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Saturday, August 22, 2009

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I was thinking the same thing, Jason: Seeing him work so hard, the sweat pouring off his face, reminded me of Kevin Millwood in his later days here, as if he wanted to be anywhere else but on that mound.

Those Millwood starts in Florida still haunt my dreams. And that predated hi-definition television for me. Even through analog, Millwood was a mess.

If we were to know the numbers and struggles of both Hammel's and Lidge through this point in the season without knowing the team's win/loss record, I think we'd all be shocked to find out that we are actually in better shape than we were last year at this same point. Why is their record so good? Raul Ibanez in the first half and very good pitching (with Howard, Werth, and Rollins find their grooves) in the second.

But the only chance we have at going far in the playoffis is Cliff Lee pitching like he is right now and Hammel's and Lidge finding it. They've got to find it.

JW - It would be bold to give Cole an entire turn off, even if it is the correct move. Might look like a rebuke to certain eyes (read: Cole's). I'm not sure if he'd take it the right way or not, and I don't the Phillies would want to find out.

It seems that Hamels could use a little of the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay/Brett Myers well-timed minor league demotion. I can't see it however, as Hamels has simply too much pride (which isn't necessarily a bad thing either). Thus, I'd offer a 15-day DL stint and maybe two-three rehab starts, as it would give his arm a little break and allow him to regain his confidence by dominating some minor leaguers.

See, I just think give the guy a turn off. Let him relax, rest up, resume pitching in a little bit. Meanwhile, they've got a guy in Moyer with a chip on his shoulder ready to give them a focuses start.

With more losses than wins in his W-L record, we can correctly state until it is no longer true, Colbert is a losing pitcher on a team with a winning record.

I'd love to hear that conversation when Uncle Cholly tells Colbert that he's being replaced at his next turn by a pitcher with a winning record, Jamie Moyer. Whoosh! Oh, Heidi,where's my little pukey dog.

Is my memory make things up or did Millwood bring a chair out to the on deck circle during his infamous Florida start?

Hopes - He had a chance to dominate dome minor leaguers last night.

I actually think he just needs a new chiropractor, along with a shaman and the holographic doctor from Star Trek Voyager.

courtesy of Todd Zolecki:
Hamels' 4.78 ERA is the 5th highest ERA in the National League. Only Livan Hernandez (5.47 ERA), Jamie Moyer (5.22 ERA), Ricky Nolasco (5.22 ERA) and Braden Looper (4.95 ERA) are higher. His .285 opponents' batting average is 9th highest in the league.

I think that - thanks to the addition of Cliff Lee and the good pitching of Blanton and Happ - that the Phillies will be ok for postseason with a mediocre Hamels. If he's the number 4, he only pitches once in each of the NLCS and WS.

His K rates and BB rates are exactly where they were last year. His BABIP and HR% numbers are up, which is mostly luck. I think everyone is worrying way too much. But such is the nature of fandom I guess.

"I'd love to hear that conversation when Uncle Cholly tells Colbert that he's being replaced at his next turn by a pitcher with a winning record, Jamie Moyer."

I have to say, these sorts of humiliation fantasies, frequently concocted on this site, do add an interesting psycho-sexual dimension to the ongoing Beerleaguer obsession with the question of Hamels' manliness.

I don't want to imagine how this version of Hamels would fair against the Red Sox or Yankee lineups in the playoffs. Those lineups wear pitchers out & uhh...yeah, this is pretty troubling.

Nothing personal and I'm not attacking phil but giving up hard hit balls and homeruns is not luck. One of the strangest things about a good number of conversations about stats is the use of the word "luck". Whenever there is a situation that the numbers don't explain it is luck.

My theory? Because the league is so aware of the changeup now they're just waiting for fastballs to hit. In other words, the approach to Hamels is guess fastball and too many of those are in the middle of the plate. He needs to locate his fastball and throw it more often. He seems to get ticked off and just start firing - think of the homerun to Cody Ross a few weeks ago. This is also my Lidge theory, by the way, and I know it sounds simplistic but a well-placed fastball will always be the best pitch in baseball.

Skip a start with Hamels. DL Dobbs. Bring up Taylor fast. Use Lee, Hamels and Moyer to PH. Cairo near an airport.

"I'd skip his next turn entirely and let Jamie Moyer replace him against Pittsburgh. I can't see how it would hurt."

With that start plus the 2 double header starts, about 1 million in incentives being met. Plus a Million extra dollars in salary for next year. I'd say that was an expensive start. That Hurts.

So I was wondering why Phills pitchers never learn new pitches.

I hear about pitching coaches on other teams showing their pitchers how to throw a specialty pitch, or about pitchers who learn on there own forced to by necessity.

Hamels needs to ask Jamie or Cliff how to throw that cutter that so many lefties throw to jam righties!

For a guy who doesn't play much, Dobbs seems to be hobbled a lot. He's had back issues and other stuff before, too.

Phil,

Last year he put hitters away when ahead 0-2. This year, they're staying alive with lots of foul balls until he makes a mistake in the middle of the plate. His pitch counts are way too high and number of hits with 2 strikes are also way too high. I don't think either of those are "luck." He needs to work on his pitch selection, command, confidence and his curve ball.

speaking of dobbs... am i alone in feeling kind of sorry for the guy? i heard an interview with him somewhere saying how he understands his role but feels he could hit .300 as an everyday player. i hope he gets that chance cause i tend to agree with him. i think he could be at least an average offensive player. picking the position would be the trick.

"Hamels' 4.78 ERA is the 5th highest ERA in the National League. Only Livan Hernandez (5.47 ERA), Jamie Moyer (5.22 ERA), Ricky Nolasco (5.22 ERA) and Braden Looper (4.95 ERA) are higher. His .285 opponents' batting average is 9th highest in the league."

That's surprising. Maybe I'm wrong, but usually there are a ton of starters with high 4 and 5 ERA's. Sometimes even some 6's. This a down year for offense in the NL or something?

His curveball has been a lot better this season. But it's not a devastating 12-6 curve that locks hitters up. It's more of a slurve, breaking down and in to righties. And it doesn't really lock anyone up. He must be giving it away somehow because I've never seen anyone swing at it. Admittedly, I stopped watching after a few innings last night because I saw how he was laboring and didn't want to see the result. So, maybe someone swung at a curve last night. But they haven't before.

Does anyone remember what it used to feel like looking forward to a Cole Hamels start? Isn't it odd that I look forward to any other starter pitching a whole lot more than Cole now. Part of it is that he's been pretty bad. And part of it is that he didn't do anything to maintain himself during the offseason as was being handed a 20 million dollar contract.

scheduling question...

my wife and i have had tickets for months to next saturday's home game against the braves. it looks at this point like we've hit the jackpot and cliff lee will pitch that game if he indeed pitches this monday as scheduled. but i've heard some folks on here say that they haven't listed monday's starter as of yet (meaning they might go with a six man and have moyer start that game). anyone hear anything about monday's starter?

"(Hamels)was being handed a 20 million dollar contract."

Handed? No chance he actually earned his contract?

Couple of points on Hamels:

- Can we please stop with the "it is largely just luck." It is largely nonsense.

His HR/9 was notably up this year from last year (1.42 HR/9 vs. 1.11 HR/9 in '08). Additionally, hitters are chasing less stuff out of the zone (25.9% vs. 30.8%) and making alot more contact when they do swing out of the zone (65.8% vs. 60.8%)

These numbers would lead me to believe that his changeup has been much less effective this year although I would love to see some numbers on it and his curveball including BAA, % LD, swing/miss numbers to really get some better insights into Hamels' offspeed stuff.

- His control on his fastball also have been very inconsistent all season. He has been missing badly with it at times including last year when it was really erratic from hitter to hitter with it.

- For a guy who has been such a decent pitcher in his career so far, Hamels has some really odd career splits including his noted day/nights splits and his less noted home/road splits especially this year.

There has been plenty of explanations about the day/night splits (e.g., his changeup is easier to pick up during day games) but I have no idea why Hamels is more effective at a park that does slightly favor hitters especially HR hitters once it gets warm.

You would figure that a pitcher who is prone to giving up the HR-ball like Hamels would really struggle at times at CBP especially once it go really warm in June. Instead, he has generally pitched better (and at times much better) at CBP.

My guess - Hamels is very much a creature of routine. When's he at home, I would be willing to bet that Hamels has a very set schedule including waking up, daily activities, and arriving at the ballpark. That probably just isn't possible on the road.

I would love a reporter to ask Hamels why he has struggled on the road so much at times this year (5.48 ERA and some pretty crappy peripheral numbers).

Are the Phillies healin/resting Michael Taylor for a call-up?

Mikes77phillies: No, he did not earn it. He was handed that contract with the expectation that he would earn it in the future. Last season, he earned the five million he was given.

Baseball contracts, being guaranteed, the best a team can hope for is that a player earns or exceeds a multi-year contract given for future years. And Hamels has definitely not earned his checks this season because he did not prepare himself properly for the season, which is part of a ballplayer's job.

I have great hopes that Hamels will be appropriately embarrassed by his dismal performance and preparation this season to once again become the player we all know he can be. Sadly, that most likely won't happen until next season.

aksmith - Yeah, Hamels curve is a bit better this year but I can't remember him get that many swing/misses on it. In fact, he seems like he leaves it hanging too much and it gets crushed.

There are a couple of times I remember where Hamels has given up some long shots on a hanging curveball this year and I would be willing to bet that as a % of throwing pitches he has given up a ton more HRs on his curveball than his fastball or changeup.

He also seems like he has trouble throwing it for a strike at the knees too.

Basically it is a better pitch but still a pretty weak complimentary offspeed pitch.

Ok, NOW I feel bad for Dobbs, Dukes. I actually was already feeling bad that he finally got another start and became injured. I do think it would be great for him to play more - but the reality is, it's a tradeoff for him, to be on a WS team with a limited role. I think right now with his hitting and fielding, he could play on not as great of a team as an everyday player. Perhaps given the chance and the playing time, his defense and hitting would improve no matter whether he's facing a LH or RH pitcher. Right now, he's just not as good at defense as Feliz, for example, and he doesn't hit both lefties and righties well.

Lets go Mets We can win dis series even witout Wright Reyes Beltran and delgado.I have a thoery why Hamels is doing bad this year because he is bad. Lets go Mets

"Last season, he earned the five million he was given."

Wrong again. He only made 500,000 last year. Pretty big bargain for pitching the PHillies to a Ring.

Lets go Mets Lets go Mets.Imagine how bad you have lost if we had Wright Reyes Beltran Delgado. I guessing 13-2 We can even beat you when are starting players aren't on the field You got beat by the Buffalo Bisons How enbarsing. Your suposed to be a great team. but you loose to the Mets AAA team.Your not dat much betta than our AAA team. ha ha ha ha ha

My mistake. I knew it had a five in it. But that's still missing the point. He was not being given a contract for this year and two more years because he was underpaid last season. He was given that contract with the expectation that he'd be earning it this season and for two more after.

However you slice it, Cole made the mistake that many young people would make in the same situation. However, not many people are given 20 million to learn that lesson. I'm of the belief that he'll earn that money over the next two seasons. But he's certainly not earning it this year.

Chicho - See you in the playoffs. Or should I say "C U in da play-ofs, playa."

I can see why they censor Metsblog now.

am I so grat that no one can respond to me? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I won the argument ha ha. Maybe you can't answer beacuse you people form da poconos R uneducated. Da smart people only live in New York City only smart people. Da poconos not smart not smart. Thier houses don't even hold thier value. ha ha ha ha

Oops. I fed the trolls. No more. Sorry.

Da Phillies didn't clinch playoff bert yet.you have da braves and Marlins both good teams good teams

What is a troll. It must be some red neck food U people in in da poconos ha ha ha ha

"He was given that contract with the expectation that he'd be earning it this season and for two more after."

What's with this 'given a contract' nonsense.

Cole Hamels earned that contract by his performance for 3 seasons. 20 million dollars is nothing. If Cole Hamels does absolutely NOTHING for the next 3 seasons, he already earned that money.

As is, 20 million for a league average pitcher for 3 years is a good deal. Hell, Kyle Losche is making 40 million for 4 years.

The money has nothing to dod with Hamel's performance.


aksmith: I don't understand. On what basis was he given the contract which apparently he didn't earn?

Why are we wastin R time talkin about a garbage pitcher? We should be talking about dis season or maybe next season or da game tonight.

With regard to luck and Hamels:

Luck in statistical analysis is essentially saying that we don't want to punish a pitcher for things they don't control. Basically a pitcher controls 3 things: K's BB's and GB/FB. So when you see a pitcher who is still k'ing and bb'ing at his normal rates but you see a fluctuation in results that it is most likely not his fault. If you look deeper, Hamels' line drive percentage and fly ball percentages are down and his ground ball percentage is up. Ground balls are a much more desired result than fly balls. Additionally somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of your flyballs should go for HRs. Hamels is around 14% which is a function of luck and his home stadium. Just look at Joe Blanton's HR numbers with Oakland and Philadelphia. His HR rate is much lower with Oakland than with Phila. This is not a function of anything other than circumstance(pitchers park/hitters park) and there is no reason to punish him for the walls being built a certain way. So when we want to evaluate a pitchers true talent level we want to take out things like defense/stadium and look at what the pitcher can control: K/BB/GB% All these factors tell me Hamels has just been a tad unlucky. I know it doesn't fulfill a visceral need to blame the pitcher or his command or control or lack of a 3rd pitch, but sometimes its just dumb luck.

Here's a great primer on why these things matter: http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

and here's an excerpt:

We’ve seen very little evidence that major league pitchers have significant control over how often their flyballs go over the wall, so occassionally you’ll see a wild swing in performance that is not indicative of a players true talent level, simply because a pitcher is having more or less flyballs go over the wall than should be expected. The average major league pitcher gives up home runs in about 11-12% of his outfield flies – significant variation from that is probably not an indicator of talent for a major league quality pitcher.

I dink I can put why is he doin bad in a simpler way. He's not gettin anybody out. Dats his problem.U people R stupid dat U can't C da reason why he is doin bad is because he can't people out.My firend was right people in da poconos unintelligent unintelligent.

@gobaystars

I appreciate the 'nothing personal', and I to have no vitriol or venom toward people who disagree or have different view points. It's nice to keep baseball as the topic and not make anything personal.

Sunday being a day game after nite game, and if Lee pitches monday, we can look forward to Backo 2 of the next 3 games, and up to 6 post-season games.

Any news on Dobbs?

i think a lot of this might have been overconfidence on cole's part. of course, never having met him, i can't be sure. but, if i was a young pitcher who was just named NLCS and WS MVP and everybody was raving about how good i was, i can see how it would be easy to start to believe it and maybe he didn't focus as much on making adjustments as he usually might. he's probably learning that you have to keep making adjustments through your entire career if you want to play for a long time.

of course, this is all pure speculation, but i think it's a likely scenario.

"What's with this 'given a contract' nonsense."

I think ak is struggling to express a moral judgment. It isn't right that Hamels should be paid so much and yet perform so badly. Morally speaking, he's obligated to do better.

Make of that what you will.

I don't suppose even ak takes his logic too seriously. It implies, among other things, that you and I are as likely as Cole to be handed a 20 million dollar contract--since to admit that there is some basis for the FO giving Cole that contract leads straightforwardly to the common sense idea that Cole literally earned what he was given.

Regarding no pitcher being listed for monday: With 3 mondays off, most starters have been pitching every 6th day, with great results and going deep into games. Maybe they are giving Moyer the start monday to continue that trend.

Lets go Mets lets go Mets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Us Mets fans R loyal to our team.We will root for our team no matta how many injuries we have.Not like Phillies fans who don't care about the Phillies when dey loose not loyal not loyal. I have a friend who lives in da poconos he says now dere is alot of phiilies fans buta few years ago dere where zero zero.

interesting, chicho. last i checked and there are still plenty of tickets avaiable for the mets this season. why is that? i mean, this is their first year in a brand new stadium! oh, that's right, they aren't winning so fans aren't showing up. muts fans aren't that loyal i guess.

Chicho: After 5-6 posts about the poconos, its obvious that U slept through geography class or can't read a map. The poconos are a lot closer to NY than Philly.

The reason that there are unintelligent people in the Poconos is largely because they have all moved there from New York City. I would know, my job forces me to deal with idiots like you, Chico, each and every day.

That is all.

One good start (like the one he had in Arizona) and all of this angst will be gone.

He's not nearly as far off as some here might think.

For probably the first time in his life (when he has been healthy) he is struggling a bit on the mound for an extended time. Dealing with that; figuering out why its happening; and correcting the errors are what seperates the great pitchers from the average ones. Remember just 2 years ago, Cliff Lee was sent to Buffalo, because he was pitching awful.

What bothers me so much, is that Cole has been making too many excuses for not being lights out. Blaming the umpire (whether its deserved or not) or blaming the pitchers mound or blaming dumb luck or blaming your offseason conditioning or blaming the 270 innings from 08', isn't constructive. SOME of it might be playing a part. But not every time out. Suck it up and get over this YOURSELF. Once he does, he will be just fine. Its way past time though.

Hamels used to believe that he could throw a no-hitter or fan 10+ on any given start. Wonder what he believes he's capable of now.

I don't believe you can "count" on a certain percentage of fly balls to be HR's. Good pitchers induce weak fly balls and weak grounders by forcing the batters to hit the ball on the bad part of the bat. Bad pitchers give up hard grounders and fly balls that travel a long way b/c they "miss" in the middle of the plate.

When you watch Cliff Lee pitch, he doesn't have the best fastball, change, etc. What he does so well is paint the corners with all his pitches and gets them close enough so the hitter HAS to swing at them. He induces a lot of weakly hit balls.

Cole has been getting ahead of the hitters then "nibbling" too far off the plate so his pitch count goes way up. Then he misses over the plate and the ball is gone.

Like I said b/4...Command, confidence and pitch selection is key for Hamels...Lidge too.

to all trolls- enough with injuries in 2009

remember with that a more complete roster in 07 & 08:

in 2007 and 2008 - da mets chokedddddd

and their team chemistry suckeddddddddddd

the phillies are the NLDS (east) for 07 & 08
the phillies are NL champs in 08
& of course the WORLD P**** CHAMPS in 2008

you?


Yo, new thread

Cole wasn't "given" anything, IMHO, but the Phillies could have played the arbitration game with him since he was already locked up. They did make a nice gesture by giving him a fairly generous "guaranteed" deal.

Hopefully he started to turn it around a bit his last two innings, when he seemed to find his old "grip it and rip it" mindset. He needs to revert back to his old, faster pace (does wonders for Lee and Blanton), and just throw his stuff.

"I'd skip his next turn entirely and let Jamie Moyer replace him against Pittsburgh. I can't see how it would hurt."

With that start plus the 2 double header starts, about 1 million in incentives being met. Plus a Million extra dollars in salary for next year. I'd say that was an expensive start. That Hurts.

if cholly and dubee think it's a good idea, the last thing i'd want is ruben and his bean-counters vetoing it. it's one thing to worry about contracts when they're being hashed out, but trying to minimize incentives at the expense of the best interests of the team on the field while we're trying to set our pitchers up for the postseason is the worst kind of MBA micromanaging.

Spot on JW.

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