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Saturday, August 29, 2009

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JRoll definitely flashed leather today. But what's with the Phillies lead-off hitter seeing only 8 pitches in 4 at-bats (one of which was a strike out)? Vic wasn't much better seeing only 11 pitches.

other note: Smoltz with another shutdown performance; this time against a good offense. This was a pickup the Phillies should have tried to make for low risk/cost($100K). I might have been more comfortable with him than Pedro as a 5th starter. We'll see how it continues to play out.

Well, that was an adventure. Two rain delays, long game, some miserable old Braves beotch fan sitting next to me giving my toddler dirty looks when he was on Phanavision...but it was a good game. Howard is a sight to behold when he gets hot. My son saw the Phanatic (and Mrs. Phanatic) walk right in front of him and you would have thought we were in the presence of a rock star.

And my wish to chase Hanson early with the rain came true. Yes, my spell worked! Woo, hoo!

Lidge got himself a nice good luck buzz cut. I don't know what it is, but stuff like that makes you go on a tear and he looked like '08 Lidge tonight! Whatever works! Let's hope it sticks!

Braves are at it again McCann called CBP a high school field. Dudes are lame. It is all they talk about. Are they defeated by the field before the games ever start? Has Cox poisoned his team with his pissing and moaning?

gobaystars: Excuses. They can hit HR's too, but they don't. Love how when we were in Atlanta, Cox says if we were playing in Philly those would have been out of the park. Their announcers do it, too (complain about balls that leave our park).

Howard's second HR would have left Turner Field, too.

Shut up and play, jerks.

Cox is pathetic...he acts as if his team doesn't play in the same stadium or we move the fences out for them. Most of Howard's HRs are HRs in any park in baseball.

Perhaps there's a reason he only ever won 1 WS despite clearly having the best team in baseball several times in all those division wins.

Please ignore Bobby Cox. he's afriggin institution. Any rational observer knows that a win is a win, no more, no less.
two big flies by teh big fella is helpful.

We've already won the series, in essence. The Braves needed a sweep to do any kind of real damage, and that's been averted. It's only sweeter now that we have Lee going tomorrow and could win the series for real.

Moyer for closer! He's the hottest pitcher now right? Just kidding. The starting pitching (and Moyer) has just been great and Howard is carrying the offense.

On your talking points
Triple-A veterans: No more except catcher, though Tracy and Cervenak seem like pinch hitters.
40-man roster shuffling: Only see 2 obvious openings, Bisenius, Taschner. Maybe Register and Harman.
Left-handed relief: Romero is still the most obvious, Escalona has been okay, Bastardo could be excellent but will take another roster spot. No to Zagurski and Taschner.
added speed: Would like to see Berry called up before Sep1 (but cannot send down anyone other than DL Bruntlett since Walker has been too good.) Berry would also need spot on 40man.
Third catcher: need someone other than Naughton which will also take an open roster spot.

Moyer as a starter seems easier for other teams to prepare for than Moyer as a reliever is for them to adjust to.

Both times he has relieved it seemed the other team had no clue how to approach him.

I think also that Jamie put a lot of pressure on himself in the starting role whereas he simply comes out and throws the baseball and gets people out as a reliever.

Or, I could be totally wrong about both of these observations.

Please forgive me in advance because I haven't paid much attention to players/teams outside of the Phils this season, but can we legitimately talk about Ryan Howard as the NL MVP?

How many games has he won for the Phils this season?

I get to see the double header in Reading tonight with Brett Myers pitching in one of the games. Nice.

Ryan Howard is 0-60 (.333), 16 r, 3 dbl, 11 hr, and 29 rbi over his last 15 games.

The bench isn't crippling the Phillies right now, but when it comes to the playoffs that will likely be a different story. One can look at last October to see the significance of having a quality pinch hitting option (EX- Stairs, Jenkins). Currently with Greg Dobbs DL'd, the only decent PH the Phils have is Ben Francisco. Miguel Cairo, Eric Bruntlett, Paul Bako, and Matt Stairs (no hits in last 26 ab) are all batting below .200. You've got 3 days to make a deal Ruben- do it, do it.

Cliff: Pujols locked up NL MVP 2 months ago.

Nice to see the JW stay consistant with his Jaime Moyer slobbering. Nice little "who me" shot at Pedro Martinez also.

BTW, Moyer's ERA is still higher than every other starter on the team. He is where he belongs.

seriously how many times you do you need your bench in a game...6 of our regular 8 are stars in the primes of their careers that never need to be rested. Only guys you could consider pinch hitting for are the catchers/ pitchers and maybe 3rd base but if they get to the WS again you got the DH so there is one less option. Its not that pressing of a need people....

Hey look after 2 years i'm finally not banned from this site anymore...remember i was banned for being too negative in early 2008

Anyone think Moyer has benefited from a "rain game" strike zone? as in the umps dont wanna be there in the rain anymore so as long as it hits the glove its a strike?

I love moyer, but he had a very generous strike zone against arizona in that rain game... didn't get to watch much of this one but i heard the same.

"seriously how many times you do you need your bench in a game...6 of our regular 8 are stars in the primes of their careers that never need to be rested."


Guys sometimes get hurt, you know.

We needed the bench in Pittsburgh the other night, down 1, in the 9th.

You need a bench, when games go into extra innings.

You need a bench, when you have a 8 game lead in September, and old guys like Ibanez and Feliz need a break.

You need a bench, to help preserve your starters and keep them fresh for the games that REALLY count in October.

You need a bench, to win PLAYOFF games.

You need a bench much better then the lousy one we have been stuck with in 2009.

McCann will have plenty of time to vent his spleen when he's sitting at home watching the playoffs.

"Forty-eight hours removed from a blown save appears to have iced Ryan Madson; he didn't appear to have the confidence tonight."


JW, you have your opinion, but I don't agree. I didn't see any lack of confidence.

I saw a pitcher who got doinked and dunked, suffered from a bad call @ 1B that cost him a run, and only gave up one hard hit ball on a good pitch that was down and away.

Besides, I'm not sure what "appear to have the confidence" means.

Results often cloud the impressions we have of appearances.

I wonder if you would have written the same thing if he had a 1-2-3 inning?

Don't know if it was a 'rain game' strike zone. I've seen too many balls called that look like strikes in the 9th innings of 11-2 games that make you wonder if umps ever want to get off the field.

Looks like a "washed up" Jamie Moyer sent another FU to Beerleaguer posters, huh?

JW: Glad you mentioned Lidge getting strike one. It's been mentioned before and supported by stats: Last year he got way more strike ones. In all the talk about what's wrong and what to do, it may be no more complicated than that.

TNA: I caught this on MLB's TV roundup show: Watching video of Smoltz in Boston, Duncan saw that Smoltz was tipping his pitches because of the glove he was wearing and how he held it.

When he arrived in St. Louis they got him a new glove, which hides his hand better, and told him what they saw. He's been lights out ever since.

Would Dubee have figured that out?

To clout: No, most likely not. Duncan is the best pitching coach in baseball for a reason.

clout, not every BL poster said Moyer was washed up.

To be more precise and accurate(which I know your precise and accurate statistically oriented mind values), you should have included the word "some" in your sentence.

BTW, you're starting to post like tommy, you know, and "I told you so" in-your-face type attitude.

It's beneath you, no?

That yshould ahve read:

"you know, an "I told you so" in-your-face type attitude."

yea, clout...lie down w/ dogs, ya end up with fleas. one self-proclaimed MVP is enough.

Hey, for all you BL gripers and complainers, I have great news for you.

In order to win 95 games, the Phillies need to go 21-16 the rest of the season.

15 more losses to go - to get to 95 wins.

That's 15 more opportunities for you to gripe, moan, whine, complain, b*tch, cuss and just type up downright negative and ornery posts!!!

Why....just for fun you could even do an imitation of metsblog circa September 2007!

Should be fun to read.

Re: Pitchers and confidence.
Really how can we tell? Unless a pitcher does something very demonstrative (Cole in Toronto, Romero and Myers nightly) I think most of this confidence/flustered/not in the game talk talk is just guessing.

Damn fingers.

That should have said "21-15".

Clout, I saw that too. Made me wonder, since Smoltz is obviously a highly successful veteran. Apparently, pitchers can go numb to what they are actually doing on the mound. Also, makes you wonder if Smoltz was even watching video of himself earlier this year to compare to other (more successful) years.

I also heard Harold Reynolds say that he'd put money that Becket was tipping pitches (he's given up more home runs in August than Ryan Howard has hit). Several other analysts talked about players who were adept at finding clues in pitcher's windups/deliveries, and sharing it w/ others.

It has looked like the hitters knew exactly what was coming several times this year with both Madson and Lidge. And there's a difference between having a good idea what's coming (based on situation, count, etc.) and KNOWING what is coming. Several times hitters have just spit on nasty changeups from Madson and wicked sliders from Lidge that you'd swear they KNEW it was coming.

Is it me?...or is there no other RF w/ more home runs than Mr. Werth?

Tonight should be another great pitching duel.

Lee vs. Lowe.

Hopefully Lee will be as good as he has been since coming over, because, as we all know, Lowe gives the Phillies fits.


5-1, 2.46, .225 .272 .348 .620.

He definitely doesn't look washed up as a reliever.

High school field? High school games don't sell out. That sounds more like your place, Brian.

One advantage in having Lee and Blanton both pitching well, is that the bullpen can afford to keep Moyer for rain delayed games.

Incidentally, the BB/9 figures have drifted radically down since the AS break. It looks like either the strike zone is closer to last years or the pitchers have adjusted. I guess it's the former and is one of the reasons Moyer has looked so crisp.

In re: rAUUL
Last night's triple notwithstanding, his normal "slump" over the past three years has been a game or two more than 20. We're about 13 into it - most of the way through. Or maybe, just as he started strong this year, it is an unusual year and he's back on track. (I'm not convinced.)

In re: Lowe
I used to think Lowe was a perfect fit for the Phils; but now I realize that, while the first letter and number of syllables is correct, there are just too many letters in his name.

****It has looked like the hitters knew exactly what was coming several times this year with both Madson and Lidge. And there's a difference between having a good idea what's coming (based on situation, count, etc.) and KNOWING what is coming. Several times hitters have just spit on nasty changeups from Madson and wicked sliders from Lidge that you'd swear they KNEW it was coming.****

To be honest though, I have been able to guess which pitch Lidge was gonna throw probably 80% of the time in recent games...and i don't follow video of him or have a vested interest in hitting his stuff.

awh: Oooo, sorry to have offended! And, as you well know it wasn't just "some" Beerleaguer posters. It was a clear majority. But just for you, you may amend my observation to "some." And the "I told you so" part you just made up. It's beneath you, no?

That Smoltz glove story is off the charts on the BS scale.

Maybe this is the engineer in me, but I would assume that even in a sports world full of "intangibles", something as simple as a player diagnostic checklist would exist. Is he hurt or tired, are his mechanics different, is his equipment different, what do various stats say, what do his fellow players say, etc. For a professional organization to miss something as simple as a pitcher tipping pitches through his glove is unbelievable. If this were true, whoever is responsible for the pitchers up in Boston should be fired. FFS. /rant off.

BAP: I missed the part where you, mikes77 and the other chirpers said Moyer was washed up "only as a starter."

joe l: One of the commentators on MLB made the exact same point. He said if he were a Red Sox fan he'd be really angry that no one on their coaching staff spotted this.

Madson is definitely a concern. Depending on ow many innings he's pitched, I would like to see Chan Ho as the set-up guy. Since he's certainly good for more than 1 inning, he could be a 4-5 out pitcher in the 7th and 8th.

I guess Tampon Bay doesn't want to repeat as AL Champs, becoming Sellers in dumping Kazmir modest salary. Kazmir is only 25! They have decided to emulate the Fish, by going to WS, sell off your stars, play in front of empty stands.

LF: I'm inclined to agree with you, but I'd like to know the identity of the PTBN before I commit. My guess is that it is a major leaguer who will finish the season with the Rays or perhaps a list of players from which the Angels will get to choose at season's end. But the prospects they got, Torres and Sweeney (#18 and #24 on BA's pre-season Angels list) aren't grade A, although both have improved their stock this season, and certainly not equal value for Kazmir. Posters whose first concern is ownership's finances will disagree with this view, however.

I think Moyer's stint as a high priced rainy day long relief winner in an anomaly. This will not last into next year. His salary is for being an effective starter. He is not that.

Having said that, I like Moyer and wish him success. I admire what he has accomplished at his advanced age.

bow down to me.

Maybe we can trade prospects to Tampon Bay for Evan Longoria when Pete Happy's contract comes up for renewal? That probably will save Tampon Bay a few bucks.

Ryan, I am bowing!

Jamie is not washed up, and he knows it.

Jamie Moyer in the rotation was a bad thing, the numbers don't lie. So far in the bullpen it's been good. Mind you, it's only been two games, that were both rain delayed, the other team wasn't preparing to see him, and whether you think so or not the strike zone was favorable.

Howard's OPS+ is suddenly up to 136. So my prediction of him finishing in the 140s and last year being the anomoly are starting to look pretty good. Granted, he'll likely never be the guy that won the MVP in 2006 but he could very well be a solid 140s OPS+ guy for the next couple years of his contract.

2006 - 167
2007 - 144
2008 - 124
2009 - 136

Career - 142

So the talk of his impending demise are looking a bit silly. The fact that he had a solid and not terrible 1st half is huge for him and a tribute to his hard work in the off-season to get in shape.

He has a 1.035 OPS since the Break and it is rising daily.

I don't mind Moyer as a long-reliever and if they keep him around next year in that swing role, I'm fine with it. We're gonna be paying him either way so they might as well get some value out of him.

I'm very encouraged that they've been able to grind out these 3-2, 4-3 wins against the Braves over the last two series. These games remind me of the playoffs last year. They usually just club teams to death with their offense, but when it's crunch time, they can win the low scoring ones as well.

NEPP, Howard is not the best player on the team.

That's Utley.

He is, however, one of the very few players in baseball capable of picking up a slumping team and carrying it on his back all by himself.

Rauuul did a yeoman's job of it earlier in the season when Howard wasn't hitting that well, so he's capable of it, but probably not as much so as Howie.

I'll stick my neck out and make a leviculus, totally unsubstantiated prediction:

Last night's 3B is going to get Raul going. It's the beginning of another streak for him.

If he and Howie get hot at the same time............................................

****NEPP, Howard is not the best player on the team.****

I agree completely. Utley is one of the best players in baseball.

Utley, IMO, is one of the 5 best players in the game.

There's no way that triple rights Raul. We all know from reading the internet that the only way a player gets out of a slump is to be rested for a day or two.

I don't disagree with the notion that Utley is the best person on the team, in the sense that he is the best at his position, but when you make the flat statement that he's the best on the team or one of the 5 best in baseball you probably need to add that qualifier. For example, if Utley's position were firstbase he wouldn't even be among the 3 best in the NL.

I happen to think Utley is #2, behind only Pujols. But Mauer is making a strong case to be considered #2 as well.

re: Kazmir, he's only 25, but he's an injury risk and a guy whose performance has been declining. I don't criticize the idea of trading him, but I think they could've gotten more. We'll see how the PTBNL is, as Clout notes.

Clout: Yeah, but he's better than everyone else on the Phillies regardless of position.

And I just assumed people were taking positional value into account when ranking players in baseball. Obviously Utley's performance at 2nd makes him more valuable than Tex's production at 1st, for instance. Mauer's production at the Cacther position is insane.

****For example, if Utley's position were firstbase he wouldn't even be among the 3 best in the NL. ****

Well obviously. Its his ability as a 2B that makes him so valuable. We're looking at the whole player here, not just offense in the abstract.

EFF: or doing down to the minors. Cause nothing breaks a vetern out of a slump like taking bus trips to Altoona.

Jack: That's exactly right and why a package of quality offense/good defense is far more valuable at catcher, SS and 2B than at the corners. Given the importance of the catching position, you could make the case that Mauer is the most valuable player in baseball, more valuable than Pujols.

My only point, probably unnecessary, is that Utley's position has a lot to do with his value and that if you're just comparing offense regardless of position then clearly he's not in the top 5 in baseball.

clout (et. al) - before Lidge first got to the Phillies, there were a few reports that an opposing hitter told him that he was tipping his pitches. It changed his performance for the better whether it was simply mental, not tipping, or going back and re-examining how exactly he was tipping his pitches and in doing so refining his delivery. I read somewhere about a month ago that Lidge points his toe differently for fastballs and sliders, but that could've been a comment posted on BL and not had that much credibility. I personally haven't noticed anything but frankly, his command has been so erratic his poor performance probably has as much to do with him as it does with any kind of pitch-tipping. But perhaps Dubee should make a half-bluff about him tipping his pitches and make Lidge go back to the drawing board to carefully go through his mechanics and make sure he's consistently got the same delivery for fastballs and sliders. Or perhaps, a la Houston Street, force him to line up on a different part of the rubber and give hitters a new angle to look at. That said, I have an irrational sense that Lidge is close to being dominant once again.

Another thing to consider beyond offense/defense/position in talks about the best player in baseball is health/injury-risk. Pujols (somewhat due to the position he plays as he could probably play through an arm injury), is a workhorse. Mauer, while he's an incredible player when healthy, has less value if he only gets 300-400 PAs a year (hypothetical situation).
Utley has gotten injured, whether it's his hip or tripping over Rowand, but he definitely doesn't seem to have the chronic (back) injuries that will plague Mauer. A basketball analogy would be T-Mac. Guy is a world-class talent when healthy, but he's rarely healthy.
Anyway, you guys probably get the point.

Jack, I know it's sacrilege on this board, but I would rank Mauer above Utley.

TNA, you don't me the half of the Phillies broadcast team that most of us here can't stand?

If Mauer's power is not a 1 year fluke then he could very well be the best player in baseball. Perhaps his power developed late (at Age 26) or perhaps he's just having one of those years where everything clicks. If he goes back to have 9 HRs next year then he takes a decent step down.

awh - Sorry, but i don't understand your question.

Clout: True, without position Utley is probably not in the top 5 in baseball offensively (although he's still close, 10th in MLB in OPS).

He is still the best offensive player on the Phillies though, regardless of position.

Top 5 players in MLB: Pujols, Utley, Mauer, Hanley, and... Lincecum? Not sure who I would fill out the top 5 with. It used to be pretty easy to put A-Rod in there, but he's had a down year and is getting up there in age.

Sorry TNA - damn fingers:

"TNA, you don't mean the half of the Phillies broadcast team that most of us here can't stand?"

TNA: For Mauer to be compared to McGrady, he would have to get injured a lot more; sign a huge contract (20 million per) where he puts up tons of points by hogging the ball despite his team losing; feud with, and then not inform his coaches that he is having season ending surgery; watch as his teams do better without him; imitate his cousin by killing his trade value, etc.

Regarding Utley being in the top 5 in baseball as a hitter - I agree that he's probably just short but I don't think it's quite as clear as you're suggesting. Utley ranks 4th in MLB in wOBA behind Mauer, Pujols, and Hanley Ramirez.

Not that wOBA is the only statistic worth using, but I think you can make a case for him being top five.

Also worth mentioning - that 4th ranking in wOBA is just this year.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Feliz 3B, Bako C, Lee P.

Should probably save this comment for after a Howard HR, but the man scares me sometimes when he shovels his 33+ oz bat towards the dugout like it's the handle of a broom. The man would've definitely done some damage as a medieval knight.

Perhaps we should rename Howard, Sir Howard.

LOL. It is hilarious how even when Ryan Howard is carrying the team, the Utley sycophants can come out of the woodwork to start a discussion as to why Utley (not Howard) is the best player on the team.

Can't you even wait until Utley has a week of carrying the team? Oh that's right, it is'nt April or May.

mikes77: Are you joking?

DH Phils: I like wOBA because it more heavily weights the SLG component of OBA, which is a good thing. But if I were to pick a single best offensive stat, it would be OPS+ because it not only includes SLG it also adjusts for ballpark factor.

Using that criteria we get not only Pujols, Mauer and Hanley ahead of Uts but also Adrian Gonzalez (who plays in an extreme pitcher's park), Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn and Miggy Cabrera. So it's the difference between 4th best and 8th best.

mikes77: I don't disagree with your comment about Utley sycophants. The board is crawling with them. But, unless you define "best player" fairly narrowly, the sycophants happen to be correct about Utley vs. Howard.

If Howard keeps his current streak going thru September, by season's end, they may be wrong. But at this moment in time, they are right and you are wrong.

It is amazing that with each Lee start we get closer and closer to PAUL BAKO starting the first game of the LDS and maybe 5 or 6 more postseason baseball games. This is insane and needs to be fixed now. Lee needs to start working with Ruiz and get comfortable with him starting tonight.

clout: Agreed.

mikes77: Utley only hits in April and May? Well, that's certainly a new one.

Also, I notice that you didn't say "better hitter" (debatable but I still think Utley is better by a decent margin) but rather "better player" (which is completely insane).

Iffy weather again tonight. We can much less afford to have Lee only go 2 innings due to rain, especially now that Jamie was used yesterday. And even though he only threw a few pitches, just appearing yesterday will take some available innings off of Chopper tonight. Radar shows 2 lines of storms, one developing and strengthening out in the western suburbs and moving east, and another back in the Harrisburg area moving east.

"Iffy weather again tonight. We can much less afford to have Lee only go 2 innings due to rain, especially now that Jamie was used yesterday"

Smoky, we are 8 games ahead of the Braves. A more approrpiate statement would be the Braves can much less affort to have Lowe only go 2 innings due to rain, especially now that most of the pen was used yesterday.

The next two games are must wins for the Braves if they have any shot at the division. They are also slipping out of the WC race.

Honestly, I don't think it would be the worst thing in the world for a) Lee to give his arm a rest as he's averaging 112 pitches per start as a Phillie, and b) the seldom-used relievers (Durbin, Eyre) to get some work.

I could get used to the luxuries of being eight games up.

OK, Spitz & DH, after seeing your reasonings, I concur. I was only looking at it from one viewpoint.

Watching Cubs/Mets on Fox right now. Man, the Mets are bad. I'd be willing to bet they lose more games the rest of the way than the Nationals, which normally would be hard to do.

Speaking of Mets & gNats, Braves have 13 more games against them, Fish have 12, and Phillies have 10. Otherwise, looks like a fairly even schedule down the stretch. If Phillies win one of the next 2, I'm willing to join in with CJ and declare the division over.

Yo, new thread

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