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Thursday, October 16, 2008


I just had a quick comment on the pitching rotation for the next series. Clearly Cole is pitching games 1 and 5. For game 2 and 6, I assume Myers is pitching, with Moyer pitching 3 and maybe 7 and Blanton pitching 4 and maybe 7. I feel like I would rather switch Myers and Moyer. Myers has been much better at home this year, and he would also be in line to pitch a possible game 7, which I would prefer to having either Moyer or Blanton pitching.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Your 2008 American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays A home run derby has broken out at Fenway Park.

Rays are looking mighty good. I'm going to subscribe to the theory that the Sox are just worn down and hurt. Right?

I just think that the Rays are the younger, more talented team. That's what happens when you stockpile top draft picks for six years.

Should be a competitive, fun - to - watch series....

re:pitching rotation. Said this a couple threads back, but they should give some consideration to starting Myers in Gm 1 if they really think Hamels can't give them a start on 3 days rest. If that's the case then you have:

as opposed to

In the first scenario, you get the ball in your two best pitchers' hands in 5 out of 7 games, as opposed to just 4 out of 7.

If Hamels actually can start on 3 days rest (and it wouldn't shock me if he could in the WS), obviously you start Hamels gm 1 and see if you need him in 4 or whether he can get stretched to 5.

Re: Tampa. I can't imagine a layoff will be good for them right now either, hot as they are...

Well, this has all been very nice, but I don't see anyone getting in Tampa's way this year. If people didn't favor the Phillies against LA, they're going to give them zero chance against TB. And I hate to say it, but this time it'll be understandable. The Rays are easily the superior team. I think the Phils will be lucky to win 2 games.

Yeah, I know, Negadelphia.

The Rays are reminiscent of last year's Rockies. They are on an incredible hot streak right now but incredible hot streaks usually end with hard crash landings -- which is exactly what happened with last year's Rockies. After the 6 day break, I look forward to watching these guys' reversion to season norms.

Weitzel is spot on with the Madson observation.
Even Joe Buck was gushing about his uber- fastball.

Midre - I responded, earlier, that there was merit to your way of thinking - particularly with getting Myers that start at home. My main problem, however, is using Myers on short rest. When he was used after 3 days, he did well, but then was burned out. If he pitches game 4 on short rest, he would not be dependable for game 7.

It is, of course, academic, since Chollie is not one to change his habits easily.

Jason, the youth versus old age angle is interesting. Usually, with regard to pitchers, you start thinking that younger pitchers cannot pile them on as reliably as older ones. (How many times have we heard someone worry about the number of IPs covered by Cole, for instance?) With younger position players, you might think fresh arms and legs are an advantage, too. But what happened to all those kids in LA? Martin, Ethier, Kemp? They all looked tight and over-matched. The Phils who kicked them to the curb (Gosh, I love that expression), are mostly around 28 -31. I am still optimistic about Jamie Moyer's chances against the Rays' youngsters.

Yeah, also, I too love the 95-97 mph Ryan Madson.

RSB: Disagree completely. Guys like Upton and Longoria are going to be very good players, but they are not great players now. This is just a case of a bunch of players on the same team getting incredibly hot at the same time. In my last post, I compared it to the 2007 Rockies. Another comparison would be the 2008 Phillies, during that 2-week stretch where they had the 2 20-run games and averaged like 8 runs a game. That streak, of course, ended with a loud thud -- a 2-month cold spell in which they couldn't hit at all. That's how I expect this Rays streak to end too. The 6 off days will cool them off big time. It will be fun to watch it happen, as I'm getting pretty sick of all the hype about this team.

Andy--true, hadn't thought about the gm 7 Myers. The Gm 4 Myers is appealing, but Gm7 not so much I guess.

Madson's fastball had so much jump on it I feared we'd be discussing whether he was artificially enhanced as I saw on this site when Delgado turned it around. Fortunately, his face still looks angular and Ichabod Crane-ish, not at all puffy. :)

I think BAP's comparison of the Rays to last year's Rockies is spot on. I think the long layoff will hurt them more than the Phils.

But haven't the Rays been in 1st place of the AL East all year?

BAP: I'm not basing my prognostication on how hot the Rays are now. If you want to talk about 'season norms', they've been a superior team to Philadelphia all season. Colorado was an average team that suddenly got hot in Sept./Oct. last year. Not so with Tampa. They've been hot since Spring Training. I don't buy the idea that they're going to come back next week like they haven't played in four months. Just because the layoff killed the Rockies' momentum last year doesn't mean it's going to turn every team back into a nonentity. (I also don't buy your argument that Longoria isn't a great player right now.) They have a better team than the Phillies in every aspect except the back end of the bullpen. Having Kazmir pitch this strongly just gives them that much more dimension heading into the WS.

It's going to be a rather long break until Wednesday. Moyer vs. Tampa would be interesting, but I just can't see young Tampa being anything close to young Nationals. Good point about the Dodgers young players.

If you're a little kid living in South Dakota with no geographic ties to a Major League team, do yourself a favor and pick Tampa.

RSB, didn't you, after the Phils' loss in the Brewers series, call the team "post-season frauds?" Your track record of doomsday prophecies isn't exactly flawless.

I'd calm down and enjoy this week. The Phils are very capable of winning against Tampa.

Iceman: I realize it sounds like I'm not enjoying this. I am, believe me. But this team has already exceeded my loftiest expectations. I didn't think they'd get past the LCS. I'm ecstatic that they did. If I'd been around to post during the last two games, that would have come through. I'm not going to spend the week adamantly arguing that the Phillies have no chance, but...their opponents in the first two rounds were nothing like Tampa Bay.

And anyone who was a little upset after that Game 3 of the DS has to be somewhat forgiven for overstatement. That was a wretched game.

BAP: I'll cross-reference the James Shields pitching on Saturdays data with his biorhythm info....

Shields has pitched one game at CBP, 6IP, 3ER, en route to picking up the win. Regardless, his data from 2006 through the present shows that his road/home split is significant.

This Rays team is way too comfortable at the plate. They will need to be pitched inside quite a bit.

For what it's worth, Tampa's outscored their opponents in the postseason 57-28. As for us, our postseason run differential's 40-29. Both over 9 games. In the regular season, though, our run differential was a little better, and we scored 25 more runs - on 34 more home runs. Which is to say, we're a much more homer-dependent team. Their team OBP is .340 to our .332. In the postseason, the gap's been bigger - .354 to our .335. Bottom line: they're hitting a lot better than us right now, obviously, but they could cool down - that said, they're not last year's Rockies, and their offense is probably harder to hold down than ours.

From Last Thread:

TBS just interviewed Chuck Lamar. Hes the Phillies' director of professional scouting. Hes there scouting the Rays/Boston. He said if the Rays win, the Phils will have their hands full with them. They are a very balanced team, those are his words.

Wasn't LaMar their GM until recently? If so, I'd be shocked if he said anything negative about his past employer.

It could go either way. I said that about the Dodgers series and I think the same holds true for the Rays as well. They've been on fire the last 4 games but I was at Game 1 of Rays-Sox and they absolutely laid an egg in that game against Dice-K. They're capable of doing that again, especially against a top tier pitcher they haven't seen much of like Cole.

The key is going to be winning Game 2. Assuming they go Shields/Kazmir/Garza, Kazmir is the guy they have to beat. He's looked great tonight, but that's his first good start in awhile. He's also pitching hurt. The problem, of course, is that he's a lefty.

The worst mismatch pitching-wise is Garza vs. Moyer/Blanton. I think Moyer may have better success against a younger team that hasn't seen much of him. And he's overdue for a good start. But who knows who these things will pan out.

The guy who may be the Rays secret weapon has to be David Price. A lefty with a 97 mph heater and a devastating slider that they've never seen before? He could be killer in the 6th/7th innings. It would help if Cholly would split Utley and Howard to try to neutralize him, but I'm not hopeful that will happen.

Well, he's certainly not going to start naming weaknesses of the Rays that they can go toss on the bulletin board.

The other thing is that this is the World Series, everything is going to be shades of good or really good. Any kind of scouting report is going to have to focus on how to best minimize opponent strengths rather than hope an opponent has weaknesses.

Also from last thread:

Perhaps we could get a dedicated, out of towners World Series meetup thread sometime before Game 1 to organize?

Reading that back I should clarify: I think Garza vs.Moyer/Blanton is a mismatch in the Rays favor. It didn't seem to read that way.

But (even though he's a lefty), the guy I think they really need to beat is Kazmir.

These Rays are good, but I find myself falling in between RSB and BAP. I think some things the Phils have going for them:

1. The Sox and Rays know each other far too well; considering how familiar the Rays are with the Sox pitching, it's not surprising that they're exploding right now offensively.

2. The Rays have not faced a pitcher as good as Cole Hamels this postseason.

3. The Dodgers hit Moyer well; in the Brewers game, Jamie was OK -- definitely struggled, but regained his footing. I think the Dodgers have a lot of AL flavor, so it's not shocking to me that they know how to hit Moyer. The Rays might be able to as well, but I think he'll have a fighting chance.

4. One of the best road teams in baseball -- I like their chances of coming home with a split.

There are points you can make in the Rays' favor as well. But these are some of the things that have me up about the Phils' chances.

I wasn't insinuating that his interview meant the Rays are out of this world, just passing along the info.

"1. The Sox and Rays know each other far too well; considering how familiar the Rays are with the Sox pitching, it's not surprising that they're exploding right now offensively."

I think this is a great point. They had an intense season series that the Rays had a slight advantage on. Then, take into account no more Manny, injured Beckett leaving the Sox with no ace, and the Rays just blew the doors off.

The Rays' bullpen is filled with good arms. David Price was previously mentioned. They also have Balfour and Howell who are equally good against righties and lefties. They haven't used Price a lot this postseason. As I'm typing this, Ortiz just hit a monster off Balfour.


Don't book your trip to Tampa just yet...

TB just brought in Wheeler. I'm guessing they want a 7 save out of him, unless they're planning on using someone else in the 9th.

I meant 7 out save.

That pitch by Balfour to Ortiz was Broxton-esque.

this tbs broadcast kills the joke that fox puts out. pregame to color to play by play, all considerably better and more enjoyable.

redbeard: I agree 100%. I thought the same of the Phils/Brewers TBS series.

WOW. 7-6 Rays.

woah 7-6.

Ooh, boy. Here we go. Hold onto your hats, Chowdah Heads.

TBS sound like adults, the FOX guys are delusional children.

I still hate JD Drew.

Hah, the fan with the "I like Baseball!" sign.

Looks like the Beerleaguer jinx extends to the ALCS.

I don't know about delusional children. More like dumb old grumpy men with no personality.

I call this guy Wheeler "Squirell," because he looks like he's washing the ball in his mitt before he throws it. He cracks me up.

Anyway, Squirrel does not have it tonight. Sox need to take more pitches.

Tampa still has a big edge in the series with Shields going at home in game 6, but it sure would make for good baseball theatre if the Sox win this one and can somehow scratch a win out in game 6.

Wow, what an AB by Coco(a?)


Tie game!

Not only is it good baseball theatre as Mike put it, it could be good news for the Phils. If this goes 6, Sheilds would presumably be unavailable for Game 1.

Why did Maddon leave Squirrel out there so long? He clearly didn't have it tonight.

Why wouldn't you want to win tonight if you have the game within your grasp?

that was a PHILLIES like comeback by the Sox there.

Amazing game at Fenway

Good question, doubleh. Surely there's more than three guys in that TB bullpen. Maddon sure didn't waste any time in yanking Kazmir out of there. That move singlehandedly gave the Sox new life.

I think Maddon has spent too much time reading is press clippings lately. He may end up outsmarting himself.

If Maddon is thinking it's OK, it's just one game--we can clinch in front of our home fans--that's dangerous thinking, especially with a team like the Sox.

I mean, you could tell from the leadoff batter, Wheeler didn't have his stuff.

is = his

Damn typos have been killing me tonight.

The Sox are proving why you can never give them even a glimmer of hope no matter how small. These guys never stop battling. Which scenario is better for the Phillies?

A Rays team who wins tonight and gets to rest their squad and set up their WS pitching match ups.

A BoSox team that wins 3 straight and has major mojo going into the WS.

A Rays team that struggles after a devastating comeback loss in game 5 for two games before putting away the '07 WS Champs, having them believe that they are destined for big things too.

Truthfully, I would love for this ALCS to go 7 games. Either team will be very tough to beat and makes me nervous just thinking about it.

Longoria channeling Furcal on that throw. This is a great game!

longoria has been picking balls like that with ease all season.

Yeah, but not in games as important as this one.

Mack: I think the longer this series goes the better. It gives the Phillies more opportunities to scout potential weaknesses with either team. If the series goes 7 with the Rays eventually winning, the Red Sox will surely have given the Phillies a few extra notes on how to get an edge on the Rays.

See you in Tampa. For game 6 of the ALCS that is.

Wow, what an ending here in Boston.

How the HELL can Tampa have just let that happen. That is madness.

Woo, boy, now that was some bad managing by Joe Maddon.

They had the Sox by the throat and let up. Stupid.

Thank God the Phils didn't do this yesterday.

well... i guess we can stop talking about the rays now.

Yeah, Joe Maddon's had better nights. Probably wishing he never left Devo.

Wow. What an unreal comeback. Give credit to the Red Sox – talk about never giving up.

You've got to wonder what this does to a young Rays team.

Well, either way I think the team the Phils would rather play would be the Rays- but now they DEFINITELY do not want to play Boston. If Boston comes back from down 3-1 games, down 7-0 in a potential elimination game in the 7th inning...they are absolutely unstoppable. Tampa better get it together when they go home.

the best reason to root for two more games is mostly about pitching. How many pitchers did both teams use today...

Well...never underestimate the heart of a champion I guess.

Not sure how I feel about this besides the obvious that it delays whichever team from setting up their rotation.

Concerned about a rejuvenated Sox team though.

Crazy game. Love 'em or hate 'em, you gotta give the Red Sox Nation props for sticking this game out, which was, for all intents and purposes, over for them an hour ago. Dodgers fans would be in the parking lot keying cars with Philly plates and urinating in the streets by now. That's what real fans do.

Personally, I don't really care how this series ends up. No matter what the conclusion, it's possible to imagine a way it's not good for the Phils, be it a team comes in with momentum, a team gets lots of rest, etc. Bottom line is, come next Wednesday you've got to be ready to play solid baseball and make no assumptions.

Sorry, I missed most of the first half of this game (including Kazmir getting yanked), but did Maddon use a quick hook on him? He had over 110 pitches but the stats bear out that he was in control.

Just saw a sign that said "Phillie (sic) Girls Red Sox".

"Phillie Girls Love Red Sox" WTF was that?

Great night for JD Drew. Stock up on the Double AA's. Or would the D's be a little better for tossing?

Whelkman: I was just about to post something about that. The park stayed full and stayed loud.

I know some Phillie fans who are also Red Sox fans, but I think that's f*ed up myself.

If you are a fan of an NL team and an AL team and they both play each other in the WS, for which team do you root? Or do you just watch and don't really care who wins?

Given the 3-1 series going into tonight, I couldn't understand the argument that people were using when they said they wanted to play the Red Sox. Most people were saying it would be better to play the Sox because they weren't hitting or pitching as well, etc. Well, if they come back and win 3 straight, they'll be on a "roll" against the Phillies who will have had a week off. Given what happened tonight and how the Rays unraveled, I'd rather face the Rays - I think they would have a hard time at the Bank. Boston's been there and can get super hot (so can any team, though, for that matter) and wouldn't be fazed by our raucous home crowd.

I'm really sort of scared about this full week off. Tigers? Rockies? Both were hot going in and looked horrible in the Series. So, if somebody could soothe my fears, I'd appreciate it.

Don't worry, Beckett goes in the next game. He is a shadow of his former self because of all the injuries.

SteveO: No matter who the Phils play, it's gonna be tough. The AL is the better league for a reason...the stupid DH...

is = his

Damn typos have been killing me tonight.

hh - I wouldn't discount a "Schilling bloody sock-esque" performance by Beckett on Saturday.
That guy is a true competitor in every meaning of the word.

Now I want the Rays to win in 7. That's the best case scenario for the Phils, in my opinion.

I rooted for the '04 Sox from the ALCS on. They had "Scarlet Sock" Schilling, "Who the hell released" David Ortiz, "Neanderthal" Johnny Damon, the hard luck story, and Yankee beating. What's not to love? Plus, the '04 Cardinals were a snoozefest, as usual.

But, yeah, just about every other time I root National League. Even more so with all the "back the winner" cheerleading the American League gets these days.

And I got all the way to the end of a Red Sox post without mentioning Manny Ramirez. Oops.

And yeah can't we all agree that the best-case scenario for the Phils is to have this series go a full 7 games? That way all of the starters are tired for the beginning of the world series and relief pitchers are maxed out (for example Papelbon, Wheeler, Balfour, Masterson, Howell, etc. have thrown a ton of pitches in almost every single game thus far in the ALCS).

Either way, it feels damn good to just sit back, relax, and know that whatever happens we will be playing the winner in the World freakin Series :)

Dude, we can't control who wins this thing. Just hang on and enjoy the ride.

Just think of how much we could brag if the Phils beat the Sox! Revenge for 1915! (j/k)

Wow. That was downright astonishing. Even with 2 games left at home, I have to think Tampa is finished. Stuff like that just doesn't happen.

The momentum from this game will carry as far as the next game's pitcher. Unless Beckett recovers from his anemic playoffs performance (due to injury I presume), I'd say Boston still has their work cut out for them.

You count out the Sox at your peril. Even so, that was astonishing. It was as if the Sox turned on the run scoring switch.

The Red Sox are not as wounded as we were led to believe...

Didn't a similar comeback happen in the movie with the dude from SNL, Fallon I think. It was against the Yankees though.

Wow. That was downright astonishing. Even with 2 games left at home, I have to think Tampa is finished. Stuff like that just doesn't happen.

I don't believe in momentum. If momentum were real, Boston, down 3-1 in the series and 7-0 in the game, wouldn't have come back. Of course, the momentologists will say the momentum swung, or some such nonsense. But if momentum exists, why is it always swinging?

Tray: Disagree completely. When a team loses in devastating fashion, they go on to lose the series 9 times out of 10. "Momentum" may not be the right word, as it implies that some external force is at work. It may not be an external force, but a devastating loss undoubtedly has a strong psychological carryover effect. That's why the 85 Royals and the 86 Mets and the 2002 Giants and the 2003 Cubs all lost Game 7, after devastating losses in Game 6. There are exceptions, like the 75 Reds after Carlton Fisk's Game 6 homerun, but they are few and far between.

Obviously, the series isn't over. Tampa is up 3-2 and has 2 more at home. Objectively speaking, they are still the favorites. But that was one of the more devastating losses in baseball history. If Tampa holds on to win the series, I, for one, will be surprised. And I say that as someone who picked the Rays from the start.

As you note, though, those devastating losses were Game 6 losses. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Tampa lost Game 6, but I certainly don't think that Boston's now become the favorite to win the next *two* games on the road, where Tampa wins at such a high rate, merely by virtue of psychological carryover effect.

As far as I'm concerned either team can win in 7. I just want it to go 7. Make that game 7 the emotional pivot to the teams series. Right now both of these teams have shown they can be beat. Either by being dominated or by coming back on them.
Wanna talk about momentum. Give it to the Phils who just went out and crushed two teams that were supposed to both have "momentum" flat out beat them. I think this series going longer drains both teams more. I'd have been more worried about a rays team crushing the sox three games in a row than a sox team coming back 3-1. Sure it gives them the "we can come back" mentality but the phillies mentality all post season has been "We're not going to let ourselves HAVE to come back.: The phillies treated every game this post-season as if it was "must win". I haven't seen either Boston or Tampa have that attitude.

Bottom line both these teams had off nights and lazy nights and the Phillies went out there and plain took care of business. The end.

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