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Saturday, May 23, 2009


Have to look big picture with this one.

-Happ is a keeper. He will now get multiple starts (if that wasn't the plan anyway) in the rotation. That was one of the sharpest, most efficient outings from any Phils starter this year. He showed (if there were still any doubters) he IS a big league starting pitcher.

-Mayberry should be around for more than the weekend (if that was still even be debated). I was impressed with all of his at bats today. I actually might have liked his first AB the best. Was very patient and layed off some close pitches. Got a good pitch to hit, and hit it on the nose to the SS. He looked comfortable and looked like a big leaguer. Get him away from that trainwreck in Lehigh Valley and get him with the big club. This team needs a 4th outfielder. This team needs another "athlete" off the bench. This team needs a late inning "threat", off the bench from the right side. He is a perfect fit and he is making the major league minimum. What else do you want?

-The defense (with Werth's play notwithstanding) is top notch. You don't get many balls through that infield. Throw strikes and let your defense do its thing. Happ did that. Hope the rest of the staff was watching. That defense will win many games for the Phils this year, as it did last year. Its a hidden key to the success of this team in the past few years.

Lidge has been bad. Has been bad all year. If he doesn't start throwing his fastball with confidence and in the strike zone, he will continue to struggle. Its really as simple as that. He has become a one pitch pitcher (and many of his sliders aren't strikes). And only Mariano Rivera in his prime, could get away with being a one pitch guy.

Hamels now needs to come out and nip this in the bud tomorrow. This kind of loss can stay with you for a while. Finish off the road trip with a win and head home, to take on two teams who are both really struggling. Regaining some superiority at home is also at the top of the list of priorities too. But that starts on Monday. Pretty big game for momentum tomorrow.

I want Jose Mesa.

Recall Teixeira's AB, when he flailed at three straight sliders. It's a still a good enough pitch that hitters can't hit even if they suspect it's coming, if it's thrown just below the strike zone and around the corners. The key to Rodriguez's AB was his ability to lay off the 2 low sliders which preceded the fatal fastball - yet they were too low, more at shoe level than knee or shin. And then the game-winning hit Cabrera came on a slider that was right over the middle of the plate, at the belt. Not good enough location.

Point being that Lidge can probably get away with throwing nearly all sliders if he locates them well enough. But if he can't control the fastball at all and *also* can't command the slider 100% of the time, you're looking at some trouble.

And it is time for the fact to be acknowledged that, for whatever reason, Lidge's velocity is down. Not down dramatically, but enough to make a difference. Might the command issues stem from Lidge being *reluctant* to throw the fastball in the strike zone - because he knows he has to be fine with it? It looks to me like he's aiming them.

Madson is more effective right now than Lidge, and there's no disputing it. Given the historic season Lidge had last year, Manuel is faced with a very tough call on whether to pull him from the closer's role. It's been nearly two months now. He finally laid down the law on Park, but that wasn't nearly as difficult a decision. My guess is that he still gets a little more rope, but not a hell of a lot more.

RSB- I hope you're right..

what a heart-breaker!

however - it was also predictable

give lidge the 2008 brett meyers minor league treatment! maybe it will work for lidge,

If Lidge is hurt, it is'nt affecting his slider. He still has command of the one he throws for strikes. The hiiters won't swing at the one he throws in the dirt and he can't throw his fastball for strikes. If he could throw his fastball at the knees for a strike everything else would fall into place.

I don't think he's hurt, but I think they should send him down for a week to get his fastball in order before they start playing more good teams again.

Look to package Mayberry for bullpen help?

I'm happy that Happ and Mayberry performed...maybe we'll actually carry on with some youth on the team.

Lidge is really pissing me off.

Though I'm happy I didn't waste the day watching this game...going to see Angel & Demons was the better choice.

What's the status of Werth's contract? I saw on that spreadsheet that's being passed around that he's due 7.5 next year - is that guaranteed or is that a club option? What I mean is that IF (and it's a HUGE if at this point) Mayberry proves himself to be half decent (and it's going to take somewhat more than one game to convince me), then moving Werth might be a sensible cost-cutting move. Don't get me wrong - Werth is the MAN, but hard facts are hard facts.

NEPP: doubt you would have said that had they gotten the last 2 outs. The Phils looked pretty impressive the whole way and it was really enjoyable to watch - although it is true they've only scored one run without benefit of a homer in the series.

Disapointing loss. Looked forward to this game all week.

How do you walk Johnny Damon with 6 straight fastballs?

Why do you throw a fastball to A-Rod at 3-2, with 1st base open?

Thon - that kind of conjecture is premature by light years.

Its a guaranteed deal for Werth.

I think he'll leave the choice of moving Lidge and Madson around up to Dubee. I don't think Lidge will get upset if he gets moved it might make him feel a little less pressure. Cholly and Dubee are prolly talkin about it right now

To RSB: I didn't really have much of a choice so I'm just glad I didn't stay home and watch a devastating walkoff loss.

Werth had a terrible game today too. Dropped a ball for a leadoff double(that shoulda been an error). Grounded into 2 double plays after Utley hits. He may lose the 3 hole spot tommorrow.

Dickie: the hard facts are is that the pillies are filling more seats then ever they can afford Werth. Getting rid of Werth to get mayberry is jus a dum idea.

I'm not devastated. It doesn't erase what Happ showed out there today. It doesn't negate the way the way the team has played on this road trip. Tough ending, but it's hard to feel too down about this team right now. And even if you want to focus on Lidge, the fact is this team has a viable backup option to close games.

Let's win tomorrow and take the series...that will be sweet.

I'm quite happy about Happ's day.

"Let's win tomorrow and take the series...that will be sweet.I'm quite happy about Happ's day."

Spoken like a man who missed todays game. LOL.

I was trying to imagine cheering for Rodriguez in the 9th after his shot, but concluded that, even as a hardcore Yankee fan, I wouldn't be able to cheer for an ending like that. And I'm fairly indifferent to the PED issue ... but an admitted user hitting a big home run in the bottom of the 9th in that park just feels cheap.

How do you walk Johnny Damon with 6 straight fastballs?

Why do you throw a fastball to A-Rod at 3-2, with 1st base open?

I'd like to know those answers.

the answer is coaste calling a bad 9th with lidge or

lidge pitchin' a horrible 9th

or a combination of the 2

It's amazing that Coste got no credit for holding the Yanks to 2 runs in 8 innings in this park, but some people blame him for the 3 runs in the 9th.

Werth admittedly had a bad day but he's one of the best players on this team. He doesn't have one outstanding attribute (i.e. Ryan Howard's power, Victorino's speed) but he's a plus in pretty much every category which makes him more valuable than a lot of single-tool superstars out there, and it means he'll be cheaper than those aforementioned superstars as well. To think about replacing him with Mayberry, who has yet to put up a full outstanding season in the minors, let alone in the majors, can replace him is pretty far-fetched.

Drabek just lost it again in the 6th inning. This has been a pattern for him so far this season. He dominates for 4-5 innings and then gets hammered around inning #6. Conditioning issue I suppose. Tonight he had a no-hitter going through 5 and then promptly gave up 4 ER in the 6th. He struck out 9 in those 6 IP though.

NEPP: Are you saying he's another donut eater? Wait till he gets here to Reading and all that good scrapple.

goody: how did Coste hold the yanks to 2 runs in the game. when a catcher calls for a fastball against a-rod in the bottom of the 9th with a man on second you are a idiot. What did coste do wit his bat today too, NOTHIN. COSTE SUCKS

Not at all...I think its more to do with this being his first full pro season since 2007. He's still building up his stamina. He DOMINATES when he's fresh...he has just been running out of gas at the end of his starts so far. I'm not too concerned about it.

Cesar: Yep, this loss was on Coste. You're pretty sharp, aren't you?

Madson must close, case closed.
What about that munchkin Ken Rosenthal's, trade rumors that the Phils are looking for a starter a la Bedard or or Washburn? Maybe Jamie'd like to go back to Seattle and a pitcher-friendly park.

No intrest in Washburn but I wouldn't mind getting Bedard. Their asking price is supposedly very high though...they want prospects as if he was a true Ace instead of a guy that's never pitched 200 innings.

Well, benson said earlier today, and was supported by klaus and others, that the Madson/Lidge combo is the best in baseball. So all ya all don't know what yer talking about. Or they don't.

So is anyone else impressed that Bastardo is still racking up the Ks in Lehigh? He got dinged a little bit but 11 K through 6 IP is still pretty good. Other than that 1 HR ball he dominated. Good to see.

does anyone know which team was the last to have 4 players with 30-plus homers in a the same season?


"Drabek just lost it again in the 6th inning. This has been a pattern for him so far this season. He dominates for 4-5 innings and then gets hammered around inning #6."

Read somewhere over the winter that most scouts think Drabek will be a dominant closer, not a #1 starter.

Lidge needs to go to the DL for at least 15 days to get things straightened out. I still think his knee is bothering him more than he is letting on. Also I don't want Coste to catch Lidge anymore. Ruiz seemed to be banged up from yesterday though so I can understand it in this situation. Hopefully Ruiz is ok and won't need to go on the DL again, especially since Marson is struggling at AAA. I would call up Koplove (or Escalona if they want someone on the 40 man roster, although Koplove has been outstanding at AAA so far and is a righty with Romero coming back soon) to replace Lidge while he is on the DL.

I can't wait to see Happ start again with a higher pitch count and hope that Mayberry will stick around longer than the weekend.

Florida's whole infield had 30 HRs last year, jordan.

Madson/Lidge was the best combo in baseball in Sept-Oct 2008, not right now because of Lidge's struggles. If Lidge goes on the DL Madson should close, although if Lidge is on the DL when Romero comes back I could see them possibly sharing duties.

I love Lidge for what he did last year but this is ridiculous. They can't just blow games waiting for Romero to come back before they DL him.

He has zero control of his fastball.

a topper
Mutt's catcher -- Santos hit a game-winning two-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning on Saturday, sending the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Red Sox.

perfect ending -- almost the same as the phils' circumstances' and result..

I'm not smiling anymore.

Lidge needs a break to work on his fastball and treat his knee.
Let's not forget that we got a little spoiled last year with his fantastic saves. Lidge's contribution to this team last year out weighs the possiblity that he may never live up to his cash value over the next two. I hope he figures it out but not on the big league field right now.


Why can't Charlie just send out Madsen to close the game. I blame Charlie for having no guts and playing to the the lame "book" that a closer must save games. It is a crooked game when agents and contracts dictate, or have too much influence on situation baseball. A shame really. I hope Lidge gets his mojo back, but until he can prove it on a consistent basis does his role dictate his appearances. Should he have to go on the DL?, rather than be relagated to some middle relief appearances even if he isn't hurt?

Do the math folks. The average non starter pitches about 3-4 innings a week. Let's get the best pitchers pitching when it is needed and let the rest pitch on the side. Better yet, send a pitcher down and bring up Mayberry or another bat. Do you need so many pitchers in the bullpen?

Good old school pitchers are turning in there graves, yet to be dug, lol.

On today's game:
Mayberry looks comfortable. His ABs were all very good. He showed me a lot by taking so many pitches. He actually should have walked in his first AB on that ankle high pitch from Pettitte. Before today, I was thinking he should return to LV for ABs; now I'm not so sure.

My only wet blanket on Happ is to wonder how he will play his second time through the league. Teams may figure him out. Or not. Still, he's a better option than our best Korean.

Last year, Lidge threw a first pitch strike a majority of the time. This year he has thrown, by a substantial portion, a first pitch ball. After 0-1 he does well. After 1-0 he gets hammered. Something like five batters all year have swung at his first pitch. Dubee and his catchers need to impress the importance of getting the first pitch over to him, because it appears to make a big difference.

At least Werth and Coste were not happy with the strike zone today. There seemed to be a downward variance, not necessarily in the Phils' favor. Werth's last AB, a pitch got called a strike that was very low; he turned thinking he had checked his swing only to discover that it was a called strike. He was livid. When he grounded to third on the next pitch you could see it in on his face. Kinda hope we don't see this ump anymore.

As bad as this loss feels, there was so much good in it, along with the road trip, that it's hard to be depressed. Tonight Chollie has to decide: Mayberry as the DH? Or Myers?

Is there a legitimate reason that Lidge MUST be brought in to close despite his performance this season? high does his ERA have to climb before we stop gift wrapping games to justify his status as a closer?

Tomorrow should have a real playoff type feel to it. Two of the best pitchers in baseball. Sabathia has to be itching to get back at the Phils, and Cole appears to have found his groove. You know the Yanks don't want to lose an interleague series with their ace on the mound, and on the other side of the coin, it would be a big morale boost to the Phils after today's heartbreaker to come back and leave Yankee stadium with two wins in their back pocket, and the Yanks knowing they escaped getting swept by a heartbeat.

Had a couple of friends over from Baltimore who watched the end of the game and they were moaning about how the Yankees always beat the Orioles in the late innings, seemingly all the time with some kind of A-Rod drama.

I kept moaning back at them about how the Phillies are NOT the Orioles, and last year this game would have been so in the bag for the Phils.

Great game by the Phils and a shame to lose in such a tough manner.

Time to do something with Lidge, but not sure what. DL, minors, or setup role? The managers have to make the ultimate call, but considering what he brought to this team last year, and the potential of what he could do again if he gets straightened out, I would be mightily interested in knowing what the pitcher himself honestly thinks would be the best option (something we'll never know).

I was at the game today. A few observations: Complete bandbox...The Yankees fans carry themselves very well...the CF bleachers are an abomination where a depending on which side
of that ill-placed sports bar in CF, blocks the view of a substantial chunk of the opposite OF... freezing as hell from 5:30 on with the wind-whipping in the bleachers even though it wasnt a windy cold day...The lower concourses are really great to watch from, even more close to the action than CBP... dont even think of getting drunk there unless you are loaded with $$$ and goofiest of all, calorie counts on all the concession stand price as far as the action on the field, cant add anything other than we saw this coming as soon as Damon was out aboard. Time for Lidge to not pitch high leverage situations until he gets a grip on his fastball location.

Its only been two months of the fightins season. I don't think this loss is that big. I think there is nothing physically or mentally wrong wit Lidge except he know he's getting rocked. I think Madson and Lidge should do the old switcharoo. I wouldn't be suprised that if the same situation comes up tommorow that happened today you'll see Madson closin the game. I think Lidge jus needs the peurto rican sesation back

This Lidge quote bothers me
"We went fastball away after throwing six sliders in a row," Lidge said. "It was pretty impressive that he was able to do what he did. We didn't expect him to hit it."
Meanwhile you gave Fox TV access to your shoes-showing how your compensating for your injury. I'm getting flashbacks to Eagles Blaine Bishop in the NFC Championship game vs Tampa Bay. Brad-thanks for perfect season but man up & realize you can't locate your fastball. Hopefully Charlie sends him on a 15 day vacation to recover & he can return w/ Romero in health.
I'm really excited w/ Happ's performance today. I was disgusted with the loss bout happ + some Corona's have me looking forward to Cole vs Sabathia tomorrow. Lets go Phills.

kells- with you 100%. Let's turn the page.

The one thing I was thinking during a-rod's AB was just keep him in the park. Then at 3-2 with the base open, I thought this has to be a slider. Who cares if he walks, just don't let him beat you. Maybe he missed his spot, but it's just a head scratcher to throw that pitch in that situation to that hitter.

I credit Happ for pitching a good game. But this was deja vu to the Phillies. The last time the Phillies played Andy Pettite was in '00 and they roughed him up, but lost in the bottom of the 9th. Same thing today. Happ threw a really good game. He's got potential. That's why I never understood why Park won the 5 spot when both of them have really good springs. It's too early to know what they'll get from him, but the signs are good. Although not what we was at the end of last season, Myers' is looking decent too. Health is always a question with Cole, but he's not doing bad. All three of Moyer, Blanton and Park have 7+ ERA's, so I don't really the difference of which one they knock out. All of them suck. Moyer made his start respectable, finishing up strong, although losing, but Blanton maintains giving up like 4-5 runs a start and he usually can't make it past 5 or 6 innings. These two guy's are unreliable, so it seems. Lidge? Well, Phillies fans thought Park turned it around after two very good starts. Just like they thought Lidge did, even though one of his saves didn't come that easy. Not quite. This guy is completely the opposite of where he was last season and it hasn't helped that Madson's been used a lot lately too. Personally, I don't think he'd help them as a set-up man right now, so they probably will DL him. For my sake though, I hope not.
Obviously, any Phillies fan who thought this division would be a run away, like any Mets fan during their 11 of 13 stretch, had their head up their *ss. It won't come easy for either. I don't think they've been separated by more than 2 1/2 games this season.

Krod collapsed in the Mets clubhouse.

That means that their current injured list is:
Brian Schneider
Some scrub backup SS

It may be close now, but they are done for the season. GG, gratz us.


Seeing as how last season the team didn't have one single loss like this, it almost feels foreign to me, whereas in '07 this would have felt like a 'here we go again' scenario. A lot more positives to take out of this game than just one loss in a 162-game season. Win tomorrow with Cole on the mound and we take 2 out of three, on the road, off of a team that just won nine-straight. Hopefully, though, Cholly does the right thing and puts Lidge on the DL.

Sure it's early to be talking about it, but I don't know if I believe that Ruben is going to be able to land a blockbuster deal for a pitcher without cutting some costs. Werth is a prime candidate to be moved with his $7 million next season and "most-underrated player" hype. If we can sign a legit #1/2, flipping Werth for prospects would be good for reducing payroll AND replenishing at least part of our farm.

I'm not convinced about Mayberry yet, but you have to think the difference between Blanton/Moyer and a real starter would more than offset the loss of Werth. If that's what it comes down to.

"We went fastball away after throwing six sliders in a row," Lidge said. "It was pretty impressive that he was able to do what he did. We didn't expect him to hit it."

Unlike some others here, I don't have a problem with the fastball call to ARod in that spot. You could see the way he was taking pitches, that he was sitting on the slider. It takes a very special hitter to be able to be sitting slider and adjust to the fastball. Whatever you think of ARod, he is a special hitter.

Lidge's placement of the fastball is what doomed him. Not the pitch itself. Coste wanted it away and it got too much of the plate (and it was a bit up). A flick of the wrist in a small park (like Ryno does in CBP to the oppo field) and its gone.

The leadoff walk with a 2 run lead, is what beat Lidge. Its hurt him all year. And that goes back to not being able to locate the fastball.

Lidge's stuff is way too good to stay in this funk for long. But, his issues have usually been between his ears and not with his right arm. It hurt his career in Houston. He needs to find himself now and trust his stuff and his mechanics and get himself going again. This team will not win big, if he doesn't.

To clarify: I think Werth is a fantastic player. I love his attitude and versatility. He has champion athletic pedigree, like Mayberry, and he knows how to win. He's also luxury in our lineup, and you have to give quality to get some.

About the bullpen, I'm still not terribly worried. We have the depth and can resort to Ryan Madson if we need to. We all forget that it's pretty normal for a closer to blow a few saves. If he blows a couple more the adjustment will be made. Five blown saves by Lidge should not be the end of the season. This was a heartbreaker, but not a seasonbreaker.

I just found this from an article by Rob Neyer:

"Really, Philadelphia Phillies? You're really going to keep splitting the catching duties between right-handed hitters Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste, even though Coste has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's the far superior hitter? Maybe there's not much to be done about the struggles of Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Brad Lidge. But giving more plate appearances to the better hitter doesn't seem all that hard to figure out."

I don't think Neyer watches the Phillies.


Coste is the SUPERIOR hitter?

Okay...I mean, yeah, he's a better overall hitter when he's on but superior is a little bit of exageration.

Rob Neyer gets paid to write about baseball? Coste is playing with house money at this point- I love the guy for his clutch hits and amazing story, and always will, but Ruiz has been more than a solid presence behind the plate and has been an adequate 8-hole hitter who has come up with more than his share of clutch hits in the past year +. He's become one of my favorite players on the team.

A side note, I was just talking with a few friends and I can't profess enough how impressive Happ was today. Maybe that's why I'm not taking this loss especially hard- you go into Yankee Stadium, a whiffle-ball park, after being given a spot in the rotation on the WFC, first start of the year after being misused in the bullpen, Fox's Game of the Week, and throw 6 innings of 2-run ball on only 80 PITCHES. No walks, had hitters fooled most of the day. He was fantastic and could be HUGE if he gives even half of what he gave us today.

I feel the same way about this team as I did at this point last year- it is a very, very good team with an incredibly high ceiling. Another starter needs to be added at the deadline, I think, but with Madson as a heavy-duty insurance policy for Lidge if he can't fix himself by August or so (which is a 50/50 proposition, depending on how Cholly handles it), Romero yet to play and a lineup that is just relentless, top to bottom, for 9 innings, there's no reason to think why they shouldn't at least be the favorites for the division crown at this point.

That's mighty ignorant coming from Neyer, a guy I normally respect quite a bit.

denny b - that's a solid analysis if the Rodriguez AB. It impressed me also at the time that he could react like that to a fastball, but as he himself said post-game, he was looking for something 'up'. With 97 mph instead of 93 velocity, though, Lidge probably still wins there. When people say he's still got the stuff, they're talking about the slider only. The fastball, or at least the deterioration thereof, has become almost Myers-esque.

I was at the game - it was so packed with Phils fans - 20% maybe 25% representing. I live in NYC so it was nice to just take a sort train ride to the Phils play.
As for the stadium - which looks like a cathedral and is wayyy larger - it seems like a monument to the bloated egos that are the Yankees organization and their fans. You are constantly treated to piped-in propaganda over the monitors and speakers about how they are the greatest sports franchise in history, blahblahblah and so on. They eat up their own BS that's for sure. The Yank fans were really timid through most of the game until that 9th then they were all over the Phillies fans. No guts, no spirit till they KNOW they can win. It's al gotta be easy for them.
They haven't had much lean times, character building times. And these days they're living like it's 199x.
It was hilarious to the see the scoreboard - every time a Yankee came up to bat it stated where they had acquired them from. I think Jeter was the only guy they drafted - pathetic and bloated.
A real lesson for these lean times think.

I'm prouder than ever to be a Phils fan.

p.s. Glad I got to see Mayberry's first - that was great.

Lidge's velocity is not down. He is not able to locate his fastball, which he needs to get some strikes with. Maybe it's got something to do with the knee. If so, he needs to go on the DL. If not, he's just got to get through it. He's going to be just as bad in the 8th inning as the 9th, so swapping with Madson makes no sense. If Lidge doesn't walk Damon, the Phillies win. Location, location, location.
By the way, Hamels needs to go eight innings and pitch his butt off this afternoon and Phils need to put up some runs on Mr. eight-year free agent contract so that the game is effectively over by the 9th. That would make a statement.

As Phil Sheridan puts it:

(Lidge)can start with some perspective. A tainted slugger hit one over the shallow right-field fence in a ballpark - The House That Roids Built - that plays like a Little League field.

Not to defend the enemy or anything, but there are some guys in the Yankees line-up - the non-A-Rods, if you will - who were signed as amateur free agents from latin America. When I look at Cano, Cabrera, Cervelli, Pena and the like, I think of them as home grown talent. They are the equivalent of Chooch. Pettitte, too, is not considered drafted, because he did not initially sign, but waited a while and then signed as an "amateur free agent."

In yesterday's game they had Damon, Teixeira, Rodriguez and Swisher.

In yesterday's game we had Ibanez, Feliz and Werth.

So I guess we win the "fewer free agent" bragging war. But it's not as clear cut as it might sound. Of course, if you quantify it in terms of actual money, we win that one hands down.

It occurs to me that higher up the list of "People You Don't Want to Be This Morning" from Lidge and Dubee is Jon Daniels, GM of the Texas Rangers.

Take a look around Major League Baseball and you will not find another closer as bad as Brad Lidge. Why? If they were as bad as Brad Lidge they still wouldn't be the closer. However, the Phils are saddled with a 3 year $37.5M contract so there's no way in Hell that they'll demote him. This means we'll continue to see Charlie Manuel send him to the mound in the 9th of every close game, which in turn means we'll continue to see many blown saves.

I believe that the next thread is up.

A-Rod can hit a HR off anybody. The game was lost because Brad Lidge went out there and walked the lead-off hitter, throwing nothing but fastballs. End of story.

The Yank-mes don't develop any star talent like we have done - that much I do know.

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