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Thursday, March 12, 2009


I hope that we have a number of those goose bump moments this year. Does this put Happ alone in the driver's seat for the final spot in the rotation? Opening Day is so close, but still so far away.

An offense without JRoll, Utley, Werth, and Vic struggles against MLB caliber pitching? No surprises there.

No, There's still a ton of ST to go. Park hasn't done anything to eliminate himself from the competition yet.

All signs point to Happ. For pitchers, Opening Day isn't really all that far off. Just three starts, that's not much time to change the course of things.

All I'm saying is neither has done anything to eliminate themselves from the competition...say like Kendrick or Carrasco.

Another lovely day in Florida. Dobbs did make a couple really slick plays at 3rd in this game. Maybe he has come in to camp and focused on improving his defense. My hope is that Feliz late start forces Manuel to start Dobbs against the RHPs at the beginning of the season and that Dobbs hits and fields so well that we end up with him starting most of the games against RHPs this year.

From the last thread . . .

Mike C: I don't think they keep stats on how many outs a pitcher induces to various parts of the park. But when right-handers pull the ball off of Moyer, it tends to go foul because they are overly aggressive against his assortment of slow pitches. When Moyer's pitches are working, he tends to induce most of his ground balls to the right side of the infield or SS. Despite Cholly's belief to the contrary, Moyer rarely induces ground balls to 3rd base.

BAP, I know we've been over this in the past but that's purely due to Feliz's presence out there. If he wasn't out there to intimidate the hitters, I guarantee there'd be more ground balls to the left side.

"But both [KK & Happ] are finesse pitchers who live or die by location."

Well, EVERY pitcher lives or dies by location. If you serve a 99 MPH fastball right over the center of home plate, there's a pretty good chance that a major league hitter will deposit that pitch in the seats.

KK & Happ are both finesse pitchers in the sense that neither overpowers hitters. But, within the universe of finesse pitchers, there are many different kinds. Happ has good deception on his delivery and he uses that deception to strike people out. His control is nowhere near as good as Kendrick's, but it doesn't have to be.

Jonesman: Dobbs defense improved last season the more PT he got. That was remarked upon by 1 or 2 of us during his PT streak in August and it was obvious to anyone who actually watches the games.

BAP: Happ has 3 quality pitches and Kendrick has 2 vs. RHP and only 1 vs. LHP. Certainly Happ's deception helps, but his 3 quality pitches help more.

Also, take a look at KK's minor league BB/9 and Happ's. Not a big difference and Happ showed sharp improvement in 2008.

BTW, I disagree that every pitcher lives or dies by location. While it's true a fastball pitcher can't get away with throwing one down the middle, he CAN get away with one that catches a good part of the plate or one that hangs up high in the zone. Finesse pitchers can't. They must be more exacting. Batters don't foul off hanging curves (or changeups or sliders).

NEPP: Remember how heavyweight boxers used to look terrified when they entered the ring to face Mike Tyson in his prime? That's how batters feel when they come up to the plate and see Pedro Feliz standing at third base.

The deja vu chant is hysterical! I hope it makes it's way to YouTube.

Versus RHB, Moyer had 131 balls that were pulled, 276 up the middle, and only 70 towards the opposite field. He let up no opposite field HRs against either RHB or LHB.

That's for all balls, not just grounders, obviously.

"Remember how heavyweight fighters used to look terrified when they entered the ring to fight Tyson in his prime?"
Yeah, I remember. It's the same look Kyle Kendrick has on his face when he is facing major league batters since 2008.
I bet Delgado and Beltran feel like Tyson when Kendrick is on the mound.

Dave X: I think we still need more info. Do we know what is meant by "up the middle?" Does that include balls hit to SS, or do those fall under the category of balls that were pulled? If they fall under he category of balls that were pulled, then how many of those 131 balls that were pulled went to SS and how many to 3rd base?

Clout- I agree that Dobbs was already showing improvement last year with his 3B defense. It makes sense since when the Phils picked him up he was considered a 'corner guy', meaning infield and outfield, all 4 corner positions. As of last year it became clear that his long-term playing time with this team is tied to his ability to play 3rd. It stands to reason that a guy focusing on one position will improve at that position. And as anyone who has ever played the game will tell you, baseball is a game of repetition. So lets keep those 3B reps coming for Dobbs (and Donald).

I don't know, I was just looking at the stats on the B-Ref splits page. I'm sure there's spray charts somewhere online, but I don't have time to look for it right now.

nepp and b_a_p,

You gotta love Beerleaguer. Laughed out loud for the first time all day. I'm picturing Feliz in a menacing defensive crouch, edging forward; and Albert Pujols cringing and nervously shifting his feet and adjusting his stance.

I don't understand this impression why people act like Feliz is Brooks Robinson. He isn't. In fact, besides having a much stronger arm that Nunez I would say that he really isn't that much of a defensive upgrade at 3B over No-Hit.

Certainly doesn't have cat-like reflexes anymore especially on stuff hit down the line to his right. Nor did I think that he is that adept at charging balls either. Frankly, I was surprised that you didn't see more guys try and drop drag bunts down the line last year in the 2nd half but then again that really has become a lost art.

Twenty years ago I am willing to bet that the likes of Coleman, Pettis, or Butler would have tried their fare share of drag bunts against a team with an aging 3B and when you had a poor fielding pitcher on the mound like Myers.

Frankly the Phils should migrate towards using Feliz as a defensive replacement and a starter against LHP only. Phils have basically been dead last in the major at 3B offensively the last few seasons and Feliz's defense doesn't overcompensate for this.

Compound this with the questionable ability Feliz to hit for power (which fell off a cliff last year after he was injured and a .SLG pct that has been dropping steadily the past 5 seasons) and he essentially becomes a useless offensive player who hits a very empty .240-.250. Reality is that you just give away too many outs when you have Feliz and Ruiz in the lineup together.

I will say this about the Phils - defensively the old saying that you want to be strong up the middle has a ton of merit because the 3 positions in the field that get the most opportunities are 2B, SS, and CF.

Phils arguably have the best defense up the middle right now (especially if you consider Ruiz isn't a slouch at catcher although he actually seems a bit overrated now a bit since the postseason run last year).

"Frankly the Phils should migrate towards using Feliz as a defensive replacement and a starter against LHP only."

I agree. Why not give the kid a shot to start at 3B? If his defense is so woefully terrible that it hurts the Phils chance of winning, they can always send him back to Lehigh Valley for more work. In the meantime, we simultaneously fill the need for a right handed bat in the lineup and eliminate the hole in the lineup (3B, C, P).

Also, as much as I appreciate what Stairs did for the WFC, I think it would be foolish to go into the season with two left handed backup OF on the bench when we have a right handed option that appears perfectly capable of pinch hitting on a ML level. Even if Mayberry isn't quire what we're seeing in ST, he can't possibly be worse than Taguchi, can he?

"Well, EVERY pitcher lives or dies by location."


That's what I was thinking...

I appreciate Furnstein & Jonesman's positive take on Moyer and the team. Not a spin on a bad game, just a different take.

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