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Saturday, June 20, 2009

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Don't Worry, Phils Phans, Charlie Has The Answer!


"What we gotta do, we gotta turn it around."


Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-S

Maddson's isn't a closer. Closers aren't supposed to make pitches over the plate when they're ahead in the count according to post game analysis by Mitch Williams. He oughta know. No way the Phillies should have lost tonight! They are not playing like champions at home, more like chumps.
5 runs in the 8th and we lose... I hope its just slump and not a meltdown. Time will tell.

Couple of final points:

- The real issue on this team has been Bastardo/Happ. Bastardo pitched better than the numbers indicated last night but Happ was lucky he didn't give up 4-5 runs tonight.

Wasn't so much a matter of him making pitches when he needed as the O's just doing a pathetic job of situational hitting tonight. Left 14 guys on base and 8 guys in scoring position.

- Cholly has got to find a way to get Dobbs and Stairs into the lineup a bit more against RHP especially with Ibanez out. Cholly said he said he has given Dobbs & Stairs plenty of opportunities to play in the postgame show tonight and that is plain horse$hit.

Dobbs has started 3 games the past 5 weeks (including tonight). Stairs has started 3 games all season.

- Watching the game with my cousin and uncle and damn if I didn't lose the bet and have to wash the dishes because Bruntlett struck out instead of grounding out to SS. Useless.

A guy hitting .157 who is on pace to get nearly 200 ABs this year. Speaks volumes about how limited the bench is.

- Park clearly has some value on this team (like him better then Durbin or Condrey out there right now) and his stuff was dear I say "electric" tonight. Fastball at 93-94 MPH and plenty of movement on his offspeed stuff.

Park also looks much better with facial hair. Instead of going with the patchy Korean beard, he should go the "Ming the Merciless" route.

http://www.virginmedia.com/images/mingmercy-431x300.jpg

Saint Chase Utley strikes out and fails to move runners in the 8th. He cost the Phillies at least 1 run in that ab, but I bet he catches little grief for his efforts.

This team is in bad shape right now. Their closer (Lidge) is on the DL and wasn't trustworthy when active. Their #2 starter (Myers) is out for the year. Their ace has not pitched like an ace in all but 2 starts this season. Their interim closer looks like a deer caught in a tractor-trailer's headlights. Utley is struggling. Rollins has been a complete waste the entire season. Their bench has two players (Bruntlett and Bako) that don't belong on a MLB roster. Condrey has hit a wall. Durbin's early '08 magic is gone. Moyer is done. Lefty specialist (Eyre) is sidelined. MVP candidate (Ibanez) is on the DL.

Love to beat a dead horse:

- Madson has thrown a really high amount of cutters lately and that is clearly his 3rd best pitch. He doesn't have the command on it that he does with the 4-seemer or the changeup.

- In both the Barajas and Coste' HRs, Madson went with a fastball ahead in the count. Barajas was buried 0-2 and Roberts was buried 1-2.

Went back and looked on the Barajas pitch and the blame there was really with Madson. Coste called for gas letter-high and was almost partially standing. Madson missed his spot badly and instead it was outside and slightly above belt level.

Tonight though you have to wonder why they went 1-2 cutter on Roberts. Just headstraching. Madson missed his spot again (it was supposed to be about 6 inches lower) but that was a questionable call to begin with. That spot screamed for a changeup in down in the zone.

According to fan graphs, Madson has been actually almost the same pitch selection as last year:

2008 vs. 2009
- 4-seem fastball (57.5% vs. 56.5%)
- 2-seem fastball (15.3% vs. 16.3%)
- changeup (23.7% vs. 27.2%)

If anything, Madson actually has used the changeup a bit more this year.

The freakin' Gnats have won 4 straight for crying out loud (2 against the world beaters from Toronto).

Tomorrow is actually a pretty important game. You have your ace on the mound and have a nasty losing streak with an off-day coming up. Win tomorrow, clear the air with an off-day, and go on the road where I bet this team looks better next week. By the end of the month, they should have Lidge & Eyre back and that should make a difference in the bullpen as Taschner (and Walker) gets designated for assignment.

"can anyone explain where Madson's off-speed pitch went?"

It seems to have gone the way of machismo. Maybe Madson thought he had to start pumping more and more hard stuff in the closer's role. Someone should maybe have told him, don't change a thing.

101 HRs allowed now by this pitching staff or 1.51 HR/9. That compares to 160 HRs allowed ALL LAST YEAR by this staff or 0.99 HR/9 last year.

Even the craptular 2007 pitching staff which was among the bottom of every NL pitching category only allowed 198 HRs or 1.22 HR/9.

This team's kryptonite this year has been the long ball. Never seen a Phils' staff (even the wretched mid-to-late 90s staffs) hang this many offspeed pitches or fastballs that are belt-high. It is like watching the old Home Run Derby reels.

Yeah, HRs are up in MLB this year but this staff is giving up HRs at an outstanding rate and is on pace to surrender 245 HRs.

Doesn't matter how good defensively you are if you can't keep the ball in the ballpark.

Quote from "ol pete" from the previous thread:

"Chan Ho pitched a perfect 8th 1-2-3. WHY...what reason other than the concept of a "closer"-Why remove a pitcher who is effective? This type of poor managerial move goes unquestioned and even unnoticed every day in baseball. If a pitcher is getting men out-KEEP HIM IN!!"

-----

I couldn't have said it better myself. Steve Carlton has been saying this for years. The idea that a closer MUST be brought in to pitch the 9th when the 8th inning pitcher has a low pitch count and is effective has lost a great many ballgames. I can't think of a single good reason why it is done with such regularity. It seems that justifying an artificial role has been given prescience over winning ballgames.

"That is flat-out surreal. And the worst part about it is that, for the next 2 days, we'll have to deal with MVPTommy prattling on and on about how he told us so.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 09:50 PM "


You right! I told you all so. Let's see so I was 100% correct on Ibanez and the Lidge/Madson debate.Yea, I guess you alla re the idiots , not me.

I told you and I will say it again. The closer has to have a special mentality and make-up. Anybody CAN NOT do it. Madson is lights out in the 8th because that is his role, NOT as a closer.

I just love being called an idiot and not knowing anything about baseball, yet all the things I have argued vs. mostly everyone on here about is coming in my favor.

Maybe the the Bler "elite" should now be called the Bler "delete". As in delete all their posts should be deleted. Because they act like baseball "snobs" and produce stats that they claim back up their opinions. Yet most of there opinions have been wrong thus far. Also, they produce nothing besides mindless stats that I can find on baseballreference.com or fangraphs. They have no real life experience playing the game to share. so what's the point in reading them?

OK, so we will let Madson pitch the eighth and the ninth, if his pitch count is under twelve and then Lidge with his mentality can close it. Amen.

Whatever, tommyd. What were you saying after Madson converted his first two chances effortlessly? I'll tell you what: nothing.

Did trepidation (look it up) cause Madson to groove the cutters in his last two appearances? Is it that simple to you, to just say he lost his nerve, that his knees were shaking too hard to enable good location?

I wasn't ready to say Madson could be a closer despite the fact that he now has closer's stuff. I'm obviously not going to say it now. But to rule it out because he doesn't have the right 'mentality' is jumping to ill-informed conclusions.

Right now, it appears he's being over-aggressive and upsetting the balance of his usual repertoire. To me, that speaks to inexperience, not a latent inability to handle the closer's role. Over a more extended period, I see absolutely no reason why he couldn't get acclimated to such a role and be the same pitcher we've seen him as in the eighth innings.

RSB: As BAP was man enough admit he was wrong, so you do it too. Stop being a fool and think Madson can do it. Lidge is our closer starting Tuesday or Wednesday when he returns, end of story.

Romero/Eyre/Durbin in the 7th, Madson in the 8th and Lidge in the 9th just like last year.

Well, at least now we might be glad to see Lidge again. Ranks with the '07 Chris Roberson flyball meltdown in Atlanta as one of the worst ever. Or the Yankee game this year. Or...the Dodger game. Maybe we won't be glad to see Lidge. Might catch a movie tomorrow afternoon. Can't take many more of these collective sucker punches.

RSB: Here is also where actual baseball experience comes into play. For myself playing baseball for 13 years. We ALWAYS had roles on each on my teams, mostly from ages 13 through college. When one of our "role players" went down, we did not shuffle the roles up to fill in for the missing parts. As clearly the Phillies have done with Madson. Madson DOES NOT have closers stuff no matter what your stats tell you. He tries to blow batters away with his fastball.

Here is a trivia question for you. What does Brad Lidge, Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley all have in common? Answeer: That dominate pitch out of the zone to make hitters chase.

That is what Lidge had been lacking this year and now hopefully he ahs it back. Madson DOES NOT have that pitch.

zudok: This is the time where the true fan comes in. It is easy to watch when everything is going great. Is it painful to watch when things aren't? Sure. But count me in as watching the game on Father's Day with my dad, while we grill some ribs and burgers just like we do every year.

And HOW can Madson make Greg Zaun look like Roy freakin' Hobbs? Truly, truly mind-boggling.

We'll see. Players and teams go through rough patches. The Phils probably didn't deserve to start as well as they did and they probably don't deserve to be losing as much as they are right now. It'll get better... Madson will also turn it around, although he probably won't have the chance to. The conventional knowledge on him in the past, as close as least year, was that despite good numbers he didn't have the mental fortitude to hold down the 8th. Turned out that theory was wrong.

*as close as last year

Dave X: No, I disagree. The book on Madson had ALWAYS been he was moved from Starting, to Middle Relief, to Specialist. He NEVER had a clear cut role. For the millionth time, EVERY pitcher needs to have a role on a staff to be successful. That is why the bullpen was so successful last year. But this year with Romero out for 50 games and Park back and forth. NO ONE had a role.

Now that Lidge is coming back, Romero is back and Park is in the pen again where he belongs, everyones role will be established.
By this time next week our bullpen IF Lidge is right, WILL be one of the best in the elague again. Mark my words.

Tommy: Here's why you don't get to gloat on the Madson-Lidge debate: because the guy you claim is irreplaceable at the closer's role has actually been every bit as horrific as Madson in that role this year. In order to gloat, you have to be right. It is not enough merely that others were wrong.

The alleged difference between pitching in the 8th & pitching in the 9th is purely psychological. My opinion is that, if you just left Madson in the closer's role, he would eventually be just fine. Remember, in both 2007 & 2008, Madson got off to horrible starts to the season, but eventually came around to have very good years. I think his problems in the closer's role right now are somewhat similar to the problems he has had at the beginning of seasons: he's just having trouble getting his sea legs, but would eventually come around.

That said, Madson had his chance to unseat the incumbent and he didn't do it. So Lidge is obviously the closer when he gets back. I just hope he can get his head on straight.

mvp - Have you actually watched Madson pitch the last year? He has an out pitch and it is his changeup.

Maybe it is part mental with Madson who has shown a giddiness before in certain relief situations. He clearly overthrow his first 2 fastballs tonight.

Still, what about the stupid pitching selection by Coste the other night and Ruiz tonight? Yeah Madson missed his spot badly on the Bajaras fastball but why did Coste call for a fastball against a guy who hits belt-high fastballs very well and has decent power ahead in the count 0-2?

Tonight was nearly just a foolish call by Ruiz and Madson again missing his spot against Roberts. Why would Ruiz call for Madson's 3rd best pitch to a guy who hits inside pitches well? Scouting reports clearly state that Roberts has trouble with the high gas or with changeups away.

Madson failed to execute in both occasions but the damn catcher has to be smarter with his pitch selection.

I will give Roberts credit though tonight (even if no here did). Generally a pretty underrated player because he has played on some god-awful O's teams in his career but he is a guy who is a tough out and generally almost always see at least one good pitch to hit during an AB.

Tonight Roberts did the same including laying off the first pitch changeup that Madson threw. Even on the inside fastball, Roberts did a hell of a job turning on that pitch and yanking it out. Most hitters can't do that and you have to give Roberts some credit. Great AB and a great swing on that 1-2 cutter inside.

Tommy: Since we're playing trivia, what major league pitcher, and what pitch, achieved the highest percentage of swings and misses in 2008? Brad Lidge's slider? Mariano Rivera's cutter? Johann Santana's change? Joel Zumaya's fastball? The answer is Ryan Madson's change-up and there wasn't even a close 2nd. The reason he keeps getting lit up in the closer's role is that, for whatever reason, he hasn't been throwing it, even on 2-strike counts.


For those who fault the catchers for pitch calling: Does the pitcher not have the option to shake the catcher off?

I don't know if you can say the 08 Phils really had set "roles" throughout the season. Lidge was the closer and Condrey was cleanup, but Gordon, Durbin, Madson, and Romero really floated around throughout the course of the season. Besides, people only get removed from their roles if they aren't performing well. So by definition, any team that has the same roles from start to finish will have a good bullpen...

BTY - If I had to take Roberts or JRoll as a leadoff hitter, I would go with Roberts all the way. JRoll had the clear power advantage in '06 and '07 but Roberts is a guy who works the count more and is more willing to take a walk if he doesn't get a decent pitch.

The magic "bullpen by numbers" approach that mvp is touting is largely cr@p. With the exception of a closer, most teams mix-and-match to a large degreee through out the season.

Yeah it definitely may help some guys a bit more and you prefer to use them in certain spots if available but the reality is that is that they often might not be available, injuries change role, etc.

Phillies would have won if Park was left in after pitching so well in the 8th. Cholly along with Madson lost the game tonight. Madson knows he lost it, Cholly won't see it, he'll remain blind...

Mac: I completely agree with you and others who say that, if you have a hot reliever in the game, stick with him. The regimentation of relievers into inning-specific roles is something that came into existence only in the last 20 years or so, largely because of Larussa. And it really makes very little sense. If Cole Hamels took an 80-pitch shutout into the 9th inning, you wouldn't remove him from the game. So why should you remove a hot reliever -- especially one who is perfectly capable of pitching multiple innings?

Still, I don't really see how anyone can criticize Cholly for making the same move that every manager in the last 20 years would have made. One of these days a free-thinking manager will come along & break with the orthodoxy about how relievers must be used. If the manager has success, he will soon be widely imitated and that could spell the end of the "closer" as we know it.

Kool Earl - Yeah but a pitcher primarily relies upon the catcher to call the pitch in the first place.

Ultimately, the pitcher can shake him off and the pitcher has to execute (a huge part of it) but a pitcher often heavily relies upon a catcher to know the tendencies of an opposing hitter and help him select a pitch in a specific spot.

Not going to fault Cholly tonight for using Madson in that game in the 9th though. Cholly put Madson in a spot where he was well-placed to succeed and Madson simply didn't execute tonight.

Mac T: Carlton's remarks are specific. There is more, the generic. The insistence that "the rules of the 'book' must be followed, through hell or high water."

Unfortunately, that removes the actual events and circumstances on the field from the strategic calculation and devolves to a paint by the numbers approach to baseball management. That's what you get with Manuel. The lack of an appreciation for the ebbs and flows of the game. Its just an MBA-type approach to coaching athletes and removes the humanity from the game. In fact, what is startling about it is that Charlie Manuel is supposed to be a player's coach, but consistantly he ignores the behavior of his players and the subtle signs of their play in particular situations, that properly manipulated can be the fulcrum to obtain victory.

Specifically, taking out a pitcher for the ninth inning, who while in the eight inning was pitching with lights out stuff and rolling the dice by removing him with a closer who has yet to show his stuff in that particular game.

In essence, continue to go with what's working until it fails before you change what you are doing. I'm not talking about throwing a continuing series of fastballs until someone hits a home run, but not changing an approach to success until it is shown it will no longer work.

This is amusing. Somehow or other, I stumbled across an article on the Internet which was discussing the 41st round picks in the 2009 MLB draft. The Pirates' pick in Round 41 was a guy named Tyler Cannon. Various scouting reports have compared him to a young Eric Bruntlett, but the guy writing the article looked at their stats at the same stage of development and concluded: "I’d say that the Bruntlett comp may actually be a tad optimistic at this point."

If a comparison to Eric Bruntlett is "a tad optimistic," I'd say that Tyler Cannon should be seriously thinking about pursuing a different line of work. Of course, if he sticks with baseball, he'll probably land a job with the Phillies 5 years from now.

Opposite spin:

- Park has been "ok" as a reliever but I would hardly call him lights out. His control has been very erratic all year including as a reliever.

This is the best he has looked all year as a reliever but if Park had given up 2 runs to tie the game then people would be ripping Cholly a new one for trying to push to get 2 innings out of Park.

Cholly got one inning from Park and then went with his best relief pitcher in a close game. Madson didn't execute and I am not faulting Cholly for using Park for a 2nd inning. This is Park we are talking about.

BAP - Bruntlett has made the show and stuck for several years as a bench player. He may be one of the worst offensive players in the game right now but any 41st round pick who actually makes it to the show (let alone sticks around for a few seasons) deserves some kudos because they overcame some long odds.

The Phillies would be 48-18 had they not blown any saves this year, enough said.

Madson must think some of these guys are no longer on steroids and can't turn around on 97 MPH fastballs with no movement.

Guess what Mad Dog? They either are, or they still can. OTOH, they might swing five times at one pitch if you throw the darned changeup.

Then again, what do I know? Madson needs the Dubee to calm down those nerves.

Lauber: "Phillies have lost five straight at home for the first time since, well, this same week last year -- June 17-22, 2008 vs. BOS, LAA."

Bad news is they went on to lose one more (to Joe Blanton) before KK stopped the streak.

Good news is last year after the 5 straight their lead was only 1 game.

As a closer, Madson is a pretty good set up guy.

BAP: I'm not really criticizing Charlie (perhaps directing my frustration at him). It's more of a critique on how the game is managed across the board.

Baseball is a very stubborn game and coaches/managers are kept from trying new strategies for fear of losing their job. Still, sticking with a pitcher who is having a good outing and hasn't thrown a lot of pitches seems like a no-brainer. The mentality that a closer MUST be used in a save situation has cost more games than it has won, in my opinion.

I know this is just me, but I would much rather have a bullpen comprised of 3 - 5 solid, dependable middle relievers (Romero/Madson 2008) than a lights out closer (K-Rod/Rivera/Lidge).

As for Tommy, sorry, but I have to disagree. The "mentality" necessary to close games (crowed by Mitch Williams every chance he gets) is part of the myth that gave rise to the current attitude that a closer is necessary. Three outs is three outs, regardless of where and when they take place in a ballgame. Plenty of starters and middle relievers have become closers the following season with little trouble, while others who simply have a bad season are said to "not have the mentality to close." By your assessment of Madson's two blown saves, Lidge doesn't have the mentality to close either.

Not sure I've seen a lot of the closer-type mentality from Park either.

***In fact, what is startling about it is that Charlie Manuel is supposed to be a player's coach, but consistantly he ignores the behavior of his players and the subtle signs of their play in particular situations, that properly manipulated can be the fulcrum to obtain victory.***

Charlie IS a player's manager. He refuses to do what's BEST for the team and coddles the individual players ego. How else can you explain Rollins still leading off, or going with Lidge (pre-injury) every night, or in last night's case, pulling a successful Chan Ho Park for Madson? He seems to manage 100% by the book, although there are many others who do the same.

I would wonder how much pressure comes down from the front office though, especially WRT closers. I'll bet there's a lot of, "hey we're paying X million dollars for our closer to close games, and by God he's going to close".

Seems to me like Madson - and his catchers - have decided the fastball is his best pitch. I would disagree. Get ahead with the fastball, put 'em away with the change. Trevor Hoffman's made a nice living for himself doing just that. (It's the next morning and that game still...) Maybe Hamels can channel Jim Bunning today. It was 45 years ago. Who's old enough to remember?

Some happiness- Ryan Howard is a tremendous pinch hitter. Last night he sent his 5th career pinch hit into the Phils bullpen. Career pinch hitting #'s- 11 for 28 (.393 avg), 3 dbl, 5 hr, 8 r, 12 rbi, 1.400 OPS.

Zudok,

I remember the Bunning game. Watched the first few and the last few innings with my Dad so many years ago. Probably too young to truly appreciate how rare a perfect game was, but that was an exciting afternoon for sure.

I have to echo b_a_p, kuvasz, and several others comments about the problem of stubbornly going by the book in the face of repeated failure and in unusual circumstances.

If the "book" solution is working 2/3 or more of the time, sure, stay with the conventional wisdom and how the team has been built.

But injuries and even prolonged slumps can confound the odds. Why not try something different when the "book" has been producing lousy results over a period of time and go with the hotter hand?

Whatever his other virtues, I sense that Cholly, who probably feels that over the past couple of years has "proven" that his approach works, is not the type to break the mold.

Why not JC vs Roberts? Was he not available? Closer by committee, in hindsight, seemed like a much better route. Madson's new nickname: Cryan, since that \'s what he makes us do.

"As a closer, Madson is a pretty good set up guy."
LOL

Why not JC vs Roberts... in hindsight, seemed like a much better route.
Exactly. Hindsight is the key word.

Maybe I'm blinded by my total disgust for Eric Bruntlett's presence on the roster, but i don't think i've ever seen a more overmatched player at the plate. Bruntlett must remind Cholly of a favorite nephew or something, to keep getting into games.

Blaming some of these losses on pitch calling by the catcher is bizarre to say the least. For one thing, how do you know the catcher called that pitch? The pitcher may have shaken him off AND some pitches are called from the bench. Also, if the catcher calls a fastball inside and low and the pitcher throws it belt high and middle-in, how is that the catcher's fault?

mvp - you are a true ignoramus. I was NOT one of the posters who was clamoring for Madson to replace Lidge as closer, first of all.

But what I really love is how you prattle on stupidly and paranoidly about a BL "elite" and then turn around and say that YOU have the upper hand - that because you played baseball for 13 years (I'm bowing as I type), you have some kind of upper hand and insight the rest of us lack. How is it that you're not an post-game analyst by now with your great wealth of knowledge and experience?

The barf bag always comes into play when you defecate all over this board with your supreme idiocy.

paranoidly?

LOL

that's right, laugh as you misspell your own handle. god love the internet.

RSB: He didn't misspell anything. That's Kelsey Grammer's handle here on BL.

BTW, you young 'uns out there should tune in to MLB Network right now if you want to see Bob Gibson at his height. They're replaying Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.

Interesting note: When McCarver tripled in the 2nd with one out, the Tigers brought the infield in. Not sure how often you'd see the infield in in the 2nd inning these days.

Gibson had 13 shutouts and a 1.12 ERA that season. His ERA+ was 258 in 305 IP

I never realized Gibson juiced, but there it is in black and white.

I'd forgotten how many good players were on those teams: Cash, Kaline, Brock, Cepeda, Maris, Flood.

clout: Agree with you on a majority of the blame being put on the catchers. I didn't see the Roberts home run last night so I can't speak to that. The Barajas home run though was a missed spot by Madson.

Also, if the pitcher doesn't like what the catcher has called for he can step off the mound and look for something else. Madson thinks he can get guys out with his fastball and twice now he has been burned on it.

Most importantly to me is this: as bad as the Phillies have been in this home stand they are still up 2 on the Mets, who are playing just as bad and not gaining ground.

Yo, newer threads

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