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Saturday, April 18, 2009


Hell, they haven't even given up less than 4 runs yet in a game.

8 runs in 4 straight to the Gnats and Pads no less.

illuminati - That is the scary part. Offense hasn't been hitting on all cylinders but it is asking an awful lot to expect them to score 5 or 6 runs every night for the Phils have a chance to win.

Middle relief is still by far the biggest weakness on this team right now. Durbin has really looked shaky so far and Happ/Condrey/Taschner are really just medicore relievers.

Even Ruben Amaro admitted he did not think the bullpen could repeat, and he wasn't just talking about Lidge's saves. Ruben's prediction is looking good right now.

Imagine if the Phils had even mediocre pitching right now. They'd be well on their way to a winning April.

Final thought. Ibanez is having a hell of a season so far.

I'm very impressed with Ibanez, and aside from J-Roll and Vic, the offense is doing pretty well.

After tonight the Phils will have the worst era in baseball...that's unacceptable with the "talent" we have.

What "talent"? The only pitchers we have who are better than average, last year not withstanding, are lidge and cole.

One last thing: Losing sucks even more w/out Harry being there to wish me good night at the end of the broadcast.

"Middle relief is still by far the biggest weakness on this team right now..."

...other than the SP, early relief and late relief.


MG: I said I think Sarge does offer some good insight, he just has a habit of saying odd things to get to it. I really don't mind the guy. I enjoy LA on the radio but I remember really disliking him when he was on TV.

Carson: you're not in the group....yet.

As MG pointed out- there are some things to like about this team right now. Other than Rollins and Victorino our offense has been very good overall. Pitching is killing us right now.

I don't know that I buy the distraction theory, or the championship glide theory, but just in case, I might juggle the lineup tomorrow, start someone off the bench. After all, it's a matinee game. Phils always won games with Pratt and Perez for some reason.

Steve - yes, indeed. No more pixie dust for the likes of Durbin, Moyer, Madson, and Big Joe.

Biggest "positives" this year have been the play of Feliz and Utley hands down. Phils thought it was a real possibility that Utley would miss the 1st month this offseason and Feliz looked horrid with the bat during spring training/sluggish in the field.

Both guys are playing at a pretty high level right now.

JW - But who really starts off the bench? I don't want to see Bruntlett or Cairo in place of Utley or Feliz right now. Maybe you go with Dobbs at 3B and Marson at C again but there really isn't much Cholly to do with the bench to "change it up"

Prediction - Cairo will go the entire month of April without a hit finishing 0-6 with PH appearances.

Dobbs at third, just for something new possibly. Do they lose much if they sit Vic a game right now? Doubtful. Just a way to maybe spark something. Couldn't hurt to give Feliz a rest vs. RHP.

Phils need to get on Geer already tomorrow. Supposedly a guy with decent control but doesn't have much in the way of velocity (below average 5.6 K/9 in his minor league career) or a tough offspeed pitch.

It would be nice to see the Phils be able to scratch out a run tomorrow in the 1st or 2nd inning to go up early.

Or Rollins even.

JW - Sitting JRoll wouldn't be a bad thing to let him clear his head but he likely wouldn't take too kindly to that.

As for sitting Vic, if you move Werth to CF who plays RF? Do the Phils start Stairs in RF tomorrow and hope that he can give them a basehit or two?

Phils just need Park to give them a shot tomorrow. A "Cory Lidge" special of 6 IP and 3-4 runs would do that.

I'm hoping Park can make it through five. Really, they need him to go six, but that might be wishful thinking.

Seems we're of like minds. This is an important April game. Win tomorrow and aim for a manageable home split.

Two More Things: I'd add Ibañez & Howard (Friday night notwithstanding) to MG's list of early season positives for the Phils.

Also, I believe I am going to begin referring to Cairo as "So Cairo". The upside is that he's costing the team $50K less than Taguchi did last season.

And now I'm going to bed. Seriously. I mean it.

Yeah Padres are playing well (although LA has been a little over the top with the praise for what is at best a .500 club) but the Phils really need to split with this club at home.

Losing 3 or 4 or getting swept by a team that is likely to be among the bottom feeders when the season is over is a pretty poor result even this early in the season.

Wow I have spent the last hour just reading around on blogs about the Phillies and all I can say is disappointing. This team has me scratching my head... 79-0 after 7 with a lead gone last night 47 strait saves long gone just like Harry’s old call. Its sad to watch right know and maybe I expecting too much but they are the world champ's. im a firm believer in its not what u did for me last year but what u did for me now.. I got a couple of things that are on my mind that I want to voice. Cairo I need 3 logical reasons for this worthless piece of scrap bring on this team... this team is like a bunch of brothers plus Jamie being the dad that doesn’t understand how to father his son, his attitude doesn’t fit. What was going throw Cairo’s head when he bunts a ball two feet over his head completely out of the strike zone right into the pitchers mitt? Storms off the field cause he made A MISTAKE but instead of staying in the dugout even though his nights over he takes his helmet, bat, and glove down the runway and disappears in the Philly sky even though the games continues. Next topic starting pitching rich dubee what did u do this off season and spring they cant by a quality start besides for Myers tonight and strait look shaky I worry when the pitch because there not confident so why should I be in them. My last beef is Shane and jimmy what were u thinking when the baseball classic called where u thinking about ure personal accolades instead of the team. U both come in lazy and barely can hit the ball it’s a flat shame that Ibanez is running this team without much help. God damit give me something to cheer about the rest of the year because its sad to ay the Mets got better and we all know that luck played a huge role last year

G-Town - Yeah especially Howard. I was just mentioning Feliz and Utley because even a month ago it wasn't certain what these guys were going to be able to contribute in April. Both have easily exceeded whatever expectations there were.

Get all this crap like blown saves and sucky performances out of our system and go get 'em tomorrow. I'm not giving up yet. Even 100 game winning teams lose 62. We have got to start a win streak.

my impassioned plea against doom and gloom...
this team certainly has its issues right now, but there's plenty to be happy about... THERE'S BASEBALL TO WATCH! can you people seriously not remember the paralyzing boredom that February brought... the shifty anxiousness of March just waiting for the clock to run out on spring training... well, now it's April, the games are for real, and the Phillies are sucking. color me real surprised. but at least there's something to look forward to every evening. for that i am grateful. so while i'll go to bed tonight disgruntled at the mauling of our late relief by the lowly Padres, i'm gonna keep my hands and feet inside the car at all times and ride the roller coaster that this season (in the grand tradition of the last six) will prove to be. there's no way the pitching staff is bad enough to give up 405 home runs if the record is 241 in a season. Vic and Rollins will wake up and give the offense a shot in the arm. and all those games left against the Mets Marlins and Braves will make everything interesting again.

What they need is good butt kicking “Cleveland style,” to wake up.

I don’t buy into they just got lucky w/ the pitching last year crap. It was good and it will come back, although the MLB reality cameras won’t help. Lidge’s first blown save came soon enough and now it’s out of the way. A good 20+ run beat down is what they need.

eff: thanks for proving BAP's original statement pretty much worthless. sucks to see people completely unable to just admit they exaggerated or were wrong, but instead will keep post trying to change the argument until he can say they are "right".

im still waiting for that 20-1 offer.

The Phils have played like crap every year under Cholly during the first week (including this year when they were very fortunate to go 3-3) and they are only 4-6. People need to take a valium, xanax, beer, or just a breathe.

The only thing the Phils need to avoid this April is digging themselves a huge whole like they did in '07 or finish the month at 6 or 7 games below .500. If they do that, then I will start to get worried about their longer term chances.

It is going to be an interesting stretch though because the Phils play 10 straight games starting tomorrow and their pitching staff may look like Swiss cheese by the end of it even with 12 pitchers on the staff.

also, while i'm high on optimism, i just wanted to say how proud i was as a Philadelphian to hear the cheers for Lidge tonight after he gave up 4 and the lead in the top of the ninth. it was class all the way and i beamed at the (unusual) sound of it, despite the dark circumstances. i sincerely hope it does not go unnoticed by the national media because i am so damn tired of that Santa/snowball crap.

I think the Phillies did get lucky to some extent with the pitching last year. In 08 the Phillies would have won the last two games.

If the Phils can get to .500 by the end of April they will be fine.

Myers - No chance. Phils' fans bad behavior is the only thing that generally get highlighted.

As for the NL East

Talked to a friend tonight who is a diehard Mets' fan and went to the game today at Citi Field. He thought it was a nice field but that it would take some getting used. Mentioned though that any Mets' fan who misses Shea is nuts especially the garbage/filth that was present way too often the past 2 years. Also though Santana looked at like a Cy Young today and he would be really surprised if Santana loses more than 2-3 games at home this year.

Braves got shutout by the Pirates for the 2nd straight game. Escobar was out tonight but the reality is that when Larry isn't at 3B that offense looks pretty pedestrian including a weak 3-4-5.

B_A_P isn't right; it's not a slim deficit. The fact that the Braves came back from deficits of that size three times doesn't somehow prove that it is a slim deficit. More often than not, I'm sure, teams that win their divisions never fall behind 5.5 games, and teams that fall behind 5.5 games rarely win their divisions. However, if you have to fall behind a team 5.5 games, better that it be the Fish than the Mets or Braves. Even if everything breaks right for them, it's hard to see the Marlins winning more than 90 games - though it is alarming that they've gotten off to this start without good pitching from Nolasco or Miller, or any real production from Ramirez, Ross, or Maybin.

Florida is 5-0 against the worst team in baseball right now and they should have lost the last 2 nights. If they are up 6 or 7 games late into May on everyone in the NL East, they I will begin to believe that they will be there all summer but let's not get carried away.

everybody is being so so negative right now. it's only 11 games in and it's only April. Calm down. Are we going to be as good as last year? ehh probably not. But we should be very competitve and still can win this division. unless the Marlins go 161-1.

It is a real shame though that the Phils weren't willing to spend the extra 500k or $1M bucks on a guy like Biemel or Ohman (both guys who have gotten out to very solid starts and would have provided the Phils will another legit middle relief guy).

Instead they are spending $830k on the likes of Traschner.

I mean, b_a_p IS right.

phaithful: I don't bet against my own team. And Tray is right. That 20 to 1 shot is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it's the Marlins, not the Mets, who have the lead. Whatever the odds, however, a 5 1/2 game deficit is a significant one that can not just casually be dismissed as meaningless. If I told you at the beginning of the year that, in order to make the playoffs, the Phillies not only had to beat the Fish, but had to do so by 6 games, I doubt too many people would be rushing down to the casino to bet on them. And with the way the 2 teams are playing right now, that 6 game lead only figures to get larger within the next few days.

BAP - Come'on man you are usually a bit more reasonable on this. 5 1/2 is a big lead but there is a ridiculous amount of time left in the season and these two teams haven't even played one another head-to-head yet in a series.

Conclusions drawn from a sample size of 1/16 of total observations are largely meaningless.

I'm not sure if anyone expected an exact repeat, or even close, from the Phillies bullpen. They started out good, but over the past few days, have really seemed to lose it. The Mets, who had an awful bullpen last season, with 29 blown saves, as opposed to the Phillies 8 in '08, have none so far this year, even though they've played more games than the Phillies. Relying on Jack Taschner doesn't until Romero gets back doesn't look like a good plan for you guy's either, but expecting great performances out of a mediocre middle relieving core isn't ideal either.

It's funny how some of you guy's change how you talk, when down a certain amount of games. So being behind 5 1/2 in such a small period of time doesn't mean much because it's the Marlins? Ok, yes, the Marlins got off to a hot start. They're not going to win at this pace all year. What you should be worried about is why the Phillies are 4-6. You guy's also like to choose your moments when to respect the Mets. Other than an NL East and NLDS title in '06, in recent memory, they haven't accomplished much. You'll hound on this, when you're ahead, but when you're behind, you acknowledge them as your only ''real'' competition.

From the way it looks, the Marlins are going to eat you guy's up. They're a very good team. The Mets are also going to come into Philly beating you guy's. They're going to be pumped. But you don't have Met killer Burrell anymore. And Oliver Perez dominates you guy's. He only gave up 1 ER in 26 IP last season. Santana's started out amazing this year like he ends his seasons. You're lefty line-up won't be able to touch him. On the other hand, the Mets, who have an extra reason to, will take advantage of Cole Hamels and his busted elbow. With Santana as the ace, and Perez as the 3, it's very likely they'll try to situate it that both of them pitch at Citizens Bank park in the first week of May. Considering how you haven't hit them in the past, and who is the 8th and 9th inning men for the Mets, and more than all, can't get quality starts, it wouldn't suprise me if the Mets take at in between 12-14 of the head-to-head games this year. They took 11 last season, and blew a 6-2 lead in the 9th and 7-0 in the 5th, in two of those. That won't happen this year and they pretty much have the same line-up and pitching rotation, except without Pedro, which is a plus.

The Mets could be playing better, but they're doing better than the Phillies. They'll finally starting to gather momentum. They've been pretty much in every single game. They're lost 5 games by 1 or 2 runs, and they've won 4 games by 1 or 2 runs. If Daniel Murphy doesn't make that error, they're a 7-4 team. The Mets bullpen has been great so far. Santana's been incredible. They've gotten more than what they've expected from Livan, especially compared to what you're paying 2 1/2 times the amount for Park. Even Castillo's holding his own. Perez and Maine both had one very good and one terrible start, so there's question marks there. Even if Cole doesn't land on the DL though, besides the fact he was never as good as Johan, with the lack of his velocity, it wouldn't suprise me if he wins 5-7 less games than Santana this season. Those 5-7 games are critical in this division. The Mets real concern right now is Pelfrey.

Most frustrating moment of the game for me: bottom of the 7th. Marson leads off with a single to give the Phillies a chance at the go-ahead run. Cairo promptly pops out attempting to bunt him over; Rollins strikes out on 4 pitches; and Victorino pops out on the first pitch to end the threat.

Lidge's streak was bound to end, and Madson -- while he didn't have his best stuff -- still struck out the side, and was the victim of a lucky bloop single from Kouzmanoff. That stuff, I can live with. What I can't live with is poor at bats (like the three aforementioned), and consistently mediocre starting pitching.

Even if the Marlins were suddenly an amazing team that blew everyone off their feet, isn't their still an NL Wild Card? lol I think both Mets and Phillies fans are getting a little carried away here. The Marlins had a decent team last season and had division leads on and off pretty much until June. I think it's fair to say they've improved. If it's comparing their current roster to the '08 Phillies, they'd probably finish a few games back, but these are not the '08 Phillies. They're bound to regress and have shown bright signs of mediocrity from the start.

MG: What conclusions did I leap to? I merely said that a 5 1/2 lead should not be dismissed as insignificant. It isn't.

I didn't disagree. I never actually even disagreed with how you viewed it. What I said was that Phillies fan, too often, go flip side on Mets fans. It's like being bipolar. I know Mets fans are kind of the same way with you guy's, but at least you've proven why should you be recognized. But, you're right. A 5 1/2 lead this early isn't worth losing sleep over. It's more the fact the Phillies are playing like crap that should worry people. The way you should think of it, aim for 90-95 wins, regardless of what your competitors are. That's usually good enough for either a division or wild card.

I think this is a ''frustrating'' trend that's only going to continue with Rollins. Too many of you guy's haven't considered the thought that last season may have not been a fluke. He looks like he doesn't have a good idea up there. The Phillies have such a good line-up, that they don't always need for him to be on to score runs, but without his production, it makes winning that much harder, especially with the way how the starting pitching has been.

Phillyfriar - The Mets are going through some of the same things right now, but the difference is they're have a healthy anchor they can rely on in their rotation. I hate seeing crappy at bats too. That's why I'm happy Murphy is on the Mets, because he's able to provide balance with his plate discipline. It feels like the Phillies, especially Ryan Howard, and definitely Matt Stairs, are in a mindset where they want to beat people in an anxious overpowering way, but we all know that's not how you win games. I think saying that you guy's have received mediocre starting pitching would be a stretch too. Brett Myers did alright today, Hamels sucked Friday and Blanton was alright the other day, but he may have only gotten away with some because it was the Nats. This may be a step up from the horrendous pitching of the first week, but, this is just an overly anxious team, with a cocky attitude that's like ''We'll be there at the end, because we always are'', even though the season could end with a 79-83 record before they even blink. Yup, I'll say it again... World Series lag. The Padres have been quite impressive so far though, especially Heath Bell.

From Tom's ramblings:

- Johan is good.
- Rest of Met's rotation is full of some question marks including Pelfrey.
- Ollie will own the Phils again even though he pitched poorly against them in '06 and '07.
- Mets will definitely beat the Phils 12-14 times even though they haven't won 12 or more games as far back as I checked (2001).
- Mets have played a bunch of close games yet if they had gotten a few breaks they would have a better record.

Thanks for the nearly total lack of insights.

I am not a Myers' fan but he did his job tonight even if the line wasn't super pretty. Nearly 7 IP and 3 ER should you get a W most nights out especially with this offense.

We are 10 games in to a 162 game season. Just relax.

Its not like we are playing terrible baseball, with tons of errors and bad plays. Give the other guy credit. SD keeps coming back, and keeps coming up with big hits and big pitches when they need them.

Madson's stuff looks great, but he made mistakes the past 2 nights, on 0-2 pitches. That happens. He'll be fine.

Lidge was bound to blow one sometime. We all know that. He doesn't look real sharp right now with his fastball command, but he will find it and be fine too.

Lidge was worn down tonight, from a stupid 32 pitch outing last night, when he should have never been in the game. Then when he walks 2 straight (after SD ties the game) for some idiotic reason, Cholly leaves him in. Idiotic.

Cholly lost this game tonight, with how me mishandled Lidge on Friday.

And, its way past-time, to give some bench guys some PT. Dobbs needs some AB's and I wouldn't mind Bruntlett getting some time either. Its early, Chuckles. Use your bench.

The Mets won 11, which is close to the 12-14 figure I present. Their whole line-up and starting rotation, with a much better bullpen, and a healthy Castillo and Maine, are going up against a team with an ace with a questionable elbow and a regressed bullpen. Maybe my presumption was generous to the Mets, but for all the Mets woes last season, they were always wide awake against the Phillies last season. The fact they lost 11 of 18 to a team with 29 blown saves last season should have made it obvious that there were flaws on last season's roster, even if they won a World Series title. They did little to upgrade this roster to ''keep up with times.'' The Phillies fans worst enemy is their ownership, who are known for being cheap. Look at the payroll right now. If they can't afford it, and the Phillies are hovering .500 come the deadline, they'll ''Bobby Abreu'' Brett Myers and maybe even Jimmy Rollins, if he continues to struggles and you guy's magically remember his front-runner remarks.

MG - If you read what I called ''ramblings'', than you should have taken out that I said Santana has been great, not ''good.'' I'd gladly say that Cole was great during last postseason too, but now is a different time. The fact we've received more reliable performances from Livan Hernandez than your ace in their first two starts is pretty sad. It's not because Cole isn't a great pitcher. It's because something is wrong with his arm, and your ownership is too much of p*ssies to confront it, because they know people's expectations would drop if he were sent back to extended spring training or had surgery, which would mean people would be buying a lot less of the World Series merchandise. Also, Oliver Perez pitched poorly against everyone in '06. A lot of the Mets-Phillies games will be televised on ESPN, where he interestingly has very good stats too. He shows up against you guy's. Also, Livan tends to do well against team's the first or second time, because of his pitch selection, so if the Mets only limit to using him once or twice, he might do very well in those starts. One of the key advantages for the Mets though is that Citi Field is a pitcher's park and the Phillies are a team that relies heavily on winning games with the home run ball. It's not much of a coincidence that they designed it this way, but there should be a lot of pitcher's duels in this park. Unfortunately, from the looks of it, none of your SP's have the ability to compete in ''pitcher's duel.'' Definitely not with Johan or Perez.

Tom - A little generous? You make it sound like the Mets are going to annihilate the Phils this year head-to-head and win at least 95+ games. I would bet good money neither happens.

My point with the Mets being in close games in nearly all there games is that something is going right. They should be better than 4-5 in games decided by less than 2 runs, but the fact that they're in every game, and have a good bullpen, means they'll win a lot of games. If they lead going into the 8th, they won't lose many games. They did that over 100 times last season. Also, yes, the rest of the Mets rotation is full of question marks, but the whole Phillies staff is. With Cole, it's health, not necessarily productivity. Barring a trade for Peavy, without Cole, just like if the Mets were without Johan, you're a .500 team.

Down on the farm, Stutes got the win at Reading, going 6 innings, with 3 ER and 6 K's. Now 2-0 on the season.

Bastardo got a 2 inning save, giving up his first ER of the year, and striking out 3.

You have to be encouraged with the way the season has started, for many of our young pitching prospects at A, AA and AAA. Just have to keep them healthy.

In getting a chance to see Marson on TV, for the first extended time tonight, I like his level swing. May never hit for much power (but might, if he puts on some muscle to that frame), but I like that up-the-middle, line-drive stroke he has. You can tell, he has been a good hitter at lower levels.

I thought he did a nice job, catching Myers tonight. Myers is not easy to catch and his curveball for the first few innings, was all over the place. He shifted his weight pretty well and blocked some tough pitches. That looked like an improvment, from what I had seen from him (and heard about him) at Reading last year. He had some trouble getting together with Madson and Myers a few times, but that is only to be expected.

The one thing I don't like with him, is how he has his throwing hand exposed behind the plate. Most catchers want their throwing hand out of the way, for obvious reasons. I would hope, the Phils coaches work with him on that. Plus, his target he gives, is not as good as it could be. Coste gives a nice target, for example. Lou kinda gets lazy, it appears, from time-to-time, with his glove.

But, this is great experience for him. And, he certainly isn't embarrassing himself. I would guess, we may see him again on Monday night, catching Moyer. But, that is just a guess.

The Phillies have actually had their share of come from behind wins to start the season, like that one against the Braves. Their offense has saved the starting pitching. Just when the starting pitching gets back to 'mediocrity' though, the clutch hits fade and the bullpen begins to struggle. In the duration of a season, these kinds of things happen, but not for extended periods of time. The problem with Lidge is he's being overworked. He's had a history of arm problems that'll catch up with him if he continues to be. His arm will be mush by July if they use him for 32 pitches regularly in non-save situations. Under normal circumstances, I'd blame the loss on Hamels, because he gave up 5 ER and 8 hits in 6 IP, but he had the run support to win. Madson blew it. I think Lidge and K-Rod are even. They're both coming off great seasons, but Lidge has the arm concerns. With the set-up, Putz is clearly better. The guy brings it. Madson's good, but he's not a closer.

MG - I never said the Mets were going to certainly win at least 95 games. I said, if their offense and starting pitching is as functioning as last season, there'd be no reason for it not to. People forget, but they scored the same amount of runs as the Phillies and were ranked up there in quality starts. My prediction for the Mets ranges between 93-96 wins. With the Phillies, it's hard for me to tell you, because I'm not Cole Hamels' doctor. With a healthy Cole, I'd say you guy's should be a 93-96 win team too, but with a ''Verducci'd'' Cole (a couple of DL stints, average one more ER per start), I'd say you're an 85-88 win team. I'd say the same thing about the Mets, if Santana were in that position. I know there are concerns with Pelfrey, Maine and Perez. None of them are really a true 2. But it's the same thing with Myers, Moyer and Blanton. The one thing I really disagree with Phillies management on was not giving J.A. Happ the nod for the 5 spot. He's got talent and if given the chance, can prove himself to be a solid pitcher. Lots of people say he was the only good thing to come out of Adam Eaton, yet you're putting an over-the-hill 5+ ERA type starter on the mound over him. Livan's much the same way, but Niese isn't ready.

By the way, I really do love mentioning Jimmy Rollins calling you guy's front-runners lol Just like Jimmy, when another NL East shortstop, in this decade, coming off back-to-back postseasons and a WS appearance called us ''stupid'', he was traded... Jimmy though... lol If you guy's don't do well, it's either him or Raul, because he's the new guy.

Tom - And if the Phils bullpen functions as last year . . . the reality is that the Mets have their share of holes and if the NL East is really improved this year including the Braves and Fish it is highly unlikely that either the Phils or the Mets will win 93+ games.

NL East is likely where it has been the last few seasons. At least 2 good/very good teams but a division winner with only 89-91 wins.

BTY - I did think the Mets were going to win the division and the Phils would win 88 games with a shot at the WC. Then again I though that the Mets would win the past 2 years.

Things I think:

I think without JC, the bullpen order is all screwed up. Things will get a lot simpler when he gets back.

I think Traschner is as bad as advertised, and it's a shame they couldn't shell out a few more bucks for Beimel/just keep Majewski up.

I think the starting pitching is absymal, but logic dictates it will even out.

I think Raul Ibanez is an upgrade in many ways over Pat Burrell.

I think Marson needs to play over Coste and Dobbs needs to play over Feliz a bit more, if only to shake things up/keep platoon-esque players in platoon-esque situations.

I understand it's only 10 games out of a 162 game season, but nearly the entire pitching staff is crap right now, and that my friends is cause for alarm. Myers looks okay, and I'll add Eyre and possibly Blanton to that mix, but the rest are simply not good enough right now, and as a collective group that will lead to long losing streaks if most of them don't right themselves.

More 'winning the lottery' comebacks, besides the Braves and Phillies ones dismissed previously, and not including wild card comebacks ala the 07 Rockies:

2008 Dodgers: Trailed by as much as 7 games
2008 Rays: 5 games
2007 Cubs: 8.5 games
2006 Padres: 5.5 games
2006 A's: 5 games
2006 Twins: 12.5 games
2005 Yankees: 9 games
2005 Padres: 5.5 games
2004 Angels: 6 games
2003 Twins: 8 games
2003 A's: 8 games
2003 Cubs: 5.5 games
2002 Cardinals: 5.5 games
2002 Yankees: 5 games
2002 A's: 10 games
2001 Indians: 5 games
2001 Astros: 8 games
2000 A's: 7 games
2000 Giants: 9 games

So apparently, 2 or 3 teams a year come back from 5 or more games back.

The marlins have played the Nats for 5, the Braves for 3, and the Mets for 3. They should have lost the series to the mets, a dropped pop-up allowed them to win 2 of 3. The first Nats series they were given gift after gift by Lastings Milledge, and Washingtons pitching staff is horrible. The Braves pen makes the 08 mets look like the blueprint for a world series champion. Plus the bats are hot right now. Do you really think Bonafacio keeps this up all year? Ross Gload? The bullpen? This team has potential, but a 162 game season will take a toll on alot of teams. I just don't see them keeping up this pace all year. You phillies fans just have to worry abou your games, you still have 19 against the fish, win every series against them and you make up the defecit right there. 5.5 games is a big lead, but it's not that big, espescially in april.

Marlins might have the best start since the 2003 Royals went 11-1, a start that propelled them to an amazing 3rd place finish.

I think most of us would agree that pitching was the key to the Phillies championship last season, especially considering the off-years Rollins and Howard had offensively.

In reviewing the 2008 pitching, we can note that:

1. Lidge who pitched poorly enough to lose his job as closer in both 2006 and 2007, had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.

2. Moyer had his best season in 6 years.

3. Romero had his best season in 7 years.

4. Madson had his best season in 5 years.

As for the others, Hamels continued to improve in his 3rd major league season, as should be expected. Myers had an off-season and Blanton pitched to his career norm. So they didn't do anything extraordinary. I think it is reasonable to think that Hamels will continue to improve and that Myers can improve to at least career norms and Blanton should do about what he did last season. But the 4 extraordinary seasons I listed above, without which there's no 2008 WFC? Not gonna be repeated. The Phillies will have to figure out a way to win without them doing it again.

The problem I see the phillies running into is that the majority of their pitchers are fly-ball pitchers. A guy like Derek Lowe wouls have been a perfect fit there. I just don't see Blanton being a good fit there long term. I think they are gonna rely on the bats at home, which is why the posistional roster is built very well for where they play, but they will probably struggle giving up runs at home all year. Once players start to become available, I'd be looking at any pitcher with a good flyball-groundball ratio that they can get.

And the Mets will have to admit they're choke-aholics and get into a 12-step program.

And I thought New York fans were baffled why Philadelphia seems obsessed with their team. Looks like it might be the other way around.

One thing it's not too early to conclude: the Phillies should have gone after Lowe. After Hamels, the rotation goes from iffy (2-4) to putrid (5).

In 08 Romero had his second best season since 07, when he pitched to an ERA+ of 243. It's true, though, that his 08 number (160) is much better than 04 and 05's paltry 135 and 128, respectively.

Similarly, Madson's 2008 season ranks second to his 07 season, 144 to 151.

er, second best since 06. Romero's 08 was indeed his best since 07, although that isn't saying...anything.

Lowe would have been a nice addition.

Kudos to the fans last night who gave Lidge a nice ovation when he left the mound.

Klaus: We can argue whether Romero was better in 2008 than in 2007 (I think he was) but the point is he won't repeat his 2008 unless you don't think Romero missing 50 games will have an impact on his value to the Phillies this year.

In reflection of this discussion about players who had "peak" seasons, perhaps this is ONE of the reasons why the front offices of past world champions rarely keep the team intact beyond the core players; replacing non-core players who had peak years and have the potential to regress significantly.

And referencing my "media" theory - I think it's ironic that during ST, Dubee was featured in several articles (and perhaps rightly so), regarding what a profound positive impact he had on Phillies' pitchers, how Manuel gave him a lot of latitude and considered him 1A (of 1C after Williams), and how this year, the FO decided they wanted to make Dubee more accessible to the media.

All that said, if the baseball gods are kind, perhaps next year, they can schedule a lot of tough non-NL East teams in the beginning of the year because it obviously doesn't matter who the Phillies play.

Re: BAP and 5.5 games back.

I don't entirely understand BAP's meaning. As EF shows, surmounting such a deficit, be it a second place team overcoming 5.5 to take first or a fourth place team taking third, is hardly unusual.

The deeper problem, though, as I see it, is that the number, taken by itself, is meaningless. If the Phillies, constitutionally, are a 90 win ball team and the Marlins are destined to 85, then the latter's April lead is insignificant, because the Phillies, being the better team, will eventually eclipse it. But that's only to say, that the Phillies are the better team! Irrespective of their relative positions at any given point, the Phillies will, in the end, have the better record because...they are better.

Conversely, if the Phillies are constitutionally worse than the Marlins, then their deficit at any given point is entirely peripheral to the central fact, which is that...the Phillies are not as good as the Marlins.

In other words, the problem isn't that the Phillies are 5.5 behind the Marlins. The problem is that they're playing bad baseball (and that the Marlins are playing stupendously). And the threat, going into the future, isn't that 5.5 in April will prove insurmountable; it's that the Phillies will continue to play bad baseball--that is, prove to be a bad baseball team. In that case, the team's win-loss deficit will increase straightforwardly.

In other, other words, the team's deficit (or lead) is the epiphenomena of the team's badness (or goodness). I'm worried that the Phillies are bad.

"the point is he won't repeat his 2008 unless you don't think Romero missing 50 games will have an impact on his value to the Phillies this year."

That's true by definition. I took you to mean, when you lumped him with Madson and Moyer, that at the point that Romero comes back, he likely won't perform at a level approximate to his performance in 08.

I agree, even if he does, his overall value is diminished by virtue of his having missed 50 games. Apologies.

5.5 back in April? Season = over. Seriously, like Klaus said, the deficit is meaningless. It's the way the Phillies are playing that is cause for concern. If the pitching is dreadful like this for the better part of the season, how the other teams in the division play won't even matter. The Phillies will be a sub .500 team. That won't win you anything any time. We're 10 games in and we're off to another slow start. It's not the end of the world. But damn, the first 10 games are against some very beatable teams. Very disappointing.

Bad start, for sure, but still very early. Phils hitters' BABIP: .279, Phils pitchers' BABIP .310, league average .294. Both hitting and pitching should improve.

Meanwhile, the Marlins have a BABIP of .338, including a staggering .457 for Bonifacio in 49 ABs.

Rollins' BABIP is .154. You know that's going to improve.

I have to remind myself that it's only April - the Phillies aren't going to give up 8 runs a game all year - the starting pitching will pull it together.

Of course, 2007 is not a typical year and you normally can't afford to peak that late, but in 2007 we were below .500 as late as July 19th. There's still plenty of time.

Yo, new thread

The ''chokaholic'' comments, typical. Well, if your reliance on getting in the postseason is trailing that a team you hold to that esteem, than you must not hold yourself to a high esteem. In reality, that's not dependable means of winning a division. I'm in no way obsessed with the Phillies, but I recognize them as our competition, and rightfully so. They just won the World Series. You should regard the Mets as your competition either, but it's your back who has the bulls eye. For Jimmy Rollins, Mitch Williams, or who ever else to mention the Mets in their World Series triumph is kind of embarrassing to say the least. I mean, they're irrelevant to their postseason run.

By the way, I do love mentioning Jimmy's front runner remarks lol I love the fact you cowards rarely confront it either. You will though in due time...

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EST. 2005

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