tough season, but show chooch some love after his NLCS.

Great stats sct.

The one thing that does worry me though is if Boston comes back to win their series they will be quite a roll coming into the World Series. The same type of roll that steamed over the Rockies last year.

Frankly, the 1980 team isn't as good as this team. It wasn't as good as the 1977 and 1978 Phillies either (nor is this team). But it was good enough to win the World Series. In the post-season, the best team doesn't always win because a 5 game series is a total crapshoot and a 7 game series isn't much better than that. If the Nationals could be transported into the post-season they could easily win a 5 game series if their pitchers happened to be on their game for a few days.

There's talk of adding Marson to the roster. Has anyone done a "Where Are They Now?" on Don McCormack?

Hey Guys...we up here in Maine are hoping that the Sox make to battle the Phils in the World Series..my podcast/radio show partner is a Phils Phan and the co - host of the biggest sports show on WJAB here is from South Jersey an is a monster Phills Phan so we have a rooting interest. I did up this little diddy with some extras...let me know what you think

http://www.centralmainesportsblog.com/2008/10/phillies-fever-cowbell-remix.html

and you can download it here

http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/23991

clout, that's very true. As crazy as it seems, if a team's pitchers get hot, all bets are off.

As evidence just look at some of the season series in 2008, where a clearly better team got swept.

The postseason is no exception.

I hate columns like the one Frank Fitzpatrick produced this morning.

Self-indulgent drivel that's all about Frank.

EF: Marson would solve the DH problem vs. LHP. Cholly's been using Bruntlett as Burrell's replacement anyway so So doesn't have much of a role

Jay Loviglio and So Taguchi :)

clout: If only Beerleaguers were the managers. Charlie's gut will NOT allow a rookie to be thrown into the WS. That's blasphemy.

king myno: You're right, just as he will stubbornly insist on using Feliz against all the RH starters, which will put the team at an offensive disadvantage in games at TB. But having Marson WOULD allow him to start Coste at DH vs. LHP. That would be a HUGE improvement over So or Bruntlett.

Yeah, Marson was on the roster for all of September and Cholly couldn't even see fit to give him a single AB until the last game of the season, after the division had been clinched. When he finally did let him play, all Marson did was get 2 hits, including a homerun, and throw out the only runner who tried to steal on him.

If Marson is on the roster, he'll be glued to the bench the entire time. Even so, there is still value in having him on the WS roster, as it would free up Coste for pinch-hitting duty. Taguchi is 100% useless.

As far as I'm concerned, the 1980 NLCS was the best ever. Four of the five games decided in extra innings? Every game was a gem.

Maybe Cholly ought to give the ball in game 1 to Happ, since Bob Walk pitched game 1 in '80. :)

clout: Even without Marson, there is no reason why Coste can't start at DH. If he were needed as an emergency catcher, he would still be available; it's just that the Phillies would have to go without a DH for the rest of the game. To me, that risk is pretty de minimis since: (1) chances of a Ruiz injury are very low to start out with; and (2) if it did happen, it would be just as likely to occur in the middle to late innings, at which point you'd be pinch-hitting for your pitcher anyhow.

The real risk comes in using Coste as a pinch hitter, as that would truly leave the Phillies without a backup catcher. The odds of Ruiz getting injured (or ejected) are slim but, if it did happen, & Coste had already been burned, I think it's fair to say that the odds of a disaster would be pretty high. So the real benefit of keeping Marson on the roster would be that it would allow Coste to pinch hit. He can already DH, whether Marson is there or not.

The other benefit is that Marson is undoubtedly a better hitter than Taguchi -- but that benefit is only a theoretical one, since Cholly would probably pinch hit with Hamels before he'd commit the unthinkable act of using a rookie in the World Series.

BAP: I made that exact same argument (using Coste as DH) a couple days ago and apparently Squonk thought I was moron because the minimal chance of Chooch getting hurt or ejected would apparently doom them to lose.

Anyway, I agree I'd rather have Marson on the roster as insurance than So since So is obviously worthless. I really don't want to see a scenario where a rookie (Marson) would be getting an important AB in the Series, but it would certainly be preferable to having to watch So hit.

But it doesn't matter because So will stick on the roster because of his veteran-ness.

Clout - Agreed that this probably slightly better than the '80 team because of their offense (particularly their power) but the '80 team was a slightly better defensive unit and had slightly better overall pitching.

The '08 Phils still aren't a great team or even a very good team. They just have played very well the past month and continued to get some very timely offense and stellar starting pitching when they need it.

This year's team is still better than the '07 Phils (because the superior starting pitching and better bullpen) but you have to wonder how last year's postseason wouldn't have been different if the Phils would have played a banged-up, weaker team in the Padres in the 1st round instead of one of the teams that had one of the hottest post-ASB runs in MLB history in the Rockies.

Just wondering, has anyone seen or heard from Tom Gordon this post season? I know injured players like him usually take an appropriate back seat during these rides, but I haven't heard even a peep about him.

Getting back to this World Series:

- One of the big disadvantages the Phils will have in this upcoming series is that the AL team will have home field advantage. I really am not worried though about the home field advantage per se or the Phils being intimidated by playing in front of 25,000+ newly-minted Rays fans or the tons of wannabees who pack the stands at Fenway now.

It is the thing that has been the Phils' kryptonite when playing in Interleague play the past few years - the DH position.

In '06 and '07, the Phils almost exclusively used Burrell at the DH (6 of 9 gamesin '06; 5 of 6 games in '07) to pretty much weak results:

11 G, 40 AB, 5 H, 2 R, .200 AVG, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 15 K

Burrell also had some time as a DH back in '00, '01, and '03 with pretty weak results too. Overall in his career as a DH, Burrell has a pathetic line as a DH of .153/.258/.224 in 22 G with 85 AB. Basically a sub .500 OPS (.481 career OPS as a DH).

That folks is No-Hit Nunez and So Worthless Taguchi territory and Cholly finally realized this year that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to DH Burrell given his career numbers and his past comments about feeling uncomfortable as a DH.

This year, Cholly went a hodge-podge approach at DH and used Howard for 2 games, Dobbs for 2 games, and Jenkins for 2 games. Regardless, nobody on the Phils hit well and their collective line of .087/.125/.087 in 23 in 6 games was just brutal.

Granted it is a small-sample size but it is pretty obvious the Phils don't have a bat who is really capable of filling the DH role. Given the Phils could potentially play 4 with the DH, it is paramount they get at some production out of the DH position.

Given that Cholly doesn't have that many great alternatives, I would go with Dobbs at 1B and Howard as the DH against a RH starter. Howard's defense has been brutal at times this year and you would given up any defense by starting Dobbs at 1B.

If the Big Man doesn't feel comfortable as the DH, then it makes things more complicated. Against a RH starter who throws gas, I would serious consider giving Stairs a start at DH over Jenkins.

Both the Red Sox and Rays only have one lefty starter (Kazmir for the Rays; Lester for the Sox). In that case, I am not sure what they do. Been kind of an Achilles heel all season is that the Phils really don't have a decent RH-bat off the bench when Werth starts. Given the splits and his numbers, you would think Coste would be the go-to option. Coste has continued to hit LHP very well this year and has in his career.

Problem is that this doesn't leave the Phils with a 3rd catcher. If the Phils really are smart, they will carry Marson on their roster as an 3rd catcher to give them the roster flexibility to use Coste as a DH/primary right-handed bat off the bench instead of So Useless Taguchi.

My money says though the Cholly will make the foolish decision to keep Taguchi on the roster. In that case, I don't know how the Phils use as the DH against a lefty starter. If it is Bruntlett, I will be like a man with Tourette's uttering expletives left and right.

Root, root for the Red Sox tonight because this is the team you want the Phils to play. They are clearly the weaker team and their bullpen doesn't match up nearly as well against the Phils as the Rays.

Yeah Papelbon is lights-out as a closer but the Rays have 3 guys in their pen (vet Miller and the youngsters Howell and Price) who largely annihilate lefties. This means the Rays can easily counter a PH AB late by Stairs or Dobbs and that the Rays have plenty of lefties to deal with Utley and Howard late.

JW - Heart: Essential Heart? Have this postseason run made you a bit overly emotional? If a Sarah Mclaughlin, Tori Amos, or Indigo Girls album I will become a bit worried.

I don't really care who the Phils play, but the Sox are not the weaker team, and certainly not in the post season. I respect the Rays youthful exuberance, but I fear the experience more.
Regardless, even though the Phils are not a great team with a mediocre manager, I think they can beat either team, provided they don't suffer any effects from the layoff.

I'd worry a lot more if JW was playing Hank Williams Jr. than Heart.

GoPhilsGo - Phils can beat either team but they clearly matchup better with the Red Sox than the Rays. I can't believe how the amazing comeback has deluded all of the national talking heads into hyping up the Red Sox again.

Sox don't have Lowell or Schilling, Beckett is gutting it out with marginal stuff, Ortiz is an easy out as long as you don't miss location terribly, Varitek is an automatic out, Lester looks tired, and a bench will only one legit option in Casey and a bullpen with only two solid options either.

Rays can throw out a lineup out there with better power, 4 legit starters, and a bullpen that is deeper and matches up better with the Phils than the Sox.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say how much I dislike Clint Hurdle.

Thanks a pantload, Clint. Your horrible (mis)management of the ASG gave the AL HFA. It was a pretty good game, too, until the very end, of course.

Here ya go, Joe:

Gordon enjoying playoff ride

if coste was the dh and ruiz gets knocked out, cant coste stay in the game as catcher and the dh can be replaced?

Giving HFA to the winner of the ALS was one of the worst ideas anyone ever came up with

redbeard - Coste culd stay in the game at catcher but from that point on the pitcher bats as in the NL.

MG: Interesting. Sam Donnellon had a col. today in the DN saying we should root for Tampa Bay.

I agree with you on the 1980 team. Way better defense. They had the best or near best at their positions in the NL at 3B, SS, 2B and CF. Also agree that this team has better offense.

Not sure the 80 team had better pitching tough. While they did have the BEST pitcher on either team (Carlton), I'd take the Phils 3-4-5 over the 80 team (I'll take Ruthven over Myers at #2). I'd also take the current team's bullpen except, believe it or not, for the closer. McGraw actually had a better year than Lidge.

Gordon's a classy guy, from what I understand, but I'm so grateful he's no longer in our bullpen. You never felt safe with him on the mound.

Clout - Disagree with Donnellon but it would have been nice to see some actual numbers on Game 1 and discussion to backup up Donnellon's assertions that winning Game 1 is paramount to winning the Series.

Rays are still the much better team in this Series. Angels literally tripped over themselves in the field and on the bases to lose to the Sox and this Sox team is tired/banged up running on fumes. If they have to win this series by taking the next 2, they are going to be ripe for the picking.

Gordon story was stricky a filler. Phils' beats guys have run out of ideas and going to third/fourth tier stories to fill space until Wed.

Umm. does anyone else have Tv Bloopers on TBS instead of the Rays-Sox game?

Wheres the Rays-Sox. I got something else on too Indiana.

sarge, me too. what the hell is going on?

Is the game being played? Im confused.

It said on the bottom of the screen that they were having technical difficulties and coverage will be on soon.

Well Im glad it wasnt a Phils game.

And the game has started, this is embarrassing for TBS.

Running errands in the car and the radio has brutal Joe Morgan on. Ugh.

Same in San Francisco. They showed about 7 minutes of TV Bloopers, now some terrible sitcom. Meanwhile, the game has started.

Agreed on Flash. Nice guy, but shoulda retired years ago and we're better off without him.

Re: TBS: I've got some sitcom on instead (steve harvy? not sure who this guy is). Some dumb movie on TNT and COPS on FOX. And I'm 20 minutes outside Boston, WTF is going on?

wow this is a major screw up for tbs

Joe - Nothing to say except that sucks. Screw TBS.

Someone on fark said that there's an Atlanta power outage. Take that for what it's worth, but even if it's true, how does this happen? How does all of TBS's programming rely solely on Atlanta having power? And they'd be better off just putting on a black empty screen; it would be more entertaining than this piece of crap show.

As someone else mentioned (maybe Squonk) on the last thread, you could start Coste at first base and DH Howard. Then, if Ruiz goes down, you move Coste to catcher and you could put Bruntlett at first and Howard remains DH.

Personally, I'd prefer Marson on the roster so we could DH Coste against Kazmir and have Marson on the bench.

It's better than the stuff Comcast puts up during rain delays. Slightly better.

How about rolling some play by play at the bottom of the screen? A call from a restless, native Sox fan reiterates the Atlanta power excuse.

It's 0-0, bottom of the first, one out nobody on.

It would be really nice if TBS would at least put something up on their website explaining the situation, or a ticker across the bottom. This is one of the most pathetic sports broadcasting moments I can remember.

Could be worse I suppose.

Count me in the tank for the BoSox. BJ Upton is a monster.

Game 6 started without a nationwide TV broadcast Saturday, as TBS experienced transmission problems.
-per MLB

It's on now.

Yeah, PhillyBlunt, I just think guys like Youkilis, Bay, Pedroia, and Drew would feast on our starting pitching.

Sox aren't exactly looking tired tonight. Never count them out.

This is from AP: TBS power is generated by coordinated hamster runs. One of the hamsters died, putting the remaining generators out of synch. A hamster replacement was made and power was restored within half an hour.

I read that someone at the TBS kitchem used the microwave oven and the toaster oven at the same time.

What is so difficult about removing an umpire?

Evidently, it's more difficult than it looks.

One more ALCS game to go...

I think the 1980 team was better.

No surprise there. On to game 7.

CJ (or perhaps I should say Squonk): Good point about how to get Coste's bat into the lineup without the risk of having to put the pitcher in the lineup, if Ruiz were injured. However, I too prefer just putting Marson on the roster. Taguchi is really useless.

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