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Thursday, October 23, 2008


To echo Clout:

- Myers needs to use offspeed stuff including his curvball to setup up fastball. If Myers has below average control on his fastball, then the prior point is largely mute and Myers will likely struggle tonight with a high pitch count early/some mixed results overall.

The report I read suggested another problem with Myers is that when his fastball gets hit, he ditches it entirely.

Jason, great job setting low expectations for tonight. I hope we steal one, but I also feel good heading home with a split.

JW- I don't know if you're trying to use reverse double-lutz BL jinx mojo, or whatever, but put yourself in TB shoes. Someone came to their house and spanked 'em in the first game. If they don't win this game (against a pretty good pitcher and a damn good bullpen) they have to go on the road for three. They are the ones in the sh---t with the pressure on.

Oops- I meant win on the three game trip- or else.

My sentiment is that the Phils play this game aggressively from the start. If Myers falters early on, pull him, and insert Happ or Romero, whomever. If the Phils somehow achieve a victory in game 2, then this series is all but over.

All the more reason to play this as Game 7.

Off topic-

Howard make a great play by grabing that pop foul two rows deep off Upton. If that had been Pena at CBP he would have not only lost the ball but his glove and cap.

I was surprised more fan didn't fight for that foul ball, but then again, if I saw Ryan Howard coming at me full speed, I would duck out of the way, too.

I know I've heard reports that the Rays claim Shields is their best pitcher. But do you guys honestly believe he is the pitcher who strikes the most fear in the Phils' hitters?
Going into the series, I thought the Phils would struggle most with Kazmir, then struggle somewhat against Garza who not only throws hard, but also has a great curveball.

I fully expect the Fightins to start hitting like we've been expecting for some time now - Jimmy will set the tables tonight hitting from his more comfortable side, and Howard will look much more comfortable against a righty than he looked last night. Unfortunately, Myers may not make it more than a couple times through the Rays order either, so I'm expecting a shoot-out tonight.

The first inning will tell everything we need to know about Myers.. physically and especially mentally and emotionally

@ Chris -- I disagree that if the phils take game 2 tonight the series is all but over. Despite going home, the pitching matchups in games 3 and 4 probably favor the Rays. I see a win tonight as important positioning for a potentially tough road ahead.

From the previous thread...

I wonder how many pitching changes Maddon would make late in the game with this batting order...

Rollins - S
Utley - L
Werth - R
Howard - L
Burrell - R
Vic - S
Dobbs - L
Ruiz - R
Stairs - L

I think he would need to ride his bike back and forth from the dugout to the mound with as many trips as he might make!

guessing we're going to see some Cliff Floyd tonight, as he's .364/.400/.697 lifetime against Myers.

I wasn't expecting a win tonight, but looking at the lineup proposals, I like our chances. There is simply not an easy out in that lineup.

Thought on Myers... In the two playoff series, his opponents on the mound have been (1) CC Sabathia and (2) Chad Billingsly. He has fought good battles against both. Where does Shields rank in terms of the other two? Pretty obvious that CC is #1 but is Shields better/worse/about the same as Billingsly?

Another thought on Myers... in each game he has done something memorable. Against the Brewers he was 3 for 3 with his bat. Against the Dodgers, it was the fastball behind Manny's head. What will Brett do tonight to add to the Phils highlight DVD?

If the Rays struggle with lefties then we should see a lot of Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero tonight.

UD Hens: Perfect game

is stairs ( the professional hitter ) the DH?

Kazmir had a good night? Are you high?

He allowed 10 base runners in 6 innings!

Stairs has actually seen Shields a fair number of times. disappointingly, he's only 3-for-20. he did manage to hit a HR off Shields earlier this year though, in this game.

CBSSportsline compares us to the other'rusty' teams of the last few WS:

Two years ago the Tigers had only four hits in their Game 1 loss, and last year the Rockies were beaten 13-1 and had only six hits.

Phillies last 26 games: 21-5

just sayin'

Never underestimate Myers desire to be in the spotlight. He has the opportunity tonight to put on a helluva performance and be that rock star that he speaks of.

@JW -- normally i love the write ups... but you mentioned Shields success at home over his career and then point out Myers stats on the road and cherry pick 2008, without specifically mentioning it was 2008, that's not really fair? Especially, since we are away of Myers issues this season which were mostly corrected. And a guy who's first half ERA drop from 5.84 to 3.06.

Myers Career Road Stats: 4.69 ERA .275 BAA
Shields Career Home Stats: 3.23 RA .244 BAA

Shields Home: 2.59 .234 BAA

If it's the reverse jinx... i'll shut up now.

DNL just said Dobbs at DH, Feliz at 3rd.

Yea, I wasn't particularly impressed with Kazmir's performance. Let's not forget all of those "missed opportunities".

and that will be the last time i correct JW with those horrible sentences:

@JW -- normally i love the write ups... but you mentioned Shields success at home over his career and then point out Myers stats on the road and cherry pick 2008, without specifically mentioning it was 2008, that's not really fair? Especially, since we are aware of Myers issues this season which were mostly corrected. And this is guy who's second half ERA drop from 5.84 to 3.06.

Myers Career Road Stats: 4.69 ERA .275 BAA
Shields Career Home Stats: 3.23 RA .244 BAA

Shields Home: 2.59 .234 BAA

If it's the reverse jinx... i'll shut up now.

Dobbs should be at 3rd with Stairs DH'ing. But Manuel has gotten us this far without my input, so I trust him to lead us the rest of the way.

Yeah, Ribbies!

One team in the WS is 8-2 in the postseason, the other is 7-5.

If Steve Phillips said Dobbs at 3rd, Stairs DH, then I'm absolutely 100% it will be Feliz at 3rd, Dobbs DH.

"DNL just said Dobbs at DH, Feliz at 3rd."

If it's true, I like it. Best of both worlds, and it will make many BLers head's spin.

There it is:

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Greg Dobbs DH
8. Pedro Feliz, 3B
9. Carlos Ruiz, C

GPG: If you mean a neawr automatic out every time through the lineup is "best of both worlds," than I agree with you.

Too funny. I guess because the constant debate is "Dobbs or Feliz", there wasn't much thought about "Dobbs AND Feliz".

CJ, sorry, but I want Pete's glove in this game (even though defense doesn't matter)

That's not cherry picking. It's just forgetting to put in "2008" next to Myers line, that's all.

I think Cholly wants Feliz's glove at 3B on that turf. I can live with it. Go with the Gut!

Interesting, I'm a bit surprised not to see Stairs, but I can't complain with Dobbs bat or Feliz's glove.

I'm not really familiar with AL ball or strategy, but why would you ever use a pitch hitter? Just for better matchups later in the game?

GPG: Where ya been? There's been a LOT of discussion about Dobbs and Feliz.

And I agree that Feliz offers a better glove at third, especially on turf, but only a crazy person would call his bat against RHP as part of the "best of both worlds." :-)

I wonder if there has ever been a double switch in the AL since the DH. Can't imagine why it would ever happen.

CJ, only kidding. Just referring to the constant Feliz/Dobbs discussions.

Sorry, I meant to say pinch hitter.

Caleb Peiffer points out that teams starting the World Series by dropping the first two games at home are 3-13 overall. The last team to win the Series that was was the 1996 Yankees.

Considering how many times Shields F#($ed me on my Fantasy team...they better bend him over tonight.

Pinchhitting situation: Men on 1st and 2nd in the 8th inning with 1 out and the Phillies are down by 1. Dobbs is up to bat adn the Rays bring in a tough leftie...we counter with a right handed bat.

NEPP: "Thanks to Fox, we all got to see the replay about 1 million times and Hamels (despite his balance) stepped directly to first in keeping with the rules."

Actually, that is FALSE. He did NOT step "directly" to first. What he did was swing his plant leg from a forward motion to the left and toward first. As you say, Fox has shown this a million times which is why it is so surprising you got this wrong.

Having said that, you are CORRECT in saying it was not a balk. The movement was not clearcut enough to be a balk in my opinion. But it was a close call. Had he actually done what you said: Directly step toward first, Maddon and the Rays wouldn't have said peep. But that's nopt what happened.

UD Hens: I love that batting order. Wish Cholly would try it.

Form held last night. The pitching matchup favored the Phillies and they won. Tonight it favors the Rays.

Sal Fasano?

It seems like Brett Myers has held the keys to the Phils season. Before his demotion, he was one of the worst pitchers in the NL, with lowered velocity and a big tendency to let up HRs. When he came back, he was one of the best starters in the NL. The Phillies started to pull back into the race and performed at a high level after.

Here, at the end of the season, things are again in his hands. Pitch like New Brett and he'll win over Tampa Bay's best starter and put the Phils in a commanding 2-0 lead. Pitch like Old Brett and you're looking at 1-1 with Tampa retaining home field advantage.

clout, my point was that it was towards 1B...not home as would be required for a balk. He didnt go home and then go to 1B was my point. His foot landed pretty close to a direct line from the pitchers plate to 1B.

Stairs is a .273 hitter vs. Shields with 1 HR in 11 ABs. Love to see him at DH and Dobbs at 3B. Be shocked and stunned if it happens, but that would be a way to steal a win.

I'm guessing Clout and I disagree on the merits of Feliz starting tonight, but otherwise we're in agreement. Hamels' throw was not a balk, and the Rays should be favored to win tonight.

Actually, I could be convinced either way on Feliz starting. I obviously believe that defense matters more than Clout does, and so I like his glove at 3rd on the turf, but I also kind of think that tonight's game is going to be determined by a lot of scoring, and I like the idea of our best offensive lineup out there.

If we had a 2nd Dobbs waiting to DH, then I would argue for it. Unfortunately, I just can't hop on the Matt Stairs bandwagon because of one big hit. He put up an OPS of .762 against righties this year, and has had 20 ABs in the last month and a half. Not enough to do it for me. So, like Colin Powell and Obama, I'm endorsing Pedro Feliz for the start tonight.

Re: Balks

Actually, the rule doesn't require to pitcher to step towards first. The rule leaves a lot for interpretation. The league attempted to standardize it a bit by giving umpires a 45 degree guide. If you draw a 45 degree angle from the back foot, the front foot shouldn't cross that line. Hamels didn't. Besides, as was stated, you can't be accused of deceiving the runner when the runner decides to go on first motion.

Clout: Where did you find Stair's numbers against Shields? I have him @ 3-20, 1 HR, 2BB, 5Ks, .150 Avg.

"Pitch like New Brett and he'll win over Tampa Bay's best starter and put the Phils in a commanding 2-0 lead."

Or, he could pitch like New Brett, give up, say, 2-3 runs in 7 innings, and we could still lose. Shields is a good pitcher.

Cliff Floyd in at DH, batting 6th. Rocco Baldelli will play RF and bat 8th. Those are the only changes in the lineup for the Rays.

Cliff Floyd likes hitting Myers by the way. In his career he's 12-33, 3HRs, 1BB, 3Ks, .364 avg.

CJ, I just read the rule DOES leave a lot of interpretation by the umpire as it is a judgment call but its says you can't step towards home and throw to first and the reverse of that being that you have to step towards 1st if you're throwing there as anything else would obviously be "deception"

Ironic: We all agree it wasn't a balk (unlike the media)...yet we've still managed to debate it here at BL...which is why I love this site.

Tampa Bay's Lineup

2B: Iwamura
CF: Upton
1B: Pena
3B: Longoria
LF: Crawford
DH: Floyd
C: Navarro
RF: Baldelli
SS: Bartlett

NEPP: Well, what's stepping towards home? That, as I said, is up to interpretation. That's why the league tried to institute something more standard by actually drawing a line in the dirt on the mound. The experiment failed.

LOL...that's where that informal 45 degree angle comes into play CJ.

I'm just sick of hearing and reading about the balk when I know damn well it wasn't one.

NEPP: Besides... give 'em the f-in balk. Doesn't change the outcome of the game. Bunch of sorry whiners.

Question: What happens tonight if the Phillies win AND there is no controversial non-balk call?

Kazmir could not be tipping his pitches with Howard and Rollis looking so bad. I am pulling for a big rebound by those two tonight. We know you can do it Ryno and J-Roll!!!

Just a word of caution if we win. This series is still not over even if we go up 2-0. I was a 14 growing up in Boston in 1986 and everyone was celebrating like it was over after Boston won the first two at Shea. This is still a very talented team that has pulled off a lot of miracles this year.

That being said, the pressure is definitely on the Rays. I saw James Shields shut out the Red Sox this year so he brings the goods. If we get rockstar Brett Myers at his best we will be able to beat him.

I like keeping Feliz at 3B. Dobbs probably isn't stabbing that Upton DP last night and if that ball made it into LF we would have lost. Dobbs probably isn't catching that pop up to end the game either. We need Feliz's defense. I do like Dobbs as the DH right behind Victorino. I predict 2 RBI for Dobbs tonight.

The move also keeps Stairs on the bench as the top lefty pinch hitter.

The Rays definitely seem to have a stronger lineup tonight with Cliff Floyd and Baldelli in there. Myers will definitely need to be on his top game.

This is going to be a long hour or so. I'm ready for the first pitch right now!

"Question: What happens tonight if the Phillies win AND there is no controversial non-balk call?"

Fox will invent something.

They'll find something else to whine about in that scenario, Theory.

This is the third series in a row where the Phillies won game 1 behind Hamels by scoring 3 runs, with the first two runs being knocked in by Utley... let's hope the pattern portends similar results for the rest of the series.

I can't believe its Oct 23rd and I'm arguing about a balk call by Hamels in game 1 of the WS. This is crazy...and definitely not a bad thing. You're right CJ...give them the damn balk, they would have lost anyway.

I'm also happy I dont have to work tomorrow...2 nights in a row with no sleep would not be fun.

Dave X: Even if Tampa wins tonight, it still wouldn't give them home field advantage. They still have to take one in Philly to stay alive in this series.

Shields' home-away splits are deceiving in terms of performance. His OPS+ is 72 at home and 106 on the road. The big difference is in BABIP; .276 at home, .306 on the road.

In terms of performance outcomes, Shields is very very mediocre/average in a good and bad way. He's hittable, prone to the HR, and has the tendency of being annoyingly picky about the mound conditions (a la that Nationals pitcher J. Patterson). Lefty hitters need to look at going the other way with sinking outside fastballs that tail away from them in early counts and lay off the outside change on two-strike counts. Righty hitters need to be aggressive and approach Shields as if he were Derek Lowe with a changeup. But no need to be intimidated at all; "Big Game James" is a bit overhyped because this is the world series. Not saying that he is a bad pitcher, because he can, like Blanton and Moyer, shut down teams every once in a while.

Go get 'em! And let's see how good Balfour is during a second viewing...

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