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Friday, October 24, 2008

Comments

From Victorino's blog:
We definitely wanted to win two here, but we got a split, so we came up short in the end. I'm sure you guys will be excited for this weekend. We'll take a day off, work out and be ready for Saturday.

Because we didn't get the job done with runners in scoring position, maybe it seems like you're pressing. I know I'm not. I'm sure a lot of guys in here aren't. Heck, I popped out with two guys on and no one out, and swung at the first pitch. I was trying to get a hit. I'm aggressive. I'm always going to be aggressive.

It's not about making excuses. We're just not doing it. They scored early by executing. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria grounded out and two runs scored. We didn't do that.

Still, we got ourself in a situation to tie the game with one swing, and that's without executing. We have to look at the positives. We won one game without executing and lost one game without executing. If we do the little things, we'd be alright. We have to keep playing. We'll show up and get ready to go in Game 3.

*Sounds like we need a dose of David Bell, because as Chris Wheeler would claim "he does all the little things".

I'm not sure why we even bother having a DH, because Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste have been atrocious. Dobbs watched 3 strikes zing by with a runner on 3rd with 1 out, then swung at 3 balls out of the strikezone to k with a runner of 3rd with only 1 out. Brett Myers would have put in a better effort than that. Hell, Jim Abbot would have given a better effort than that.

Homeplate Kerwin Danley was so bad last night that it was laughable. He called a Rays batter out on a 3rd strike then decided to reverse the call mid-arm pump. In the 9th Rollins was hit by a pitch and Danley told him he wasn't, although replay clearly showed he was. The calls were so disgustingly wrong, that even Buck and McCarver were crying foul. Both calls lead to a swing of runs, extra ones for the Rays, less runs for the Phils. Final score 4-2, you do the math.

J. you perfectly reasonably attribute the lack of production to rust. But over the course of the season the Phils have had the same problems. Different people, different times, but some pretty good slumps from everyone. At the time, it was attributed to injury (acknowledged or not) and the wear and tear of the long season. Is rust the third reason now? I admit that this topic is beyond my knowledge, never having advanced past Little League, and for good reason. What is the collective knowledge of the posters as to this matter? I surely would like to hear from a former player on the rust/nerves/emotion/injury angle.

Myers was fine, particularly compared to those around him. Aside from Ruiz, the boys up and down the lineup look tight. The same is true of the Rays, btw. Werth in particular has earned himself a day off. Dobbs was a huge disappointment. Lets wheel out some of the other lefties tomorrow.

You can't complain about 1-1 coming back home. But the way they lost last night leaves me feeling uneasy. Are they going to get key hits tomorrow night or not? If they don't it doesn't matter how Moyer pitches. While I'd love to win the next 3, more realisticly I'm hoping they split the next two, with Hamels going for the 3-2 lead in game 5.

From last thread...

Am I the only one who thought Myers outpitched Shields tonight? (I haven't read the threads, so I'm not sure.)

Werth's error in the first cost the Phils at least one run and maybe two (if Pena's grounder becomes a GIDP instead of an RBI ground out).

The umps mysterious out... um, no walk... call cost Myers a run.

The Rays scored 3 runs on outs so Myers allowed only one run on a hit.

Myers gave up no extra base hits. He only walked 3 (actually two, Baldelli's was a K). Few of the singles he gave up were hard hit balls. And he finished the 7th strong.

We let Shields off the hook. He couldn't get out of the 6th inning and three times we left a runner on third with less than 2 outs.

I actually feel better about the series after last night's game. We need just one win out of Moyer, Blanton and Game 7 because I'm pretty confident that we'll win Games 5 and 6.

A day off after two taught games in that shopping-mall like nut house isn't the worst thing in the world. I think that the situational hitting will improve at CBP. I also think that the Rays pitchers might have trouble adjusting to pitching outdoor, late October night games in the Northeastern US.

I do know this. I don't think the Rays have any clue what to expect when they walk into Citizens Bank Park on Saturday (hopefully). It will be cold and/or rainy. And our Big Pop-Pop will be on the mound in his home town for his first ever World Series appearance.

If that first inning goes clean... the crowd should be electric. I think Moyer will respond to that crowd, not unlike the division clincher in 2007.

Not to go overboard with the hyperbole, but Moyer's next outing could be the most important in Phillies history. Everything will turn on this game. I don't want this to go back to Tampa.

I think too much is often made of how the crowd can affect a baseball game and be the 10th (or 11th) man.

But I'm very interested in seeing how the crowd affects the Phils and the Rays these next 3 games. Watching the previous home games -- and being there for one of them -- the crowds have been amazing, and have clearly rattled the opposition.

On the other hand, I wonder what would happen if the Phils go down early, or struggle again with RISP. Philly crowds certainly start to fret when things don't go their way, even if the game is winnable.

Regardless, I'm elated to see World Series baseball in my hometown. I certainly understand the stakes, but this Series becomes quite even more "real" for me tomorrow night.

CJ: No. I also thought Myers out-pitched Shields. So you're not the only one.

BTW, I definitely did not say that Hamels playoff performance has not been good enough to generate a WOW factor. If 4-0, 1.55 doesn't generate a WOW factor, I'm not sure what does. I was talking specifically about his Game 1 WS performance. GPG & I were debating whether or not these first 2 games have been boring (which, I admit, is about as ridiculous as debating the merits of apricot pie). GPG said Hamels' performance elevated Game 1 beyond the realm of boring. I said he really wasn't as sharp as in his other playoff games &, hence, his performance was not enough to elevate an otherwise boring game. But his performance in the playoffs as a whole, yeah, it definitely warrants a WOW.

I was so disgusted last night at both the lack of hitting and crappy umpiring, I went to bed after the Phils batted in the 6th inning.

>>I also think that the Rays pitchers might have trouble adjusting to pitching outdoor, late October night games in the Northeastern US. <<

If it's cold, I don't expect Ryan Howard to do much at the home park...remember April & May?

By the way, someone in the last thread said Cholly should bench Dobbs after his woeful performance last night. It's pretty clear that Dobbs was having immense trouble picking up the ball in the lighting/background of Tropicana Field. I would not hesitate for even a second to start him at CB Park; in fact, I would be fairly outraged if he doesn't start at third base on Saturday. If the series returns to Tampa, then I would think twice about starting him, although I would hope that, with another session or two of batting practice, he'll be able to adjust to Tropicana's conditions.

I also think Myers out-pitched Shields. In fact,t here has been little so far that has been impressive about the Rays. They were pretty dynamic against the Sox, but so far, not against the Phils.

@b_a_p
re: Apricot pie..It's all about the crust.

Did anyone else think that was the most pathetic display of baseball this entire year for the Phils? It's borderline embarrasing seeing Fox put up the RISP stuff and watching our guys continually fail. But not only fail, fail in a way a AA player would - embarrassingly. Forget getting a hit, we can't even get a sac fly or put the ball to the side of the infield it needs to go to!

Totally unrelated, but this 9=8 garbage is the least inspiring or interesting motivational tool I've ever heard. The only thing worse was hearing Jonny Gomes blather on about it.

Keystone Cops, these clowns.

C'mon J, he's blind, give him a break. He does his best. You're being sightist, you're better than that.

Myers pitched fine, though I'll hold up on saying he out-pitched Shields. He lost. He pitched pretty well, but one question.. where was the inside pitches? He claimed he was ready to throw inside against these guys.. I didn't see it happen. I would have loved it if he did.

I maintain the Phils lost, rather than the Rays won. They get no credit from me. We'll do better Saturday.. we couldn't possibly do any worse!

what does the 9=8 mean?

re: Werth defense

Earlier in the year, Werth and Victorino were fighting for the CF position, no? Is he really that overrated with the glove? I think he pulled a Howard in that his head was ahead of his body; both he and Howard to slow things down in general and let the game come to them. Howard's error mishandling the routine groundball in game 1 and Werth's error last night were both results of getting away from the basics of looking the ball into the mitt, planting, throwing, etc. They were like the RB or WR who's thinking about what move they're going to make before the ball hits their hands. Get the damn ball first.

I don't think the cold weather, and it will be COLD, is going to be advantageous for one team or another. The Rays performed really well in Boston in cold weather. If anything, it's the older Phils that may have a harder time playing in cold weather.

Shields, who has a lot of experience DHing, and has hit in the Trop before, should have been the DH. But that's 20/20 hindsight. I don't think anybody expected Dobbs to have that bad of a night; he usually makes solid contact but last night it was obvious he couldn't see the ball at all.

Did Michael Jack jinx Rollins by predicting he'd be the World Series MVP? It's as if Rollins is having trouble controlling his own intensity level, rather than being too tight, it looks as if he's overcompensating the knowledge that this is the World Series, and is trying to calm himself down. Whether it's baseball or something else, people can definitely get out of sorts in big moments; it happens to everyone. That said, the best way to get out of this out-of-body experience is just to focus on outcomes: getting on base, etc. Focus on the work at the center! It's nice to view things from the balcony every once in a while, but it's time to join the dancers on the stage Jimmy!

it means 9 guys can get one of the 8 playoff spots. it's pretty convoluted if you ask me, considering everyone on their team preaches the "25 guys" thing, like some of our players do.

Loctastic - I agree with you on the inside pitches. They showed Myers complaining after the Baldelli K/BB and he was saying he'd hit the inside corner. I'm pretty sure he hadn't. I'll give him credit for not imploding last night with the way things were going, and for his job handling Longoria, but he certainly was not attacking them inside.

redbeard: If 9 play together, they'll equal one of the 8 playoff spots. Immensly stupid.

bap: Ah... forgive me for jumping in late. In that context, Hamels' game 1 performance did not create a "Wow" game. I think for anyone outside of Philly and Tampa fans, these haven't been very exciting games.

9=8, at least the way they explained on the broadcast, means 9 player playing for 9 innings will lead to one of the 8 playoff spots.

9=8 is also an emoticon that represents a guy with glasses wearing a cap ontop of a mohawk.

I thought Myers did well, but what was with his curveball? Usually it's a serious 12-6 with little sideways movement. Was it the camera angle or what? It looked almost like a slider with a lot of sideways movement.

No way Dobbs starts with Moyer on the mound.

9=8 seems especially dumb for an AL club. Think about it... if a game goes our way (IE a Hamels complete game) we can actually use *9* players total the entire game.
Whereas the AL has the DH so they must play a minimum of 10 players. So if 9=8 which player are the Rays saying doesn't matter? I know I'm nitpicking here but it's a dumb slogan, made dumber by AL rules.

If anyone cares: I was just at the Modell's in the East Gate Shopping Center by the Cherry Hill Mall and they were selling NL Champs T-Shirts for $5, NL Champs hats for $5, NL Champs hooded sweatshirts for $15, NL Champs beer mugs and coffee cups for $5. Good way to stock up for friends and family...

I'm sorry, I meant Moorestown Mall, not Cherry Hill

This is a swing-from-your-heels team that doesn't do a good job of bunting, sacrificing, or moving the runner along.

Their offense can easily get mired in a deep and prolonged team-wide slump, as well as occasionally put up 10+ runs with no trouble.

They have decent defense, solid starting pitching, and an outstanding bullpen.

That's the formula they used to come from behind in September and win the division. It's how they got through two rounds of the playoffs so far. And it may be enough to win a World Series.

I've seen nothing from the Rays that makes me feel they are the vastly superior team. Then again, they are surely saying the same about us.

I know there's still baseball to play and soon enough we can chat all we want about the Hot Stove but Jon Heyman just wrote this on SI.com and its worth posting:

The Dodgers' intention to try to keep Ramirez to a short-term deal -- they're expected to make an initial offer of a two-year contract for about $55 million, perhaps a little bit more, as reported on SI.com Wednesday -- could leave an opening for one of a few other teams to try for Ramirez. And one of those clubs could be the Phillies, who would lock down baseball's best lineup by adding Manny to a batting order that already includes two MVPs.

The field may be somewhat limited for a 36-year-old player seeking a six-year deal for $25 million per, but potential Ramirez suitors include the Mets, Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles in addition to the Phillies, who may have two things going for them: 1) Manager Charlie Manuel was Ramirez's hitting coach in Cleveland, not that Manny ever needed a hitting coach, and 2) Stiff and streaky left fielder Pat Burrell, who is behind Manny in terms of defense and personality (not to mention hitting, of course), is also a free agent.

"Manny is one of the best offensive players in the game. There's probably thirty teams that would like to have Manny,'' Phillies assistant GM Ruben Amaro said. "A lot depends on where we stand on Pat Burrell. If Pat comes back, there's no need.''

The Phillies will occasionally try to knock one out of the park in free agency (see Jim Thome), and they may not pass up the chance to create a lineup that includes an awe-inspiring quartet of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Ramirez, which would rank among the best batting orders of all time. Burrell likes Philly enough to have enforced his no-trade clause when the Phillies tried to move him in the past and only showed interest in going to the Yankees or Red Sox, but what Amaro described as "brief'' discussions with him ended months ago, before his brutal second half. Amaro said, "We haven't made a decision one way or the other with Pat.''

8 playoff spots avail for an al team? wow, must be nice playing in the al, here in the nl we only have the oppourtunity to fill one of two spots.

that is the just silly. joe maddon is an overrated goof.

so does jenkis or stairs get the start vs garza?

redbeard: Neither. There is no DH in Game 3 and the OF will be Burrell, Victorino, Werth. Jenkins has like 5 ABs since August and Matt Stairs is not an OFer.

@bob -- it's interesting what you say about rollins intensity level. What I've noticed about Rollins leadoff homeruns in the playoffs and in the regular season, he often seems to have his wait properly on his back foot and hits the ball out like he's climbing out of a la-z-boy. Does that make sense?

I point to a moment in 2007. I want to say it was against Chuck James and the braves late in the season. The Phillies were already down 3 runs in the first. And Rollins was working the count. It was 2-1 or 3-1 and he CRUSHES a ball that was just foul.

I looked at him go back in the batter's box, and I thought to myself... this guy is going to take this next pitch deep. POW. Another home run.

If Rollins is relaxed at the plate, the game is different for him. We need that guy on Saturday.

im aware there is no dh in game 3 and id rather see jenkins in right than werth at this point, he looks lost. and i dont think stairs should start, was making a joke due to werths crappy play in right lately.

I find the big quote posters reminiscent of elementary school. Adults shouldn't need that kind of motivation. Let them post their own in their lockers if they feel the need.

JW- I'm glad you mentioned Ruiz at the top. He has been excellent in the series and I would say has been good for the playoffs as a whole. His handling of the staff has been great. It was nice to see Myers say that they changed the game plan during the game, I wish the Philly hitters could do the same. Aside from Carlos and Cole the whole team seems to be getting caught up in the moment and playing tentatively, just look at the swings.

Also, has anyone EVER seen a worse swing than Jayson Werth?

Rollins seems to be popping everything up this post season. What in his mechanics has changed? Most of the year it was ground ball after ground ball.

i dont htink werth is the player we can afford to grin and bear it with. jimmy/ryan, sure. but this is the world series and they cant waste time hoping werth (a borderline platoon player) will come around.

Joe L.- The pop-ups are due to his swing being to long. He can't get on top of the ball so instead of hitting the ball a little in front of the plate he's making contact late and the result is a pop-up.

redbeard: I can't imagine Jenkins getting any time in RF no matter how bad people think Werth is playing right now.

Jayson Werth has a .956 OPS in the 2 World Series games.

Since August 16th, Geoff Jenkins has started and finished one game and started just one other. He has just 12 ABs over that stretch. It would be criminal to give him a start in the World Series.

^weight... i have to edit my posts better. ugh.

I can't believe we're complaining about a guy who's set the franchise record for doubles in the postseason. Werth has a whopping EIGHT extra-base hits in 10 postseason games this year.

Really? Jayson Werth is the problem?

i hope im wrong, but i dont see werth doing anything against garza.

Often around the league you hear veterans like Jenkins crying when they dont get playing time. I know he expected to share time this year but he really has been on the bench and used hardly ever.
He and So T. seem like 2 wasted roster spots. Do they care?
Maybe they realize they aren't capable of gettin it done.

My post did not mean to say I have heard Jenkins complaining. Coz he hasnt.
Just curious what a guy like him and So T. are thinking right now when they see guys like Werth in front of them stinkin it up.

One thing we can say with certainty is that we're seeing the end of the Chris Coste era in Philadelphia, with Marson traveling with the team and Ruiz offering up a very good postseason. Although as clout and others have noted, Marson could use some help with his defense, I have to imagine he'll get some major league tutelage next year.

Werth basically won the RF job outright around August, and I don't think Cholly is going to change things now -- especially considering that Werth is 3 for 9 in the first 2 games of the series. Numbers can lie though. Those 2 doubles both came on excuse-me swings and, in clutch situations, Werth has been spectacularly bad throughout the entire post-season. I don't think Jenkins or Stairs are the answer, though. I think they just have to hope that Werth starts playing better.

Werth is not the problem, Werth vs RHP is the problem. We knew he sucked against righties so we spent 13million on a left handed OF bat, but turns out he sucks vs all pitching. Werth got hot and hit well in late summer, but overall he has alays sucked vs RHP. The error and baserunning just make the bad hitting even worse.

Will the travel day be scraped if there's a rainout? If not, Cole could start Game 7 on 3 days' rest.

I'm not ready to jump on any of the Phils just yet, including Werth, Dobbs, Rollins, or Burrell (who has done absolutely nothing also). Everyone always talks about sample size and then turns around and wants to make managerial decisions on the basis of two games.

From what I've seen so far, as a team the Phils have it and pitched better than the Rays. I was unimpressed by either of the Tampa's starters, and although their pen was strong in the first game, last night showed that Price isn't all he was cracked up to be.

I have been unimpressed by the Rays lineup also and I think that the Phils have hit better than Tampa.

On defense, both clubs have made some really poor plays - but the Phils have made more excellent plays.

My money is on the Phils. Basically, they have outperformed the Rays in their ballpark. The only reason why the Phils didn't win both games rather handily has been an inability to come through with men on base - and I think that is more a coincidence than any indicator that they're tight.

All this talks of getting hits w/ RISP. The thing that drives me absolutely crazy is when you have a runner on third w/ an out or less you don't need a bloody hit to score!! Its possible to ground out to 2/3 of the infield to score the frikkin run!!!

Someone tell them this please

You can also do what the Rays did - the suicide or safety squeeze. The squeeze play is the most underutilized strategy in the game, and I've never been able to figure out why. If you're willing to trade an out to advance the runner on the basepaths, why wouldn't a manager be willing ot trade an out to score a run? It makes no sense. I hope Cholly was watching Tampa's manager last night.

Myno~the Coste story is nice, and when he is good for the occasional timely hit. But I agree with you. If Marson can bring a big bat to spring training (and his last two seasons .288 in Clearwater and .314 in Reading suggest he will) we may not see Coste again unless it's in a Borders.

phlipper: I'm not a big proponent of handing outs to the opposing pitcher. Outs are the most valuable thing an offense has. Productive at bats can accomplish what a bunt does while also giving you the chance of getting on base without sacraficing an out.

PHIinBK, the worst was watching the offense squander men on base before Ryan Howard (i.e. Werth's boneheaded baserunning, etc.). Howard is the perfect guy to bringing home runners with groundouts because of they'll put the shift on. This happened at least twice, where instead of having men on for Howard, he was forced to lead off an inning - thus his double and rocket through the shift are worthless.

I do not know if this has been posted yet, and don't have a ton of free time to go through everything today, but a friend E-Mailed this to me and I had to share. This is how passionate Tampa Fans are for the World Series.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/oct/22/s6-baseball-primer/

Werth said he was worried about being forced out at 2nd. If the ball had bounced once and he was forced out we'd be killing him for that too. Think how much better a strikeout would have been in that spot...

I'm not a huge believer in predicting the outcome of a series by analyzing a couple games and trying to discern, independent of actual outcome, which team played better. Even if it were clear that we've played better than them, and you could make a very strong case that we've played terribly, so I don't think it's clear, that could just be those two games. We've been outplayed at times by the Nationals - can you infer anything from that? Of course not. Baseball's probably a tougher sport than any of them to predict, but the best predictions are based on numbers, pitching matchups, 30-day trends, not which team looks like it's playing marginally better.

From the Phillies:

The weather forecast for Saturday predicts a chance of rain for World Series Game 3. Although unlikely, should Game 3 be rained out the game will take place on Sunday night. Game 4, originally scheduled for Sunday, would be moved to Monday night. Monday’s original Game 5 would be moved to Tuesday night. Fans holding tickets to Games 3, 4 and/or 5 will follow the revised schedule.


Everybody sticks to their number game. Game 3 tickets stick with game 3 and so on.

So what happens if it rains hard enough to cause a rainout Monday night also?

How about this? Hamels goes in game 3 on Sunday, on three days rest. Myers goes in game 4 on Tuesday, on 4 days rest. Moyer in game 5 on Wednesday. Blanton in game 6 on Thursday. Hamels in game 7 on Friday, on 4 days rest (if needed, of course).

cj,

Except it should, in theory, be a lot easier to lay down a bunt than to get a groundout to the right side of the infield. A couple of squeeze plays last night and the Phillies could have been in a tied game with a better bullpen.

I agree completely with the belittling of Joe Maddon's bush league pep rally tactics. I'm also unimpressed with his managing. I can't fathom how he could possibly have the respect of his players. I'm not knocking him because he's 'different'; I'm knocking him because he strikes me as an insufferable dope. The kind of guy who thinks he's ahead of the curve by virtue of reading Lenny Dykstra's magazine on the plane.

phlipper:

What makes you think it's easier to lay down a bunt? The Angels may have lost the first round of the playoffs because of an inability to get a squeeze bunt down and Bartlett needed two attempts to get it right. He's lucky the first one didn't lead to a double play.

lets talk about the weather...
anyone else cheering for a rainout? that way hamels starts game 4 - myers ptiches at home for game 5

Ryan Howard has come to the plate four times with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the Series, and struck out all four times.

"It's not like I go up there and say, 'Hey, there's a runner in scoring position -- I think I'll strike out right now,'" Howard said. "It's part of the game, and it happens. Look at it how you want to look at it."

To those who think the Phils should just lay down bunts to score runners: have you seen anyone on this team lay down a successful bunt other than Hamels, Moyer or occasionally Victorino?

On a different topic, can someone explain to me why everyone is saying David Price pitched unbelievably well? I've read espn, mlb.com, you name it - they can't get enough of this kid.

I think he's a fantastic talent, I really do. And he did his job of getting the Rays the win last night. But personally I thought he looked very hittable, at least against Righties.

I'll concede that I think Utley, Howard, and any of the other lefties in the lineup probably won't touch Price, but every single other hitter got good swings against him. Think about it: Ruiz his a screamer down the line for a double, Werth hit a smash that Longoria misplayed (although it might have been called a hit), Price hit Jimmy in the 9th inning (albeit it wasn't called), and he gave up a home run to the gnome in the 8th.

He seemed to struggle mightily with his control, and only possesses two pitches - fastball and slider which, granted, might be good enough for him to win.

His line didn't look so bad - 2.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run. But if Werth's shot counted as a base-hit and the ump gets his head out of his a$$ and lets Jimmy take first, you're looking at a line of:
2+ IP, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 BB, 1 HBP. This, of course, doesn't even take into account another out that the Phils would have at their disposal if Jimmy was allowed to take first after being hit...

"It's not like I go up there and say, 'Hey, there's a runner in scoring position -- I think I'll strike out right now,'" Howard said.

Um, Ryan, it's not just with runners in scoring position.......

flipper: I saw it posted here or perhaps read it somewhere else but the record of pitchers pitching on 3 days rest in the post season is very poor over the past 20 years about a 33% win rate as I recall. Hamels will NOT pitch on 3 days rest, nor should he.

RSB: Agree with you 100% on Maddon's bush league pep rally rah-rah stuff, but disagree with this " I'm also unimpressed with his managing."

From what I've seen his lineups and in-game managing are excellent. His lineups make it tough for the opposing bullpen and his in-game decisions are sharp. Did I miss something?

Tray: "the best predictions are based on numbers, pitching matchups, 30-day trends, not which team looks like it's playing marginally better."

This is exactly right.

diggity: Here's what you have to keep in mind about Price: He's 23 and scary good. He's allowed 1 run in 4.2 IP in post-season. He was 1.93 ERA in 14 IP during regular season. He throws a 97 mph fastball and a hard-biting slider. His minor league numbers are 12-1, 2.30, 9K p/9. He is the best pitching prospect in baseball. If he stays healthy he'll move to the rotation and probably win a Cy Young somewhere along the line.

I can't believe so many folks here belittle Joe Maddon (and I, too, am a Phillies' fanatic). The guy is highly regarded in baseball circles. He was a longtime lieutenant of Mike Scoscia with the Angels; was interviewed by the Red Sox before Terry Francona was hired; he actively sought the Rays' job. He's been sensational with the Rays. Give the man his due. Different strokes work with different folks. I hear some of the Phillies are wearing "Why Can't Us?" T-shirts. That's cute. But not much different than 9=8. And, being a UCLA grad, how can I criticize a man smart enough to place quotes from the great John Wooden around the locker room? I thought Maddon's squeeze bunt(suicide and safety)was brilliant and caught the Phillies napping. That's smart managing. There's a reason he will be the unanimous AL Manager of the Year award winner: look what he did to that franchise: nearly 30 more victories over last year? Incredible.

I think Maddon is a pretty impressive manager and a class act all around. If his team weren't playing against the Phils, I'd be rooting for them all the way. However, my loyalties won't allow it. You done good, Joe; no get out of the way, we need a parade up here.

Your guys are young; they'll be back next year. Can't say I see the same happening to the Phils unless the Manny rumors are true and we pick up another stud pitcher.

Oh, and sign that Madson guy pronto. If they let Ryan out on the open market, he's gonna get snapped up quickly. Peter Gammons can't stop gushing about him, which makes me think the Red Sox have some interest. I've never seen Madson so locked in (and he looks fierce on the mound, too, like he wants to kill somebody).

clout: All that is true, but he's no Cy Young just yet. I think they hype is greater than the reality right now. I have little doubt he'll live up to the promise, but he's not there yet. I believe Maddon played with fire last night, but it worked out, so what can you say?

clout: playing the infield back with Carlos Ruiz up in Game 1 didn't strike me as the most brilliant of tactics. Neither did his absurdly exaggerated shift on Utley. Neither did his decision to start Ben Zonrist in the first game. Neither did his decision to leave an over-extended David Price in the game to face Jayson Werth. And then there was Maddon's brutal performance in Game 5 of the ALCS, if you really need me to itemize those blunders. Yes, the squeeze with Bartlett was a solid move. Bravo.

Gotta go with RSB here.

Jayson Werth was the tying run and he absolutely hammers LHP. In fact, no player in baseball had more HRs against lefties this year than Jayson Werth.

Grant Balfour should have pitched to Werth and then Howell could have been used for the lefties.

Had Manuel made a choice like that... BL would have savaged him.

Correction... he wasn't the tying run, he could get them within a run. But my point stands :-)

clout. I never thought for a minute that Cholly would start Hamels on three days rest. No doubt, for better or worse Cholly is going to stick with his standard policies all the way - particularly with Hamels, who it seems doesn't like to vary his routine.

But I'd do it in a heartbeat.

The Rays played good small ball last night. They manufactured their runs, something the Phils could not do. Through 18 innings the Phillies have had their leadoff batter on base 10 times resulting in only 2 runs!

RSB: Well, let's examine those moves. I'm not sure what the Ruiz thing is, but Uts didn't poke anything thru the left side so the shift hasn't backfired and in fact I saw at least one ball get caught that might've gopne thru without the shift. Zobrist started Game One because he was hot the last two weeks of the season and Baldelli is severely limited in how much he can play. Zobrist went 1 for 3. Leaving in Price to face Werth makes sense because if you pull him for Balfour, Cholly counters with Stairs and Uts and Howard follow. I'd rather take my chances with Price who is even tougher on lefties than Howell. I see nothing egregiously wrong with any of these moves. And he builds his lineups with the r-l-r-l factor in mind to thwart bullpens, unlike another manager we know.

clout: Really? You're going to declare Price tougher on lefties based on a 20 plate appearance sample? That must not be you behind that keyboard.

Werth vs. Price
Utley vs. Price
Howard vs. Price

OR

Stairs vs. Howell
Utley vs. Howell
Howard vs. Howell

That's an easy decision. Maddon got lucky. And it's hard to manufacture a defense based on Price's 20 PA sample.

My boss is taking me to Game 3 tomorrow and the Phils have never lost when he's been at a game, so...I'm hoping that holds true.

He's also going to Game 5, but that's Cole so it's not a stretch to say we should win that game.

I have to think that at some point the Phils put something together and start hitting with RISP. Rollins can't continue like this, can he? Will Moyer have as bad of a performance as his last 2 postseason starts? To some degree, I think Moyer was unlucky in his last start (balls that just barely squeaked by fielders, game of inches and all that); I look for him to rebound tomorrow night. You know this is what he's been waiting for his whole life.

phlipper: "The only reason why the Phils didn't win both games rather handily has been an inability to come through with men on base - and I think that is more a coincidence than any indicator that they're tight"


I would agree if the RISP woes were in one game, but two straight games of this and the fact that very few of these plate appearances resulted in even a hard hit ball would indicate to me that they are pressing.

HH:

Do you really think it isn't easier to get a decent bunt from a hitter than to get a ground ball to the right side that may, or may not get through? I don't think so. Sure, you can pop up a bunt - but I think you're much more likely to hit to the wrong side of the infield, strike out, or hit a pop up if you're swinging away.

When you're in a playoff game that you're expecting to be low scoring, I think small ball makes a lot more sense, and I just don't understand why more managers don't use the squeeze - the safety squeeze at least. How often have you seen a safety squeeze fail? I think the reason why it isn't used is because managers are playing for a bigger inning - but again, when you're in a low-scoring game, why not play more conservatively?

If the Phils had utilized the squeeze last night, I think it's highly probably they could have scored an additional two runs.

KoolEarl:

I guess it could be that they're pressing - but in reality, that is something that is just impossible to assess.

I just think that the ridiculously low average with RISB isn't likely to continue.

hitting is contagious. While the RISP is horrible the good news is our pitching has been there and our overall OBP is pretty good - good enough where we could easily be sitting at 2-0 if a few things were to swing our way. Regardless, it's a waste of time to get on guys with only 3 to 5 games left. I still think we win in six

not sure if anyone has addressed this.... Could the Phillies have played last nights game under protest based on the missed Rollins HBP?

Thanks.

clout: I guess you have a point that Manuel could have pinch-hit Stairs had Maddon gone to Balfour. Though it's anyone's guess whether Manuel would actually have done that. And the problem with CJ's scenario is that Maddon would not have been able to counter Stairs by replacing Balfour with Howell - being that a pitcher brought into a game has to face at least one hitter.

Playing the infield back with Ruiz hitting - the situation that resulted in the RBI ground out in Game 1 - can certainly be seen as egregious, however, especially since he had elected to play it in with Howard up earlier in the game. With all the scouting reports they've been poring over, no one knew that Ruiz frequently jams himself and hits nubbing grounders that infielders have to come in for? And as I said, my impression of his hunch-playing was intially soured by the lousy bullpen handling during the Red Sox' comeback game in the ALCS.

hey i think the phills did what they needed to do down there.. they always say your only in trouble once you have lost at home during the series and we took one down there... i just hope that moyer pitches well tomorrow and we can maybe have some runners on when we get some hits sat.

We split in TB like we all hoped would happen. You all know a bunch of you guys figured we would be down 2 at this point and would be ecstatic if you were told we'd go back to Philly 1-1. 2-0 should have happened but they played a horrid game and still almost won despite brutal umpiring. We play awesome at home and the Rays suck on the road. We can and should not need to go back to Tampa for game 6. It will come down to execution. If they execute, we'll all have a parade to talk about and go to.

That said, I won't post again till the game chat in 20 hours. Go Phillies!

We got the split that we all wanted but it was the way we lost game 2 that makes it bitter sweet. Just a couple of contact outs away from a 2-0 series. What really hurt was the choice of DH. I understand that Charlie likes Feliz's glove at third but his poor AB's gave him 8 LOB. Stairs is the pro DH, he knows that in some cases just making contact is more productive than working a walk. Dobbs should have been at third and Feliz on the bench for this one.

The way this game played out for the Phils is similar to the way they had played during the 5 week mid-season slump. Good pitching and poor situational hitting. When Pat and Jimmy go down so do the Phils. I'm still optimistic for a series win but next year I'd like to see some dreadlocks in left field.

Good morning, and might I add...

Happy Birthday to me!

I am hoping for something special from PopPop and J. Roll. It's the least they could do.

In other news, I think it's stupid to ask for a bunt from a guy who can hit.

Have a great day, and Go Go Go Phils!!!

Yo, new thread.

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