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Sunday, April 19, 2009


Howard's defense today really stuck out as improved over last season. I think the weight loss really improved his mobility.

Wish Harry was there to make the Ibanez call...

I LOVE Howard's defense so far. It's great to watch.

Second Sunday, second straight game-winning HR. Not a trend I wouldn't mind seeing continue. . .

just got home from the game. walk off wins are the best.

On the Park bet, I'll take the 'remains' side.

I'm glad that Ibanez's dong is finally getting him some respect on beerleaguer.

Wish Harry was here for every call.

Hope Charlie doesn't think benching JRoll was key to this win.

Nats are now 1-10. Worst teams of the past 25 years were the '03 Tigers and the '88 Orioles. Each time got out to horrendous starts. '88 O's lost their first 21 games (an MLB record) and ended April 1-22 and the '03 Tigers ended April 3-23.

Each of these teams were historically terrible in their own right and the '03 Tigers are arguably one of the worst teams in MLB history.

Hopefully the Nats don't go down that path but if you look at their schedule yet this month (Atl, @ NYM, @ PHL, 1 game STL) it isn't hard to see them ending the month around 4-17 or 3-18 which would rank up there with historically terrible starts in April.

This game was all about Raul. Good and bad; and like the result, more good than bad. I threatened that "Raul better hit a 3-HR jack to make up for that 2-run (unofficial) error." Didn't quite turn out as scripted, but pretty close...

Park's performance:
Overall outcome of 4 ER against reflects overall performance. He was uneven and even though two of the runs scored against him in the 3rd should've been unearned, he was fortunate to get away without giving any runs in the 4th after giving up his only walk of the day to the pitcher. His performance hitter to hitter was also uneven and his pitch choice and/or sequences were questionable for some batters. Although he was getting behind several hitters for a stretch, he was also just missing the corners, or just not getting calls several times. That said, he needs to work on that changeup with bigger leads, not in close games. Although it was effective in ST thanks to Moyer, it looks like it lost some of its movement. I'd say this was a pretty neutral performance overall.

Easily the most impressive thing about Ibanez offensively so far has been the unexpected power. You figured he would put the ball into ball and hit for a pretty high average.

MG - perhaps impressive for BLers who worried about his 1 spring training HR over 60 or so ABs. I'm happy about his power to opposite field.

That said, it's only April. And let's remember how Burrell performed after tearing the cover off the ball in Aprils past.

Dave X: I don't recall much griping about Ibanez as a player, just a whole lot of griping (including from me) about him being lefthanded.

Phils BP today (the reason they lost their last two games):

4 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 R

I just got back from the game. Weather was great, beer was cold and it was a great finish.

Two thoughts:

One, Park was not as bad as his line. Ibanez misplay (IMO it was an error) cost Park at least two runs.

Two, in regard to observation number one, Eric Bruntlett is nowhere close to Jimmy Rollins at shortstop. He does not even deserve to be compared to him. There was at least one run scored because Bruntlett didn't get to a ball where, IMO, Rollins makes the play, and either ends the inning or shortens it.

It really made me appreciate, even more, the value of defense.

There's a big difference between 5 - 6 and 4 - 7. Especially since those damn fish are getting out of the box so hot.

I love that Ibanez is shutting up the 'offer arbitration to Burrell' clique.

BTW, said Burrell would lose AB's to Zobrist, when he slumps for Tampa. I was partly right. Tampa started Zobrist and Gross, rather than play Burrell today against RH pitching. It must be tough playing DH in a day game after a night game.

After 11 games last year, identical 5-6 record, but only 2.5 back of first place Florida at that point.

Rest of season=picked up 12.5 games on the Marlins, despite going 8-10 against 'em.

AWH - That's similar to my take on the game. Park had good 5th starter stuff. Very close to a 6 IP 2 or 3 run performance. His next start looks like it will be against FL.

mikes77 forgot that a season is 162 games long.

FWIW, I didn't like the Ibanez signing for the contract mostly, and for the LH thing slightly. I still think they're totally overpaying the guy, and for too many years, but there's no question he's been a nice addition to the offense so far this year.

I still would've kept Burrell, mike. The folks in our 'clique' always said that 2009 was the year you'd regret the move least - indeed, it's perfectly possible that Ibanez will outperform Burrell this season. By 2010, 2011, we'll be regretting paying an older, slightly inferior hitter more money.

Jack - In mikes mind, you can't believe all those things and still think that Ibanez is a nice addition to the lineup. What makes it funnier is that Ibanez had a big day against a club with zero left-handed relief options.

"mikes77 forgot that a season is 162 games long."

Did'nt forget. Just love seeing certain guys on this blog having to sit quiet for a while.

mikes - speaking for others for a moment, but not a single person here didn't think Ibanez could perform. We all saw his numbers. go back and read the archives and you'll see that the arguments of those who didn't like the signing have not been contradicted by recent events. I'm not even one of these people, but your undeserved "told you so" attitude is irritating.


"The possible lively ball is something I’ve been tracking by looking at average weather-neutralized home run distances. Let me explain that before I go on. I have tracked all home runs for the past three seasons, and for each, I have noted the altitude and weather that each was hit in. After figuring out how far a given home run actually flew (I call this “true distance”), my Hit Tracker program allows me to adjust the altitude and weather to a standard set of conditions and see how far the ball would have gone. I call that “standard distance”. The idea is that a home run hit in Coors Field, or a home run hit on a 100 degree day in Arlington, Texas, or a home run hit into a strong wind at Wrigley Field, can all be compared by taking out those atmospheric influences and comparing their standard distances.

So, very early this season (actually on the second full day of games), I had already noticed that balls were seemingly flying farther than they usually do, so I checked my numbers, and noticed that the standard distances of all the home runs around MLB were a lot longer than those hit in 2008. Since then, I’ve continues tracking this, and what was little more than a feeling and some numbers off a very small sample size have become a lot more compelling: the first 350 home runs this year are flying, on average, about 6 feet farther than last year. The likellihood that such a difference could come about by chance is exceedingly low, less than 0.0031% the last time I ran the stats on that. I’ve tried to come up with some other possible ways that league-wide homers could be flying so much farther, given that the weather is already factored out, and the ball is the most likely explanation.

Now, if these numbers wre happening in isolation, I’d be more cautious about theorizing on this, but we are at 2.26 home runs per game (a high rate considering it’s April, the coldest month of the year on average), and on the observation side, my own eyes (which have watched every one of the more than 15,000 home runs hit in the last 3 + seasons) tell me the ball is carrying farther, and lots of announcers (who also see a lot of fly balls hit) are saying the same thing. (You might also want to check out this thread from the “Book Blog” regarding the possible lively ball.)"

Also, just to update: So far this season, we've played 11 games and faced 1 lefty starter. We're 1-0 in those games. In 2008, after 11 games, we'd faced 2 lefty starters and were 1-1 in those games.

As you'll recall from the offseason, Clout stated that we would face significantly more lefty starters this season due to Ibanez in the lineup instead of Burrell.

Sophist - The ball is now "juiced" too? When will it ever end . . . .

Are the Phillies not playing Marson every day b/c they don't want to start his arbitration clock?

I want to see Lou in there every day

Yeah, Philistine, Coste's act is getting pretty old. He's washed up.

Phil: Being on the roster is what starts a player's clock, not if they are on the field or not.

Sophist, usually offers great stats and is a voice of reason, but...

That had to be the the most 'over the top' nonsense you've ever posted.

What does all of that have to do with Ibanez's performance?

Ryan Howard only has 2 HR's and is batting over .300.

They're using different balls for Ibanez?

I've had a debate over just about every aspect of the 09 phillies, division, and entire league with just about every poster here.

So far some debates i look right on while others i dont, but regardless, we're 11 games into the season, why the hell are the discussions 80% "i told you so" posts?!

mikes - Sorry, that wasn't clear. Those posts weren't connected (it didn't even occur to me that it would read that way, but I can see how it easily would.)

I just posted that bc I just read it, and it seems relevant in light of the record number of homers our staff just gave up.

Raaaoooooooooooooooollll !!!!!!

Bruntlett may be a average SS, but it really becomes apparent what we loose when Jimmy is not on the field. Luckily they won today and Bruntlett's D wasn't too much of an issue.

Mike - Sophist was just making a point. Homers are up big time across the league this year compared to past April and some people are noting that the ball has seemingly been carrying very well.

Why are you being a jerk?

"Why are you being a jerk?"

Trying to fit in with you (MG), clout and BAP.

The Burrell vs. Ibañez debate reminds me of the Helms vs. Feliz debate from last season, where several posters seemed to feel that the change was, at best, a lateral move. I felt that Feliz' defense made him an obvious improvement over Helms, who could neither hit nor field. It is difficult to fairly or accurately compare Burrell & Ibañez this early in the season, but my feelings are very similar: so long as Ibañez proves at least no worse than Burrell on defense, & manages to improve on Burrell's offensive contribution, I'll consider the change a success. So far, so good.


Another thing to consider re: the apparent HR outburst is that this season began a full week later than last season, & the weather across the nation has been far more mild than it was at the same point in the schedule last year. Before we baseball fans begin once again to cast aspersions on the ball we should examine all of the possibilities, & the weather, to me, seems most likely to have effected the change in HR numbers.

The Burrell vs. Ibañez debate reminds me of the Helms vs. Feliz debate from last season, where several posters seemed to feel that the change was, at best, a lateral move. I felt that Feliz' defense made him an obvious improvement over Helms, who could neither hit nor field. It is difficult to fairly or accurately compare Burrell & Ibañez this early in the season, but my feelings are very similar: so long as Ibañez proves at least no worse than Burrell on defense, & manages to improve on Burrell's offensive contribution, I'll consider the change a success. So far, so good.


Another thing to consider re: the apparent HR outburst is that this season began a full week later than last season, & the weather across the nation has been far more mild than it was at the same point in the schedule last year. Before we baseball fans begin once again to cast aspersions on the ball we should examine all of the possibilities, & the weather, to me, seems most likely to have effected the change in HR numbers.

My apologies for the double post. :-(

MG, why don't you post some stats telling us why Burrell is a better player than Ibanez.

You would be saying 'I told you so' right now, if it was Burrell with the 1.300 OPS and Ibanez with the .650 OPS. It's reversed so you can only come back with its a '162 game season'...

And you won't be right at game 162 either.

What great day in Philly.

Phils, Flyguys, Sixers all big wins. Wish I went to chickie and pete's today and not friday when Phils and flyers blew it.

G-Town - Check out the post I quoted from. He takes weather into account when finding "standard distance." When he says the ball is flying further than he'd expect, he means further than he'd expect given game conditions, which includes wind, temperature, time of day, park, etc., etc..

Tray: I will gladly overpay for Ibanez in 2011 if he performs like he has so far in 2009 and it translates into postseason success by the end of the year.

And I think that Ibanez at 39 will still be better than Burrell at 34 anyway. Will Ibanez at 39 be better than our upcoming corner OF prospects? Not sure on that one, but its safe to say he is in 09 and all likelihood in 2010.

I think the Helms/Feliz debate was very different, Dave, in that Feliz was clearly the far superior player defensively, while Ibanez isn't clearly better offensively or clearly much better defensively. The only reason people ever took Helms-Dobbs-Nunez's side is that clout and others believed that 2007 was just a down year for Helms and that he'd necessarily rebound to his career averages, at which point his offensive edge over Feliz would supposedly outweigh his defensive deficit, and then people argued over whether third base defense mattered, whether you can trust defensive metrics, etc. Of course, Helms proved to be washed up, at which point the debate shifted to "who else could we have signed that would've been better than Feliz," and everybody started claiming to have seen Ty Wigginton or Jorge Cantu's great seasons coming. In the case of Ibanez v. Burrell, Ibanez is just a little better defensively, and on offense, history doesn't suggest that he's an improvement - actually, it suggests he'll be a small downgrade offensively, his hot April notwithstanding. Then there's the age issue, and the money. So I have a tough time seeing why there even is a debate - to the extent there is one, it's rooted in unsupported claims about Ibanez being a more consistent hitter, or Ibanez hitting lefties just fine, or batting average being more important than OBP, or whatever. Of course, Ibanez is a fine player, but Burrell is a better one, and a cheaper and younger one.

The Phillies were losing when I left this afternoon. When I came back and saw that they had won, I was, at first, pleasantly surprised. But my joy soon turned to anger as I found out that the reason they won was because Ibanez hit a walk-off homerun. I would much rather see the Phillies lose, and Ibanez go 0 for 5, than see them win & Ibanez have a good game. After all, I was one of the posters who thought they should resign Burrell, and there's nothing that makes us Burrell backers more miserable than to see his replacement do well.

I'm being facetious, of course. But I think mikes77 truly believes that Burrell supporters like MG, clout, AWH, alby, and I actually think this way.

Good win, but I'm worried about Lidge. It seems to me he's suffering from Wayne Gomes syndrome. If you watched the Padre hitters, especially Giles, they sat on the slider. The fastball wasn't a factor, becuase he couldnt' command it. After Friday night, they picked up on his pattern and his lack of command of the heater. Same with Gomes. He had a good hard curve that he actually could throw for strikes. Like Lidge right now, he lacked command of his fastball so it really took away the effectiveness of his breaking pitch.

Tray: Amazingly, some posters on here didn't recognize that Feliz was an upgrade over Wes Helms. I'm thinking of someone.... Clout, maybe?

Tray: The argument was, if you have two players with such similiar OPS+ numbers the past three years, that I would rather have a player contribute to that number with base hits than walks, which is what Ibanez does. I dont think that makes Ibanez that much of a better offensive player, but it makes him more ideal for this lineup in my opinion.

And this is all discounting the first weeks of 2009.

Yeah, Jack, I think I said that. In fairness, Helms was, what, only 32 last year, so even though he just looked totally finished, one could reasonably imagine that he'd bounce back. Didn't happen though.

If you want to be a jerk Mike here is what I said about Ibanez in my preseason prediction

"Ibanez gives the Phils the AVG they want but not the SLG. Nor does he give them anywhere close to 100 RBIs. More like 75 or 80. Still he gives them a relatively solid offensive year (.345/.460/.805) though."

Basically I thought Ibanez would give the Phils .280-.290 with about 20 HRs and 75-80 RBIs. Hardly knocking Ibanez. If he ends up with a much better season from a power perspective, that's great but he is likely to go through a stretch too where he only hits 1-2 HRs over 4-5 weeks.

I also thought he wouldn't be a much of an upgrade on the basepaths or in the field. He is a bit faster than Burrell but he still isn't going to be scoring that often form 2B on a single or going from 1B to 3B.

As for his defense, he stinks. He has had 3 plays already this year that have directly cost the Phils a run on the play including today.

As for this offseason, it wasn't about resigning Burrell or a lovefest with him. The issue is that the Phils are likely to get their money's worth out of Ibanez this year but I wonder if they $11M of production out of him in 2010 and 2011 or if they wouldn't have been better off spending that money on trying to get a front line starter. Have to wait and see on both for a while.

MG: So his defense is horrible after 10 games but his offense doesnt count yet?

Clout, the comment wasn't meant as a dig at you or anyone else, but rather just making fun of the word "dong."

Just said that Ibanez has been as good as advertised offensively and then some yesterday. Damn. People are getting ridiculous and petty on here.

Well yeah, phaithful, defense is a lot less streaky sort of a thing than offense. Speed, judging the ball, taking good routes, throwing - these things are pretty constant. Offense is wiidly variable from month to month. Obviously Ibanez isn't going to be this hot all year, and obviously Burrell isn't going to finish the season with 12 HR and 50 RBI, which he's currently on pace for. So yeah, it's too early to pronounce Burrell a bust for Tampa, or Ibanez an All-Star, but it's not too early to get a read on his defense. Ibanez has a month this hot every year, if you look up his splits, but at the end of the season he always puts up his customary .800-something OPS. So you can't say that this April is suggestive of an unusually good year for him.

AWH - Park wasn't as awful as he was against Colorado, but I disagree that he wasn't as bad as his line. He gave up the runs on the bunt/misplay by Ibanez but also got very lucky when Kouzmanoff rocketed a ball right at Feliz with 2 on/1 out - turned into a DP but a few feet either way and that's at least another run or two. He still threw too many pitches and didn't show much consistency at any point. It was not a good, or even acceptable outing. He needs to do better than that. Getting back the command he showed in ST would help, because he doesn't have the stuff to get away with poor location.

MG, I would say it is just a part of the strong feelings people have, positive and negative, for Burrell, but we spent months arguing Feliz, Helms, Dobbs last year.

Park and Happ seem to be catching on. Hamels next start seems a big one to me. He looked good through 4 last time out. Hopefully the only issue is that he needs to build up his arm strength. He facts MIL Wednesday (although tomorrow looks like it may be rained out. pity since I'm flying in for an interview and have tickets).

Is there an over-under for Cairo's last day on the 25 man? Phils are a speedy pinch-runner away from tying the game two nights ago.

RSB - It seems you have to be consistent with that reasoning (lucky breaks, unlucky breaks). The ball was right at Feliz, but as I said earlier if Ibanez just lets E Gonzalez' ball drop in front of him for a single, Giles may have just grounded into a DP (the ground ball he ended up hitting would have sufficed). In the end, I think Park pitched about what his line showed: 5 or 6 IP of 3-4 run baseball with lots of baserunners. Not great, but an average to slightly below average performance for a 5th starter. With how this staff has performed to date, I'll take any start from Blanton-Moyer-Park that simply keeps this team in the game.

I can see why people weren't happy with Park's start, but it was nowhere near poor enough to warrant a job loss.

And don't get me wrong, I'm actually an Ibanez fan. Last year I probably wrote 50 posts clamoring for us to trade for him. He'll have a very nice year for us. I just like Burrell a little better.

Didnt read your post yesterday, just the one you just posted how he stinks in the field.

He had a crucial mistake today, but hasn't seemed as bad as you make him out to be in my mind.

"He is a bit faster than Burrell but he still isn't going to be scoring that often form 2B on a single or going from 1B to 3B."

Didn't he go 1st to 3rd on a Werth single last night and had everyone saying Pat needed someone to hit a double to go 1st to 3rd?

Ibanez has alos tagged up successfully twice so far from moderately shallow sac flies.

Burrell is Mr. Station to Station. Anyone not named Johnny Estrada is a big upgrade in that department.

That was a decent hit, but Burrell would have walked. I mean what would you rather have in that situation, a homer or a walk with the 6,7, and 8 batters waiting in the wings?

Sophist - yes, I agree, but that's precisely why I mention the ball lined to Feliz. Park's luck evened out and to my mind, that makes him as bad as his line looked today. I didn't say it was bad enough to warrant a job loss, but a few more outings like that and I'll certainly be saying it and I'll have plenty of company.

Flipper - That is certainly a funny joke. But you do sell Burrell a little short. He had a handful of big hits in the first half last year. Funny thing is, in the one I remember off the top of my head (off Brian Wilson in the 10th at home) he said afterwards all he was trying to do was get walked!

RSB - Understood. Although I may disagree when the time comes. Once you name a guy the starter, he's really got to fail several times before you start moving guys around, and when I say fail I mean 6 IP, 6 ER; 4 IP, 5 ER kinds of starts out of a 5th starter.

RSB - I also wouldn't call the ball hit to Ibanez bad luck. If Ibanez had caught it then it would have been good luck. But Ibanez simply misplayed a single. I also would call having Bruntlett at SS bad luck. In any case, I think we more or less agree on his performance today.

And while we're going with the "I told you so's," check the archives and you'll see that the BL "experts" disagreed when I said that pitching - particularly the bullpen - would be a concern this year while the offensive output, with Ibanez replacing Burrell, would be better than last year.

"Tray: The argument was, if you have two players with such similiar OPS+ numbers the past three years, that I would rather have a player contribute to that number with base hits than walks, which is what Ibanez does. I dont think that makes Ibanez that much of a better offensive player, but it makes him more ideal for this lineup in my opinion."

Bingo. The point being, comparing OPS numbers doesn't tell the whole story. Signing Ibanez instead of Burrell has pluses and minuses. The problems with the Burrell-lovers is that they refused to acknowledge that. Just as they trot the age comparison out there and ignore the Ibanez's incredible durability compared to Burrell's questionable durability. As they refuse to acknowledge that whether they agree with the strategy or not, Cholly would have continued to replace Burrell on the basepaths and in the filed late in games which weakens the bench options.

Ibanez has been very impressive running the bases (he has more triples and SBs than Rollins). And I also think he gets to a lot more balls in the OF than Burrell. I hope the hitting keeps up, but that is much more subject to streakiness.

Jonesman. That is a funny way to support Ibanez' baserunning abilities. Ibanez has been on base 16 times (H+BB-HR). He has 1 triple and 1 SB. Rollins has been on base 8 times. He has no triples and hasn't even tried to steal yet, which isn't surprising given his low OBP (.184). In any case, just based on what I've seen I agree with your conclusion.

Flipper - Not sure who the "experts" are but I said in the prediction thread that the Phils would score more and allow more this year. What's the point of playing gotcha? And why even play it 11 games in?

11 games is clearly a legit sample size...right???

"As they refuse to acknowledge that whether they agree with the strategy or not, Cholly would have continued to replace Burrell on the basepaths and in the field late in games which weakens the bench options."

That's a good point. Of course, it was a nutty strategy, but as long as he was going to employ such a nutty strategy we are better off, ceteris paribus, with a hitter whom he feels comfortable keeping in the game all nine innings. I don't see, though, what's questionable about Burrell's durability. He had a wrist injury in '04, which doesn't really speak to the fragility of his body at large; other than that, the games he missed the past few years were almost all days off. In 05-08, I'm seeing that he missed two games due to injury, one to the wrist again and one to the neck.

The point of playing gotcha is to underline that some folks here (you're not one of them, Sophist) have a habit of confusing their opinions with facts.

I never said that Ibanez is clearly superior to Burrell - and I'm not saying so now. I think that few BLers ever said that.

It's just that some folks seem to be blinded about Burrell, and look at only one side of the equation (age, comparing OPS numbers without considering the advantages of one that's based more on walks vs. base hits, RH vs. LH) and thing that validates an argument. For example, just harping over and over that Ibanez being LH as a detriment against a LH closer without recognizing that it's an advantage against the majority of starters - and on occasion, Burrell was lifted from close games where the instead of a LH Ibanez facing a LH closer, you'd have someone like Gnome facing a LH closer.

Tray - I've seen a fair amount of speculation that one of the reasons Cholly replaced Burrell so much was because Cholly questioned Burrell's durability. And even if you consider Burrell's durability to be average, Ibanez has show way above average durability. To simply say that Burrell is younger, and not take into account Ibanez's conditioning, loses validity.

I didn't hear any grumbling at the park about Ibanez aggressive play in the third that cost 2 runs. I did, however, hear someone say, "Pat would've sat back on that and kept it a single." It wasn't a complaint; merely a comment. Of course the same person went nuts when Ibanez hit the walk off.

But what I found interesting was the griping about Coste. What's his name from the Padres bunted for a hit. Many in the stands where I was sitting said Ruiz would've had him out. Some also wished Marson had played instead.

Makes me wonder if Coste will finish the season on the roster.

Ibanez's conditioning is definitely a factor; he's no ordinary 36 year, 10 month old outfielder. But he'll still be 39 in 2011 and that is pretty old for the healthiest of players. And yeah, maybe Charlie did feel that the arduous work of playing left-field defense in the 8th and 9th innings would wear PtB down. But we only know what did happen, and what did happen was that year after year Burrell hardly ever missed a game due to issues of health.

Whether accurate or not, sometimes when Burrell struggled there was speculation that one of the reasons for his struggles was he was playing through injuries. And obviously I'm only speculating here, but that could help explain why Cholly was so consistent about replacing Burrell - so as to prevent injuries proactively.

Assuming that Cholly isn't a complete idiot, sometimes there might be reasons why he does things that people not around the team every day think is illogical. Obviously, Cholly knows more about the health of the players than we do.

"Obviously, Cholly knows more about the health of the players than we do."

This is true. Either way, I'll agree that we're better off - all things being equal - with a guy who Charlie doesn't feel compelled to replace with Bruntlett in the late innings every night. If it really is the case that, had we kept Burrell, he might have started breaking down, that would be another point in Ibanez's favor. Of course, now that there's less stress on him as a DH, we may never know.

I do feel compelled to write this because all comments today have been bitching about McCarthy and Park...

Great win today! A game-ending, lead-changing homerun on a Sunday afternoon with a sold-out crowd desperately needing to be cheered up. It was a thrill. Great to see that Ibanez is well on his way to becoming a popular player all over again in his new home (though it might take a bit longer here). And Howard was sensational. Everyone's raving about the glove work, and rightly so, but I especially loved the way he got ahead in the count and put the bat on the ball to start the ninth inning. If this is real development we're seeing here, it's exciting because Howard can be so much better than we've seen in the last two years...

that should read, all *my* comments. not necessarily yours.

Jack: You're two for two tonight in distorting my position on both the lefties issue and Feliz. I won't correct you because you know what my position was. Let's see if you have the ethics to restate it correctly.

Kevin Millwood:

ERA: 1.17, WHIP: 0.78

The one thing I haven't heard from anyone regarding Ibanez's defense is how the ballpark can affect how you see the ball off the bat... (position of the sun, where the lights, wind, etc)

It's a small sample size... from what I remember about the opening of the bank was a number of miscues in the outfield from every position and both sides because they were getting used to the conditions and the dimensions.

I expect Ibanez' defense will improve as he gets used to the NL parks and CBP.

Not sure anyone mentioned this yet, via Lauber:

"So, I asked Manuel for his early impressions of Ibanez.

"So far, for us, he's proved that he plays a steady left field, and he's definitely a good baserunner," Manuel said. "He's been taking the extra base. He tags up on balls and moves up on a base, especially when the ball is hit deep in the outfield. He gets a jump off third. You can play contact baseball with him. He's done a good job for us. From what I've seen so far, he plays the game hard, and he wants to play it right."

A few hours later, almost on cue, Ibanez laced a one-out single in the eighth inning, then went from first to third on Jayson Werth's single to center, a baserunning play that I rarely saw Pat Burrell make during the past three years. Ibanez, who also homered earlier in the game, scored on Pedro Feliz's sacrifice fly, and at the time, he was the go-ahead run."

Maybe, clout, you could restate it for us and save us the trouble of archive-searching? As I recall at least, you thought that sticking with Helms/Dobbs would've been wiser than signing Feliz (and starting Dobbs occasionally against RHP). And that you thought so because you were pretty sure that Helms would return to those career norms you love to tout, or at least hit lefties reasonably well. And then of course he went on to be just as bad as '08 as he was in '07, and then your position evolved into "well, maybe Helms is washed-up, but we could've signed Cantu, or Wigginton." Which of course, isn't at all the same thing as saying that Helms/Dobbs would've been better than Feliz and advocating standing pat over signing the guy.

All in all, the Phils are fortunate to be 5-6 right now. Less than an ideal start but considering the horrendous pitching they aren't in bad shape.

Next 10 days though are going to be interesting because the Phils can ill afford to continue to get such shaky starting pitching without another off day until April 30th.

re: Park

two quotes from Zolecki's blog on

["Two starts -- in my mind, that's not a big chance," Manuel said. "We're looking for the best pitching in our bullpen or in our rotation. It's still early and everything and we don't want to lose games, but at the same time when you commit to somebody, I feel like you've got to give them the right chance."
(note: Manuel wouldn't say how many starts would entail a "right chance," but depending on performance, he said he wanted Park to get into a groove of pitching every 5th day given that the phils don't have a day off until the sounds like at least 3 more starts)


"I felt good," Park said. "I'm happy. I thought I pitched good and kept the game close, so we could come back."]

Two things. Park, you did not pitch all that well, much less good. I don't want to know what pitching bad is for you. Beyond the whole (un)earned run-counting thing, san diego's feared hitters were making solid contact although you did give up less HRs than the rest of the rotation. It is unlucky that you had Bruntlett at SS and Stairs in RF. But you did walk a pitcher to load the bases (why DID you throw offspeed/breaking balls to get in a 2-0 hole?). I understand you were getting pinched, but you have to adjust to that circumstance.

So while you may have felt good, throwing fastballs up to 95 mph, you did not "pitch" good. You need to get more consistent pitch to pitch. It also would help to study hitter scouting reports and videos with your catcher and come up with a coherent gameplan that gives you at least half a chance at succeeding.

I do agree that you did give your offense a chance to come back; but with this offense, that's not saying a whole lot. Your job is to keep the crooked numbers off the scoreboard no matter how many runs the team scores. And you definitely shouldn't be happy at yesterday's performance; that does come close to meeting the Phillies' performance standard.

"We're fortunate to be 5-6."

After blowing two late leads to SD? Even last year's Mets held late leads at least half the time.

We're also unfortunate to be 5-6.

Manny Acta is using all the managing savvy and patience that would be on display were we, the fans, given a chance to manage a MLB team.

Yesterday he said: "We are going to have a new bullpen on Monday."

Wow, a brand new bullpen. That is the kind of knee jerk reaction that gets you fired. Sure the Nats are horrible to start the season, but I don't think you can just axe the entire bullpen at this point.

If the Phillies did the same thing then last years team probably looks a lot different.

What struck me about the Phils last year was that the bullpen gelled over time and as players developed, their roles became more defined. Acta's Inquisitional running of his bullpen, absent a huge and immediate turnaround, will probably be his undoing.

Raul Ibanez > Pat Burrell

To those who doubt that he'll be able to reach 100+ RBI's hitting behind Howard, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Pat was a fine ballplayer, but he didn't exactly hustle.

After this season, I think the general consensus will be that, even in defense, left field has undergone a significant upgrade.

Yo, new thread

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EST. 2005

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