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Monday, October 27, 2008

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Okay, all this weather talk is starting to make me nervous. Has anyone seen something reliable about whether weather might effect this game? I'm in center city now and its cloudy but no drops.

Can you believe it? One more step to the top. One more game to claim the pennant. One more win it fill a prolonged void in the city.

You write to convince yourself that this is happening. You write to remember what has happened. You write to remind yourself why you even care in the first place.

Sure, there's still the possibility of falling. But the view from here can't get any better.

Not to dampen your enthusiasm Cory, which I totally share, but we've already won the pennant. We're going after the whole thing now, the World Series, the Championship.

Walking around center city today has been so much fun, this bottle has been shaken and its ready to explode.

From J's last post:
"But facing elimination, and a million miles from more cowbell, the Rays are all alone with the feet of America's sixth-largest city standing on their throats."

That sentence gave me that same warm fuzzy feeling I get when I hear the sentence "Phillies are 3-1 in the series with Hamels on the mound tonight."

Can't wait... It's been one hell of a ride... I think it might be the end of it tonight and I couldn't be happier...

GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!

From Last Theasd:
Clout: CY: "his scrap heap picks ups and trades have been way more successful."

Do you have any evidence to support this statement?

----

I don't. But Ed Wade had the same core group and his trades / fringe players couldn't get us into the playoffs. We now sit 1 game from a Ring with significant contributions from PG's complimentary players. Could be that the core players hit their prime or the fringe players were the difference.

I don't know.... But I do know that I would rather have PG as Gm of my team over Ed Wade. Would you?

It will really suck if it rains.

No rain no rain no rain no rain no rain

Alright after getting sh*t on in the last posting section after trying to be realistic (although some would consider it pessimistic), I realize at this point it's impossible as a die-hard fan to devote well over 500 hours of my time (just in one year) to a baseball team and remain level-headed mere hours before the biggest game of my life.

I'm feeling good. I get the sense all of the other posters here are feeling good. But more than anything else, I think the Phils have a great mindset heading into the game tonight: they are confident with Cole on the hill, and they are so focused, zoned-in, and want to end it at home.

I wanted to mention some thoughts on Game 3.

Ninth inning, Bruntlett up. Shades of Roger Dorn, anyone? I just kept picturing Manuel saying, "Get up there and lean into one." I'm just disappointed we didn't get the Corbin Bernsen stretching routine.

If you're Eric Bruntlett's kids, do you brag about your dad being Eric Bruntlett? I mean, it's cool that he's a pro baseball player. But it's Eric Bruntlett.

Before Game 4, I wondered if we'd ever see some power hitting. I don't think I've ever seen so many games decided by stolen bases, sac flys, and RBI groundouts.

And yes, I don't want to make any predictions, but I have a good feeling about tonight.

I feel very good about tonight. The power of Cole Hamels compels me. Anyone else on the mound, and I'd be going nuts. But Cole is so calm and collected, it spreads.

Remember a few years ago when he'd give up a big hit/homer and you could see unraveling a little on the mound? Not anymore.

weather.com says occasional rain and 90% chance of rain for philly tonight so go figure exatcly what that means, i hope it rains all night (trying to invoke the beerleaguer reverse jinx on the weather!) GO PHILS!!!

Tonight is more then just a chance at a World Championship, tonight is a chance to prove to the world that the city of Philadelphia is a city of winners.I thank this team with all of my heart for everything they've done this season. Watching this team has helped me through one of the toughest times in my life, it proves that anything is possible. That anyone can succeed if we put our minds to it. Tonight, we finally have the chance to prove that to all of the "experts" who doubted us from day 1. Tonight we prove that this is "Our" time. Bring it home boys.

Thank you McCarthy, well said.

If we win tonight, any chance the mob will tar and feather Tom McCarthy? They could use Wheels's toupee as the feathers.

"This is "OUR" time"

Just got a strong Goonies flashback.

And it is so fitting.

I can't shake that feeling that has developed over the last 25 years.

I'm 33 years old and I've been conditioned to get my hopes up and then watch a Horry three drop, or a Carter home run, or a clock-wasting huddle, or a crumpled captain on the ice.

All of these things, and I feel sick to my stomach about tonight.

But this. This is their time, right? And, by default, ours -- like McCarthy just said?

I want to throw up.

CY, perfect! Sean Astin kinda looks like Utley at that age - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtgO8uc1K54

clout:

The Rolen Trade?
Trading Silva and Punto away for Eric Milton?
Trading away Polanco for Urbina?

I suppose the Wagner trade worked out okay... except that Wagner had an uncanny ability to blow the big game. And I suppose the Millwood trade was okay, although he certainly didn't become what we hoped.

Gillick had some bad trades of his own, namely the Abreu trade and the Garcia trade... but he had a lot more good ones including the HUGE Lidge deal as well as deals for Blanton, Moyer, Lohse, Stairs and Iguchi. All of whom have had major impacts on the Phils future.

The verdict is still out on Gillick's draft classes, but it's pretty clear he's been better with trades. It's also hard to ignore his ability to find cast-offs like Werth, Dobbs, Romero and Eyre.

heading out from work, then going right to the bar. let's win this thing!

Carpe Diem- It's time to seize the day! King Cole goes for his 5th win of the postseason, while the city of Philly ebbs and flows with every single one of his pitches tonight as the championship starved fanatics can feel the moment of complete and utter bliss about to erupt upon them. Ryan Howard said it would be "bedlam" if the Phils finished things off Monday night, and by golly I hope he's right.

Phils pitching update.

The Rays are batting .187/.246/.285 as a team this series (the Phils: .263/.361/.518.) For point of reference, Feliz hit .189/.250/.283 in the second half this year.

Sophist: That's awesome.

After 28 years of futility and a couple of close calls, I know in my gut that this year will not be a disappointment. The baseball Gods seem to be smiling, and the breaks are finally going our way. Our offense is now perking, our young stud is getting the ball, and our closer is rested and ready to slam the door on Tampa.

Beerleaguers, I believe tonight will be very special for all of us. Our affection and loyalty to this franchise is about to be rewarded big time. Go Phillies!!!!!

Sounds like a nasty night at CBP. If it does rain like duder says, I would guess that, although unpleasant to play in and to watch a game in, this might give a slight edge to the Phils. Rays don't play as much in nasty weather as do the Phils, and they are probably on edge already and this is one more distraction.

Also, hitting in the rain is tough on both teams, but if Hamels is on his game, he could be almost unhittable in a drizzle. Kazmir will be tougher to hit also, but the idea of trying to hit Hamels in the rain - knowing that if you don't the series is over for you - Ugh.

But as someone else (NEPP I think) said, there is a certain amount of randomness in every game, and the rain probably adds to that as well.

The recipe for tonight is simple: crush TB's already damaged psyche from the git-go. Post some crooked numbers in the first two or three innings, and then watch those poor bastards try to hit Cole's changeup as the weather worsens, the temperature drops, and the boot on their throat presses down harder. By the middle innings, the sheer bedlam of CBP will have taken over and the Rays will just be hoping that the game comes to a blissfully quick ending. If all goes according to plan, the last few innings should make for an unforgettable scene.

Heading to the game. See everyone on the other side....

Any updates on the rain?

Man, the inner pessimist (aka Philly fan) is coming out...any chance that Hamels night will be cut short because of an extended rain delay? Please please please say it aint so!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Jimmy Rollins, SS
Jayson Werth, RF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Pat Burrell, LF
Shane Victorino, CF
Pedro Feliz, 3B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Cole Hamels, P

Rays mix up lineup a little bit:

Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Dioner Navarro, C
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Scott Kazmir, P

Spitz - Fair enough, although Kazmir is their one LHP starter. Feliz is the right call. I'd contemplate flipping Utley and Werth for the usual reasons anyway, but also because Werth's .303/.368/.652 against LHP might be nice to have with more men on base. Not that Utley is a small fry against LHP but there was one person with more HR against them this year than Chase: Werth.

Utley was .277/.368/.519 against LHP this year, so you don't have to trade off any OB ability (out-avoidance) in the switch. Werth's higher BA is probably better in the 3 spot anyway, with men more likely to be on base, since Utley's greater rate of walks against LHP when compared to Werth is probably not going to drive runs in.

Let Rollins and Utley get on base and give one of the league's best hitter's against LHP drive them in.

CY: Here's what I think: This is Ed Wade's team, which Gillick improved at the margins. Wade is hated while Gillick's disastrous mistakes have been ignored.

I am happy that Maddon kept Pena and Longoria back to back. If they continue to swing the bats as they have, that makes big innings unlikely for the Rays.

Obviously, the guy on the mound has something to do with that too!

it's not ed wade's team. it's mike arbuckle's. stop the madness. wade didn't draft any of these guys. I don't care whose watch it was under. he didn't draft them.

I hope everyone has their celebration beer chilled. There's more to say; but I'll save it for later. I am unguardedly optimistic.

and you want evidence of this? ask SI.com writer Jon Heyman

ek: Arbuckle certainly deserves a lot of the credit. Do you think he just announced those picks without consulting Wade? Does Gillick also have zero input into draftees?

This is the right lineup tonight. Maybe you flip-flop Utley and Werth, but I'm fine the way it is.

Will Rollins get his lead-off jack?

I'm sure he consulted Wade but Arbuckle made the selections. I don't know about what Gillick does though. I don't have information on the current draft process within the org but I would imagine he has some input, yes

Anyone who argues that Wade didn't build the core of this team is crazy. And anyone who argues that Gillick didn't find the right accompanying parts is also crazy.

Both GMs deserve credit. It's why you saw Pat Gillick give a nod to Ed Wade when we made the World Series.

However, Gillick has shown throughout his career that he is a GREAT GM and could make a case for the Hall of Fame. Ed Wade has not proven that yet, and I doubt he comes close.

clout: "disastrous" mistakes? That's like me saying you just committed a hyperbolic atrocity. We're a win away from being champions. With that in mind, how could anything Gillick has done leading up to this point be considered "disastrous"?

And which moves of his have been ignored? I think it's more appropriate to say that you ignore how he's gotten a 16 game winner, an .860 OPS guy, the best pinch hitter in baseball, and three relievers(lidge/romero/durbin) who went about 220 innings this year with a combined era of about 2.5 all for relative beans.

Sophist: The Rays are batting .187/.246/.285 as a team this series (the Phils: .263/.361/.518.) For point of reference, Feliz hit .189/.250/.283 in the second half this year.

What you're overlooking is that the entire Rays team is so defensively sound that their collective presence on the field causes mistakes...thus that .187 avg isn't as bad...ah screw it!!!

Go Phillies!!!

Gillick turned a great core into a potential champion. How you can continue to ignore that out of bitterness for the Abreu trade is beyond me.

I would've considered moving Ruiz up to the 7 hole and moving Pedro down to 8. Thoughts?

CJ: "Anyone who argues that Wade didn't build the core of this team is crazy. And anyone who argues that Gillick didn't find the right accompanying parts is also crazy."

Exactly right.

NEPP: Not ignoring it at all. Just think it's silly that he gets credit for players he had nothing to do with acquiring or signing. Unless you think Burrell, Rollins, Howard, Utley et al didn't contribute nearly as much as the players Pat got. If that's what you think they I can see where you're coming from.

Well Pedro went 2-4 last night and he's much better against lefties...I'd keep it the same personally.

Brian G: You're right. The Garcia trade wasn't a disaster. It was just fine.

This is the same mental-midget thinking that concludes if the end result is good no mistakes were made in the process. Sheesh!

Prior to Game Six of the 1980 World Series, Pete Rose said that we will win because we'll be at home with the best pitcher in the world on the mound.

Today, we will win Game Five of the 2008 World Series because we are at home with the best pitcher in the world (at the moment) on the mound.

No not at all clout. Wade and his people created a great core...Gillick turned that into a potential champion with what he does best: Add complimentary players. I think we generally agree on this.

NEPP: For once you and I agree on Pedro. He has value vs. LHP and should stay where he is.

There's been a lot of talk in 2008 about Change. Tonight, the Phillies have the opportunity to make a statement about themselves and about this town. They can erase a lot of demons. They clean up a lot of stains.

In the big picture, perhaps sports is just a minor inconvenience in the grand plan for the universe. But if you take the magnifying glass on google earth and you zoom in to One Citizens Bank Way Almost 46000 people will converge to scream, that this, THIS IS IMPORTANT. For those who don't get it, sports, and baseball in particular, is about families going to the ballpark on a Sunday, a couple of buddies standing over the bullpen railing trying to outdo each other with bad jokes, or a couple on their first date sharing their first kiss on the Kiss Cam. It's about the shared experience that complete strangers can embrace in a world where even co-workers walk by you without saying a word. It's about a place like beerleaguer, where Phillies fans stretching across the delaware valley, through pennsylvania, to the west coast to the dakotas and across the ocean to Europe even to those serving our country in the middle-east can argue fervently about something so inconsequential as adding a journeyman to the 40 man roster to the most important question of all, who starts at 3rd base and know that at the end of the day we where our pinstripes proudly.

And how one sports moment can change how a town feels about itself and each other. My Dad and I talked about what a victory would mean. And he mentioned how we didn't REALLY know what 1980 meant until now. Maybe it's because sports is more important to folks now than then. And maybe it matters MORE now because the shared experience is more than just waiting until the next day's newspaper or climbing out your window to bang pots and pans. Text messages... e-mails... facebook postings... phone calls... podcasts... blogs... all of that has connected us into this one moment.

A World Series victory could occur in Tampa for sure. And we'd be happy all the same, but to capture this moment, to capture a championship, HERE, in Philly, where over 3 million fans walked through the door 90 times, the Phillies have an opportunity to imprint on the DNA of those 46000 and the millions in the bars and in their homes waiting to burst at the seams. We've played the moment in our heads. We've dreamed about it. And if that happens tonight, those 46000 and the millions around the city and the world who never thought they'd get a chance to see another championship or for those who have yet to experience one at all and for those who know have the wisdom of knowing that this is a special thing. A city who might have their trophy case filled with championships might not recognize the importance.

But we can. Why can't Us? And tomorrow, we may be a little different. We'll have something special. We'll have change.

Heading to get my last schmitter of the season.

As someone said earlier, see you on the other side.

Gillick's "disasterous" moves:

Thome for Rowand? Did we get fair value? Hard to say. Did it open up 1B for Howard? Sure did.

Abreu for nothing. Did it rid the team of a cancerous influence? Some claim that. Did it rid the team of one of the best offensive players on the team? Absoutely.

The Freddy Garia trade. In retrospect... a terrible, terrible deal. The real negligence, however, is that we didn't check his shoulder. If he's healthy, it's probably a good trade. If we discover he's hurt, we don't make the deal. Instead, we get damaged goods.

The Eaton signing. I mean... seriously... anyone want to defend this one?

The Feliz signing. I hated it. Looks like things will work out despite it. But he'll be just as bad next year unless we platoon him more.

Of course, I'd argue the good outweighs the bad. Jayson Werth, Jamie Moyer, Greg Dobbs, Brad Lidge, JC Romero, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, Kyle Lohse and Tadahito Iguchi. All acquired for virtually nothing (although Romero got a nice deal when he re-signed). Gillick sure does know how to find those pieces!

I don't know what to do with myself.

Thank You Ronde Barber!

From CNNSI's Peter King: "I think Ronde Barber may have 33 career interceptions, but his 34th, if made, would have been the most memorable one of his career. Barber was at Tropicana Field for Game 1 of the World Series the other night, sitting in row two, just beyond the first-base dugout. In the fifth inning, B.J. Upton hit a high foul pop near the stands, and Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard chased it. As the ball fell, Howard leaned into the stands and plucked it out of the air -- with Barber sitting there watching, his wife clinging to his shoulders with a fearful look on her face. Barber showed off the photo of Howard's catch, with him clearly visible, Saturday, and I asked him where the ball would have landed if Howard hadn't caught it. "Right at my feet,'' he said. He said Howard glowered at the crowd after making the catch. He'd have glowered a lot more if Barber had battled him for it."

Truth be known, it's more Arbuckle's team than Ed Wade's. The core of this team was home-grown. The GM gets the credit and blame for players that are drafted on his watch, but it's the scouting department that does the heavy lifting in this area.

Arbuckle has been justifiably criticized for the Phillies' perpetually thin minor league systems but, when he has been right, he has been right in a big way. On balance, however, I do think the Phillies would be better off if they saved the toolsy project picks for the middle and late rounds & made safer picks in the early rounds.

It DOES help when you have several very high picks year after year there in the late 90's. Losing bad doth have its benefits.

When Wade left, the Phillies virtually had no farm system. The only way they were gonna fill the gaps is to acquire people for nothing, from nowhere. Reclamation projects and never-were's, something this team is full of. In that sense, Pat Gillick was the perfect man for the job.

Latest weather report please? It's still pouring down here in Baltimore. But if the game is delayed I could get in the car right now and haul ass to Center City and make it for 1st pitch.

NEPP: One of the problems, however, is that despite being marginally bad... we signed bad free agents that cost us top draft picks. I think Wade really failed the team there.

I haven't cried since my dog died when I was 12. I felt my eyes welling up in the NLCS. I hope the floodgates open tonight.

NEPP: That's kind of Ironic because wasn't it Barber who in 2002 in the NFC Championship game picked off Mcnabb for the big blow in the last game at the vet?

weather update:

the current radar is showing a narrow shower band over Philadelphia at the moment. It looks nearly stationary, but light in intensity. the rain showing up on radar does not mean it is raining however. the rain drops could dry up before they reach the ground. ?? we need a real report from someone in the area.

Was it Wade that used the 1st overall pick to draft a guy (Drew)who said he didn't want to come here and everyone knew the Phils weren't going to pay?

duder: I'm in the area. It's certainly overcast, but there hasn't been a drop at all today.

Yo, GAME THREAD up.

I haven't been so sure that a Philly team was going to come through in a big spot since the '02 NFC title game when the Eagles beat the Buccaneers in the final game ever in Veterans Stadium.

God I hope the Phillies do it tonight!

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