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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Hamels just need to keep taking the ball every 5th day. One of these days it will "click" and all come together again.

Hamels' problem is that he's too big for his britches?

If Anthony Gose learns how to hit, he'll look good in the outfield between Taylor and Brown. Unfortunately, he will probably never learn how to hit.

"""I can't believe that commentors are getting on each other's case just because of someone's opinion. Let people state their case and be done with it.

Posted by: Lake Fred"""

Easy now, Fred. You don't actually expect civility and reason to take over on BL, do you?

Gose is hitting ok for a "toolsy" guy. Plenty of room for improvement, though. You don't get 66 SBs without having some degree of success at the plate.

JW, I'm very disappointed in you.

You can't even get the math right.

"baseball’s remaining 99.9 percent"?

Actually, it's 98.867%.

Sheesh - on a site where stats are considered the gospel truth.

Waht are we gonna do when are esteemed leader can't get it right? ;)

question on strasburg...does a 4 year major league deal mean that he will be a free agent in 4 years? if so, i don't think that's a very good deal for the Nats. they should at least have the guy for 6 years in the majors like every other guy that comes up.

That should read:

"What are we gonna do when our esteemed leader can't get it right? ;)"

AWH, I know. I get into these strange moods sometimes, expecting the best from my BLer friends.

I checked the link and looked at the draft classes going way back. Most drafts produce only one or two names that even get to be discussed on BL.

I saw that Hamels first name on the draft listing was Colbert. Until he starts pitching better, I'm going to refer to him as Colbert.

From the last thread:

****NEPP, not to nitpick, but.....Strasburg did NOT play in the PAC 10, hence my comment that he "did not even play in the best college baseball league on the West coast."****

Oops, I keep thinking USC with him for some dumb reason.

No, Strasburg will not be a free agent in 4 years...he'll be arbitration eligible though...assuming he goes on their MLB roster next year...and stays there. They still get their full years of control out of him.

Brian (BJ) Rosenberg has been ridiculous in his 2 seasons: 10-3, 62 gm, 90.2 ip, 119 k, 30 sv, 0.89 ERA, 1.02 WHIP. He recently was promoted to Reading, can't wait to see what this kid can do.

I don't get the anger or personal attacks here; if we all ran into each other at McFadden's, we'd get along fine.

Hamels needs to develop another pitch in the offseason; he'll just have to muddle through this year and hope his command improves.

Lidge is breaking my heart. And my wallet; it's tough to wear the 54 jersey to the park these days. :(

Cole Hamels "finding himself" became a little less essential with the signing of Lee, the emergence of Happ and the rock-solid pitching of Blanton.

But it sure would be nice to have the Hamels of last fall make another appearance!

David Murphy just updated his blog with a comparison between the 2008 and 2009 Phillies.

Link HERE.

Good stuff, David!

Lidge will cure himself when 1) he brings his HR/FB % down to his career norm of 11% (this season it's 16%, last season a ridiculously low 3.9%), and when his BABIP comes down from his unsustainably high of .353 (career .314).

Hamels will cure himself when his BABIP comes down from its elevated .322 (career .292, last year .270!) and his HR/FB % improves from the current 13.5% to his career norm of 12.4%.

I put it to you all that the real problem for both of these players is actually regression to the norm The fact is that both players had unusually good (or lucky) years last year and both are having unusually poor (or unlucky) years this one.

Colbert, nice, I'm surprised I haven't heard that mentioned before. I'll join you in Campaign Colbert in effort to see Hamels transform back to the WS MVP calibur pitcher we all know he should be.

Although we all know the Cliff Lee is due for the WS MVP this year.

Truth Injection: "So your [AWH's] claim is you were just baiting someone to say something by stating something intentionally ridiculous?"

Not to continue this silly discussion from last thread, but did you actually click on the link I posted and read what AWH said that was so "intentionally ridiculous?" The statement was:

"Also, another rookie made his major league debut yesterday: Tommy Hanson. In case you missed it, he got rocked by the Brew Crew for 6 ER (7 total) in 6 IP.

Say what you want about potential and future ceilings, but our little Bastardo has certainly pitched better than that."

I read somewhere (I think it was an article on or a little blip where it was mentioned that some scouts think Hamels doesn't have as good a fastball as he did last season.

They say he was topping at 94 (remember the K of Kent in the NLCS?), and that he can't quite dial it up that high this season.

If that's the case, while he may not be 'injured', the 267 IP last season may be having some lingering effect.

I attended the Lakewood@Charleston game this past Sunday. Color me very UNimpressed with Anthony Gose. His only tool is speed. One other wierd thing is that he does NOT wear batting gloves.

Defense is a tool, as well.

awh, according to PitchFx, his average FB velocity is actually UP this year vs. last, 89.9 in 08 vs. 90.2 this one.

re: 08 vs 09

Pretty identical, although the base stealing and pitching has been worse in 2009. I like that Murphy included games since we acquired Cliff Lee, as it is a pretty good sign that those pitching numbers will be heading down towards our 2008 numbers.

And i'd imagine Jimmy will be improving those SB numbers since he is getting on base at a better clip than the horrendous .250ish OBP he was sporting the first half.

From last thread:

"Which leads me to the conclusion that maybe your definition of "impressive" is a tad high. In order to do "anything impressive," does a pitcher have to be World Series MVP?"

No, but to have a pitching prospect actually go on to win around 16-17 games isn't hard to ask for before labeling him "can't miss". Whenever I hear a Phillies prospect that is a "can't miss", I.E. Tyler Green, Brandon Duckworth, Brett Myers, Randy Wolf, and most recently a Mr. Carlos Carrasco. By the way there are way more pitchers from the late 80's and early 90's that I can't think of right now.

To me "can't miss" is a guy that is going to excel at his craft, not be mediocre at best.

Dan, that's interesting. It certainly contradicts the blurb I read.

I've been looking around trying to find it so I can post a link.

No luck yet.

I don't recall anyone ever saying Brandon Duckworth was a "can't miss" guy.

awh/dan: you both could be right. Hamels could be consistently sitting .3 of a mph higher than last year.. and still be unable to dial it in at 94+ for a pitch or two when need be as compared to 08.

Also, maybe Hamels has been in a lot more trouble this year and has had felt the need to amp it up more often than in 08, which could explain the slight increase.

awh, although PitchFx clearly shows Cole has a lot of life on his fastball, it also shows that he's giving up more hits and HRs off it. Who can figure? As I said above, I'm convinced that it's more regression than anything, and that he'll be fine.

And, even though this is controversial, I still contend that Lidge will be ok, too. He's not as good as he showed last year, but as long as he keeps his head on straight, he'll be a fine closer for this team once his HRs and BABIP comes down to earth.

NEPP: Are you kidding? In 2000, I believe. He won 13 games, I just looked it up. With a 3.16 ERA. Everyone was going nuts over the guy and said he is going to the best prospect the Phillies had in a while. Yea, that lasted long. Then the following year it started all over again with Myers and Silva both pitching well.

I remember going to Myers 1st start as a Phillie. Those were the days when we were at the Vet and only had the place about 1/2 full during the week. Well Myers 1st start was a sell out. He almost threw a complete game and everyone was going crazy. Well ever since then overall Myers has been mediocre.

thephaithful, if you check out his PitchFx data, you'll see he's cranking it up just as much this year as last. More, actually, hitting 95 this year.

I remember a lot of idiots thinking Duckworth was great for a little bit...not realizing his age at the time. In 2000, he was 24 in AA...he SHOULD be putting up good numbers at 24 in AA.

These are the same people that go nuts when a 23 year old lights up Lakewood (see Drew Naylor) and then crashes in Clearwater after being labeled a great prospect.

More intelligent fans realize that a guy like Duckworth was never more than a fringe player.

MVP: Myers first start as a Phillies was at Wrigley Field. His first start in Philly he was bombed.

BAP: So you don't want to bring up an argument from last thread but you'll do it anyway. I think AWH and I had forgotten about it. No sense drudging up something that is laying dormant

Wait a second... someone called Carlos Carrasco a can't miss prospect? Color me shocked. Can't wait to see someone produce that quote.

Myers has made 183 starts over 8 seasons winning 73 of them and being a key piece of a World Champion.

Many would label that a success.

If I told you that by 2019 that Brody Colvin will have won 73 games for the Phillies with a 4.39 ERA, everyone here would be pretty happy.

The thing with pitchers is that most pitchers never reach their potential due to a myriad of issues. Many get injured and are never the same (Joe Savery), some never develop secondary pitches or learn control (control is a big attrition factor). Any player that can say he's been a starter on a team for 8 years can be labeled a success.

TI: I apologize. I went to his first home win against the brewers. I knew it was a central team. My mistake.

NEPP: Well it must have been only the select people that post here. Because EVERYONE was talking about Duckworth and how good he was going to be. But anyway my point solely being, besides Hamels we haven't had a significant pitching prospect in our system.

Gee, look at all the posts my latest Hanson update generated. JW isn't paying me enough!

The Hanson thing is simply my way of making fun of Beerleaguer posters who get too silly sometimes, as they did with the Bastardo hype (although Jayson Stark kicked it off with his absurd Santana comp).

Obviously some people are extremely sensitive to this and get all emotional, so I'll stop posting my updates. Hanson and Bastardo's records will speak for themselves.

AWH, after noting their respective debuts, wisely kept his mouth shut on the subject afterward.

Let me put a bow on this Hanson-Bastardo thing.

No one on Beerleaguer believes now or believed then that Bastardo was a better prospect than Hanson.

No one on Beerleaguer thinks that any pitching prospect in our system (other than perhaps Drabek) has a ceiling as high as Hanson, and that includes Happ.

And joking about Hanson/Bastardo, etc. is not trolling.

I hope we can move on now.

Oh, and Colvin is a better prospect than Strasburg.

****Wait a second... someone called Carlos Carrasco a can't miss prospect? Color me shocked. Can't wait to see someone produce that quote.****

I know, right?

I love Kyle Drabek as a prospect but he's not a can't miss one is a can't miss guy.

Strasburg will likely be in the Nats rotation next year and he will have to learn on the job. He very well might pull a Steve Nebraska out of his arse or he might be the next Brien one here or on the Nats could honestly give you an answer as to which will happen.

In college he dominated by throwing really really can't do that in the Majors...even an average MLB hitter can catch up to any fastball. He will have to learn how to PITCH, not throw.

That said, I'd love if he were in our system at $15 million...

CJ: This was a couple years ago. Alot of people were goo-goo-gah-gah over the guy. Even though no one will admit it now.

Dan: Cole's BABIP is now .317, which is high but not dramatically so. Opposing hitters are hitting .278 off of him -- .36 points higher than his career average. Maybe some math guy can calculate what Cole's BAA would be if you assumed a normal BABIP of around .290. I don't feel like doing the math, but my eyeball estimate is that it would still be considerably higher than his career BAA. So, yeah, he has pitched into some bad luck but I don't think that's the sole explanation for his down year.

If you believe BABIP is purely a matter of luck, then it's worth noting that Cole has actually pitched into very GOOD luck until this year. Last year, his BABIP was a freakishly low .262. In 2007, it was .282, which is still on the low side of normal. And even in his rookie year, it was .280. The Baseball Gods tend to even the score over time, and that seems to be what they're doing this year.

For the small group that still thinks Lidge can right himself this year, his ridiculous .353 BABIP does provide some fodder for your argument. But there's clearly a lot more going on with Lidge than just bad luck. His strikeouts are way down, and his walks and homeruns allowed are in the stratosphere. Those numbers have nothing to do with an unusually high BABIP. But there's no question that, if he had a normal BABIP, he would not have the type of surrealistically bad numbers that he has right now. They would merely be terrible.

NEPP: That is my point. It is soo hard to be a success due to various factors. So even this Strasburg kid MAY not be all he is cracked up to be. The only legitimate "can't miss" guy in the past 25 years for the Phillies was and is Cole Hamels. That's it. That is all I was saying. Not saying that I personally said those guys were "can't miss". Not even saying you guys did. I am saying the sports radio, newspapers and places like that had very high expectations for them.

I don't think everyone was talking about Duckworth that way.

Randy Wolf is no Cole Hamels, but he had some nice years as a Phillie.

Can I just say, Pujols isn't the only one who belongs on Mount Olympus...Ichiro! Ichiro is the best hitter since Ted Williams.

****CJ: This was a couple years ago. Alot of people were goo-goo-gah-gah over the guy. Even though no one will admit it now.****

He'll likely be in the Indians rotation next this point, its a mental thing for him. His pure STUFF is pretty freaking good (which is why he was our #1 prospect for 3 straight years). He'll be 23 and at the MLB level, hardly a failure yet. I'd love to know what happened with his secondary stuff as he used to be a changeup guy and now he's a curve ball guy for a #2 pitch. His changeup was considered quite good for a while (as long as your name wasn't KLaw)

It is an injustice to Cole Hamels to lump him wth Brad Lidge. Their seasons are'nt comparable. Lidge's performance has been horrific. Cole has just been sub-par in comparison to what we are used to.

Regarding Cole's high BABIP: I have heard this brought up before. I dont believe that is the root of his problems at all. His problems begin and end with his OPS aginst w/men on base. He has always been amongst the legue leaders in this. Not this year.

Cole is giving up HRs with men on base. He never used to do this. He always gave up solo shots. I think he is either having trouble w his mechanics out of the stretch or he is losing concentration because he gets mad at himself everytime he gives up a hit.

BEd Beard: Alot of people were. Like I said, I am always skeptical about pitching like NEPP said. And the key word in describing Wolf's Phillie career is "nice". Another word for mediocre. 69-60 with 2 years of an ERA over 5.00, 4 years over 4.00 and 2 years over 3.00. "Nice" is the perfect word for Wolf.

Dan: Excellent link! Velocity is everything to most Beerleaguer posters so when a pitcher is down they blame it immediately on velocity. The notion that Hamels' fastball is slower or that he can't hit 94 anymore (check his gamelogs on PitchFx) is wrong.

One big clue in the chart, however, is the sharp dropoff in % of changeups he throws. Last year he threw 34.2% changeups. Remember, that is his out pitch. This year he's thrown 26.1%. Big drop. The reason, I think, is that his command is off this year and he's lost a little confidence in it. This could be mechanical issue or a conditioning issue.

****Can I just say, Pujols isn't the only one who belongs on Mount Olympus...Ichiro! Ichiro is the best hitter since Ted Williams.****

Meh...Ichiro is a special player but he's no Pujols.

Ichiro is still a 1st ballot HOF though.

MVP: Myers has been mediocre? His ERA+ for 05-06 was 120 and 118, making him well above average. Discounting the 3 disastrous starts he made in 2007, he pitched 48 games as a reliever/closer with a 2.87 ERA. In 2008 he was awful again before his demotion, but came back in the second half of the year to post a 3.06 ERA and 1.166 WHIP. If you can recall, after being called back up he was pitching better than anybody not named CC.

So besides one terrible half, he was consistently VERY good from 05-08. And while he didn't start off this year so well, he was our best-performing starter when he went down (as sad as that is). Sure he's a headcase, but I would certainly not call his performance since 2005 "mediocre".

""""In college he dominated by throwing really really hard""""....

in a conference that is, as I pointed out, NOT the best college baseball conference in the land.

NEPP: I hear alot of "for a while", "used" and "was" in there. ALOT of past tense. I am just saying.

clout: Speaking of poking fun at Beerleaguers with hyperbole . . . Pedro Feliz's solid season at the plate has deprived BL of perhaps my favorite part of your shtick -- the part where Jack (or BrianG) writes that, "in a strong lineup, the Phillies can stand to have a good fielding, no-hitting third baseman," and you respond by writing that Pedro Feliz is more beloved on Beerleaguer than Chase Utley, Mike Schmidt, or Mother Theresa. It would almost be worth seeing Feliz revert to career norms so that we could relive those good times.

BAP: The stat you need on Lidge is how many strikes and how many balls is he throwing? He seems to work deep counts on everyone this year.

clout: Agreed. I would like to know that too, but I don't know where to find that stat.

I don't think its fair to judge Carrasco at this point...give him a chance to fail at the MLB level before you write him off.

BAP: What about the time Jack insisted he never said Feliz was a Gold Glove 3Bman and then I produced the post?

Ah, those were the days. Regarding reversion to career norms, though, you obviously ahven't looked at Feliz's August stats.

Note this July 17 article on cloutprof....err, rotoprofessor about Hamels:

Clout is correct with regards to both Hamels and Lidge. Despite what most people think, his fastball velocity has nothing to do with his success or failure this year. It's his command of the pitch, which has been subpar this year. That said though, I still ascribe much of Hamels' year to a combo of poor luck and fatigue from last year. I will probably be the last Hamels defender on here, and insist that even if he struggles through the rest of this season, he will bounce back next year. He's still only 25.

Lidge, though, is a different story. He has lost confidence in his pitches and command. He can't throw strikes. He's not striking people out. He's walking too many, and giving up too many home runs. His performance is drastically worse than last year, which is simply not the case with Hamels.

Feliz basically is having the same season as last year, he's just getting more bloop hits. He's still a very good defensive 3rd baseman and a below-average offensive 3rd baseman. For 5 million dollars, he's a way better option than a Greg Dobbs/Wes Helms platoon, which if you recall is what Clout wanted when we signed Feliz. Is there a single poster on here, having watched the last year and a half, who thinks that would have been the right move for the Phils?

I think Feliz has worked out just fine for the team, although I worry about his performance next year if we pick up his option. If either the defense slips to average or the offense slips even more, he could be a negative for the team.

NEPP: To say Strausburg dominated by just, "throwing hard," is not entirely accurate. Also- many young pitchers who throw that hard could be analyzed with the "need to learn to pitch," tag. It's a point that many usually overlook though. His adjustment to that and how quickly he dvelops in that regard will be the basis for his success.

Accordign to all scouting reports he throws high 90's and can maintain that throughout the game. He throws a slurve type pitch that sits around 81 with a lot of movement. He can also throw a true slider which hovers at 85-87. He also throws a changeup around 80 with good arm action. On top of that they say he has great mound presence and a good body for pitching.

AWH: The Mountain West may not be a great conference but 21-4 in his last two seasons with 328 K's in 206 1/3 innings is pretty impressive. I remember back in April Buster Olney said many socuts believed Strausburg could be a #2 right now on almost every rotation in the majors.

AWH: Too bad the professor is basing his argument on bad stats. PitchFx clearly contradicts the drop in velocity. In fact, the velocity is up slightly as Dan noted.

Jack: Well stated. Agree with your assessment on both. And I wonder if Hamels off-season conditioning slacked off a bit after the WS.

Hamels is fine...he's just having an off-year. Its likely due to the ton of innings he pitched last year and a short off-season. I am completely unconcerned with his future as a pitcher. Granted, it'd be nice to see him refine his curve a bit and use it more, but there is no true need for him to do so. He can be completely successful with his current pitches.

On Feliz: I think he's been worth the contract we gave him. I worry about next years option as it seems like it could haunt the Phillies if they use it. I'd much rather they get a guy like Figgins (who could lead-off instead of Jimmy or bat 6th or 7th giving us a super deep lineup). I doubt he'll come to Philly as he'll likely be prohibitively expensive in years and $$.

"I wonder if Hamels off-season conditioning slacked off a bit after the WS."

It did. He admitted that he was distracted away from his normal preparation early in the season.

**** I remember back in April Buster Olney said many socuts believed Strausburg could be a #2 right now on almost every rotation in the majors. ****

And Antonio Bastardo could be the next Johan Santana...right? Scouts get overly excited about a guy just like normal baseball fans.

All I am saying in regards to Strasburg is that his level of competion is much much higher now and there will be an adjustment period where he truly learns how to pitch. He's not gonna come in and simply dominate like people think.

****On top of that they say he has great mound presence and a good body for pitching.****

Yeah, so did Mark Prior. All the things they are saying about Strasburg have been said about any number of from "can't miss" guys. I'll believe it when I see it. Till then, he's just a prospect, albeit a very good one.

I think Brad Lidge's BABIP is in the stratosphere because he's been getting hit HARD. Even when he gets a save this year, it's because some borderline majorleaguer hit an ABSOLUTE ROCKET right at Pedro Feliz.

It's time to experiment with a new closer. They have 73 games left. Try Madson. Try Park. Try Lidge in the 8th. Try Myers. They still have time to figure it out before October.

Lidge's problem may be in his head, but he may or may not be a headcase.He has perfected the art of digging his own hole, and he does it almost every time he pitches. Deep counts, walks and poor location of his pitches all seem to be his M.O. The fat pitches that get hammered are generally the result of the deep counts and the need to throw a strike to avoid a walk. The walks may be the result of trying too hard to locate each pitch. With the kind of slider and fastball that he has, he may be better off to adopt the mindset of just throwing strikes and daring the hitters to catch up with the pitch. As a practical matter, whenever Lidge is warming up, Cholly should make it standard practice to have another pitcher also warming up. The moment Lidge walks a batter, he should be lifted before he blows another game. After all, this is not spring training.

****They have 73 games left****

We playing a 182 game season now?

Jack is dead on with regards to Hamels. Fatigue... loss of focus... bad luck.

I'm not worried about Hamels. He's 25 years old and has a WS MVP on his shelf. Even if he doesn't return to dominating form this year, I'm not worried. He'll just be a steal in fantasy baseball drafts next year.

NEPP: Mark Prior was a fantastic pitcher at the MLB level until injuries got him, which may or may not have been caused by overuse by Dusty Baker (at the least his usage didn't help matters). Injuries are an issue for ANY pitcher, but to imply that Prior was a bust is wrong. Prior certainly provided more than 10 million in value for the Cubs in the seasons in which he was healthy, so the Cubs got more than a fair deal from Prior.

Jack, I am merely pointing out the myriad of ways a "can't miss" guy can get sidetracked. Even when everything clicks developmentally, you can still be derailed by injuries like Prior. Prior WAS a very good pitcher till Dusty Baker essentially raped him....ironically Baker has done the same thing to Volquez now too. Dusty Baker is probably the worst manager in recent memory for abusing his starters...he's a complete ass. If I were a starting pitcher, I would never willingly sign with his club.

The only thing I have a against Feliz is the power isn't there, but the team gets plenty of that from the rest of the lineup. The thing I like is that he puts the ball in play and doesn't strike out nearly as much as I thought he would.

NEPP: Yeah, it's either 73 games or 47 games, depending on how you look at it.

clout, I wish that you would somtimes see the obvious for what the obvious is, as opposed to always being so combative.

I posted that link to SUPPORT what you had posted, not contradict it. Hence my use of the term cloutprof...

You did read the whole piece before you 'opened your mouth', no?

Rosenthal on Lidge:

"What's wrong with Phillies closer Brad Lidge? GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says Lidge needs more consistent work. Others with the club believe that Lidge needs to regain his confidence and mental edge. But one scout who sees the Phillies often describes Lidge's delivery as "horrible," questioning whether the closer is still bothered by his right knee. "He's not staying over the rubber," the scout says. "He can't sit on his back leg."

I'd bet even money Lidge was injured in the World Series pile-on and it still affects his delivery. I'm not an expert on pitching mechanics, but I don't buy the confidence/mental explanation for a second.

NEPP: IIRC correctly Stark's comment on Bastardo was more that some scouts said he had similar stuff to Santana. Not that he was the next JOhan Santana.

I don't disagree with what you wrote in that last post and I agree that with prospects you need to wait and see. But that wasn't what you said. You stated that he succeeded in college by throwing hard which isn't entirely accurate.

JW, didn't Feliz say earlier this season that his BA at the time (over .300) was due to the fact that he was no longer trying to pull everything. I believe he said he was following Charlie's advice to hit to the opposite field as well, and that the HRs would come.

Obviously the power hasn't shown up, but I would be interested to see where his hits are falling this season as opposed to last.

I don't have the data to prove it, but it seems to me that Lidge and Hamels have a common problem: they get too cute when the get into a pitchers count. Way too many times have I seen those guy at 0-2 and 1-2, and instead of throwing gas and hoping to get an out on a defensive swing, they try to make the perfect pitch. You've got the best defense in the league - don't be afraid to use it!

I agree with J.R. King. I think Lidge has the mentality to close. I think he has something that physically prevents him from pitching better. I'll buy the pile-on from the WFC clincher. That moment lives forever in my mind.

It may be the deal Brad made with Lucy Fur. She told him the he could have his perfect season capped by clinching the WS, but in exchange, he'll never be any good again. Rube is in contact with Sammy and Dean Winchester to get Brad out of his deal with Lucy Fur so he'll be able to close better in the stretch run.

I am so sick of hearing about Pujols. This group mentality among sportswriters is sad. Can't anyone think for himself? The mandatory worship for "Albert" may make some feel they are in with the in crowd , but makes me want to throw up.

Hamels has outright sucked in high leverage situations this year...for whatever reason. I thought his splits were odd to say the least.

Someone said a while ago that Lidge's problems can be attributed to bad luck, but I don't think that's true. His HR/FB is much higher than it was last year, but I don't think that's a matter of bad luck. His FB% last year was 32.3% in comparison to 46.1% this year and his IFFB% has gone from 17.6% to 5.1%. In other words, he has given up more fly balls, more of which are leaving the outfield. This likely accounts for his elevated BABIP and HR/FB. And his peripherals clearly indicate that he's having more problems than just bad luck. He is striking out hitters at the worst rate of his career, almost 2.5 fewer per nine than last year and .8 fewer than 2003, his next worst season. His walk rate is also easily the worst of his career, a full 1.2 hitters per nine more than last season, which is the second worst rate of his career. Also, Lidge is inducing fewer swings outside the strike zone and allowing greater contact inside the strike zone than in any other year of his career. He might be getting unlucky, but there is clearly a bigger problem here.

Also, according to fangraphs, his velocity is down from an average of 94.3 last year to an average of 93.5 this year. I don't know much about pitch f/x, but I'm guessing it's more reliable.

Are we taking bets on when the Chase Utley Memorial "I'm Not Hurt" Surgery Announcement happens for Lidge this off-season yet?

****I am so sick of hearing about Pujols. This group mentality among sportswriters is sad. Can't anyone think for himself? The mandatory worship for "Albert" may make some feel they are in with the in crowd , but makes me want to throw up.

He's the best player in baseball and probably the best hitter since Ted Williams...sorry if that bothers you. As a fan of the game, he's the guy I'll be telling my grandchildren about in 40 years.

Truth: You're right, regarding the Santana/Bastardo comparison. I'd say they were also comparing their size/ethnicity/fact that they both bounced back and forth as starters/relievers in the minors.

Pudge is going to be a Ranger again. Let's see what Wade gets for him.

I listened to Wade's radio show last night on KTRH AM-740 and he didn't give any inkling of trading Pudge. A Phillies fan called in and asked if he could trade Jose Valverde to the Phillies. Wade said that he was done helping the Phillies.

LF, LOL. That's funny.

Poor Ed. He just can't escape getting his chops busted by Phillies' fans.

****Poor Ed. He just can't escape getting his chops busted by Phillies' fans.****

We should have given Ed a partial share of the WS money as well as a ring for his contributions to our team.

And we should beat him mercilessly for giving us Bruntlett.

From Jeff Wilson of Sportsday Texas Rangers blog: "

Sources have confirmed that the Rangers completed a trade Tuesday morning with Houston for Ivan Rodriguez for two minor-leaguers.

Rodriguez was the catcher the last time the Rangers went to the playoffs in 1999. They enter play today with a one-game lead in the wild-card standings. They also have some uncertainty behind the plate.

A source said Rodriguez will serve as the backup for Taylor Teagarden, who has assumed the starting duties with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the disabled list."

Can i nominate Joe Mauer for Mt. Olympus?

I bet after 2010 he will get a deal second only to ARod - and may even equal it.

One more thing on Pete Happy:

I just looked at fangraphs.

His GB% and FB% are doen from last season, and his LD% is up.

Does this indicate a different approach at the plate?

Also, he already has more R and RBI than last season - in fewer games and PA.

I know the power isn't there, but I'll take the more consistent 2009 version over the 2008.

"And we should beat him mercilessly for giving us Bruntlett."

NEPP, sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.

The Braves placed Nate McLouth on the DL.

That has to hurt them a little.

RE Lidge and BABIP:

Look at this page:

When a pitcher is getting hit HARD, it will show up as a high LD%. This year, Lidge has a very low LD% of 17%.

Lidge has three things converging to cause a terrible year (four, actually).
1) His FB% matches the highest it has ever been at 46% (matching 2004).
2) His HF/FB % is also matching his all time high at 17% (matching 2006).
3) Despite the low Line Drive %, he's still giving up BABIP to the tune of .353. You can thumbnail a pitchers expected BABIP by adding their line drive % to .120 By this measure, his BABIP should be about .172 + .120, or .292.
4) His K and BB are both at career lows. This is the only factor that he has any real control over. The rest is, if not luck, just about the same thing.

IMHO, if Lidge can correct his K and BB rate, everything else will solve itself. I also happen to believe his K rate is coming as a result of lack of confidence, which is the result of 1-3 above. So I'm back to the proposition that if he can keep his head screwed on right, he'll be fine.

NEPP, do you mean the same Eric Bruntlett that hit a HR in Game 2 and the game winning runs in Game 3 and Game 5 of the WS? If Lidge deserves a pass, perhaps he does too!

"NEPP, do you mean the same Eric Bruntlett that hit a HR in Game 2 and the game winning runs in Game 3 and Game 5 of the WS? If Lidge deserves a pass, perhaps he does too!"

Proof that absolutely anything you say on beer leaguer can be argued. Here watch: I think Brad Lidge is having a much better season this year than last year.

It's like fishing. Bet I'll catch one.

"[Hamels] has given up more fly balls, more of which are leaving the outfield. This likely accounts for his elevated BABIP and HR/FB."

Wait. That is a totally flawed analysis. First of all, homeruns don't count in BABIP, because a homerun is not a ball in play. Second, an increase in fly balls DOES explain why he has allowed more overall homeruns (1.4 per 9 inning compared to 1.1 last year), but it most certainly does not explain why he's allowing more homeruns relative to the number of fly balls he's allowing.

I think Lidge's real problem is us fans. Our collective horror when he comes in, and the subsequent thoughts of impending doom when the first runner reaches base, is affecting "the force" that binds all of us together, thus changing the outcome of his pitches, and guiding the batters bat to the ball, and then the ball to open spaces in the field. If we all thought more positively when he was pitching, the results would be better ;)

donc: Your general point is absolutely correct. Think of the most absurd baseball-related argument that you can construct, and there's sure to be a poster who will come along and strenuously endorse it (i.e., Bruntlett is a valuable player; Lidge is having a good year; Ryan Howard mashes left-handers; Cholly is a master tactician; Andrew Carpenter is a better prospect than Stephen Strasburg). If it's not an already-existing BL regular, then someone new will show up to argue the cause. In this specific instance, however, I understood Spitz to be joking about Bruntlett.

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EST. 2005

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