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Sunday, September 27, 2009

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I saw that "stiff" take a no-hitter into the 8th against the Phillies in the spring. It took a Matt Stairs PH HR to wreck his day. Really, nobody left CBP happy that afternoon.

Ryan Howard's durability over a 162-game season continues to be one of the most underrated assets to the Phillies team. Look how he's standing tall in September while others like Werth and Utley appear spent.

Agreed on Bush. He mowed the Phillies down last time he faced them. I am not pressing the panic button but boy I am getting close. This team looks awful right now. I think they can overcome this and win the division but the fact that they made a battle out of it again is really kind of pathetic. Sure, they'll lock up the NL East next week and that will be a nice accomplishment for this team. But does the team go any further? I'm kind of doubtful right now.

At this point, I can't conceive of the events that would have to transpire to have the Phils miss hte playoffs. With that said, it's time to start winning some games and playing like a playoff team. All this talk of "it's wrapped up" is bullsh!t even if the chances are remote. You play to hte finish line and they aren't there yet. That bad news bears routine yesterday was what you expect of the Diamondbacks in September, not the Phillies.

As for Ryan Howard, that ball he hit out looked like it was still gaining altitude when it cleared the fence. Lucky he doesn't kill somebody.

JW: Exactly right on Howard's durability. As I posted before, Howard's RBI totals reflect his skill at staying healthy and productive as much as any other skill. He's only missed 1 15-day DL assignment in his career. Put his power in this lineup every single day of every year, and you get a massive amount of HRs and RBI.

What would our record be if games were only seven innings long?

That sounds somehow familiar...

I have read several comments about the playoff roster.First let's win the East Division crown then we can talk later.

He's more machine than man. (on Ryan Howard).

Howard has stood tall and carried the team in the 2nd half. Its no coincidence that he will once again likely end up with 45+ HRs and 140+ RBI.

While he may never be a truly "great" player along the lines of Albert Pujols, his importance to this team cannot be underestimated or dismissed.


On a less serious note, here is Paul Bako's OPS+ for the past 4 seasons:

2006 - 28
2007 - 42
2008 - 62
2009 - 68

Clearly, he is trending upward and should be resigned to a multi-year deal to back up Ruiz.

Right?

At this point, just making the playoffs, might be the highest point this team will reach in 2009.

Lets see...

1. We have a tired looking team, with guys like Werth, Vic, Utley and Ibanez, all looking spent. Thanks to Cholly not using his bench in June, July and August, this issue is now hitting at the exact wrong time.

2. We have no closer. That alone, will make this a quick postseason for the Phils.

3. Many of our pitchers are either wearing down or already hurt.

4. We have no lefty in the bullpen. Eyre hasn't pitched in 2 weeks. Romero hasn't pitched in 2 months. Happ hasn't pitched out of the pen since May. Moyer is Moyer.


5. We have no momentum. Hard to get any momentum, when your 7.50 ERA closer keeps choking games away. Just takes all the steam out of your team, to continually lose that way. This team will stumble into the playoffs, with more questions then answers, and play a team (whoever it is) with a WHOLE lot more going for them now.


Add it all up, and its not good. And even the rosiest of Phillie fans, have to concede the inevitable end to this season, won't be a pleasant one. Some of this has been bad luck and some has been bad managing/general managing. But that's the way it is.


The Braves could go 7-1 in their remaining games, but the Phils would have to go 2-6 to blow it. Pretty unlikely, but the sooner the Phillies clinch, the better as the position players need a break and Eyre, Myers and Romero all need some low leverage outings.

We will get butchered in the 1st round as it currently stands. It won't even be pretty.

I don't know but, I think Bako is planning on being around for a while. At least, it looked to me like he was breaking in a new mitt last night. I'd suggest he work in some more neatsfoot oil and maybe the ball will stop bouncing off of it.

It’s déjà vu all over again. The ghosts of 1964 have been re-awakened and summoned to the ’09 clubhouse.

There’s enough doom and gloom in there to satisfy most negative Phillie fans.

I remember 1964! It was ugly and took years to recover. The Phils are doing a good imitation of the Muts' bullpen from last year. Today's game is very important. The sooner the clinch the better. The post season looks to be very short at this time.

Lee, Martinez, Myers, Kendrick, (god forbid Lidge!!!) and even Hamels have either gone down in flames or are wildly inconsistent. Yet Happ -- declared by JW as "...serviceable starter…" is fifth in the NL in ERA, and all Moyer does is get people out and eat innings. Why do these Sabermetric genius keep consigning our most brilliant/ most reliable pitchers to bullpen roles? The role of the bullpen is worthless if you’re down by 5 in the 5th. Face it people, we're cooked with 3 reliable pitchers (Blanton, Happ and Moyer) and absolutely NO bullpen to speak of. I'm done.

If we somehow get past the Braves -- which is a hungry, aggressive, well-rested and very smart team -- we'll get crushed again in the 1st round; probably by the Rockies. I'm already looking to 2010 and what smug Jr. has up his sleeve to address problems we probably don't have.

This team seems to routinely swing from awful to unbeatable and back. As bad as they look, just a few games removed from a sizable winning streak, they could look quite good again come tomorrow, or perhaps in four games. Or perhaps they'll back into the playoffs and then, in the NLDS, turn into monsters. Or maybe they'll fade quietly, ignominiously.

The only thing is that it looks as though the bullpen isn't going to experience any kind of quick fix. If the Phillies are going to regain their form before year's end, it will be through some combination of offense and starting pitching--with the pen simply kept off the field.

I agree completely with NEPP, denny b, and the rest of the naysayers. Good thing last year was so aamazing, because this one won't make it past the first round of the playoffs.

is gearing up to jump off a bridge with a phils loss and braves series sweep today. its not looking so easy anymore.

There is no reason that the Phils don't score at least 3 runs today against Bush. Anything less and this game is on the offense.

As for the "Bush nearly no-hit" them that was in May and means next to nothing. Hell, you could say that this lineup (which really has been similar since 2007) has generally hit Bush very well in '08 and '07.

One thing is that hopefully Dobbs starts at 3B today instead of Feliz. None of the Phils have a ton of career ABs vs Bush but Dobbs is hitting (.429 6-14) in his career and Feliz doesn't (.200 3-15 with 3 singles).

Unfortunately, both JRoll and Vic have relatively poor numbers against Bush in limited ABs and you know that Cholly wouldn't do anything crazy like tinker with the lineup.

I'm not a naysayer. I'm just realistic about our issues right now. Without a closer and a legit bullpen, we won't win in the 1st round.

If we figure that out in the next 10 days, (i.e. what the Cards did a few years back), we could easily repeat as WS champs. With an average closer, we are a 100+ win team. Right now, we'll likely end up with 93-95 wins.

Comparing any player to Saint Albert is pointless. Ryan Howard is a great A List elite player who seems to be getting better in his all around play.

I remember 1964 but I also vaguely remember 2008.

Some of these posts are so irrational I can only assume that are satires. Pretty good satires too.

"Without a closer and a legit bullpen, we won't win in the 1st round."

NEPP, don't you mean, "Without a closer and a legit bullpen, it lessens our chances of winning"?

The bigger issue today is likely going to be was it was yesterday - the Brewers have a bullpen largely full of veteran journeyman (with the exception of Hoffman) who just happen to be having very solid years for the most part.

It is very easy to see this team getting to Bush again today and the bullpen shutting down the Phils' offense again.

It will be very very difficult to advance in a short series without a legit bullpen. Playoff games tend to be close games and the lack of a closer will be magnified. So, yes, its possible to advance but it won't be easy.

Everyone is transfixed on the closer issue but the bigger issue has been the lack of quality arms in the bullpen. Phils might get a few guys (Romero, Myers0 back this week but they won't have enough time to work them back in before the playoffs. Basically a total crapshoot on using them in the playoffs.

It doesn't help the situation that this has all been compounded by Cholly's bumbling with the bullpen and forever reason refusing to use guys like Eyre/Condrey in a close game and going to the well time and time again to the same handful of guys (Walker, Madson) the past week.

Is it predictions time? If so, I'm ready: the '09 Phillies are going to be one of the most pathetic 92 win teams ever. That's right, 92 wins. This team is gonna lay a big, fat egg, go 3-5 in their last 8 games & back-door their way into the postseason w/ a little help from the A-T-L. I just can't figure out if watching the Phillies & the Eagles today will be an even sorrier spectacle than watching the Phillies & Penn State yesterday. What's that? Bush is starting for the Brewers & Kolb is starting for the Birds? Nevermind, it's gonna be worse.

Our BP is terrible right now. Lidge's collapse has had a domino effect through the entire BP. The loss of Romero (for essentially the entire season) has been just as big. Eyre was used too much and went down. Madson can't handle closing and has been overworked. Park was a huge huge loss when he went down.

This is a major problem and it will kill them in the playoffs. That's reality.

I think Penn State's loss yesterday was worse than the Phillies. Though I was kinda expecting it as they simply cannot beat Iowa.

NEPP: Agreed. Believe it or not, Penn State Football is one of the few sports teams for which I am ever optimistic. After last night, however, I was downright depressed.

Watching the Phillies get a lousy 1 run on maybe 2 or 3 hits off of another thoroughly mediocre pitcher ought to surpass that, though.

If anyone needs some light hearted reading to brighten your day, I recommend reading the comments posted last August and September. You will chuckle and perhaps notice a trend.

Can we leave Penn State out of the discussion? Why would you be surprised that they get beaten in their first conference game when they play William & Mary, Villanova and the Little Sisters of the Poor as warm-ups. It's the Paterno way.

This is much ado about nothing. This Phillies team has gone through the motions all year. If they stay a 3rd seed and go into the playoffs like they are playing now (inconsistent offense with men on base, erratic defense and horrendous bullpen), it will be 3 and out like 2007,

JoePa is in charge of NCAA Division IA scheduling?

Interesting.

You think Penn State doesn't choose it's own non-conference schedule and pay weak teams to play in its stadium? Interesting.

Hugh: Pitt fan, huh? My condolences.

Dave, I'm glad it's obvious. Of course, if you're a PSU fan, you have to ask yourself, why is JoePa afraid to play Pitt in Pittsburgh?

You say that as if its unique to college football, Hugh. All Division 1 teams do that with their schedules to give themselves some easy wins. Penn State is hardly unique. You want to rip someone for that, look at Notre Dame. Some of their schedule choices have been quite interesting in the past decade or so.

FWIW, Ronnie Belliard since his acquisition at the deadline is hitting .333/.385/.625 for the Dodgers, including 5 HRs in 22 games.

Hugh: It's not fear, it's money. Personally, I'd love to have that rivalry back. However, the university stands to make a lot more money from stuffing ~108,000+ into Beaver Stadium for as many games as they possibly can each season than agreeing to equal home-&-home match-ups w/ Pitt. I honestly believe that's a sad consequence of PSU joining the Big10 than any particular "fear" on JoePa's part.

Old Phan - The negativity was actually more warranted at the time last year in mid. Sept because until that crazy run starting against the Brewers, this team looked like it would be home in Oct.

They just played out of their minds starting in the 4-game series vs. Brewers and just didn't let up all the way through the playoffs.

Today's Starting Lineup (via Zolecki on Twitter): "Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibañez LF, Feliz 3B, Bako C, Blanton P."

Old Phan, if I figure out how to get to last year's late-season comments, I will read them. If memory serves correct, last year we fans were worried about Chad Durbin, So Taguchi, Bruntlett, and whether Myers, Moyer and Blanton could pitch well enough to give us a shot in postseason. If we could catch the Mets, that is.

But last year the Phils had a hot September and were much more settled in the BP, with Romero/Madson/Lidge shutting teams down so games were largely 6-inning affairs. And Myers had come back from the minors much improved - so the worry about him was related to speculating he'd fall back to first half Myers even though he was pitching well. And we simply didn't believe in Blanton's and Moyer's capabilities, either.

THIS year, on the other hand, we have late-season injuries to pitchers, no preset roles that work for late innings, Lee's performance over the past month degenerating, a bench that is mostly unproductive (not just 2 guys) and a team that is not hot. Seems a lot more unsettled to me.

You are correct in pointing out, if that is your intention, that fans can always find something to worry about and that anything can happen.

Should I latch onto the supposed truism that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass? It's a lot harder when those fears are already being realized. (E.g., BP not dispelling our fears). Much easier to adopt the Buddhist philosophy of "Expect nothing and you won't be disappointed." But I'll try to remember the Phils are still in the drivers' seat and can get hot anytime.

In any case, it's really a good time to be a Phils fan. Especially compared to, say, an Indians, Nats, Pirates, Royals fan.....

Good to see UC switching things up a bit...oh wait.

Dave,

I'm well-aware of the money part. Those 8 home games this season should make a nice buck for our biggest public school. I'm also aware that Paterno does not want to play Pitt, regardless of money. While the Big 10 schedule makes it harder to schedule those games, he could easily play his quota of 7 home games and keep the Pitt game on the schedule. I was just needling you with the fear comment. It's not fear of Pitt - but it is, in part, fear of losing a non-conference game. He knows Pitt won't agree to an unequal schedule, and that gives him an easy out. He also knows that Pitt is his primary in-state rival for recruiting. He also hasn't forgotten that Pitt declined to join the eastern football conference he wanted to form because it wanted to play Big East basketball. The money issue is real and it is common to all D-1A schools but, it's not the reason Pitt isn't on PSU's schedule.

FWIW, 1-0 Nats.

2-0 Nats. Back to back dingers.

Hugh: Despite our differences, perhaps we can still agree on a few things. (1) Many factors led to Pitt & Penn State no longer facing one another on the gridiron. (2) Fans of both schools are poorer for the loss of that particular rivalry. (3) New York SUCKS.

:-)

Dave,

You have found our common ground on 1 and 2. I think they would be rectified when Paterno finally steps aside and/or the representatives of the people who subsidize both schools do something about it. As for 3, I like New York City. Great town. I don't like any of its professional sports teams, however, and, if that's you're point, it's a clean sweep.

Good to see 90% of the posters here have gone off the deep-end and are predicting either a collapse or being blown-out in the first round. Why do you people even bother posting here if it's that miserable? Save those who actually enjoy watching one of the better teams in Phillie history the trouble, wrap yourself in a wet blanket and enjoy football season. Pretty sure we can go on without you.

Jimmy!!!

Nice start.

Hugh: We're 3-3, then. :-)

Iceman: Watching the Phillies lately has been about as enjoyable as watching a corpse rot, & smells remarkably similar. We post here to vent. Methinks you should found "Hold-Hands-&-Sing-Kumbayaleaguer".

Iceman, I'll venture a guess: Because in spite of concerns, we still root for the team, really aren't miserable, and hope the team will prove any doomsday predictions wrong!

Like, for example, J-Roll getting a lead-off HR, and Chase's triple. "Hope springs eternal," don't you know.

All is Well...ALL IS WELL!!!

Well then Iceman is right. Why watch the team if you think they look like a rotting corpse?

Old Phan: It's a sick compulsion. I can't help it. Besides, I'd be one of those "frontrunners" that piss of J-Roll so much if I only watched when the team was playing well.

This ump really sux...

according to game day-

there were some pitches blanton threw that were right down the middle - the ump was calling a 'ball'

that;s not squeezing - that's just wrong..

G-Town, good point!

Serenity now.

You don't see that everyday. Pitcher gets hit trying to bunt.

Rollins is not a bad player. He's simply not a good leadoff hitter...especially not this year. When's the last time a leadoff hitter finished the year with a sub .300 OBP?

Bourn did it last year but was dropped down in the Astros lineup halfway through the year.

Timely hitting would help now. But ...

Wow. No BL jinx for Vic.

Is it just me or does this team not hit enough doubles? Its rare to see them get this many in a game. At least that's how it feels. Utley, in particular, has seen his doubles totals drop drastically this year.

Like I said (and likely will make a nice buck on today) - Dave Bush is a stiff.

The only question in this game is whether the Brewers' bullpen can completely shutdown the Phils and the Brewers can chip away at the lead to make it close late.

Nevermind, I just looked it up. They are 6th in the majors in doubles.

Odd.

NEPP: The doubles have a tendency to clear the fence with this team.

if they have men on they have to get all if most of them home--- put the opposition away

step on their throat.. donot give a chnace to get back into the game!!

Phils pitching staff is 4th in the majors in giving up HRs. Actually, probably tied for 3rd now. However, they're followed by the Angels and the Yankees, so we aren't the only potential playoff team to frequently allow the long ball. And many of those came in April-May.

Phils must be outhustling the Brewers on and off the field today.

Iceman: People who are perfectly rational don't spend a nice Sunday afternoon watching a baseball game in which one team has already been mathematically eliminated and the other has an overwhelming lead in its division. As you must know, "fan" is short for "fanatic." Those who are fanatical will indulge in over-the-top pessimism when things go badly and irrational exuberance when things go well. If that fanatic happens to root for the Phillies, that over-the-top pessimism gets magnified even further, since it has been ingrained into our collective unconsciousness through years of losing. That you find such behavior shocking & worthy of condescension only leads me to believe that you can't really be much of a Phillies fan.

LOL...good point EFF.

G-Town: in your world, everyone who doesn't think this will be the 'worst 92-win team in history' is a hopeless idealist.

And BL is now a place for 'venting' about a defending champ about to make the playoffs again, along with winning their division for a third straight year? What the hell is there to vent about? It's never going to get better than it is right now, so if you need to 'vent' about being a Phillies fan, I suggest you see a shrink.

Cameron's homer is of the variety that doesn't bother me. Nobody on, pitching with a biggish lead. Throws a fastball inside. Cameron put a good swing on it.

Season = Over

BAP,

It's not really that nice a day here on the East Coast. Gray and rainy.

BAP: nice dissertation, and almost justifying of your continuous pessimism. But 'fanatic' doesn't mean 'pessimistic no matter what,' which is what you and G-Town always bring to the party, even when things are going well. When things go poorly, it only serves to push you further off the deep end predicting collapses with one-month to go in the season and G-Town saying that this will be the worst 92-win team in history.

That isn't pessimism- it's insanity.

BAP, can't be much of a Phillies fan if you aren't a whiny pessimist? Good one. (I assume that was a joke, right?)

"It's never going to get better than it is right now."

Wow. That's pretty damn pessimistic ... Welcome to the club, brother! :-)

NEPP: Maybe the doubles answer is here:

Player 2008 2009(to date)
Ruiz 14 24
Rollins 38 40
Feliz 19 28
Vic 30 37
Werth 16 26
Burrell 33
Ibanez 32
Utley 41 28
Howard 26 35
total 204 250

As a team, the regular starting 8 are hitting more 2B this year than last. Note Ruiz, and Werth have increased their 2B output by 10 each, with Howard & Feliz @ 9.

Iceman: Did I predict a collapse? I think I've said about 4 or 5 times that a collapse is extraordinarily improbable. The difference between me and you is that I don't think a scenario is unworthy of discussion just because it is both improbable and negative.

Obviously, Burrell's numbers are for '08 and Ibanez' for '09.

big K for big joe

"...irrational exuberance when things go well"

If three straight NL East titles, defending World Champions, and .600 ball since the All-Star break isn't "going well," I'm not sure what is.

BAP, I agree.

However, positivity (or hopefulness) is referred to as "fanatic" or "cheerleader" and negativity is referred to as "objective analysis" or "reality". Neither is remotely true.

DH, great point.

only 4 pitches to 2 batters by cy bush,

patience gentleman

patience..

Old Phan: I don't know if it was a joke, but it was intentional irony -- made in response to the oft-repeated assertion that those who aren't mindless full-time optimists aren't real fans.

come on st. uts..

Let's go, Saint U. Knock in some runs.

lettin em off the ** hook

i hope this doesn't bite us in the butt later,

Crap. St. U is 0-7 this season with the bases loaded.

So, is it being negative to say that Chase Utley has been utterly horrendous for the last month? Seems like a pretty fair and objective observation to me.

I think it's time we start booing Utley heavily for not being awesome all the time.

b_a_p: Chase Utley is attractive, talented & kind to animals. It's never going to get any better than that.

Braves have tied Wash. in the 7th.

Howard is money.

Type B double.

Blanton is flirting with danger every inning (negative) but, to his credit, he's doing a nice job pitching his way out of it despite lacking his best command (positive). But 80 pitches through 4 innings tells me we can expect at least 3 innings from our bullpen, for better or for worse.

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