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Sunday, October 26, 2008

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you wake up, notice someone sleeping next to you and you nudge em and say, "hello, where did you come from?"....

"IM FROM PANAMA!"

Haha! Much, much better than mine, red.

These bad calls around 1st base have cost the Phillies in the past. I sure wish MLB would get smart and permit replays at 1st base. Last night the Phillies came to bat in the buttom of the 9th primarily becuase two runs scored as a result of a blown call at 1st.

We were lucky to escape.

PS. I agree that Ruiz is developing, I am learning not to fear his at bat. He is doing amuch better job waiting for his pitch and getting on base in general; I sure wish some other Phillies learned how to bat away pitches they don't like.

Anyone else remember the Phils pulling the 5 man infield in Pittsburgh and seeing the Pirates hit it right to Glenn Wilson at 2nd and watching him turn an inning ending DP?

love the OP and redbeard's addition. i love it. this is what the playoffs are about, you've got to embrace the roller coaster ride.

Truth Injection: "Blanton vs. Sonnanstine tonight could be a 15-14 type game."

Why do you say that? Anything is possible of course, but in cold weather CBP is a VERY friendly pitchers park just as it is an extreme HR park when it's hot and humid. Outside Wrigley, I know of no other park that plays to such exteremes both ways due to weather conditions.

Blanton had one start vs. the Rays this season, giving up 4 runs in 6 IP in Oakland. Career-wise he's not been very good against them: 2-3, 6.05 in 8 starts but they've had so many personnel changes the past couple years that's probably a meaningless stat. A far more relevant stat: In his last 4 regular season starts, Blanton went 3-0, 3.91 and in his 2 post-season starts he's 1-0, 4.00 with his team winning both games. I think we'll see Blanton giving us 6 IP with 3 runs allowed or thereabouts.

Sonnanstine is what Kyle Kendrick would be if he could develop a consistent breaking pitch to go with his sinker. He rarely tops 88 mph with his fastball and he gives up tons of hits, but he never walks anyone and keeps batters off-balance with a cutter and a very good changeup. The size of the ump's strikezone is a big issue with him, but a good offense should beat a guy like this. If the Phils can't score 4 runs off Sonnanstine they don't deserve to win.

RK: Good point on Ruiz. His OB was .320, 101 points higher than his BA. He also walked more than he struck out. Main problem with his bat is a total lack of power. At age 29 what you see is what you get. He's never going to be a good-hitting catcher, but if he can get on base at a decent clip his defense will keep him around for another 6 or 7 years.

Sonnanstine. Talk about a steady pitcher. Numbers basically stay the same month-by-month. Left and right hitters basically producing equally against him. He's as good at home as on the road. Only major split is day/night. Night: 3.80 ERA. Day: 6.17. Haven't seen much of him. Guess he mixes pitches and throws strikes.

Clout, for the zillionth time, Feliz starts because of his defense, like it or not, and you know that. Nobody is arguing with you, but in the grand scheme, it just isn't that important. We're heading into the 4th game of the WS and the Phils are up 2-1. That's what matters to me, anyway. What matters to you is Feliz. I would say just deal with it, but evidently you never will.
Meanwhile, I'm just going to enjoy the victory.

" I sure wish MLB would get smart and permit replays at 1st base."

I think the games are way to long as is. Imagine how many more DirecTV commercials you'd have to watch if they put in replays for plays at first base.

Did I miss something? Did clout start whining about the whole Feliz/Dobbs thing again?

I figured after his whining about the Phils' most consistent performer thus far in the series (Ruiz), clout would give up claiming that Cholly is an idiot because of his lineup choices.

2008 BB% NL C leadboards

Ianetta - 14%
Snyder - 14%
Martin - 14%
Ruiz - 12%
Soto - 11%

BB/K

Ruiz - 1.16
Kendall - 1.11
Y. Molina - 1.10
Martin - 1.08

ISO

Ianetta - .240
McCann - .222
...
(10) Ruiz - .081
Kendall - .078

BABIP

Doumit - .338
...
(10) Kendall - .267
Ruiz - .237

GB/FB

Schneider - 2.52
Ruiz - 1.88
Martin - 1.73

Those numbers give you a good sense of Ruiz' offensive abilities and limitations. Of course, his GB/FB was .6 lower last year and his BABIP .285. It seems likely he'll bat at least .240 or .250 next year, but he does turn 30 before ST.

From BP.com:

The Phillies might come out hacking early on, for Sonnanstine works the strike zone more than any other pitcher on either side of the field—he ranked eighth among ERA title qualifiers this season with 67 percent of his pitches tossed for strikes, one spot ahead of Cole Hamels. A self-described behind-the-scenes strike thrower, Sonnanstine blends five pitches in healthy proportion to keep hitters off-kilter. His straight fastball averages a pedestrian 87 mph, but as mentioned yesterday, Sonnanstine mixes in more cutters than all but Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay. One would expect a pitcher who does not throw hard and is constantly around the zone to give up a good amount of hits, and Sonnanstine did lead the Rays staff with 212 allowed in the regular season, but he walked less than two per nine innings and managed to keep his home-run rate below the one-per-nine benchmark as well. [...] While Philadelphia is the most efficient base-stealing team in history, having been successful at an 86 percent clip over the past two seasons, Sonnanstine might just possess the best theft deterrent system in the major leagues: in his 206 1/3 total innings this season, four runners have tried to steal from him, and three of them were thrown out. [...] This series has been marked thus far by the struggles of both teams' big guns on offense, and while Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard helped mitigate those difficulties for the Philly nine last night, the funk continued for Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. Tampa Bay's two leading home-run hitters have combined to go 0-for-22 with two walks and 10 strikeouts in the first three games, and the Rays, who hit 22 homers in 11 games versus the White Sox and Red Sox, have just one versus Philadelphia, so as a team they are still one away from tying the AL post-season record set by the 2002 Angels. Pena is without a hit in his previous five games dating back to the ALCS, the most lengthy drought he has suffered through since joining the Rays last season.

That latter point is a season-long theme for this Phillies' staff. They've stifled the long ball. HR/FB down and GB% up across the board.

Sophist - I don't know. Ruiz has shown some more life at the plate since the ASB break but I don't know if he will ever an adequate offensive catcher. If he could hit .240-.250 with some pop (10-15 HRs) and keep his walks up a bit to have his OBP around .340 he would be fine. I just don't think that Ruiz will be able to give you that over the course of 120 or 125 games.

Going to be interesting to see the Phils approach tonight with Sonnastine early. Do they come out hacking if he is offering up fastballs in the zone early in the count? Very curious to see the first time through the lineup and how the Phils' hitters react.

MG - If Ruiz can keep his BB% at ~12% he's an adequate 8 hitter. I do wonder if he'll find some middle ground between his higher BABIP, LD% 2007 and his higher BB% 2008.

PECOTA says (and this is prior to this year) .260/.331/.396 next year. I imagine that prediction will go down in its 2009 edition. He did hit .244/.345/.346 in the second half (not including postseason.)

Ruiz has never played more than 120 games in a season. 115 in 07 117 in 08. He makes less than $500K. And there's that Marson guy.

Fallowfield - wow, I do remember that. Must have been masterminded by John Felske.

OT, they should just put red jerseys on quarterbacks.

looks like the topnotch officiating crossed the street this afternoon.

MG - I wouldn't mind an aggressive approach tonight. Sonnastine isn't going to walk anybody (although maybe the first few hitters in the first should see if his nerves are getting the best of him.) Also, though it would be nice to use up their good arms quickly (which have been used more than the Phils pen guys) there's no rush to get to the Rays' pen otherwise. They've been very good this postseason with the exception of that wild game in the CS.

I've seen Sonnanstine pitch numerous times, being that I was up in Boston for the last few years and was able to see a bunch of Rays-Sox games: he has a high-80's VERY straight fastball, and also throws a plus-curve. He rarely throws the curve for strikes however, and a major issue for the Phils tonight (especially the Righties - Burrell and Werth) has to be laying off that curve off the plate.

How Andy Sonnanstine registered double-digit victories while maintaining a sub-5.00 ERA is beyond me. I fully expect the Phils to get the hittin' sticks out, especially Utley and Howard to keep carrying the offense.

Can you believe how this is shaping up? We face clearly the worst Rays starter in a decisive game 4, and then have Cole going on normal rest in game 5 - both games happening in the friendly confines of CBP?!

Unbelievable, go Phils!

Side Note: Van Halen's "Panama" should be played whenever Cootch comes to bat!

Pat's gonna have a big night tonight because they were playing "Dirty Laundry" at the liquor store.

GPG and phlipper:

Is it foreign to you that some of us can enjoy the wins while also recognizing how stupid it is to put Feliz in the lineup against RHP?

In case you failed to notice, there was one pedestrian ground ball to third base the ENTIRE game. As usual, the guy in there for his "defense" barely played a role in the field. And yet, we got to watch him pathetically hack away at the plate going 0 for 3 with two strike outs.

Continue to defend bad decision making all you want. In the meantime, we're all enjoying the fact this team is up 2 game to 1 despite Manuel's choices.

apologies for reposting, but i posted this as the very last comment from the previous thread and wanted to get some opinions:

grading the offense:
rollins: c-
werth: b+ (docked a grade for base-path blunders)
utley: b+
howard: c
burrell: f
vic: b
feliz: f
ruiz: a-
dobbs: d
coste: f
bruntlett: a
stairs: n/a
taguchi: n/a
jenkins: f

" In the meantime, we're all enjoying the fact this team is up 2 game to 1 despite Manuel's choices."

That's the important thing!

VoR: Is that for the World Series or the Postseason?

definitely for world series. sorry for not being more specific.

Time for Chooch to bat LEADOFF.

seems like werth is hitting about the lightest .350 possible right now. maybe i'm blinded by his base-running blunders this series, but i feel like he's had a lot of luck and hasn't come through in any big spots so far. he's had a lot of bad match-ups though.

i think chooch has shown he still has a future with this team, after a rough first half this year. he's probably never gonna have the pop we hoped he would after his minor league performance, but it's not as if catcher is a big offensive position in the league right now. the ranks look pretty thin to me. i could see a catching tandem next year of chooch and marson along the lines of this year's carlos/coste tandem, working marson in as the starter. of course, they might want to season marson's defense and pitch calling another season in the minors. might depend on offseason acquisitions or even on how coste does in spring training, if they choose to bring him back at all.

The only form of instant replay I would consider for the playoffs only would be the kind where a replay booth can watch the plays in real time. They would have until the next pitch to overturn any call. These would be egregious mistakes and not anything that would require more than one or two replays to figure out. Never strikes and balls.

I doubt either start tonight goes deep (beyond 6 IP) or shutsdwon the other team. Figure it will be another close game but a bit higher scoring. Say something like a 6-4 game but a game that will decided late by the bullpens. If Phils get a decent outing from Blanton (e.g., into the 6th inning at least and 3 runs), I like their chances tonight a lot.

Thought Game 4 would be the most important of the Series going given the pitching matchups and that on paper this appears to be about a "draw." Hopefully Phils win tonight and tomorrow because I just don't like their chances of going back to TB for a possible Game 6 or 7 even if they up are 3-2.

I see tonight like Blanton's other starts.. It will take him 1 or 2 innings to get into a groove, then 3-7 will be smooth - retiring 10 in a row.

Tampa will only score in the 1st and/or 2nd innings.

MG: I'll put just about every cent I have on the Tampa pitcher failing to get into the 7th. After all, in 12 postseason games, only one opposing starter has thrown a single pitch in the 7th inning (Kuroda).

GoPhilsGo: I mention Feliz's performance simply to point out what idiots you and flipper are. That's all.

I like the Phils chances of winning 1 game in TB if necessary, but finishing in Philly would be sweet.

Clout, coming for you that's a compliment.

"From", that is.

CJ, what you're ignoring, as always, on Feliz is that opposing players just plain are afraid to hit it to the left side of the field. He gives us that every time he's out there...

I will be happy if Joe Bla goes 6 innings with 3 or less runs.

NEPP: As always, you are there to point out the flaw in my argument. I also neglected the huge psychological boost that fragile-minded Moyer gets from feeling Feliz's presence behind him as he pitches. Thanks for getting me back on track!

Bulldog is gonna mow um down tonight.

7 IP is my prediction.

No problem, CJ.

~passes over a cup of red koolaid~

Here, drink this, it'll make everything clearer.

Really cool video!!!
GO PHILLIES

The jokes aside... is there any logical reason to start Feliz at third tonight? After all, we're starting a RHP and players don't hit to third when a RHP is starting.

Sam: Haha, great find.

The theory that "Maybe Feliz is due?" Other than that, I have no idea.

CJ: Because flipper and GoPhilsGo think he should start against RHP? If Manuel does start him he should bat him 8th and Ruiz 7th.

I honestly wouldn't move Ruiz up simply because he seems to always turn the lineup over if nothing else. He can keep a rally going at least...and I dont like changing things that work.

Honestly, I DO feel bad for Moyer as he was robbed from his rightful place in Postseason clip shows when they blew that call at 1B. That was the best defensive play I've ever seen a pitcher make and it was 45 (looks 25) year old Jamie Moyer. Watching it fullspeed is even more impressive.

Amazing thing so far is that the Phils have played 12 postseason games and only gotten 1 starting pitching stinkbomb. That more than any other single factor explains why the Phils have won this postseason?

Anybody have the Phils' starters and bullpen ERA through yesterday? I would be very curious to see them.

MG: In the postseason their ERA is:

Starters: 3.82
Bullpen: 1.83

Thanks Edge. Starters aren't quite as solid as I thought and probably would be kind of crappy if you took out Hamels' numbers. Bullpen though with Madson/Lidge have been outstanding.

Bullpen as the strength of this team still baffles me to a degree and has all season. Guess just sit back and enjoy it.

Anything good on tv tonight? :)

MG: I'd imagine the starters ERA would be much better if you took out Moyer. He's got an ERA just under 9.00 in his three postseason starts (11 ER in 11.2 IP). The rest of the starters have been very good.

I just read most of the 1,000+ comments from game 3, and I wanted to address the issues people watching the game had with the crowd:

1) The crowd was somewhat subdued from the beginning - what did you think would happen after a 1 1/2 hour rain delay??

2) That said, when Moyer started pumping in the strikes and getting through that first inning, the ballpark was LOUD. It sucks if you couldn't hear it on the TV feed but it was REALLY loud. I mean every strike there was cheering, every out that happened there was screaming and the fans at least in my section were standing for the majority of the game.

3) The "Eeeeeeeeeva, eeeeeeeeva," "gaaaaaaaarza, gaaaaaaaaaarza" etc. chants were LOUD - I hope people watching the games could hear them loud and clear.

4) When Jimmy got on base to start the 1st inning the crowd went crazy. Really showed a lot about the crowd to understand what Jimmy's been through thus far in the WS and what he means to this squad.

5) When Utley and Howard went yard in the 6th inning, the crowd was going insane. I mean wild.

6) When Jamie was taken out of the game in the 7th he received the loudest ovation I've ever heard - and that includes the times I've been to Fenway and Yankee Stadium (both home to the "best" fans in baseball")

7) The fans got REAL quiet in the 8th inning when Upton got on base and started stealing bases like it was his job. But seriously - what the hell would you expect? That was a shocking turn of events and a real stomach punch. The fans had been in the ballpark for almost 6 hours at this point - I don't know if I speak for everyone but MAN I was tired and this game looked like it was going to be another in the long list of heartbreaking defeats in Philly sports history.

8) Still, when JC got the last out in the 8th and retired the side in the 9th we were going crazy. The 8th inning may have gotten to us for a while, but by the 9th the crowd was loud once again.

9) And in the bottom of the 9th?? Oh man if you thought the crowd wasn't loud then, you're either deaf or the feed wasn't coming in clearly! You could see it on the face and by the demeanor of Grant Balfour - he did NOT look normal or have a good feel out there in pitching to Ruiz

10) After Bruntlett scored the winning run, the place just lost it - I mean high-fiving everyone, screaming, bedlam. I don't know how else to describe it - a roller-coaster of emotions actually ending in the Philly victory for a change!

Moyer only allowed 9 ER so that stat is innacurate, CJ. Moyer went 7 and gave up 1 ER last night in the game I watched.

Oh here's the link of an awesome photo from Philly.Com: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/mlb/World_Series_Game_3.html?next=3&index=33

Longoria on the ground in the top left watching Bruntlett score is priceless.

Speaking of fans, the Eagles game is ending, and you can clearly hear "Lets Go Phillies" chants at the Linc.

The Eagles are going to win the game by the way.

to diggitydave: the broadcast must have deliberatley kept the crowd noise down...I could barely make out the EVA or GARZA chants and the crowd seemed subdued for much of the game. I blame Fox for a poor broadcast in almost all respects.

On a side note - I don't know if this has been discussed yet - do you guys think Matt Garza still thinks it's a "breeze" as he put it, to get through the Phillies lineup??

NEPP: Moyer was charged with 3 ER last night. He put the two runners on base in the 7th before leaving, and both scored.

I believe NEPP was being facetious in his post, referring to the botched call at first base on the Crawford drag bunt. If that didn't happen Moyer would have pitched 7 innings of 1-run ball.

Or maybe I'm giving NEPP too much credit. Who knows?

Another reason for Feliz is that he has a very accurate arm to first, and we all can agree, I think, that the less challenging we make for Howard there the better.

clout: The fear of a 15-14 game is pure irrationality on my part.

I think in some ways I'm baffled that we seem to be winning a majority of this postseason on our pitching. As MG pointed out, we've only had one really bad start. Did you think that would be the case?

I'm kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop and someone about Blanton going tonight kind of scares me. I hope I'm wrong.

****NEPP: Moyer was charged with 3 ER last night. He put the two runners on base in the 7th before leaving, and both scored.****

No, Moyer made an incredible game saving play that was correctly called by the outstanding officiating crews and finished out the inning to hand a secure 4-1 lead to the bullpen.

Boy, I sure hope the Phils are more focused on tonight's game than this forum appears to be.

/ usual philly pessimist.

On this game, and calling games in general, I give us the advantage because we're at home and the pitching matchup's pretty close, maybe slightly favoring us. But I do want to say, contrary to some of clout's posts pregame yesterday, that you can't be too much of a pitching matchup fundamentalist. Any pitcher's capable of turning in an above-average performance, like Moyer did last night, or a below-average performance, like Garza did. And then once the game gets into the bullpens, it doesn't matter who your starting pitcher was. (Sorry if that was so obvious as to be Tim McCarveresque.) For instance, Hamels v. Kazmir in Game 5 is, again, advantage us, but Hamels could give up a few home runs, Kazmir could surprise and pitch a gem, Kazmir could throw a ton of pitches and only go 5, but get picked up by the bullpen - the most you can say about any game between two teams that are so closely matched is that the one team has maybe a 65-70% chance of winning. Beyond that, you're just being way too confident.

Tray: I agree. In fact I cited your earlier post on this subject in my post. Predicting the outcome of an individual game is very difficult, but to the extent you can, the pitching matchups are the single most important factor.

According to ESPN.com's Accuscore, the Rays are a slight favorite in the game with a 53% chance of winning. I think that's probably due to Cheeseburger Joe's numbers with OAK. Can anybody fill me in on the Gnome nickname? I must have missed that thread.

Yeah, I saw you cite it, but it looked like you went on to say something like, "and that's why we're losing tonight and winning tomorrow," or at least that that's why there's a really good chance it will come out that way. Whereas I see less certitude there. I guess I'd also say that home/road is just as big as pitching matchups. Tonight we're facing a guy who's been just as good on the road as at home, but check out Tampa's huge home/road hitting splits:

Home - .274 .359 .441 .800
Road - .248 .323 .405 .728

The fact that they just don't hit well on the road is a huge factor in our favor. (By comparison, we have a road OPS of .753.)

Tray: Again, I agree. Home/road factor is also large, though not as large as pitching matchups. Before the series I predicted Phils win games 1, 4 and 5 and Rays 2 and 3. That took into effect home/road stats. So far I'm 2-1 in my prediction and after tonight, hope to be 3-1.

BR, Bruntlet has been compared to a lawn gnome because of his stature and his beard.

The resemblance is really unvanny.

or even uncanny.

Game 4 Lineup:

Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Blanton, p

EDGE: Ugh!

Hell, why change what works at this point.

My lineup:
Rollins
Uts
Werth
Howard
Burrell
Vic
Dobbs
Ruiz

Game 4 Lineup:

Rays

Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Crawford, lf
Navarro, c
Zobrist, rf
Bartlett, ss
Sonnanstine, p


NEPP: I don't believe in changing what works. I believe in changing what doesn't work. Does Feliz work against RHP?

NEPP: I think we've been thru this dance before. You believe that if a team won no mistakes were made in the game or the lineup. This is irrational, of course, and silly.

Any word on who is throwing out the first pitch? I thought Kruk was doing the honors for one of these games.

No not exactly clout. My comment was along the lines of "Big surprise, UC ain't gonna change a thing at this point." I dont agree with it but its beyond the point of being flipping about it.

clout: I agree with you today. It's Dobbs' turn. Everything else I keep - simply replace Feliz with Dobbs.

We should just accept that UC isn't gonna start Dobbs. He's old school and believes the "defense wins" theory. There's absolutely nothing we can do to change it.

Against a team that's so into smallball, doesn't infield defense become a little more important?

Again with the Dobbs - Feliz non-sense. I would have thought after game 2, we wouldnt have to hear about that again.

Dobbs has a .333 OB% compared to Feliz .302%.

Last year (2007), Feliz had a rage factor that basically showed that he gets to about 15% more plays than Dobbs. And on those plays he has a much greater fielding percentage.

Maybe, just maybe, the Phillies think the difference in OB% is equaled out by the difference in Range Factor AND Feilding percentage.

mikes77phillies: Agreed about the defense - Feliz is an above average defender and Dobbs is below average in my opinion,and I believe that Feliz should and is our everyday third baseman. However, I just thought Dobbs would hit well against Sonnastine.

Looking for "Joe the Pitcher" signs in the crowd tonight

I think if Dobbs were even an average defender that he'd start every game against righties...ashame he's not.

Clearly the success of Ruiz, Utley, Werth, etc. when Feliz starts against RHP is proof that Feliz' start is working. I mean, Ruiz-Burrell (not including the pitcher) were 7-17 yesterday (10 BB+H in 20 PA) with 5 runs and 5 RBI because Feliz fielded one groundball at third and went 0-3 with 2 SO.

That's some damn fine reasoning, Sophist.

that should say Ruiz-Howard (thru Howard). Burrell was 0-3 himself. The group that was 7-17, &c. was Ruiz, Rollins, Werth, Utley, Howard.

We have a couple of games left in the season, and you guys are still hammering each other regarding Feliz vs Dobbs. This really isn't rocket science... Dobbs is clearly the better hitter but no one will ever mistake him for Ken Boyer in the field. Feliz hits like Barbara Walters but has a terrific glove.

Tampa has been (at least in this WS) a "small ball" team, which means a premium should be placed on infield defense. Throw in the fact that Dobbs is a very dangerous hitter off the bench, and you should understand UC's reasoning even if you don't agree with it.

Now sit back, pop open a Yuengling and watch your Fightin' Phils get another game closer to the Promised Land.

dear god:

please let my heart last another week.

thanks,
some guy

I agree that arguing about Dobbs vs. Feliz will get you nowhere at this point in the year.

I also believe that Pedro Feliz sucks against RHP.

These are both stone cold truths.

EDGE,first pitch tonight is Robin Roberts.

Yo, new thread

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