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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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I was born in Hazelton. After the recent political embarrassments coming out of that city, it's nice to see it getting some decent pub.

That said, I hope the Phils crush the Rays Nation.

I tend to root for the underdog. Being a Phils fan will do that.

Being the underdog has worked for us all year. Why change now?

Kruk and Steve Philips just picked the Phils over the Rays on BBTN.

I know Krukkie picked the Dodgers in the NLCS and look how that turned out.

And if you listened to Philips talk during the show, it was a huge surprise that he actually went with the Phillies. He's putting all his chips behind Lidge.

That said, being the underdog to beat hasn't hurt the Phils one bit. Why not us?

Tomorrow at this time I will be watching the Phillies in the World Series.

This is gonna be fun. I can't tell who is favorite or underdog. It doesn't seen to matter to either team. It's gonna be a fun one.

So very tempted to say "I wish that was the electoral map" but no politics right now...baseball starts in less than 24 hours!

The Rays are a nice story. SMall payroll, young players, rising stars, etc. But, you can't discount the FACT that most of the country dislikes Philadelphia and its denizens. Hell, most of hte state of Pennsylvania (geographically) hates Philadelphia.

This week has gone so slow!

JW, where is the countdown to the WS clock?

I don't think you can assume that the people who pick the Rays are rooting for them. Rather, they're realistic, while people in the tristate area are being blinded by their loyalties.


I am quite happy with the Phillies being the under-the-radar team that just keeps on winning

Well, then I guess Kruk, Phillips (long-time Phils fan all right), and Gammons are being blinded by their loyalties as well, as they are all picking the Phils.

Look: I don't know the outcome of what this series is going to be. All I know is that I see two fairly evenly matched teams who, with any hope, will play a great WS this week. Both teams have strengths and weaknesses; just hope the Phils long layoff doesn't disrupt their offensive momentum.

With my wife being a Sawx fan, I've been in an incubator of Rays-hate for the past week, so I kind of DO hate them. Not natural, just osmosis. But I end up hating ANY team the Phils are playing if they so much as score a run. It's just how I roll.

GO PHILLIES!

I grew up in Mountain Top, which is only 10 miles from Hazelton. And I took some classes at Penn State Hazelton. It's nice to see something positive come out of there, I do remember some good high school baseball teams.

During the season, Tampa Bay enjoyed a huge homefield advantage playing in a dome on artificial grass. Yet they were merely a .500 team on the road and a .500 team against LHPs, none of whom were Cole Hamels. The importance of getting a win in game #1 cannot be overstated. Hamels effectively neutralizes the Rays homefield advantage in game #1. The Phils are not going to win the Series if they do not get at least one win in the first home set at Tampa Bay. Getting game #1 will go a long way towards reducing the pressure on Brett Myers, and maybe a more effective Myers will bring his "A" game. Two wins in the first two games, and the Rays can kiss it goodbye.

The whole World (except us) is pulling for the Rays. If we didn't have a rooting interest, most of us would probably be cheering for them, too. "Worst to First" is a compelling story in any sport. Well World, you're going to be disappointed. The fans of Philadelphia will be the ones watching a parade.

And one other thing: Laugh at me if you like, but one of the guys who will come through with a big hit to help get us over the hump will be everyone's favorite Phillie, So Taguchi.

Harv, the Rays fans will be watching the parade.

The Phils fans will be marching in it.

Hitman - I'm sympathetic with your analysis. Taking at least 1 of 2 in TB gives the Phils the edge with 3 of the remaining 5 in PHI ( with LHP Moyer starting game 3 and Hamels starting game 5.)

It's hard to classify Hamels with other LHP, though, as we've seen.

Career

RHB: .230/.280/.391 -- 408/113, SO/BB
LHB: .246/.301/.441 -- 110/31, SO/BB

Kazmir career

RHB: .251/.343/.416 -- 613/283
LHB: .212/.271/.303 -- 170/49

Home: .230/.319/.362
Away: .254/.336/.418

how ironic, i am in tampa this week (largo actually) on a project, and will be here for a few more weeks. i need to find a place to go to watch the game...need some help here.

crazy that i am in tampa, but i will say this, tampa fans have been great. they are just plain excited to be in the WS, its nice to see...

The other thing to factor into your analysis, HHH, is that after game 1 the Rays throw 3 straight RHP at the Phils.

This is all very broad thinking, however. To continue on that path, the Rays are in a better division and beat better teams to get here. Hamels needs to come up big. if only he could pitch game 4.

Masterlock: Sorry to hear you're in Largo...that's one of the lamer places in the Bay area. I'm sure there are some Philly bars somewhere over there but I don't hang out on that side of the bay too often.

My best guess would be a couple of the bars around the stadium in Clearwater. I'd try the Tilted Kilt because at the very least they have hot waitresses.

I won't be out at any bars because I managed to finagle tickets to Games 1 and 2 (hooray me!), but you should have a good time. Rays fans are generally inoffensive, mostly because they don't know what the hell is going on. Some of them probably didn't know the had a team 3 months ago.

Jason:

Re: Hello? Is there anybody there?

I'm here. I provide (what I think is) great commentary, despite being a "Phillies cog," as some people told me.

Maybe people only log in and provide comment when they have something to complain about. Right now, there isn't much to complain about.

Maybe you are the blog that caters to the underbelly of Philly Phandom, an attitude that, right now, is in sell mode.

Take a bright outlook on the Phillies, maybe be a "Phillies cog," at times. Don't automatically accept the knee jerk reaction in May when, seriously, it is a long season. The "it's a long season" part isn't cliche. What other major sports enterprise plays 162 games, nearly every day?

You seemed to be screaming for a "big picture" response, and that's what you got from me. Take it for the what it's worth.

Let's get some serious talk happening.

Hamels vs Kazmir. The 17th player selected in the 2002 Amateur Draft, versus the 15th player selected in the same draft. Same age, both selected out of high school.

Who is the better pitcher?

And please, people, don't let the fact that Kazmir was drafted by The Mutts muddle your objectivity.

Hamels by a nose, though Kazmir has a few more years.

Still having a feeling it will be a Series marked by the long ball in particular and that is if Phils haven't clinched by Game 5 that they won't win it because of the pitching match ups in Game 6 & 7..

Squonk - Over the next few years, I don't know who will be the better pitcher because Kazmir has slightly better stuff than Hamels but Hamels has better control/consistency.

What matters now though is that Hamels is better pitcher right now and has had been stuff over the past few weeks. Surprised that their hasn't been more attention paid to Kazmir's mixed performance in the postseason so far and the slight drop in his velocity on this fastball.

There are only things that concern me about tomorrow night about Hamels:

1. Hamels very much seems to be a guy who prefers a pretty set physical routine and I don't know if the layoff/additional rest effects him. I bet it does initially but if the Rays don't get to him early Hamels will settle in and dominate.

2. Given that the Phils' hitters are likely going to largely struggle tomorrow night for several reasons (long lay-off, difficulty in picking up the ball in this park, Kazmir negating Howard, and the weak DH tomorrow night), I could see it being one of those games that is close and tight late in which Hamels gives up a HR late when he is fatigued by hanging a changeup.

Most interesting matchup tomorrow night is Kazmir's slider vs. Howard and Utley.

I will be stunned if Howard (and Utley to a lesser degree) hardly sees any fastballs in his first AB or two and is exposed to a steady diet of sliders away especially since Kazmir's fastball has been more around 91-92 lately with occasional bouts of wildness.

If the slider doesn't have the bit/late-action it needs tomorrow night and Howard can actually show some decent plate discipline (which he hasn't almost all year against LHP and their offspeed stuff), then I see a good night for the Phils.

im a little disappointed in hawaii here. i thought they would have shane's back

MG: I am thinking "on and off" long ball and small ball. Philies in 6 games.

Game 1: Hamels shuts down everyone, and Charlie, surprisingly, lets Hamels go the distance. Howard wakes up and smacks two. Runaway Phillies win. 1-0 Phils.

Game 2: A total fiasco for both teams, but TB wins. Myers shows his playoff bat, going 2-3, but... Bet the "over" if the O/U is anything less than 6. Messy game. 1-1 tie.

Game 3: Moyer teaches TB lessons about how not to hit. Soft toss does well against overanxious young hitters in a ballpark where they supposedly can hit home runs at will. This game, if any, is the gimme. 2-1 Phils.

Game 4: Blanton throws a great game, but Longoria plants one in Ashburn Alley. Maybe beyond. 2-2 tie.

Game 5: Hamels pitches the second no-hitter in World's Series history. 3-2 Phillies. (OK, I am a bit off my rocker here, but...)

Game 6: Myers pitches a complete game, 16-4 blowout. We again see scenes of Ruiz hugging Myers. No matter how disturbing that is. Phillies win the fourth game.

Of course, reality will mix and match what I wrote, but let's see...

MG: I ain't talking about "the next few years," I am talking about tomorrow.

(I know, I am a bit blindsiding you with 'the big picture' when tomorrow is really what we need to worry about. But...)

Who will show up tomorrow HOF Hamels or HOF Kazmir. And if both show up, what's the result?

No split-hair discussion accepted. Tell us what you think.

MG: In all seriousness? Hamels is better suited to producing in the playoffs.

I like the Phillies approach. "It's still baseball."

Squonk - Tight game but Hamels ultimately is better and Madson/Lidge drop the hammer on the Rays late to preserve the win.

Nutbag: I have Shane's back. I'll even negotiate an out-of town escort to keep him happy.

I mean, what does he love? The chubby Filipina (sp?) type? I can make that happen, so long as it makes Vic happy. Fulfilled.

Honestly Squonk your posts have actually grown on me because I actually think you have become a bit more grounded on discussing the Phils with an interesting slant instead of just completely being in LF.

Only thing I want in TB is a split. Phils do that and come back to Philly for Game 3 and they will be in good shape.

Kazmir's been shaky of late. Taking Hamels over him in their matchups is the easiest thing to call about this series. Half of Kazmir's outings he throws a hundred pitches in five innings or less. Really, take a look at his game logs.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl.cgi?n1=kazmisc01&t=p&year=2008

However, Game 2 is almost as easy to call. Shields has a 2.59 home ERA. Myers's road ERA? 6.21. Hasn't pitched on the road during this postseason yet. Then there's Game 3. Did you know that Moyer is decidedly worse at home than on the road? 4.61 home ERA. Hitters hit .294 against. Garza struggled this season on the road, but given their recent performances, I'll have to favor Garza. In a 2-1 hole, Blanton outpitches Sonnanstine, and things are evened up. Hamels beats Kazmir again, and we're ahead. But we go back to Tampa and lose to Shields and Garza again, and Tampa wins in 7.

Actually though, what will really happen is that, in one of the Hamels-Kazmir matchups, Hamels goes 7, allows 2, while Kazmir leaves after the fifth inning having only given up a run on 117 pitches. Then, the Tampa bullpen will hold us down, including a perfect, 3-strikeout inning from Price, and we lose in 6.

MG: It is great that you, the pessimist, ad me, the "Phillies cog," can debate things. I think we are both on the same "big picture" wavelength, but it's nearly 1:00 and I need to work tomorrow.

You know you have my respect. We might be two different cogs on the same wheel at times, but we both love our Phillies.

Good night folks. And PLEASE don't post a "stopper" when what we need is something to keep the thread going.

Tray - Kind of the way I feel. Phils need another starter besides Hamels to step up this series. I just don't know how that guy is and crazy as it sounds I have less confidence in Myers in Game 2 than I do in Kentucky Joe.

Well MG, given that Myers is horrible on the road, and Moyer's been very good on the road this season, wouldn't it make some sense to switch the two around? I mean, Moyer's got a 1.97 career ERA in Tropicana. Granted, it's just 6 starts, but we know he's not that good in the Zen over a much larger sample size. Another bonus about that - instead of hitting Moyer in Game 3, you're using Myers's hot bat. So there's a lot to be said for that switch.

MG: In all honesty, I am nothing but love for anyone who loves my Phillies. Just don't get THAT close.

I'll wrap my creds if you really need to knwo them. In short, college umpire..think Doug Glanville. HS umpire...think Mike Piazza. NCAA problem becaused my yearbook published a photo of me umpiring a game when one team was wearing my school's uniform... Unacceptable, but dismissed. Girlfriend? Ummm... I wouldn't exactly call Mike Socia's cousins, MB or S, my girlfriends. But I did see Mike Soscia put a hole in the back of the football press box at Sun Valley. They have since repaired the hole, but really.

I have done a lot of been there, done that when it comes to baseball. Which is, maybe, why I like this team. Workmanlike.

As Peter Gabriel once wrote in his songs, "I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands. He smiles, and you know he understands."

I feel this same way about the Phils.

Tray - That frankly is one of the more interesting and compelling points I have heard all week and guaranteed to get almost no consideration from the Phils unfortunately.

Yeah, that's why I find Charlie frustrating. Here's a guy who probably never looks at the numbers (unless it's some BS number like Feliz lifetime is 2 for 2 off Mariano Rivera in interleague games, so let's send him out there to face Mariano), he just says to himself, "Brett Myers is our second most talented pitcher, ergo, he should get the ball in all Game 2s."

There is some interesting dichotomies to this Series:

- An older team (Phils) vs. an older team (Rays)
- A team with the best individual players (Phils) vs. a better overall team (Rays)
- A manager who plays hunches at times but is oddly slavish to "managing traditionally" in a bunch of situations (e.g., sac bunts, bullpen order) (Phils) vs. a manager who plays hunches too but bases them more on using the best talent or numbers and not going with the conventional baseball wisdom (Rays).

Meant younger team for the Rays. Duh.

After reading this post I decided to do a poll of my own at practice today. Here in my part of Australia the Phils are tipped to win. 14 out of 20 people from the ball club I play for said the Phillies. Maybe they didn't want to disappoint me because they know how much I dig the Phils but hey they said what they said so make a map of Oz blue. I also mentioned they were the underdogs. That always helps because Aussies love an underdog.

Go Phils!!!!!

As Tray mentioned Kazmir often doesn't go very deep in a game. 100 pitches 5 innings all too often. Hamels can go deep and will because he's a Phil and the Phils do it better.

Why can't us, ya gotta believe?

I understand the rooting for the Rays too, as I've been pulling for them all season in the AL. Hell, I've been pulling for them since their 3rd season when it was evident they sucked and were in a dismal situation in the AL East with the hated BoSox and Yanks. However, I find it peculiar that only 3 states favor the Phils. I would think at least Hawaii, Victorino's homeland, would give the Phils the victorious nod. Whatever though, it doesn't matter because the games start tonight and that's what really matters.

By the way Weitzel, have the playoffs given a major boost to your page hits? I've seen a boom on WSBGM's.

Frank Deford on NPR: "Red Sox fans are a nation, Cubs fans are a support group, Phillies fans are a pandemic."

This came from another typical "phillies fans" story, but I do like that line.

i've pulled for the rays as "my AL team" since the 4 years i lived in the tampa area and got zilch for it, except a couple visits to the worst stadium in baseball, with the worst food in baseball, to see the worst team in baseball. funny that their talent finally started to crest after i moved back to philly. anyway, i rooted for them all year out of the AL, first because i lived there but also because of the great underdog vs the mr moneybags teams of the AL east story. it's easy to see why others feel the same.

but, obviously, i'm done with that until april.

phils in 6 behind one last hurrah for the old man.

Good Morning.

I like the bathtubhippo outlook. Gotta be bullish on something.

Go Phillies!

47 states pick the Rays to win. That's fine. We don't have to share our Phils with the rest of the country. It's us versus them. I think all the bandwagoneers have jumped on the Rays simply because the stories being run in the nation media favor the Rays 10 to 1. So the sheeple in the rest of the country will just follow along with what the media tells them.

But we know better.

Go Phils!

Myers Road splits Before minor leagues: 0-6 8.81 ERA

Road splits after minors: 3-2 4.09 ERA, and if you take out the Marlins 10ER game, its 3-1 2.25 ERA

So Myers on the road isnt horrible, its just that you're taking his pre-send down numbers in account, which are all horrible.

Looking at the pitching matchups, assuming form holds, the Phillies win games 1 and 4 behind Hamels and Blanton, while losing games 2 and 3 where Shields and Garza are clearly better than Myers and Moyer.

As evenly matched as these teams are, a 2-2 split sounds about right.

thephaithful: yes if you take out the bad games, his road splits are pretty good. Heck, take out the bad games and So Taguchi looks pretty good.

clout: I'm not convinced that Game 3 swings the Rays way. Moyer is intriguing if form holds and he handles the Rays the same way he handles the Marlins. I see similarities between the young agressive hitters of the Marlins and the Rays. Plus the weather may be a factor on Saturday - advantage Moyer. Also, Garza has already given the Phils some stuff for their bulletin board. He'd better bring extra cotton balls to stuff in his ears.

This could set up a 3-1 Phils advantage heading into Game 5 with Hamels on the mound at the Bank.

UD Hens: Re: Aggressive hitters

Marlins OBP: .326
Rays OBP: .340

BIG difference!

P.S. Phillies OBP is .332, thus they are less patient than the Rays. Phils were 7th in the NL, Rays 4th in the AL.

Clout, are you feeling okay today? You managed to post twice in a row without personally insulting someone or boring everyone with meaningless statistical information.

While I agree with rating the Phils chances to win each game based upon who the starting pitchers are...need we mention CC, Lowe, and Billingsly? The better pitcher doesn't always mean an automatic victory, give the Phils lineup some credit.

I read Squonk's game by game predictions. I think it's going to be like the last two series. We win the first two, then lose one, get mad and win the next two.

clout: 3-2 4.09 ERA 36K/12BB in 7 starts looks OK to me. Taking out his first half is definitely reasonable they awy he did a complete 180º this season.

The point was that Myers isn't such a different person on the road as the full season stats might consider.

clout: What is the Rays OBP if you take out the DH and plug in the pitcher in the 9th spot? Also consider their road splits, hostile crowd at CBP in cold wet weather.

Rally at City Hall at noon - anyone else making it down?

Ribbies: Thanks for the deFord quote. I like being a pandemic.

I am surprised by the map. I woulda thought that Massachusetts might poll for us, too. And what about ND? We know that there's at least two (one by marriage of course) Phans tere, but how can there be any Rays fans there?

I think Nate Silver should look into ESPN's polling methodology.

My love for this Phils team eclipses my admiration for what TB did this year.

I am already tired of hearing that they are "the most amazing accomplishment in the history of baseball"

I will not let myself forget that :
i hate florida baseball teams.
i hate astroterf
i hate domes
I hate all the hype on this TB team !


I just hope our boys put up a Phight and dont go out 4-0!!!!

GO PHILS!

Nate Silver was involved in a debate at UChicago law school on Monday on prediction markets and the election. Someone asked him who'd win the WS and he said the Rays.

Man that Matt Garza really sounds like a D-bag.
I don't know if any ballplayer needs extra motivation this time of year, but it can't hurt the Phils' hitters to get a little kick in the ass prior to the biggest series of their lives.

I think ESPN subcontracts their national poll taking to ACORN. That's the only way to explain that map!

Yeah, I as wondering about ND, too. If you count me and my spouse and DavThom (and spouse?) and Chris Coste's family and my friends, that seem to me like a pretty sustantial portion of our population...

Why Can't Us Have a New Thread?

Thanks Steve Jeltz...Might check out the Tilted Kilt, and someone here mentioned The Pier? Am I going to get slammed in stadium traffic heading over that way?

Go Phils, and pray for me, Phils fan in a Tampa bar tonight!!!

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