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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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We'll learn more about the extent of Park's injury over the next couple of days, but the initial news is depressing as he was about as reliable an arm in the bullpen as the Phillies have had all year.

But the weeding out process just got a little bit easier for the NLDS. And I'd think that Park's injury just made it more likely that Happ is going to be in the BP for the playoffs.

bob: see, everything works out!

I love watching the Phillies-Nationals games because you get a clear picture of just how precisely the Phillies execute when they are on the field.

Two examples from tonight stand out.

The first was Carlos Ruiz throwing out the runner on third on the sacrifice bunt attempt. It is so impressive how Carlos can throw to a base without even looking (we saw that Sunday night to end Pedro's 8th inning, as well). Ruiz and Feliz looked completely in sync on that play and the Nats just looked lost.

The second was the excellent double steal. Have you ever seen two 100-RBI guys try to pick up an early run by using their speed?

Speaking of early runs, it's a testament to the team's starters that the Phils value early runs so much. Last night Jimmy lead off with a double and Victorino -- despite his hot month at the plate -- was looking to sacrifice him over. You just get the feeling Charlie's thinking "get a run here and chances are Cliff Lee will do the rest."

Great game tonight. I hope Chan Ho recovers. He's a gamer for going to the pen without complaining about it. The 7th inning will be tough without him.

Any news on CHoP? If you don't like the way Cholly handled the bullpen before, it's going to get worse. Hopefully, JC comes back soon.

Old Phan - The only way the insane handling of the bullpen by Cholly abates is if the Phils' clinch. Until then he is going to continue using his best relievers up 5 or 6 runs with an inning or two to play.

As for using Madson tonight, I was dumbfounded and the reasoning "well he was warmed up so he should have pitched" anyway is ridiculous. Madson threw 14 pitches last night in the bullpen in the 9th inning? When didn't Cholly use him then to get the last 2 outs in the 9th inning if he "was already warmed up?"

Unless a small miracle somehow happens happens over the next 2 1/2 weeks, the bullpen is going to be largely completely unsettled and rely upon Cholly's judgement in the playoffs. Yeah.

Amazing, indeed, the the Phils' bullpen did so remarkably well in last year's playoffs, given how completely terrible UC is at handling his pitching staff.

philipper - The bullpen had pitched amazingly all year and Cholly didn't have to alter a single thing going into the postseason. It was autopilot. Romero in the 7th, Madson in the 8th, Lidge in the 9th.

The doesn't necessarily happen and there have been a couple of WS teams the past 5 years that had to make some significant shifts in their bullpen late in the season going into the postseason including the White Sox with Jenks in '05 and the Cards in '06 with Wainwright.

The Cards have some bullpen issues too but who would you prefer making tactical choices regarding the bullpen in a series right now - Cholly/Dubee or LaRussa/Duncan?

If Park's injury is serious, as it appears to be, it virtually guarantees a key bullpen role for Happ in the post-season. I could easily see Cholly leaning heavily on the trio of Happ, Myers & Madson come playoff time -- with Romero and or Eyre serving as the LOOGY. My guess is that the remaining members of their pen see very little post-season action, except in blowout games. It's a risky formula, but it can work if the 3 key relievers all pitch well and, perhaps more importantly, if their starting pitchers are able to pitch deep into ballgames.

To augment that last point, it seems to me that if Happ is going to be moved to a bullpen role in the post-season, the time to get him acclimated to that role is now. The Phillies don't need Happ in the starting rotation right now. Not with a 7-game lead, a magic number of 11, and 2 serviceable alternatives in Moyer & Kendrick. As soon as he's healthy enough to pitch, I would start using Happ out of the pen immediately, so as to prepare him for that role in the playoffs.

Glad Juan Rivera is not on the Phillies. He should have at least dove for the fly ball that ended up driving in the game winning run for the Red Sox. In a do or die situation like that, you better be laying out. But man, the Angels got robbed because Green should've been called out on strikes instead of walking in the tying run. Looked like the umps were getting a little bit of payback on Scioscia.

Also the Rox v. Giants had an analogous situation to Lee's CG SO the other night. Dela Rosa's pitchcount was 111 after the 8th, giving up 0 runs on only 3 hits, 2 walks and with 9 Ks. He was cruising. But he gets pulled for Morales who summarily gives up 3 singles and 2 ER. The rest of the game is on pins and needles. In any case, after watching this potential disaster unfold for the Rox, I'm glad Lee was left in the other night for at least the short-term gain of getting that win.

BAP - Hope the Phils do put Happ directly into the pen and say to him "Look this isn't a demotion and you are going to be in the rotation next spring. We desperately need help out in the bullpen and you succeeded earlier there this year."

Phils also have to work back in Condrey, Romero, Myers, and even Eyre to see how has what and should be on the postseason roster. Going to make those games even after the Phils clinch important.

MG: I'm assuming you'd rather have Larussa/Duncan making those decisions than chilli/fiber?

Hah, my auto-correct changed cholli/dubee to chili/fiber!

I heard the pop on several of my hamstring tears. My quickest recovery was three weeks. The secret was a week at the Jersey Shore immediately after the injury. The breaking waves of the cold saltwater in June, coupled with plenty of beer, ibuprophen and sun probably helped but I believe to this day, as fate would have it, that it was the medicinal cure from the hospital waste from the north that was indiscriminately dumped offshore in the seventies that precipitated the rapid cure. J.C.Romero is cured of his pop.

On the double steal, did anyone notice that Utley's first move was to the baseline, which basically prevented the catcher from throwing down the line to 3rd. Chase might be the second best player in the NL, but he has the shortest blooper tape in all of baseball.

Yeah, I also noticed the Utley move to the baseline. The guy has probably the highest baseball IQ of anyone I can think of. There was a nice article in Sports Illustrated about a month ago about what a great baserunner he is and how valuable that is to the team over the course of an entire year.

Also was glad to see the heads up play by the rest of the team with Howard's participation in the double steal, Werth's throw back to Howard to double up the runner at first, Ruiz to Feliz. And how about Park to Feliz last night on the attempted sacrifice to get the lead out at third?

Loved the grand slam of course - Werth was on another level last night, what a season he has put together. But loved the situational baseball and heads up play just as much.

Man, the Mets are a Mess. And they really are doing their best to let our closest competition (Braves & Fish) have a shot. Last night, Omir Santos hit a go ahead HR in the top of the 9th. Then in the bottom, David Murphy was playing no doubles defense, guarding the line at first, and still let a groundball get by him down the line for a lead-off double. And he never even tried to dive to get the ball. Later, with a guy on third and two outs and the game now tied, Murphy flat out muffed an easy groundball to give the Braves the win.

bob - I watched the end of the Sox game last night -- I couldn't believe 1) The umps didn't call Green out on his check-swing and 2) The Angels left fielder didn't even try diving for the ball. He must have been fooled, because on the replay, it looks like he should have at least tried.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned on here yet is the foul ball incident with the Phillies season ticket holder fan and his 3 year old daughter. That scene has been shown everywhere. Today the family was at the "Today" show.

Could it be that finally the "heartless mob" that are otherwise known as "Philadelphia fans" are turning the corner in the media's eyes after the World Series championship??

The Nats' base-running is worse than what I saw from the LLWS.

Carl Crawford hates Pat Burrell.

That Dude- re: burrell and crawford

why>?

MG - having a short pen in the playoffs is a key to success not really a risky formula. The playoffs are high leverage. Pitching success relies on the team's best pitchers - usu a short list. Guys over at BP, and this has been mentioned here before, found that pitching playoff success correlated to power starting pitching and a top-notch closer.

If the Phils are using more than 2-3 pen guys on a regular basis in the playoffs, they are probably not having much success. These last few days have been very encouraging.

I guess Pat deserves it after going 4 for his last 39. That is .103, people. "The Babe" has batted .103 in his last 13 games!

Wow, he just backed the Brinks truck up and is stealing money in Tampa.

Saw that about Pat. Feel bad for him and for all the Rays. If they played in another division they'd probably have a better record and be in the mix still, but it is what it is - and it must be disappointing and frustrating for them. Pat's had a bad year, surely due in part to adjusting to new role. Maybe Crawford blew up at him b/c of that? Not much info available, but I don't buy Maddon's saying it's "nothing" and that everything is "good." I think it has to be a manifestation of the frustrations the Rays are feeling right now.

mvptommyd,

great video, reminds me of why we come to the game and bring the kids.

Woops. It was BAP I was addressing and it looks like he made a similar point anyway. In any case, I can't eight now but I'd love to take a look at the IP breakdown for the playoffs last year.

I'm feeling uneasy about the impact Park's injury will have on the BP. I think the effectiveness of Eyre, Romero, and Condrey remains to be seen, since they'll be rusty - and in Eyre's case, playing through pain. If we can't count on any of those 4 - and maybe they'll be fine (although I doubt Park will be back until at least postseason) - then we have Happ in the BP, Myers moved to middle relief (perhaps, suggested by Dave Murphy)....Walker's been good. Lidge better get his mechanics and command down pat (and consistent) so he can help out.

That's a good point, sophist, I feel better now. It's true that our starting pitching is really doing well right now, and that's a very good sign for the playoffs.

Yo new thread.

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