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Friday, September 25, 2009

Comments

Count my vote for Happ as closer.

I love the first team mentioned on this list:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/gallery/featured/GAL1000055/1/index.htm?bcnn=yes

Amazing to me that Rollins has 20hrs and will finish with 80+ RBIs after that start. Could even finish .250 as well.

I like the idea: Backwards Day. Lidge starts, followed by Madson, Walker, Condrey and Happ. The other team would totally be thrown off their game.

A great part about baseball is after terrible losses like Wednesday you can bounce right back less than 24 hours later and win.

OK start for Happ, considering he's been sidelined for a week or so. However I think he's going to be the closer in the playoffs, and considering that the 4th starter gets to start no more than 3 times during the entire postseason, he'll be a lot more valuable as the closer than as a starter this year.

The dynamics are different in the playoffs because of the 4 man rotation and short series. I was and am against the idea of him being the closer in the regular season. For the 09 playoffs, he may end up being the MVP.

I like the idea of Lidge being mothballed for 2009 AND released after the season.

I like the idea of Lidge being a batting practice pitcher. Man, what a difference a year makes.

Clout - I love the idea of Matt Stairs pinch hitting for Madson in the second. Other thoughts include the 3rd inning stretch, and starting out the game with High Hopes.

Edit: Count my vote for Happ as closer for the playoffs.

Not sure if I'd jettison Lidge altogether. The Phils would still owe him millions.

Clout: Who do you think should be the closer for the playoffs?

clout: Lidge leads off with Jimmy hitting 9th? Howard, Utley and Rollins play the outfield, cooch, Victorino, Werth and Raul play the infield and Feliz catches?

Ryan Madson = the Bridge from Lidge. I could run this into the ground all day.

Anyone think the Braves will get the Wild Card?

7 of their last 10 are against the Nationals, with three against the Marlins.

Rockies have three with Cards, three with Brewers and finish with three at Dodgers.

If the Braves go 8-2, Rockies would need to go 4-5 for a playoff.

If Happ is closer, can he get a 5 or a 6 out save?

That could be a factor in putting him in the pen.

Anybody in Milwaukee planning to be at Miller Park tonight?

I am appalled that they would take Happ out of the rotation and place him as closer. Unless Hamels, Lee, and Blanton really bring it this coming week, I think it is a bad idea. Plus the fact that they would rather start Pedro over Happ - unbelieveable.

JW, 2 runs in nearly 6 innings is more than serviceable, isn't it? Perhaps not if you consider that he left with runners on base and might have easily given up 2 runs had he stayed in - presumably, Charlie's thinking when he pulled him. I just figured, after my initial disappointment that he couldn't get through at least 6, that he's getting back into the swing of things and was tired.

No to dropping Lidge after the season. He should be able to get a fresh start next season and a chance to redeem himself. Now, if he still stinks midway through 2010, I'll at least listen to calls for dropping him.

Good to see the offense make our closer problems irrelevant last night. And a great play at the plate by Vic, Utley and Bako! Plus some heads-up running by our guys, can't remember just who right now.

I'm hoping this continues, until - and beyond - the point at which Phils clinch.

As I ponder the Lidge situation some more, I think that if he doesn't have his s*** together next season, he should go to the minors until he straightens himself out.

Also, questions about whether he'll get himself right put a wrinkle into the off-season for Ruben. Should he aim to acquire another closer? Or should he expect Lidge to return to form? Or make a closer out of one of their other pitchers as a backup? Should he re-sign Myers as an insurance policy who can either start or close? (An expensive option)

The strangest fantasy lately on here is the idea that 1. Pedro Martinez can close; 2. That Pedro would want to close; 3. That Charlie would want Pedro to close.

I think Lidge will be fine with an off-season to work things out (and get his knee repaired).

I'm guessing that Myers would only sign in a place where he's guaranteed to be in the bullpen. I'm sure he can convince some team to make him a closer. He really likes being a "rock star" and not having to spend 4 days a week planning his next start, just warm up and pitch an inning.

Really can't see Charlie handing the ball to Happ in the ninth. He barely shows trust in his veterans like Eyre, Park and Romero to pitch in that inning.

Considering Happ had barely pitched this month, I wouldn't be so quick to hold it against him that he didn't quite go six innings. When he was fresh at the outset, he was looking borderline dominant than merely servicable, cutting through the heart of the order with five straight k's.

Manuel finally sounds like he's open to considering anybody and everybody for the closer's role. About three or months too late for that, ya hard-head. Chances are the 'experimentation' will run clear into the playoffs. Not a well-handled situation. The ongoing "Lidge is my guy" crap is easily Manuel's greatest managerial detriment this season.

JW, That was an interesting back-handed compliment. I think I'll have to disagree though. Happ was exceptional for the first 4 innings. At one point, he had 5 straight Ks through the heart of the order. His 1 run should have been unearned, as the Triple was misplayed, and Howard should have caught the throw from Utley that never hit the ground.

To paraphrase the Brewer's manager: "Happ is tough to square up".

To paraphrase several Brewer's hitters: "He hides the ball very well and then it sneaks up on you and you're too late".

Clout, the second biggest Fantasy on Beerleaguer is that you seem to think you have ESP and can read the minds of Charlie and Pedro.

Please back up hogwash like that with something substantive, or you end up merely posting in the same bad form as those you are belittling. Ironic, don't you think?

That "Lidge is our closer" quote reminds me of "Peace in our time" and "Subprime [housing] is contained!"

JW: Although, in light of yesterday's mid-day Burrell/Abreu post, your Happ tweaking may have been intentionally written as such so as to incourage some emotional responses and better and more frequent posts today.

I think Pedro would be the BEST option for Chuckles, but I am not confident that he or the rest of the braintrust have the ingenuity or smarts to go that route.

But I would not be opposed to using Happ either. First off, ANYBODY would be better then Lidge. Second, putting him in a late-inning role, would limit his innings, which IS a factor going forward (Happ is heading into uncharted territory). Third, he's pitched well ALL year and now, its about finding your BEST and healthiest 11 pitchers you can find, for the playoffs.

Pedro has the perfect mentality to do it, but its the Phils, so I don't expect rational thought to be used.

The Phils are in trouble in the backend no matter what they do, so I guess we just should hope for a miracle at this point.

I think the bubble was starting to burst on Happ before the injury. Don't get me wrong -very fine season and promising career ahead of him. But I think the projections will prove correct that he will be a back of the rotation starter.

Last night, Happ looked better than Hamels did the night before...I'd say it was more than a serviceable start (especially with 7K in 5 2/3)

He had thrown 91 pitches by the time he got pulled; it seemed like he was beginning to tire and, with a RH batter up, Charlie decided not to push it in Happ's second start back after his injury. Had he really needed to, Happ could have finished the 6th and probably gone 7.

Joe - it's not mindreading, it's paying attention. For example, see what Rube and Pedro said after he was signed, see what happened to Geezer when Pedro was ready, see Cholly's comments after Pedro's SF start, see Cholly's comments last night, see Pedro's resume, see Happ's resume, see Cholly's track record. It's willfully stupid to speculate that Cholly might take his new battle-tested 3 time CY starter and ask him to close for the first time in his life in the playoffs. Cholly's a baseball manager, and a very uncreative one at that, not a Hollywood scriptwriter.

Petey: I didn't think Hamels' start was anything to write home about either.

Nothing wrong with "serviceable." The late Cory Lidle would agree.

That's fine JW. I can both repspect that opinion and see where it's coming from. Do me a favor though. Next year at about this time, remember this opinion, and give us either an "I told you so" or a "mea culpa" if either is warranted. Thanks.

joe l, how about:

"I am not a crook."

"I tried marijuana once. I did not inhale."

"I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

curt, those weren't the only tea leaves, so you are being a little disengenuous. There is a significant difference in decision making between the regular season playoffs, with days off and 4-man rotations, and every game mattering. We were not in the current bullpen 4-alarm fire at the time of Charlie's and Amaro's quotes. And most importantly, Pedro has said on multiple occasions that he would do whatever the team would like him to do, whatever is best for the team, including (specifically) working in the bullpen.

I don't get all this Charlie's too hard-headed stuff.

Brett Myers, Scott Eyre, JC Romero, Clay Condrey, JA Happ, Pedro Martinez, Chad Durbin

These pitchers have all had an injury or been on the disabled list over the past month.

Does anyone really believe that Lidge would have gotten that last chance had our bullpen been healthy?

Right before Park got injured, he had a couple of 8th inning appearances before Madson came in the 9th. Then Myers got shut down, too.

I'm not sure Charlie had much of a choice beside seeing one last time if Madson-Lidge could work in the 8th-9th.

clout, I like backwards day. Lidge can pitch, give up his customary two runs. The Phils could score three when they’re batting, Cholly replaces Lidge, the Phils never give up the lead and Lidge gets his first victory.

Lidge will be able to get in shape this winter, because no one will invite him to be a speaker at their banquet this offseason.

JW:
Fair enough. I was really worried about what we'd get from Happ yesterday, and after watching him carve up the heart of the Brewers' order, I felt like he was better than Lidle-esque, even if he was pulled before finishing the 6th. The Hamels comparison was simply due to the fact that you called his Wednesday start 'serviceable' as well. Love the site; keep up the great work.

Oh, and curt, I also think you are underestimating Pedro's ego. He would have a chance to fill what many consider to be the fatal flaw, pitch in extremely important situations, not just once a series. It is his best chance to make the biggest impact on this team and his leagacy.

From David Murphy's blog:

If either Romero or Eyre - or both - are unable to return from their respective injuries, Happ would be an obvious candidate to fill the void. If both of those players do return, Happ could still be an option, except in the ninth inning, where Manuel feels he has the stuff and the composure to succeed.

"I think he can do that, and I think his experience that he has his last couple of years can allow him to do that," Manuel said. "Because he can throw strikes, and he's definitely not scared. I'll talk about that. I don't know exactly how we set up. If we get Romero back, I like Happ as a starter, I always have."

Interesting stuff. I agree with Charlie that Happ appears fearless out there (his 350 DITHL+ confirms this). I wouldn't mind seeing him close, but only if Pedro is 100% for the playoffs.

The scary part of Manuel's quote is that it seems to imply that he's planning on having Romero close games if he can come back healthy. THAT would truly bring back memories of 1993.

Joe - so you believe Cholly might ask Pedro to close playoff games because Pedro says he'll "do whatever is best for the team"? OK.

"I think the bubble was starting to burst on Happ before the injury. Don't get me wrong -very fine season and promising career ahead of him. But I think the projections will prove correct that he will be a back of the rotation starter.

Posted by: J. Weitzel"


Jason, I guess my objection to your statement is the use of the terminology:

"the bubble was starting to burst".

What bubble?

Happ just happened to go on a good streak at the time he was elevated to the rotation.

Any reasonable baseball fan knows pitchers go through hot steaks and cold streaks like any other player.

Take Joe Blanton as an example:

From May 26th through Sept. 5th he was 7-3 with a 2.59 ERA.

Those are the numbers of an ace - not a #2-4 starter, which is what Blanton is.

Is he really that good? Or, was he just on a great roll?

Most serious fans would say the latter.

To use language about bubbles bursting implies something different. It implies that the pitcher isn't any good, that the air will escape permanently because the bubble is 'broken'.


I suggest the phrase "bloom is off the rose".

Why? Because eventually the rose blooms again. (And the petals will fall again, too.)


But if anyone thinks the "bubble will burst" I suggest to you that they had unreasonable expectations from young Mr. Happ.

You are correct in this: Anyone who was paying attention to his minor league numbers knows he projects as a back end starter.

Happ will be like any and every other MLB pitcher. He'll have hot streaks where he looks like an ace, and cold streaks where he looks like he belongs in A ball. He'll be great and terrible, and he'll slide into a rotation somewhere in the #3-5 spot.

If Happ stays healthy he's going to have a real nice career.

You won't be disappointed if you don't expect too much.

No curt, I'm saying that Pedro MAY go to Charlie and ask to close, so that he can be the team's saviour, and further cement his legacy. And I wouldn't bet against him doing well in such a condition.

I'm not saying I'm right and you are wrong. I just find it interesting that you could so wistfully brush away an opinion as having zero grounds in fact. I find you call the notion ridiculous, well, ridiculous.

Petey, I interpreted that opposite to you - I thought Dave meant that if Romero & Eyre do return, Happ would be a BP option in the 9th inning. (BTW, Eyre already did return, albeit in limited capacity - but that won't change 'til he's had surgery.)

I thought it meant to say that Happ would assume Eyre's & Romero's lefty specialist duties if they can't do it...

I think it's safe to say Charlie & Dubee are still working this out in their minds, as they have been undoubtedly doing for a month or more. The injuries to pitchers and questions about Madson's ability to close make it that much more challenging.

Todd Zolecki seemed to think, yesterday, that Lidge definitely makes the postseason roster. I don't know about that. Love Lidge, but don't see how he can help the team in the postseason. His fear factor (vis a vis opposing hitters) is completely eroded at this point and his confidence must surely be diminished or at least wavering, no matter what he says.

Joe - keep working on that Hollywood script. Hope it has a happy ending - please don't have Howard jump on Pedro after the final pitch.

Anyone who doesn't think there is any chance of Pedro wanting to close in the playoffs has not paid any attention to Pedro's career. One of his singular defining moments was in relief in game 5 of best of 5 against Cleveland about 10 years ago. The man loves the limelight, and at this point, has to be thinking more about his legacy than whether or not he starts game 4 of a series.

Where is NEPP when I need him?

curt, Hollywood tends to get its inspiration from real life, no?

Why are the posting of comments so delayed this morning? In some cases it is taking 5 to 10 minutes for a post to register.

As much complaining we do about our complacent, closer-less WFC, our 2009 is certainly going better for us than in Tampa, Milwaukee, or Chicago.

Who knows when those Milwaukee fans will see the playoffs again? Cashing in last year certainly makes this season easier to deal with.

GBrettfan: Murphy's take is such (Headline):

Happ as a closer? Manuel doesn't rule it out

"I also think you are underestimating Pedro's ego. He would have a chance to fill what many consider to be the fatal flaw, pitch in extremely important situations, not just once a series. It is his best chance to make the biggest impact on this team and his leagacy."

Sounds right to me. But there's little to indicate that Charlie has even thought about Pedro for the 9th.

Changing focus for a second, I actually thought Bako had a postitive contribution to the Phillies last night. You could even say he played quite well all around.

That's my point Tray, and why curt is not understanding me. I don't think Charlie would ever come up with it and go to Pedro and try to sell it. I do think that there is a legitimate chance that Pedro comes up with it and goes to Charlie to try and sell it. And I think, under those situations, Charlie would buy.

I was trying to think of a Hollywood parallel for everyone's favorite whipping boy, Brad Lidge. The best I could come up with is Eddie Murphy. He was absolutley on fire for a while there, turning in hit movie after hit movie (and cashing it at the same time). Then, he hit the wall. Since, it's been a steady churn of garbage and swill. Everyone would LOVE to see him get his mojo back, but they turn their back and shudder with each ensuing bomb. Truth be told, he should probably just give it up.

SmokyJoe, Bako didn't suck last night, I'll agree. However, I'd still rather be caught drinking Bud Light Lime in public than have him be our primary everyday catcher in the playoffs. I don't think we can overstate enough the quiet contribution that Chooch has to this team. There is a reason that he caught every single game in last year's postseason.

Does anyone know what happens if we finish with the same record as the Cardinals after 162?

As one of the ones who posted about Pedro as closer, I count myself as being bemused that people are simply brushing the idea off and summarily dismissing anyone who discusses it as talking about "fantasy" or "borderline lunacy".

There are certainly some good arguments against it. I think there are some arguments that make it worty of discussion. And the Phils are in a situation with the bullpen that runs counter to any expectations they may have had at the start of the year or even mid-year. I have not heard any solutions yet, here or from the FO, that don't have flaws.

While this may not be a desperate situation yet, it is becoming close to that with Lidge's latest implosion. I cannot imagine that the Pedro idea has not been at least trotted up the flagpole by the Phils braintrust. And I suspect that the discussion was more substantive than just ridiculing the idea as brainless.

"Anyone who doesn't think there is any chance of Pedro wanting to close in the playoffs has not paid any attention to Pedro's career. One of his singular defining moments was in relief in game 5 of best of 5 against Cleveland about 10 years ago. The man loves the limelight, and at this point, has to be thinking more about his legacy than whether or not he starts game 4 of a series."

But that was 10 years ago. There's no reason to think that a 37 year old guy who has had lots of injuries and has really just gotten back into the swing of things can physically recover quickly enough to be a serviceable relief pitcher today. I mean, that first relief appearance would probably be great, but if you need him the next night I think thats asking for trouble.

UC- "If we get Romero back, I like Happ as a starter, I always have."


OK. So if Juan Carlos comes back and can do something (and with his wildness even when healthy and working regularly, I think that is asking a lot), Cholly seems to imply that Happ will be a starter in the postseason.

Hamels
Lee
Blanton
Martinez
Happ

That's 5. That's one too many, for postseason ball.

If Cholly sees Happ as a starter if Romero is healthy, then what?

Whatever is done, whether Pedro or Happ or Clout are moved into the late-inning pen, they better start preparing this guy today for that role. Last time I checked, there are only 9 games left in the season. Are they just going to throw Happ or Pedro out there in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS, and think they are going to get it done, without any prep?

Do the Phils actually have a plan? That would be fascinating to think about. By their actions in the past 2 months, it doesn't appear that they do. Which is why they keep coming back to Lidge, when any sane person would have benched him months ago. They have no contingency plan (of if they do, their contengency guys keep getting hurt) for the 9th inning, so they keep going back to page 1 of the script.

Do Ruben and Cholly and Dubee actually have a plan in place? And if they don't, why don't they?

timr, because of TV schedules, there are more freqeuent days off during the postseason. It is not out of the realm of possibility. As I said before, it's more about legacy than anything else for Pedro at his point.

If the Phillies and the Cardinals have the same record, I would assume the tie breaker would be based on their head to head record? Just a guess.

I think Pedro or Happ, or both, will play a major role in the Phillies playoff bullpen.

Darkhorse closer candidate- Jamie Moyer. There's no way they'd do it, but I'd trust Jamie to get 3 outs and not lose the ballgame.

Nothing like good closer controversy when all else appears to be in line for a postseason run. Beerleaguer is fantastic for all of the opinions (btw, where has mvptommy been? I actually feel like the discussion has been well thought out as of late and could use a dose of him to regress it to the mean).

Pedro for closer is a long shot. However, in the mainstream media in the last 48 hours alone, I have heard it stated that Brett Meyers is in line to close (ummm, isn't he hurt? didn't he get hurt by perhaps trying to do too much too soon? do we really want him raging with adrenaline with a fragile body in the 9th of a big game?). I have heard it stated that Happ is being tabbed to close (so why did he pitch last night and why are they attempting to string him over more innings as he also comes back from injury). Hell, last night Larry Anderson remarked about how Tyler Walker has some closing experience, albeit years ago.

You know what they say about opinions.... Everyone has one.

When it comes down to it, I'd still like to just see Cholly "wing it" each game. Whoever is ready should go. Ideally, I'd like to see the starters go a little longer when they can, to avoid the situation entirely, but that's also a long shot.

At any rate, Cholly's is the only opinion that matters and we know how set in his ways he is. He has to have someone deemed as a "closer," so we'll have to see who that is in his mind (I almost wish last night's game was closer to see who exactly that is).

I know one thing, though. I'd rather have Micheal Vick dogsit for me than see Brad Lidge on in a close game in the 9th in the playoffs.

The most obvious and simplest solution to the closer issue is for the offense to keep churning it out (and quit taking a game off here and there), to avoid save situations entirely!

With the additional days off that the playoffs allow (especially if you can end a series with a sweep), I'd just as soon see the starters tabbed for some high leverage innings in a close-out game, if need be.

what is the phillies success rate of scoring a man from third in w/ less than two outs?

what is the mlb average?

If a starting pitcher struggles in his first inning, he has 6 or 7 more innings to settle down and pitch a good game. If a reliever struggles in his first inning, then you've basically got another Brad Lidge on your hands. So maybe one of the Pedro-as-closer champions can explain to me why he/she believes that Pedro's first-inning struggles would not occur if he pitched out of the bullpen.

SmokyJoe: comments must be stuck in "Moyer" moe this morning.


Here are Pedro's 2009 splits by inning. The majority of his runs are given up in innings 1-3. Does that really look like a guy who can come in and be "lights out" from pitch one, or an older guy who needs some time to get stretched out and get in ryhthm, find out what's working. Again, limited data, but it doesn't look great.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=martipe02&year=2009&t=p#innng>SPLITS

SmokyJoe - Agreed. I don't necessarily think Pedro will be the closer, but I think it's definitely a possibility.

The Beerleaguer M.O.: Take a position that is 90% likely to happen, say that the other position will never happen, belittle the person who takes the other position, and then puff your chest out when you're right.

SmokyJoe - Agreed. I don't necessarily think Pedro will be the closer, but I think it's definitely a possibility.

Definitely a possibility? Isn't that like jumbo shrimp?

Paul Hagen got it right in today's article: Tyler Walker is the answer. He's done it before and has been our best reliever all year. Give him the ball- he's a big guy, maybe he won't get hurt on the bottom of the pile.

GBrettfan - you're right; I misread that post.

Willard Preacher - a shot at mvptommy in the form of a 'regress to the mean' comment...that has to be the best use of a running 2009 BL joke this year. Kudos

There is nothing absurd about the idea of using Happ or Pedro as closers if the need arises. The rules change in the playoffs, and there is no time to have someone straighten themselves out. Hell,if they need Cliff Lee to close a game, fine.
There is a headline on MLB.com, "Phils Hope For Repeat Depends On Lidge". Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not a one man team and you can not put all your eggs in that basket. The Phils hope for repeat depends on everyone.
If UC insists on bringing in Lidge, why not have someone else warming up, and as soon as Lidge puts a guy on base, he gets yanked immediately. Seems simple.

Willard: You ask and I deliever. Well, I haven't been on here for a couple days. But how did I know the discussion would be about the closer situation. Well, I will admit that my leash with Lidge has gone to the max. However, I am with Charlie when he says you have to stick with him.Who is going to close for Lidge? We know Madson isn't the answer. Also, if you take Madson out as closer, then who is then our setup guy?

Also,what do we have to lose? Our number is 4, we are actually better off to finish below St. Louis so we play the Dodgers. So who cares if St. Louis finishes above us? Let them play the red hot Rockies. Have fun.

An strange observation from that last blwon save and hopefully someone can answe this question. Why was Lidge leading with his slider? He usually leads with his fastball. He was throwing 1st pitch sliders to most of the batters, getting down 1-0 then trying to battle back with fastballs. Instead of getting the fastball over then getting the hitters to chase to get them out. That was very odd, the way they called the pitches.

Inspired by Pete Happy's post on Pedro's splits, I took a look at Happ's:

1st inning: .189/.277/.574 OPS+ 52

Late & close: .200/.231/.551 OPS+ 53

High leverage: .135/.184/.336 OPS+ 4

So, Happ mows them down the first inning he pitches, does the same in late/close situations, and absolutely dominates in high leverage moments. Sounds like a good closer to me.

if we finish with the same record as teh cards, we get home field bc of the head to head record.

"Who is going to close for Lidge?"

Any reliever on the 40-man roster as of August 31 who has an ERA below 7.8 and/or an ERA + above 60.

In other words, any reliever on the team other than Lidge.

Can I just say... Jimmy Rollins (whom I like as a ballplayer), 20 HR and 75 RBI, but with an OBP worse than Chan Ho Park and Paul Bako...

He should be batting 6th or 7th, not 1st. Victorino should be 1st.

Can I also say... that 75 RBI of Rollins' gets a great, big "well done" for the back-end of the Phillies lineup, esp. Feliz and Ruiz.

Petey: 1.) You don't want to disrupt relievers' roles. 2.) The 9th inning is a totally different beast in save situations. Therefore, your Happ stats hold no water.

One thing that irritates me about Bako is calling for an inside FB on an 0-2 count. That happened with Tyler Walker and he ends up hitting Milwaukee's punchless catcher. How many times have we seen Phils pitchers plunk opposing batters in those sitations?

The smart pitchers, like Pedro, go up, not so much in, to put a batter away, and let the natural movement of the four-seamer take it inside a little. Jaime Moyer being an exception, b/c he has to throw inside since the batter is leaning way over the plate on two strike counts.

Hey GBrettfan - didn't you get inflamed hemorrhoids in 1980 WS when you got knocked on your stupid fat ass?

mvptommyd makes his triumphant reappearance! So, is Brad Lidge still your closer?

MVP, while I agree that you don't want to disrupt relievers' roles, sometimes you have to. This is one of those times.

People act like a pitcher prepares the same whether he relieves or starts. I personally believe Pedro warms up slowly when he starts so that he can get stretched out while saving himself to go deeper into games . If he were closing, I think his focus and prep would be different. He would start throwing warmups an inning before needed, while letting it ride right away. Based on what I saw from him so far, there's no reason that he couldn't throw 92 mph in a closing situation and bear down.

Once again, I'm not saying it's going to happen, or that it's even likely. I'm just saying that those who belittle it as beyond the realm of possibility need to get off their high horse before tossing around words like Never or Stupid or Fantasy.

mvptommy:

1) Too late, given the injuries in the 'pen and Lidge's ineffectiveness. You really want to send in a guy who is 5/14 in 1-run save situations to preserve "roles" in the 'pen? Moreover, even assuming the truth of your statement, inserting Happ as closer only disrupts Lidge's role, leaving the other relievers' roles intact.

2) Do you have any evidence to support this statement? And wouldn't the "late and close" and "high leverage" splits be an indication that Happ would be a potentially effective closer?

SmokyJoe: Well, other than the fact that using Pedro as closer makes no sense on numerous levels I'd be happy to discuss with you, the writers who cover the team say that's not an option.

Have you seen anything factual to support your point of view?

One final thought for the geniuses who need a refresher: What happened to Park when he started, specifically his velocity? How about when he relieved? Who would be the most likely candidate for closer if Park was still 100% healthy? How old is Park? How old is Pedro?

Think about it.

Concerning the repetitive delusion of Pedro Martinez as closer:

Including his last game in the minor leagues before starting at Philly, Martinez began 4 of 5 games by giving up a home run on the first at-bat of the game, in one case on the first pitch. He proceeded to pitch pretty well, sometimes excellently, the rest of the game.

Check out his statistics for the first 15 pitches of all his games this year:

AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
First 15 pitches: .327 .365 .653 1.018
All batters: .266 .304 .443 .747


Does that sound like a pitcher you want beginning the 9th inning cold several times a week?

Yes, I'm sure he would be better than Lidge (my teenager would be better than Lidge.) Yes, he's a cagey veteran who was once the best pitcher in the game. But honestly, guys, the first inning is usually his weakest inning, and that says something about what sort of closer he would be. Don't you think?

Is Happ tall enough to close? What about Park?

CJ: For NOW, yes. Because of my reasons listed above. Our goal is NOT to finish above the Cards. It is to play the Dodgers. Which means finishing below the Cards. Our ONLY closer options are Lidge or Myers. Pedro is in the rotation and have is our long guy. 0% chance Charlie puts Happ as closer. He is young and inexperienced in that role. That is a bad combo for a closer.

Old Phan: No it isn't. We don't even have our playoff rotation settle yet. We still have 5 or 6 injured relievers. Now is NOT the time for experimentation.

mvptommyd:

Lidge has done it both ways. I recall that last seasons Lidge threw sliders almost exclusively on the first pitch. He often threw them for strikes and then got batters to chase them in the dirt on two strikes. Sometimes, he relied a bit too much on the slider and wound up throwing 35 pitches to get a save.

This year, I believe he has gone to the fastball more, out of necessity because his slider lacked bite. He admitted he needed to throw more fastballs b/c his arm strength suffered from throwing all the crooked pitches. The problem in my view is he had such terrible command with the FB and was always tweaking the release point, and that affected his slider.

Now his head is all messed up and I dont' think he should toe the rubber again in '09.

I have 5 kids. In early 2008, I hired a baby sitter from the local community college. She sat for me numerous times in 2008 & did a great job. My kids all loved her.

About a month ago, I went out for the evening & I hired the same sitter. That night, one of the kids turned on the gas to the stove. When I got home, the whole place smelled like gas & I promptly shut off the stove. A week later, I hired the same babysitter. When I got home, I discovered that my 9-year old had taken the car out for a spin and totaled it. At this point, I was beginning to wonder about my baby sitter's competence. But she had done such a good job for me last year that I stuck with her. I figured that maybe she just had a couple of bad nights.

The next week I went out again and hired her again. When I got home, one of my kids had painted all the walls in my house. The next week, I hired her again. When I got home, I found our pet poodle dead inside the oven, with the heat turned up to 500 degrees. Now I was REALLY starting to have my doubts about this sitter, but I decided to give her one last chance, so I hired her yet again. When I came home, I found my 4-year old locked in a closet.

I'm starting to think that maybe my baby sitter isn't really doing a good job. Nonetheless, I've got plans for this evening and I am going to hire her again, because what other options do I have?

(Side note: I actually one have 1 kid, and none of this stuff ever really happened. And I don't really have plans for this evening, except to sit in front of the computer and watch the Phillies. But there's no rule that a parable has to be factually accurate)

Petey:

1.) Happ is young and inexperienced. Charlie will not use him in that situation.

2.) Yes because "Late and close" means from the 7th inning going forward. Therefore Happ pitching in the 7th or 8th leading 2-1, isn't nearly as stressful as leading 2-1 in the 9th, battling the heart of the order. And "high leverage" could mean with men on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out in the 4th. The same situation in the 9th is 100 times more stressful. So those stats are useless, yes.

"You know, there's a million fine-looking women in the world, but they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of them just cheat on you."

Tommy: Lidge ain't bringing you lasagna.


And trying to lose to get a certain playoff opponent is one of the most sure ways to anger the baseball gods (number one way: be the Mets).

CJ - Yes. Happ is 6'6". His height combined with his DITHL+ make him an ideal closer.

mvptommy - why is our "goal" to finish 3rd in the NL, so that we have to give up home field advantage in a short series to a team with a 48-30 home record, that is 7-3 in its last 10 games, in order to avoid playing the "red hot Rockies," who are 4-6 in their last 10?

Do you actually follow baseball, or just read the posts on here and then disagree with them for sport?

SmokyJoe: "I'm saying that Pedro MAY go to Charlie and ask to close, so that he can be the team's saviour, and further cement his legacy."

And I'm saying that Charlie MAY grow two more arms before the post-season and activate himself for the bullpen as ambidextrous closer.

Chances of either happening are the same.

CJ: at 6'6", Happ's got to be close to the tallest choice.

mvptommy: One more thing. If you believe that there is a 0% chance that Happ closes in the playoffs, despite Charlie stating that he would consider Happ for the role, I assume you won't have any problem giving me 1,000,000/1 odds on the proposition.

I will bet you $1.

JW - "Last night showed us the modest, serviceable starter many of us thought we’d see all along ..."

That is being a bit presumptuous. Happ gave up 2 runs and only ran into trouble after that tough 5th inning. Otherwise, he ran throw a really tough lineup like a warm knife through butter. I would chalk it up more to exhaustion and limited stamina than a lack of effectiveness.

Oh wait! I forgot a few very important details in my baby sitter story. Maybe when you all hear those details, you'll understand why I keep bringing her back.

The first detail is that it is her role to be our baby sitter. No other sitter has ever served this role, and I don't want to disrupt her role.

The second detail is that, out of all the baby sitters who advertised at the community college, she was the tallest.

The third detail is that I actually did try another baby sitter one night a couple months ago. When I got home at midnight, the kids were asleep, the house was clean, and everything seemed in perfect order, except the baby sitter just had this deer-in-headlights look on her face that I will never forget. I knew right then I could never hire her again.

Petey: Answer me this. Who is a better matchup for the Phillies? The Dodgers or Rockies? If you don't say Dodgers, than obviously YOU don't follow baseball. Also, the Phillies are 47-31 on the road.

mvptommyd: "For NOW, yes. Because of my reasons listed above. Our goal is NOT to finish above the Cards. It is to play the Dodgers. Which means finishing below the Cards."

This is such dizzying logic I'm not sure I follow it. mvptommyd believes we should keep Lidge at closer because our goal is to lose more games than the Cardinals so that we can face the Dodgers on the road in the first round and if we win, the Cardinals on the road in the second round.

So keep Lidge as our closer because he's best able to help us lose games.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is mvptommyd!

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