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Monday, April 27, 2009

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Yep, the Phils better figure it out and quickly before anyone else in the division does.

Luckily, no one else really has yet to this point.

The NL East actually isn't looking too good even though it's only less than 20 games into the season. NL Central looks more interesting today, but it's way to early to make any sorts of predictions.

"Raul Ibanez is the Free Agent signing of the sesaon so far"

- mlb network

RSB: Thanks for answering my question on the previous thread. Like I said, I didn't hear the game, only thought I saw someone post on here that there was no Tom McCarthy tonight.

What can be done to get Franzkie and LA on TV? Who do we start writing letters to?

On the 'glass half full' side, with pitching this bad their record should be much worse. They've managed to slug out wins even with the pitchers failing to settle in. Thats very promising for a team that generally doesn't hit so well at the start of the season.

While there have been some bright moments here and there, almost all the pitchers have underperformed overall. At what point do we have to look at their manager, Dubee? I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but the FO decision to make Dubee more available to the press reflected a changed dynamic in the coaching staff. Perhaps Dubee should go back to fully concentrating on the pitchers, or let go?

With the exception of Blanton's turd outing tonight, the rotation actually had started to look like it began to stabilize a bit.

Back end of the bullpen was ridiculously strong almost the entire season but it is often overlooked how many innings the Phils got out of their starters most night. Goes a long way if you don't have to trot out the likes of Taschner and Durbin.

Phils desperately need Hamels to be Hamels tomorrow night. Not necessary a shutout but a strong 7 innings tomorrow night would got a long way to helping the Phils possibly sweep this series.

Definitely not a recipe for sustained excellence. More like the Texas Rangers so far. Gotta love the cardiac kids act, though. I didn't see Blanton but he came with the expectatio that he'd put the ball in play. IN the upper deck is not in play, however. It was uncommonly hot today in my neck of Penn's woods. I can't remember a 90 degree April day. I think we shouldn't be surprised that it produced a 24 run game in Philly. Still, assuming we need to scrutinize the staff moving forward, odther than flipping Happ into the rotation, I don't know how 'reevaluated' this staff gets short term. We're definitely going to see this rotation run several more times if I'm wagering. I'm cautiously optimistic that things stabilize.

Good teams win when they play well, exceptional teams find a way to win when they don't.

The Phils could easily be 5-13, but they aren't and that says worlds about a team that is batting .262 while its opponents are hitting .284.

One thing that rarely 'slumps' is fielding, and in the last two games the Phils prevented several runs with very good defense, while both the Fish and Nats gave up runs because of their poor defense. Over the course of a year Phillies defense will help carry them better than any other ball club in the National League.

This is essentially the same pitching staff that won the World Series last season. Give them a little bit of time to iron everything out. Hopefully, the Phillies' bats remain red hot while the pitchers find their way. A month from now, if the pitching hasn't improved significantly, I'll start to be concerned.

It's funny how the Phils didn't have a long man/swing man in the pen last season, but it never hurt them. Now they have Happ and they need him all the time.

great truism, kvsz

Eventually we will see at least one of Koplove/Majewski/Walker brought up. They are all doing very well at AAA so far and it looks like the pen is going to need some help soon.

Seems like offensive is up across the league. I say this without evidence to back it up. If i had to choose between no hitting and great pitching (last year) and great hitting and no starting pitching (this year) I may choose the former just bc of my faith that the offense will eventually turn it around. Will our pitching?

Of course, we say this but pitchers were pretty good in FL. Only 9 R allowed against the Marlins. 19 IP, 8 R by our starters this weekend.

Anyone mind explaining the 'Natinals' meme that's been spreading around? I've of course seen it joked on around this blog for the past few days, and tonight some kid at the game had a 'Beat the Natinals' poster.

I must have missed it the first time around.

By the way, saw the game from three rows behind home plate tonight. It was not lacking raw excitement and grit, that's for sure.

Just throwing it out there, but with Gary Majewski and Mike Koplove pitching really well in AAA, would we be better off promoting one of them and demoting the increasingly useless Miguel Cairo? With Bruntlett not having to be Burrell's defensive caddy this year, it seems like we could get by fine with a four man bench.

But just a great night of Phillies baseball. Love Ibanez' swing. 1-6 were on base 16 times. Rollins with a nice night. Feliz coming off the bench. Love our lineup.

J. Are you trying to say that because Happ is there the starters are relying on him to bail them out? HAHA just playing. It is funny though.

Also Philly is quickly becoming the team that if you're facing them up by 10 in the top of the ninth you're still stealing basses trying to score runs and not getting hammered for it because no lead is safe.

B-Mac, I don't know. Just think of that extra innings game against the Marlins. Manuel is liberal with his bench.

kuvasz - Agreed but it is hard to have your defense help you out when you are giving up BBs and HRs. The Phils' pitching staff is giving up a record-shattering amount of HRs and the middle relievers have had their share of control issues with having issued their share of walks.

Odd stat - This pitching staff actually had the best BB/K ratio at 2.4 in the NL coming into tonight's game.

Generally that is a very good thing but it is kind of troubling because it indicates this while this team is playing stellar defense and not issuing that many BBs they are giving up runs by the truckload.

If this staff can just find a way to cut down the ridiculous rate of HRs, they will begin to look much more credible.

You hear ad verbatim about the HRs allowed by the pitching staff but it really is what is killing them right now because they are given up 39 HRs through 18 games.

Yes, we definitely need our pitching to improve, but what about the start that Howard has had this year? His numbers all all up from previous years at this point:

.292 BA, 15 RBI, 4 HR, .378 OBP, .934 OPS

Before the season, I was preparing myself for the inevitable horrible start for Howard, and I've been pleasantly surprised. Not to mention, his defense has been very solid thus far.

On a related note, I remember reading a lot of people bashing the addition of Ibanez for the Phillies, and he's not all that we could have asked of him, plus more. He's lead our team to multiple wins, played sound defense, and has run the bases very well so far.

Lastly, who would have thought, after Utley had his dreadful hip surgery in the offseason, that he would have made it back to opening day? Also, would you have thought he would have the start he's had this year? I can't honestly think that more than a handful of people would have answered yes to those questions before the season started. He had that huge single to drive in Rollins, and there's no question we would be struggling to have 5 wins without him this year.

Yes, the pitching has been dismal at best so far, but I think you have to look at the "surprising" positives that some Phillies have shown us.

Jeez, now the wins aren't good enough because it's 'not a recipe for sustained excellence.' And after 18 games, we're assuming that the starting pitching- comprised of the same pitchers who won a World Series last year- is going to continue to be this inept throughout the entire season.

You know what? I think we should give the rings back, too- they're too big and shiny.

MG - You know why our BB/K is so good? Because they're hitting everything else. 15th in BAA, 13th in OBP against (despite few walks), 16th in SLG against. Do busy allowing hits to be walking anybody.

You know what? I think we should give the rings back, too- they're too big and shiny.

Posted by: Iceman | Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:14 AM

NOw that you mention it . . . they are kinda big and shiny. An obvious impediment to sustained excellence.

phil wood: Majestic made a boo-boo and Dunn and Zimmerman wore jerseys that said "Natinals" for the first third of a game against the Fish about a week and a half ago.

Well... it is hard to keep command of your pitches when gripping the ball with that huge ring... :)

At some point Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuullll will revert to norms... he's been actually pretty terrible against LHP, but who cares... only 12 of his 77 PA have been against RHP who he's just mashing.

A lot has been said about the rings and how the Phillies regulars might have been affected (pockets of complacency) getting those rings. But you have to figure a guy like Raul, might have been motivated by watching that ring ceremony. The guy's just been on fire. The fan reaction tonight was great.

A buddy of mine, who doesn't go to many games (1 or 2 per year) text'd me tonight from the ball park before the grand slams and asked, "Why are they booing Ibanenz"... I responded... "they are saying Rauuuuuuuuuullll". By the end of the game it was QUITE evident what was going on.

Just a great story to open this season. my only issue it, in someway, gives some validation to the muttonheads who thought Burrell was a bum and was glad he was gone.

Burrell who??

Sophist- I'm definitely not calling it a long term solution, but especially if Lidge has to go on the DL, I would be in favor of calling both Majewski and Koplove up to give the bullpen some depth. The bullpen has been heavily taxed early, an extra arm now could payoff with healthier arms later.

Lidge right knee history:

1. Oct. 2007 - Surgery to repair torn cartilage that has been bothering Lidge for most of the 2nd half in 2007.

2. Feb. 2008 - Arthroscopic surgery on the same right knee after Lidge catches his cleat in the mound and has 3 small tears.

So two significant surgeries on the same right knee the past 18 months now that is inflamed now. You need to have a greater medical history on Lidge but an orthopedist who definitely be concerned about that right knee in someone so active.

You do have to wonder if Lidge's issues with the control on his fastball haven't been due in part to issues with planting his right knee. He has control issues with his fastball in Sept. 2007 when he also had issues with his bulky right knee.

Hopefully, Lidge just needs some rest and a cortisone shot to control the inflammation. Rather have him get the rest he needs to properly treat the inflammation instead of it turning in a potentially chronic inflammation issue this season.

8 runs on 2 swings in 1 night. wow! Great game.

Here's audio of both grand slam calls from Franzke:

Raul Ibanez and here's Ryan Howard

Didnt see the Lidge comcast interview. Anything in particular that worried folks?


Only 32 more games until Romero returns and Taschner leaves. That's what you call a win-win situation. And where is Adam Eaton when you need him? (just kidding)

Decent post on Passion and Pride on why they must dump McCarthy:

http://mvn.com/passionandpride/2009/04/28/time-to-fire-tom-mccarthy.html

and Wheeler's twitter, which is slightly more entertaining (in a dumb way, of course) than I would've expected. Sample: "It's a hot one! I bet the youngsters will be getting some water ices to go with their Hatfield Dollar Hot Dogs tonight!"

http://twitter.com/the_real_wheels

Tray - McCarthy isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I just hope he improves although his trying to ham it as up as a "Philly guy" at times is pretty obviously thin. I hope he realizes he doesn't need to do this to connect with the fans.

Additionally, he needs to do more prep work. Just too many obvious mistakes during a game and a real lack of some obvious issues including having difficulty it seems at times in identifying which offspeed pitch is thrown.

Hardest thing to do - Establish a true legacy and become a legend. Second hardest thing to do - Replace a legend. McCarthy deserves this season to try and find his place but he has to tighten up the broadcast (including limiting the obvious mistakes and better prep work), stop trying to impress the fans with his "Philly connections/stories" so hard, and actually focusing less on things that have nothing to do with the game.

The last time the Phillies clubbed two grand slams in the same game was Sept. 9, 2003, when Tomas Perez and Jason Michaels went deep in Atlanta.

On Aug. 18, 1997, against the Giants, Billy McMillon and Mike Lieberthal each hit a slam for the Phils. Back on April 28, 1921, against Boston, Ralph Miller and Lee Meadows hit grand slams in the same game.

Howard's slam was his first since Sept. 17, 2007, at St. Louis. Howard's six slams tie him with Bobby Abreu, Willie Jones, Chuck Klein and Cy Williams for the second-most in franchise history. Mike Schmidt is first with seven.

Why all this McCarthy bashing? The guy's doing a pretty good job and it was quite apparent to me that he was Harry's successor-in-waiting when he joined the broadcast team. I'm not really entralled with L.A. on TV. Too much grumbling about umpires calling balls and strikes. He works better on on radio with Franske calling play-by-play.

The Nationals have played 18 games, scored 85 runs, and hit 21 homeruns. 27 of those runs and 12 of those homeruns have come in their 3 games against the Phillies. That's really bad.

Bullpen- our pen is already thin, and losing Lidge would really hurt. Guess we'd have to get lucky and hope Koplove or Majewski could step in and handle Condrey's role for a bit as he'd get bumped up the food chain.

If Lidge is out for an extended period of time, who steps up to the 8th inning role as Madson closes? Condrey? Durbin? This makes me nervous.

Pitching is beginning to concern me, but it is still April with just 1/10th of the season played. Here's hoping that tonight Hamels pitches at least 80% effectively as he did during the WFC run.

I don't get the games on the telly down here; I do get all the Nats and O's games I could never want. With that in mind, I was reminded several times by Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble that the Phigtins' have the worst pitching staff in baseball. Opps, I almost forgot Ray Kight reminded me of that in the post-game show.

I tried the radio with TV on mute thing, but the delay is terribly annoying.

Texas and Yankees ERA are a little higher, but we are worst in the non-DH league.

Eighteen games into the season, little more than 10% comparison:

AB R H HR RBI TB BB SO OBP SLG AVG

Raul 73 18 25 6 16 50 8 9 .402 .685 .342

PtB 63 6 15 1 8 20 13 13 .364 .317 .238

WOW

Here's what I posted at Passion and Pride about his Tom McCarthy bashing:

"Oh get over it. I grew up with Vin Scully - without doubt the greatest baseball broadcaster of all time - and Vin would call a homerun the same way no matter who hit it (Dodgers or the opponents). From what I heard on the radio, the Dukes shot was absoutely astounding. The Phillies don't need a homer in the tv or radio booth. If you want one of those, listen to Astros games or Cubs games and hear "we need a hit here" garbage. Remember, McCarthy worked for the Phillies before he moved up to NYC." (He suggests McCarthy is a Mets fan.)

I also think his criticism of saying the Dukes shot was hit in Piazza country is ridiculous. He suggests it blasphemed Richie Ashburn since it was hit in Ashburn Alley. Well that's stupid since (a) Richie never saw Ashburn Alley and (b) he wasn't the type of hitter to hit the ball to Ashburn Alley. Calling it Piazza-like is a much better picture for today's viewer who easily remembers how far Piazza hit the ball - particularly against the Phils. (And he did it while a Dodger, too).

"What can be done to get Franzkie and LA on TV? Who do we start writing letters to?"

Please dont mail them anywhere, LA IS AWFUL. He sounds like a mortician. WHy is there all this love for him? He is terrible.

Kirk: But, as pointed out, why wouldn't you call it Howard territory? Since when did Mike F-in Piazza become the standard for tape-measure shots?

I can take or leave Larry Anderson (except when he does play by play. It's so bad I have to stop what I'm doing to listen), but Franzke is the real deal. He's WAY better than Tom McCarthy.

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