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Monday, September 21, 2009


Old Phan: Well, I would say that you're mischaracterizing Lidge's job description. Your closer is your best reliever or, at the very least, the reliever you most want in the game in a high-pressure situation. Lidge's job is to be the reliever we most want in the game in a high-pressure situation. When your closer gives up more than 7 runs per 9 innings, it doesn't make me want him in the game in high-pressure situations. To give him credit for closing out a game that nearly any major league relief pitcher would have closed out 95 times out of 100 is like saying that your doctor did his job because he used the stethoscope properly during your checkup.

I agree that it seemed they needed to save Myers from himself all through the rehab process, which should have included his return to the majors in September.

As for the injury list, saying Eyre is out with a "loose body" without specifying that it is in his elbow is giving hte casual fan and serial miscreant all kinds of ammo for fat jokes and/or sexual innuendo.

Last word, to AWH:

It's not clear to me what exactly you're arguing. That swings and misses are "overrated" as a statistic (it doesn't tell you very much), or that they're ultimately unimportant to the game itself (a pitcher who generates a larger than average number of swings and misses isn't any more likely to experience success). I'll assume you mean the latter.

Ok. Your opinion seems to rest on 1) treating any given swing and miss as equivalent to a strike by other means and 2) treating any given K as equivalent to an out by other means. So a S+M = 1 strike = a foul tip. A K = 1 out = ground out.

One obvious retort is to say, no, a swing and miss in a 2 strike count is > than a foul tip; and that a K is 100 percent less likely to result in a hit than a ball in play that otherwise turned out to be a ground ball.

But to say that is to make the same mistake you are: treating these things like isolated events. Swings and misses is a peripheral stat--it is contextual by nature. It correlates with stand alone measures of pitching success (ERA for instance) because swings and misses are the stuff of effective pitching. Not the whole story but a part. Called strikes aren't events isolated from swinging strikes; they're intimately interrelated. Each pitch sets up the other. This is what I mean by "good stuff". Increased swings and misses suggests a deceptive breaking ball; a deceptive breaking ball complicates the hitters ability to swing at the fastball. He's off balance, takes strikes, or swings weakly and hits foul balls or easy outs. Should we be surprised if an increase in swings and misses correlates with 1) more strikes taken, 2) a lower percentage of balls in play (on strikes swung at), 3) a lower line-drive percentage and 4) a lower BABIP?

Of course, in any given outing, a pitcher can get three outs on three line drives, which is, out-wise, the equivalent of striking out the side. But why in the world would you evaluate pitching in that way? If you intend to utilize a pitcher for an entire year, particularly in closing situations, where one well-hit ball can decide the game, it seems worth wondering whether or not that pitcher has a propensity for giving up well-hit balls, or if, contra-wise, he is the sort of pitcher who frequently misses bats--that is, the sort of pitcher who tends to be, as they say, "unhittable".

P.s. I'm struggling to understand why K rates are not "germane" to a discussion concerning the value of swings and misses. Yesterday's S+Ms are unrelated to the fact that Lidge struck out two in an inning in which he saw five batters but threw just 18 pitches?

I'm still alive, and so is Kyle Kendrick's career. Who'd a thunk it?

Not surprised at all by Myers' injury either. It was one of the reasons I was amazed by how many people were counting on him to be our savior in the closer's role. It was wishful thinking, at best.

It was necessary realistic to assume that Amaro would be able to solve all of the team's deficiencies at the trading deadline. Amaro did get Lee/Francisco (filling two of the Phils biggest needs) and signed Pedro to give the rotation a bit more detph.

The only area that Amaro gambled on was the bullpen in hoping that Lidge would rebound to a degree & that Myers would potentially come back to give them a lift. Well, none of it has broken the Phils' way with the bullpen this season especially on the health front.

Still, it is really hard to find much fault with Amaro's moves this season and he generally has done a very solid job (much better than I thought he would) of giving this team another solid chance to win a championship.

Have to see what happens in the playoffs (where this team still has a strong shot to win because of their starting pitching, lineup, and defense) but even if they come up short due to the bullpen Amaro deserves a pass. Hard to blame a GM if your bullpen becomes snakebit with a slew of injuries.

Frankly it looks like the one and only really difficult issue Amaro will have to deal with this offseason will be what to do with Lidge and how to reshuffle the bullpen roster a bit.

JW - It is hard to find fault either with how the Phils' handled Myers. Myers likely wanted to come back as quickly as you mentioned for the reasons above and frankly the only way the Phils' management & coaching/medical staff really could gauge how Myers' was feeling was his direct feedback in a rehab situation.

BAP, we are dealing with 2 different issues. I am saying that the job of the "closer" is to "close" games. That is his job description. That's a fact. Now, you are talking about Lidge's performance as closer, which, for the most part, has been a failure. No one (I suspect not even Cholly) wants him to close, but he is there, he's getting paid, and barring serious injury he is going to pitch. Therefore, if he comes in and pitches well enough to win, for me that is acceptable. This isn't 2008. It's not a defense of the Lidge of 2009, it's reality. It may even be "stupid", but I want the Phils to repeat, and hoping he fails seems pointless.

How long is myers going to be out?

Myers flew to PHL today to be checked out, I don't think there is any estimate on when he comes back.

Sorry to hear about Myers from the standpoint of what it does to the team, but also for what it means to him personally. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like this happened at the worst possible time for him, and that he could end up taking a huge financial hit as a result of this.

Old Phan: I'm also hoping he turns it around, because I share your belief that he's probably going to be the playoff closer whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, I see little basis for believing he's going to turn it around. His last 2 performances were not especially bad, but they weren't especially encouraging either.

No sense bemoaning Lidge but I don't see how he helps this team in the postseason (let alone as the closer). Aside from all of the terrible stats he has across the board and the obvious lap of command, he has appeared in 62 G this season and give up at least 1 run in 30 of them.

It isn't even about pitching a "clean inning" from him but getting an appearance from him where he doesn't give up a run. Hell, even Durbin (who is having a below average season) has only allowed a 1+ runs in only 21 of his 53 games.

Thought 2 weeks ago that Lidge couldn't help this team in the postseason and I still don't. Forgetting as the "closer," he is having a historically terrible season as a reliever and I would rather even have a guy like Durbin on the postseason roster than Lidge.

awh: "*******UPDATE*******

B*L W.E.N.:

6 more losses to 95 wins!"

Of course, somewhere a Nationals fan was saying that on July 15th.

Klaus, let me give you some context:

After Lidge's first save in the ATL series, I posted that Lidge looked "OK but not great". Other posters said as much, agrreing that it looked like Lidge was a little more effective.

Someone else (I don't remember who and don't care to look it up) countered posting that he was not impressed because Lidge had no "swings and misses".

I stated at the time that SnMs were not as important as the result.

I posted again on the topic, to remind whoever it was that the result was the same in both games Lidge saved in the series, despite the fact that there were multiple S+Ms in the second game:

One earned run and a recorded save.

Durbin doesn't fill me with confidence, either.

yo, new thang.

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