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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I know this team is streaky, but i feel like they are hitting their stride, but can still get better. Roy Hobbs, i mean Raul Ibanez hasn't come back fully from that injury yet, pedro has been back and forth lately, and hello our closer still isn't figured out, yet we are a half game back for the best record in the NL and only five behind the yankees for best in baseball. I feel like this team can and will just keep playing steady baseball. It's just a feeling i have, i too, expect them to win.

Colorado walk off Grand Slam btw, up four in the WC.

Old friend Adam Eaton gives up 3 runs in the top of the 14th to the Giants, only to have the Rockies rally for 5 in the bottom of the 14th, capped off by a Spilborghs salami. Eaton gets the win.

Eaton's probable quote: "I kept us close enough to win."

Eaton gets the win. That is a classic. It's analogous to E Brunt's jersey going into the hall of fame for a triple play he made possible by stinking up the joint for two plays in a row.

Eaton gets the dramatic grand slam walkoff win by stinking up the joint the half inning before.

Makes me wonder what a competent player can do to get credit for something.

Going to the playoffs, pulling the Rockies and getting to face Adam Eaton would be like going to the door to meet your blind date and finding out it's Brooke Shields.

"What? You're here for me? Really?"

How bad is Major League pitching when Eaton has a job?

Which gets me to the main point throughout the Phillies success. IT IS THE PITCHING! Though the rotation may not have the supreme arms and upside of the Giants or pedigree of the Yankees, game after game they keep it close and allow the potent lineup to eventually score. Lee appears super human, Blanton and Happ are pitching 'ace' like (7 innings 2 runs or less). When Cole Hamels is your 4th starter you have a good staff.

Here's hoping Drabek and Brown dominate in the AA playoffs.

The blessing/curse of having a large divisional lead is that if we pull away we'll be able to take the pressure off for a week or two before the playoffs.

Its great in that we can rest Utley, Ibanez, etc but we also might lose that edge that we gained the last two seasons from tracking down the Mets.

Perhaps they've figured it out though - like the Martinez quote indicates they seem to have found what motivates them and what gets them ready to dominate.

This is more likely a question for the off-season but in evaluating our GM how much of Rube's success can be accounted for by skill and how much by luck?

For instance many (including myself) killed Amaro for signing an older Ilbanez to a longer term and more expensive deal then what would have brought back Burrell. There's obviously no doubt he made the right move at this point but how did he see Ilbanez's career year coming?

All evidence pointed at the Phillies trying for Halladay at the deadline only to come up short and "settle" for Lee. Since the trade there's been no question who the better pitcher has been. Was this forseeable or a case of Amaro getting lucky?

On the other hand the Moyer deal looked bad at the time and it seems to have been proven as such. However what if Moyer had pitched better this year? Would that deal have been the correct move?

Not gonna touch the Ibanez issue...Lee was a foreseeably great trade relative to what we gave up and his record against the NL (and projectable future results)...Moyer was overpaid and no one disagrees, but there was little choice for a team facing a renegotiation with a guy who put up bona fide 2/3 starter numbers last year whose next best option was Lowe at 4 years $60MM

They say the Giants have the most last inning losses in MLB.

I don't believe the Phillies are peaking. I believe they are beating an up on an easy part of the schedule. Outside of the 2 of 3 in Atlanta, I really have not seen anything I did not expect.

How can they be peaking when Cole Hamels, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge and Matt Stairs are'nt doing anything. Romero and Dobbs are on the the DL. The Phillies have a lot of room to get better.

My fear is they NEVER start hitting on all cylinders because they don't have any pressure the last 6 weeks of the season. That won't be good because the Rockies, Dodgers or Giants are lining up as the 1st round opponent and they will be playing with playoff baseball intensity for a month.

I'm heading to Reading this Saturday. Sadly enough, it's my first time there. I've been tons of Reading Phillies games when they're in Harrisburg, just never at the home park.

I don't believe it peaking too soon. The more wins the better.

For some odd reason, Ryan Howard has been horrible against the Buccos over his career. 27 gm, 13-88 (.147 avg), 12 r, 2 hr, 11 rbi, 40 k, .484 OPS.

I think what we're seeing is the Phillies rising to the top of some inferior competition. I also think they'll slip a little at some point because it'll be hard to maintain focus all the way to th efinish line. ONe person I don't expect to lose his focus is Brad LIdge. He's still looking for it.

Weak competition and good pitching.

The offense (other than Ryno) has been hit or miss lately.

Speaking of Ryno

Here's his last 10 games: 7 HR, 19 RBI

He'll soon be in the lead in both categories...God I love 2nd half Ryno!

on a separate issue:

per david murphy.. brett m. looking pretty good. - hope he is a sept. call-up

There is no "peaking" in baseball, only consistency.

went to the r-phils against the rock cats last night. yohan flande started and does not look like he will ever get out of aa ball, freddy galvis played his first game and looked overmatched (we think rollins swings at too many pitches - this guy swung at the first pitch every time he was up!), mike zakursky (however you spell it) looked descent, and dominic brown has one of the sweetest swings i've ever seen. Oh, and the first baseman, whoever it was, made two errors. my wife, who is no baseball fan, said the r-phils "don't look like a good team." i tried to explain the whole "it was only one game" thing but it didn't work.

Pitching and defense are far more consistent than offense. Over the last third of the season, they've been great for the Phils (some miscues during this season excepted). As long as Lee doesn't burn himself out, then I expect the pitching will continue to win our games.

The offense is currently, good, but we have players in hot streaks and players who are not. This is not a team peaking, but they are playing well, which is good enough against the competition we have been facing. My hope is that everyone peaks in October. I believe no team can beat us when hitting on all cylendars.

Time to have another argument about how important 'momentum' is headed into a postseason?

Or just the old 'these wins don't count because the Mets/D'backs/whomever stink'?

i shut off the rockies/giants after the giants scored their third run in the 14th. i can't believe the rockies came back! that's quite a game. and adam eaton looked so bad i can't even describe it. not only did he give up three runs in that inning, but his third baseman bailed him out of a bases loaded jam in the 13th with a great snare. the quote by eaton is classic.

EFF: Did the Phillies put the momentum argument to bed last year when they waited around for the Rays and beat them anyway?

We had momentum in 2007 and got slaughtered by the Rockies. We had momentum in 2008 and walked to a WS trophy.

Momentum is overrated.

Would you say the Yankees, Cardinals, and Rockies are peaking too early??? Neither would I. You have to go out and win every game you can. If they lost 3 of 4 this weekend how many of us would have been ok with "Well, at least they're not peaking now."

"For some odd reason Ryan Howard has been horrible agaiinst the Bucs"

Somebody forgot to tell Matt Capps that the last time the Phillies played the Pirates. Howard had one of his "useless after the 7th inning" at bats against them.

I share some of the concern that the Phils will run up a glossy record at the expense of inferior teams, coast into the playoffs, then run into a team who has been scrapping for a month and come out flat.

But what can they do other than play the games against the teams they have scheduled? I would be more concerned if they were losing series to the D-backs, Stems and Pirates.

I see this as the next step they must take to become a truly great team. Just go out and play the game right, day by day, and keep that same focus on winning each game that they had last year. There are still likely to be as yet unknown combinations of factors such as flat spots, injuries, and the potential continuing inability of key players like Hamels and Lidge to pull their games together that will be challenges they will need to overcome. I think this group is as likely as any team trying to repeat to be able to surmount these problems.

Thank God we never peak in April and May!

OTOH, I hope Jason didn't peak too soon this year.

See? It's not us. He's ratty to everyone.

Wagner is a piece of crap and I absolutely hate him. I love that he's a Met.

Peaking? Not really. Just playing some real weaker teams right now and benefiting from another general down year in the NL.

There are also a couple of important cogs that aren't 'peaking' right now. In fact, they are pretty ice cold including Hamels, Lidge, and Ibanez. Not surprising because even when a team is playing well you usually have at least a couple of regular players struggling.

The rest of this season is really about the bullpen. Yeah, the bench is full of guys (sans Francisco) who won't be playing MLB baseball next year everywhere but time & time again shows that you need a lockdown bullpen in baseball playoffs unless you have a starter that can go 8 or 9. Just doesn't happen most playoff games.

Luckily, the Phils have plenty of time to sort it out yet and should likely get some help when Romero returns (they need another lefty out of the pen come playoff time) and really could have their closer-in-waiting when Myers returns.

Yeah, Condrey might be back too but he really is a guy who would be a backend bullpen type like Durbin. Both guys are very hittable except Condrey has generally had better control this year.

In fact, I bet that Myers is going to be the closer in the playoffs. Not sure if it happens because Lidge struggles again in Sept or the simple fact that Myers shows Cholly enough in Sept (and more importantly Cholly has confidence in a veteran who has closed successfully before) to give him the job over Lidge.

Howard has gotten his OPS+ up to 131 now with his recent hot streak. Anyone think he finishes the year around 140-145? And then is right in line with his 2007 season?

I do not think they have been peaking too soon. The reason? Because if they hadn't won 24 or their last 36 games, the Braves would be much closer than they are right now. The Braves have gone 23-13 since the all star break. They have scored more runs per game and allowed fewer runs a game than the Phillies have. Honestly, we're winning because we have to.

This upcoming Braves series is extremely important. Right now they are just as on fire as we are.

No other poster will mention this because he's the most defended and uncriticized player on Beerleaguer, the only one more loved than Utley, but Feliz is .218/.253/.385 for August and, despite what you read on this blog, he has not looked like a GG thirdbaseman this year.

Let the flood of knee-jerk defenders begin.

Yeah, Feliz has had a poor month. Hopefully they mix in Dobbs a bit more and try to keep him fresh for Sept/Oct.

I can kind of understand him wanting more time to rehab his arm, however ...
If nobody wants Wagner to close anymore, they want him to setup instead, he's gonna start crying, take his ball and go home? Rat.

Cmax - nice post, i think that is easily overlooked. It would be nerveracking to only be a few games on up a team like the Braves who can pitch with the best of them and have a lineup anchored by Larry and McCann, with some other notables guys like McLouth and LaRoche that can do damage.

And according to Bobby Cox, if the Braves didnt play in the same stadiums at the same time as their opponents, they'd probably be 7 games up on us anyway.

Why can't we, as Phillies fans, merely enjoy the good play of our team without worrying that they're peaking too soon? I work with a Yankee fan (everyone has something unlikable about them), and her reaction to the Yankees success this year is to sit back and enjoy it with confidence. I, on the other hand, am waiting for something to go wrong with the Phils or am worried about the other NL teams being "too hot" come playoff time. No wonder I have acid reflux.

Feliz has not played well this month, but now that Dobbs is on the DL, not really sure what else can you do about it.

Since clout brought it up, maybe he can offer a possible solution or alternative that he would think is better?....Or just post some numbers and find a way to include an insult to everyone that posts on the site by lumping them altogether.

And as for his defense, I haven't see too much not to like. His arm from 3rd is consistently impressive and hasn't really booted many balls in recent memory - last 1 i can think of is last Wednesday during Lee's start the accounted for the lone unearned run during his CG two hitter(although i've seen many worse plays by fielders not ruled an error).

****And according to Bobby Cox, if the Braves didnt play in the same stadiums at the same time as their opponents, they'd probably be 7 games up on us anyway.****

I know, right? Its completely unfair how they make the Braves play their home games at Turner Field. His ludicrous comments about "we'd have had 4-5 HRs if we weren't playing at home" ended it for me. That last little shred of respect I had for him went down the toilet with that one.

Seriously Bobby, that's the best whiny response you can come up with. No wonder he only won 1 WS despite all those division wins...overrated.

Oh right, with Dobber on the DL, they have little choice but to go with Feliz. Do you really want Gnome or Cairo out there at 3B?

clout: He has a .965 fielding percentage which is at his career average of .964. His OBP, while clearly below average, is .25 points ahead of his career averages.

I think the biggest reason he's received support this season is that he's hit .330 with RISP over his career average of .256. Pretty much all you could ask for offensively from him.

I have to agree with the impression that Feliz has booted an alarming number of balls over the last month or so. While probably still above-average, he must have 12-14 errors by now and, to my memory, the last 7 were on routine plays.

Peaking? And if they were dragging ass like they were at the beginning of the month, we'd say they were 'coasting'. When can a winning team never win?

The 93 Phillies obviously peaked too early. Those Braves peaked right at the right time, winning their division on the last day of the season. No wonder they kicked our tush in the NLCS that year.

As to the idea that we're peaking, while the offense comes and goes, Phillies pitching has been consistently good for some time now.

Since July 3rd--Rolo's first Phillies start, when he beat the Mets--the staff has posted a 2.97 ERA.

An ERA under 3!

The point being, if the pitching continues as it has--and it likely will--the Phillies will continue to win games at a good clip.

And if that's the case, when we step back in October and survey the season's second half, we won't see peaks and valleys but flat, consistent dominance.

clearly @clout is not interested in a real Feliz discussion... just trying to kick start some traffic for @JW while he's swamped...

peaking? I wahz not peaking! I merely pazz by de window when zee beautiful gorl was undrezzing. It eez not mah fault she hazz zee volooptoous body all uncovered. I merely look to see if she eez alraht. Zat is all. I wahz not peaking! (An even if I wahz peaking a bit - an I do not zay I waz - I waz peaking not too zoon, but at zee exact raht moment.)

EFF: The 93 Phillies probably had amphetamines to keep them sharp.

I don't believe in this concept of "peaking too early." We're talking about a team with the best offense in the league, the best defense in the league, one of the best running games in the league, and, for the last couple months, one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

That all adds up to a bunch of wins. That's what happens when you're good. Slumps happen, as is happening to Feliz and Ibanez for example, but this team is so talented that there are plenty of people there to pick them up.

And, really, all we seem to need down the stretch is Ryan Howard with Lee, Blanton and Happ. We'll wein 3 out of every 5 games this way!

"We had momentum in 2007 and got slaughtered by the Rockies. "

You forget that the Rockies had out-momentumed the Phillies that year.

Is there a probable pitching rotation for the R-Phils this week?

mike clearly has twitter on the brain.

It's probably not a bad idea to play Bruntlett tonight in place of Feliz against a righthander. Gnome is obviously terrible, but getting starters some rest is important coming down the stretch.

The Phils have the best pitching in the National League.

Care to disagree?

The Giants aren't half bad either for pitching.

Fat lot of good all that momentum did the Rockies in the World Series in 2007.

Mike C:
You want to generate traffic? How about this?

How about if, instead of Ibanez' 37 year old body we got a 35 year old who can still run, who didn't get injured so he played, say, 117 games to Rauul's 97 this year. And let's say this younger guy didn't hit as much for power - only 12 HRs instead of 27 - but hit for much higher average (.309 to .286) and could run a bit - say 26 SBs to Rauul's 4. Let's say this guy walks twice as much (71 - 36) and strikes out a little less (84 - 87). Let's say that he scores more runs (77 to 71) and drives more in (84 to 79). Moreover, because he's faster, he hits into fewer DPs (10 - 13).

Anyone want this guy instead?

From MLBTradeRumors:

"Billy Wagner invoked his no-trade clause because he wanted to protect his arm for the final month of the season, according Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe. The Globe's sources say Wagner doesn't want to compromise his chances of landing a contract in the offseason and prefers to play in lower-leverage games for the Mets."

What a freaking pu$$y.

Yeah, I'm sure the teams will be clamoring to sign such a team first guy to be their closer next season.

I don't have the numbers in front of me but Feliz has made a few routine errors this month and started to go back to his bad offensive habits (e.g., pull everything and not take walks) although Feliz did show some more patience at the plate in this last series against the Mets.

Since Dobbs is on the shelf, Feliz is going to be out there everyday regardless. It would be nice if the Phils had a competent middle INF on the bench who would spell Feliz once a week but Bruntlett/Cairo are big offensive and defensive downgrades.

The more interesting question is if Feliz's numbers continue to creep back down (my bet is that he finishes the season at around .260 with a .305-.310) do the Phils pick up his option this offseason for next year at $5M/year?

My bet is yes but you do have a guy who offensive numbers have diminished (including a real failoff in his power numbers, ISO, and SLG) and hasn't been as good defensively this year.

I would disagree

Clout: And Raul Ibanez is hitting .222/.273/.347 in August. And Ryan Howard hit .245/.316/.480 in June. And Jimmy Rollins hit .167/.206/.292 in June. Players have bad months, even players far batter than Feliz.

Feliz is having a typical Pedro Feliz year. He's an above-average defensive 3rd baseman, with below-average offense. For 5 million dollars, I see nothing to complain about at 3rd base. Dobbs has the same OPS this year. Dobbs should get more starts than he does against RH, but with the rest of this lineup, I see no real reason to sacrifice the defense at the position 3 out of 5 games. 1 or 2 would be fine, at most. Now that Dobbs is on the DL though, I don't know what your solution is.

So would I.

Wainwright, Carpenter, Piniero, Franklin...I whole heartedly disagree

If we go by crude ERA and begin arbitrarily on July 3rd, the Phillies do appear to be the "best".

Giants: 3.41
Braves: 3.48
Rockies: 3.97
Cardinals: 3.39

Unfortunately, none of this proves what it purports to show. All we can say is that the Phils are one of the better pitching teams and will likely continue as such.

Andy: Yes, I would have much preferred to sign Bobby Abreu on a 1-year deal than get Ibanez for 3. That will be mocked here on BL, but Abreu is the better player, was more affordable, and didn't require investing in a player until he was 40.

Anyone notice that ever since the Phils recalled Cairo, the Gnome has four hits in two games and, oh yeah, a triple play.

All he needs to perform is a Goblin looking over his shoulder.

And Bobby has that winning attitude that so endeared him to the Phillies Fans.

Andy & Jack...that's 20/20 hindsight. In 2008, Abreu had one of the least "value per dollar" numbers of outfielders in MLB. Many teams passed on him (there wasn't a potential bidding war for him like Ibanez), he didn't sign until later in the offseason after the market plummetted, and I doubt he would have been willing to come back to Philly (nor would the fans had welcomed him warmly).

There was a greater article on Abreu in yesterday's ESPN Insider by Crasnick basically saying what I just said, (but with actual data that I can't get to right now at work).

The point of the ESPN article was that the poor 2008 season, along with the market conditions, drove Abreu's value down considerably, but 2008 was an outlier and the Angels made a great bargain buy. Too many GMs get scared away by small sample sizes, (including an entire year vs a career or a 3/4 year trend). Abreu will get a better deal come 2010.

Feliz has looked like he needs a day off for a while.
But Dobbs got hurt half way through the game when they tried to give him one.
I guess the HOF Jersey and Cap Donor formerly known as Gnome will spell him for a game in Pittsburgh. I just hope the baseball gods still have a sense of humor and we win anyway.

It's hard to pull for an outfielder who treats the wall like it's on fire.

OTOH, Why the Cubs didn't make a play for Abreu instead of Bradley is beyond me.

In re: Utility Infielders as "Fantasy" Fodder

Seriously. he looks more like a goblin than Bruntlett looks like a Gnome.

Bubba - I think that that goblin I just mentioned can play 3B, too. And he might have gotten the kink out of his swing at AAA. (Meaning he might revert to his, like, .220 career norm.)

As for defense:

Ibanez's range looks like it has fallen off a bit as the season as progressed especially after his trip to the DL. He probably has been a bit better than I thought but there seem to be a ton of balls that drop in front of him.

Better range than Burrell out there - yeah but my bet is that he finishes the year as in the bottom 1/3 of the league defensively according to various stats.

Six posts in twenty minutes. Nothing drives up traffic better than Bobby Wossname.

Andy- didn't know Cairo was kinky.

Maybe it's his turn for his 15 minutes of fame- maybe Charlie will give him a shot.

Feliz just looks tired - a little slow in the field and not as comfortable at bat as he was earlier.

Bringing up Abreu yet again:

- He would have been a better fit for this offense too but he never would have resigned here and the current admin never would have brought him back.

The decision was Burrell vs. Ibanez (maybe Bradley but he doesn't strike me as the sort of player the Phils really considered seriously). Amaro made the right call for this year. While it was a clear-cut decision even a month ago, it will be interesting to see where things end up.

Ibanez is in one of his patented slumps where he is pretty useless offensively. Hits some singles but doesn't have any power and doesn't walk. Question is how long he stays in while Burrell looks like he is going into one of his patented hot streaks where his bat catches fire for 4-5 weeks and he really can help to carry a club offensively.

Andy version:

Do you believe the Phillies are peaking too soon? (Pick one)

a) No, I'm a cold-hearted cynic.
b) No, I'm an unrepentant homer.
c) Yes, I'm a pessimistic wet blanket.
d) Yes, I'm hopelessly superstitious.

Of course, the results would be the same.

Madson and Lidge both pitched three consecutive days against the Mets. Otherwise, the bullpen should be very rested:

- Tyler Walker hasn't pitched in two weeks.
- Scott Eyre hasn't pitched in nine days.
- Jamie Moyer has one 6-inning appearance in 16 days.
- Chad Durbin has pitched 2 innings in 10 days.
- Chan Ho Park has pitched 3 innings in 13 days.

MG - You mean they're both reverting to career norms?

(Note to Cunningham -
this is another surefire way to drive up traffic.)

Wait you mean Ibanez is gonna finish with his normal offensive numbers AND normal defensive numbers? Crazy. Everyone told me in May that he was gonna have an insanely good season. Also, I thought Ibanez was so much more consistent than Burrell? Weird, because he seems way more streaky. Where are all those "consistent" lovers who hated Burrell's streakiness now?

Frankly, given his age, just seeing him put up his normal numbers is a positive. We should probably not expect the same the next two years.

Going to the playoffs, pulling the Rockies and getting to face Adam Eaton would be like going to the door to meet your blind date and finding out it's Brooke Shields.

"What? You're here for me? Really?"

UH, if it was 1986 maybe.

"Too many GMs get scared away by small sample sizes, (including an entire year vs a career or a 3/4 year trend). Abreu will get a better deal come 2010."

What's left unsaid by Neyer is (and this is just a gut feeling) that many GMs probably thought Bobby wasn't taking his "vitamins" anymore. I have no doubt he is probably on the "list of 103"


"UH, if it was 1986 maybe."

Nonsense and phuffersnuff. She still has her fastball.

"if it was 1986"

I agree with That Dude. Alyssa Milano or Jessica Alba maybe.

Although being my age? Brooke Shields kinda works for me. For clout, of course, it would have to be, like Hedy Lamarr.

In re: Abreu, however
Dude. Look at the consistency of Abreu's numbers. If he was juicing (which he may have been), not juicing doesn't seem to effect him much.

Not sure I want Bobby up in a big spot in the playoffs. I'm happy for him that he's doing well for the Angels, but I'll take the team as presently constructed. Doubt he'd get to swipe as many bags on the Phils either. But the Halos got a heckuva a bargain, and we all know the Phils overpaid for Raul, but that's better than the past payroll mentality.

Its surprising that someone who posts here as frequently as clout thinks Feliz is so beloved. If memory serves, the guy was beaten up on beerleaguer the moment the team signed him, and pretty much for all of last season. I think the only reason that's changed this season is because he has managed to play better baseball this year (at least as far as his batting is concerned). No mystery there.

Interesting article on Happ:

"Few pitchers throw the fastball more than Happ. He throws the pitch 71.5% of the time and for a good reason, the pitch has been worth 18.6 runs above average. Pitchers that throw the fastball as often and effectively as Happ are either: A.) Flame-throwers like Clayton Kershaw or B.) Extreme sinker-ballers like Joel Pineiro. Happ is neither. His fastball averages 89.7 MPH and it’s straight as an arrow. No, really, check it out; it’s actually kind of bizarre. "

Abreu vs Ibanez? Seriously? Look, the fact of the matter is that Ibanez played his butt off the first 3 months and helped us win a lot of games when the pitching wasn't there or the rest of the offense was asleep at the wheel.

Would Bobby Abreu have done that? Or would he have bitched about not wanting to hit lead off or dragged ass in the outfield like he did when he was younger(and presumably a better athlete) like when he was here?

I hate the Mets as much as anyone, but it's hard to not feel bad for that team and their fans at this point, now that Santana may need season-ending surgery. What a snakebitten team.

Hey, Im 39 more on Brooke's age group than not, but I would prefer the doctor says "meet your blond date...Megan Fox"

I wouldn't touch Brooke Shields with a 10 foot stick. She's beyond scary...throw in the manic depressive crap and she's not worth it. Alyssa on the other hand...booyah!

Obviously Satan is calling in his debt with the Mets...I wonder what they bought with that deal?

Dan, so it's bizarre...but is it a fluke? Do they offer any theories or draw any conclusions in that article?

I like the theory that Schwimer proposes on Phuture Phillies. He talks about the difference between actual velocity and perceived velocity from the batter's point of view. Many opponents have been quoted as saying that Happ's FB is sneaky fast, and catches up on them before they are ready. I'd say empirical evidence supports the theory. It's the only way he could get as many swings & misses on a "89.7 MPH fastball that is straight as an arrow". That, and location.

Happ basically throws 3 different fastballs so its a bit disingenious to say "all he throws is fastballs". He throws 4 seam, 2 seam, and cut fastballs and he can locate it where he wants too. Add that to a deceptive delivery out of a LHP in his first full year and you get some good success.

Yeah, odds are he'll normalize and be a 4th starter but he'll be a nice cheap 4th starter who provides us quality innings for cheap over the next few years.

There's also a good chance that his slider and other secondary offerings get better and then he could be more than a 4th starter.

Much prefer Raul to Abreu. Raul was the Phillies first-half MVP, hands down.

(Second-place: Chase. Third-place: Happ.)

Second half-MVPs would be harder to call. Lee, Werth, or Howard. haven't looked at the numbers, but I might go with Werth? Lee is unquestionably awesome, but he's only played a role in 5 games so far.

Smokey, they link to and reference that article. They conclude that Happ is good - above average - but probably not this good. I wonder, though, if his splits from the windup vs. stretch mean anything. Unlike most pitchers, Happ has been way better from the stretch. I wonder if the stretch enhanses his deceptive delivery. If so, he will be the sort of pitcher who always outperforms his periphials. If not, he's likely due for some regression over his career.

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