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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Why are we talking about this? We should be talking about how Madson got lucky last night, and shouldn't be the closer. Ha.

I'd put both on the roster. They've been effective. Moyer might be the guy to bridge the gap to Madson on nights where our starters don't give us 7 in the playoffs.

I could see Happ throwing the 7th and 8th in the playoffs. He's at this best the first time through the lineup as is.

If perdo throws well tonight, I would put him in the rotation and Happ in the pen.

Some tough decisions for Rube and Cholly coming up. I am glad I am not in their spot.

Bay Slugga, your posts on 4DR are hysterical, and besides BL, the only highlight to my day at my miserable job. Please post more.

So who closes tonight if needed? Is Brett back or do you think it's time Charlie throws Lidge back out there?

There will be no Madson tonight; so that means its Lidge pitching, Ruiz catching and when they win they both have learned to get out of the way when Howard comes over to tackle them.

Oh man, how funny is that going to be! Lidge closes out the game to clinch the division and BLers will be grumbling and moaning that it should have been Madson, even though we just won the division for the 3rd year in a row. Classic! I can't wait.

For the record, I already said that Madson did a good job last night. Even though he threw double the pitches in the 9th and let up 2 hits.

Does Kendrick come into the playoff picture at all with all of these injuries?

Madson was great last night. The 9th was even more impressive than the 8th. He was facing the heart of the lineup, and he kept his composure and pitched around a humpback liner by Matsui and a 5-hopper by Berkman. I love that Charlie understood how big that game was and went with his best reliever for 2 innings. Looks like a playoff formula to me.

I'm just happy someone's feeling optimistic about Lidge getting a save to clinch for us, myp. I'm merely hopeful, myself.

For those of you who missed it on the last thread, there's a Bob DeFord piece on npr.org about baseball announcers, featuring Harry Kalas. Find it here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113309157

Mick - KK has two things going for him.

First, he's pitched well since back from AAA.

Second, he's healthy.

I have a lot fewer question marks with him than some of the other guys.

I can't take all the hand-wringing about the bullpen. They're all question marks, either by injury or inconsistency. It's hard to debate strategy when I have no idea what any of these guys can give me. So my strategy is lots and lots of prayer. And beer.

Headed to the game tonight. I will be placing my rally towel over my head in the 9th.

If it's Lidge tonight, I'm looking forward to Leo Núñez closing the division out for the Phillies, and I don't care who jumps on him.

From last thread, or, why baseball announcers are baseball.

GBrettfan: thanks also.

Side note: I was in the Atlanta area when the Phils became WFC, watching the game with my youngest daughter and newest granddaughter, age 3 months, who woke up in the bottom of the 8th. (Maybe she had a premonition of good things.) Watched the last pitch; we both shouted: "Swing and a miss, struck him out" in our best HK voices. Granddaughter got a tad upset with the shouting and jumping up and down. We forgave her.

Middle daughter in Fla sent a text with the same words and the comment "HK voice."

Eldest daughter called from CBP and said the same thing in her HK voice.

All 4 of us never heard the call, but said the same 7 words.

JW - why would you say that long men are the key?

Is it not the bullpen as a group that is?

Like Starsky and Hutch- Do it, Do it!

I'm also glad to hear J's groin is OK. It's good to know the injury bug has not yet affected bloggers.

I wonder if there's anyone left on Beerleaguer who still fears a Deer in the Headlights moment (DITHL) from Madson.

Kudos to Pete for the big hit last night, and Madson who's DITHL is down to zero.

Just get this damn thing over with so we can scrape Vic's, Chase's and Jimmy's tongues off the turf :)

CJ: I'm looking for a EITD (evil in the dark) moment from him, when his eyes turn bright, glowing red and he unleases a 98 mph fastball (147 mph on Fox's post season gun).

So, no surprise that Lee, not Hamels, gets Gsme 1?

curt: I was surprised. But are we sure that that's the case? I know there is speculation that Lee is "in line" for Game 1, but did anyone definitively say Lee will pitch Game 1?

Where does this 'deer-in-the-headlights' thing come from? I keep seeing that meme pop up on here, but I can't imagine it's being taken seriously.

Not sure why people would assume Lee is pitching Game 1. If we clinch tonight or tomorrow, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Hamels sit over the weekend, giving his start to Kendrick, and letting him pitch Game 1.

Jack: That's what I was thinking. A lot of people felt as though Lee was being set up to pitch game 1 by moving his start back to tomorrow, but I still think Hamels gets the ball in Game 1.

loctastic: It's a mvptommyd gem. He insisted Madson could not be the closer despite his stats because every time he came out for the 9th inning, he had a deer in the headlights look. That same look didn't happen in the 8th inning, just the 9th.

Is Blanton the Rodney Dangerfield of this team?

He's been more consistent that either Lee or Hamels these past few months.

MVP: Those weren't exactly two laser-beam hits that Madson yielded. Matsui's was a poke into left field -- more a result of good hitting than bad pitching. Berkman's was a routine ground ball to SS, except for the fact that the Phillies were playing a Ryan Howard-type shift.

As for tonight . . . if Lidge were to somehow get the save, I don't think Beerleaguers will grumble about the result. But they might grumble about the process if it's as hideous as usual. And if Lidge enters a close game, I know for damn sure that I will grumble upon his entry. Lidge does not belong anywhere near the 9th inning for the rest of this year. If Madson is unavailable tonight, someone else should close; I don't really care who, so long as it isn't Lidge.

Who cares that Madson gave up 2 hits?

CJ: Oh. Why do you guys pay attention to that dude? I'm sure he's nice enough but he's a few relievers short of a bullpen.

Lidge should not pitch in any game that's close until they clinch. After that, bring him in all you want.

BAP, would you be ok with Walker closing tonight? I've not felt good about him his last 2-3 appearances, including that 9th inning blown save.

Anyone else slightly concerned that Madson isn't throwing very many changeups?

As soon as Madson recorded the last out yesterday, I swear the first thought that went through my mind was, "There will be a lot of deer-in-headlights jokes on Beerleaguer tomorrow."

Bay Slugga - as long as he can continue to throw 97 mph fastballs with command, no.

loctastic: Well that's the thing isn't it? If he continues to throw 80% fastballs, don't you think someone might lock into one?

Since we haven't had a "Wolf Pack" or "Padilla's Flotilla"-type group in a while, how about "Madson's DITHLs," all wearing deer masks?

Going to the game tonight and can't wait...Lidge or no Lidge in the 9th, I am confident and pumped up to see the magic# hit 0

Hits will come. Neither hit on Madson was a real shot. I find what he did after giving up the two hits to be hte most important lesson to take from his outing.

Some of you may have missed Charlie's quote in Sam Donnellon's piece today.

Sam writes: So who pitches the ninth tonight?

"With who we got in our bullpen?" said the manager. "He's going to pitch."


...He referring to Lidge, that is, according to Sam. Sorry to bring the bad news. Maybe Charlie will change his mind, he's done so before.

Bay Slugga - I hear what you are saying, but the key part is the command. If he can do what he did to Pence consistently, then he's fine.

They need to score enough to put the game out of reach, then Lidge can come in.

With this whole "Deer in the headlights" joke going on. Why then does everyone write/report about Madson's 9th inning mentality change, if in fact it isn't true?

GBrett: It depends what you mean by close. If you mean bringing him out to start the 9th inning & face all comers, then I would NOT be ok with it unless all 3 of those comers are right-handed. But, if the Astros have, say, Bourn, Tejada & Berkman coming up, then you have to go with a left-hander to face Bourn & flip Berkman around. If a guy gets on & you need someone to face Carlos Lee, I'd be ok with bringing in Walker to "close" at that point.

Despite all the silly clamors for Tyler Walker as closer, he is a back-of-the-bullpen situational reliever, and nothing more. When used in that way, he can look pretty good. But he is not a guy that can just be put into the game to face all comers -- although, if it came down to a choice between Walker & Lidge, I'd go with Walker.

Madson was throwing all heat because that's what Dubee and the guys told him to throw. He says Manuel has told him he's a best pitch guy--so if a hitter burns you on your best pitch--that's OK, but not with your second best pitch. They feel his change is his second best pitch. After what happened with David Wright in that Mets game--where he skied the CU, Madson swore he wouldn't make that mistake again.

So, it's not that he can't throw the CU, it's just that he still learning how to mix it in to his repetoire when he closes.

Bay Slugga, Madson was questioned about why he used fastballs and replied that he used them because they felt good for him last night.

SO I don't think we need worry about that. We have enough to worry about in the BP already! :)

Re: Madson's new mentality. In his post-game interview, I thought he was clear that he doesn't know or care what his role is or when he comes out. He knows his job is to get batters out *whenever* he's in the game and that's his mentality.

I recall reading Madson's Change was the most unhittable pitch in baseball last year.

Any word from the Phils on how serious Jamie Moyer's strain is ? I know it's early and they are tight lipped on injury info.

Madson looked more like a deer-slayer than DITHL last night and Sunday. I hope Charlie doesn't over use him. But with 1 more regular season win, and off days built into the post season , that shouldn't happen.

Good to feel positive again.

Why is everybody worried about who's going to close tonight? It's Pedro on a big stage - 160-pitch CG, people!

>Since we haven't had a "Wolf Pack" or
>"Padilla's Flotilla"-type group in a while,
>how about "Madson's DITHLs," all wearing deer masks?

Not to break the illusion for ya or anything, but the marketting guys don't have to do stupid sh!t like that when they're selling out every game.

I seem to recall hitters being dumbfounded at Madson's fastball as well last year.

I don't want to see Lidge tonight or any night. It's a two-edged sword, or more precisely, a classic lose-lose situation. If he blows another game, BLers will be apoplectic, and rightly so. The series with the Marlins would become a heart-stopper. If, on the other hand, Lidge does well, you can rely on Cholly to use him in a critical playoff situation in which my nightmare becomes reality. I visualize the Rockies rejoicing at their victory over the Phils. And in the post-game interview, I see Cholly-the-Moron saying that Lidge is still his closer next year. Please, no more Lidge.

BAP, I wouldn't say the clamors are "silly" regarding Walker closing, I would say they were "desperate" or "grasping at straws"

Hitman: So you never want Lidge to close another game as a Phillie?

joe - I know, just doing my part to beat the DITHL joke into the ground, that's all. I did see 3 of "Rodrigo's Amigos" one section over from me during one of RoLo's starts this year, so the corny 'fan clubs' aren't totally defunct.

As far as what to do with Happ in postseason, I like the idea of having him in the rotation when/if we play CO since they've been struggling against LHP. But...

I'm afraid we'll end up with a BP roster of walking wounded (mentally, physically) and whoever can stand on two legs and throw a ball will be good enough. In that respect, I'd feel better with Happ in the BP.

I agree KK needs to be used more - out of the pen - to see how he does. But do we have any lefties out there anymore? I count Escalona, Eyre, Romero, Taschner, Moyer. Escalona needs to be used more, and Eyre needs to be tried out, too. Is Tasch back yet? I don't think so. And I'd guess Moyer's going to need a while to recover from the groin strain.

Our lack of avail. lefties in the pen - Isn't that an issue? Doesn't that almost dictate Happ has to be in the 'pen?

mvptommy: No one's talking about never. Lidge is under contract for 2 more years and 2010 is a new year. Maybe he can regain his command and return to closing next year.

We are talking about 2009. Anyone who still thinks that Brad Lidge should be closing games for the Phillis in 2009 is in serious need of medication.

BAP: Ok, just checking.

I admit I was wrong about Walker as a closer. He picked a bad time to s**t the bed. And yeah, I was grasping at straws. Everyone seems to stink (see above comment)

Lidge is just setting himself up to win Comeback Player of the Year award for a second time in 2010.

I just checked the injury list. Taschner, Moyer, Park, Myers, are all listed as day-to-day. (While Eyre is "out indefinitely" which might say something about a need to update.) So I guess Taschner is NOT on the DL. However, he hasn't pitched since the 4th and no mention is made of throwing a bullpen session or anything at all.

Anyone hear how Myers feels after throwing? How about Park, has he thrown yet?

Bubba wrote: "Madson looked more like a deer-slayer than DITHL last night..."

I thought that Madson looked like Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren)from the movie Rocky IV. Ivan Drago was a giant Russian boxer soldier who was more like a machine than human. That was Madson last night!

Taschner's injury condition is known as suck-itis.

Irrationally, I blame all our BP woes on the MLB series . Kinda like a TV version of the Sports Illustrated Cover.

I am sad for our country and this blog that Lake Fred felt like he had to explain who Ivan Drago was.

CJ - I pay more attention to what the Phils do than what they say. They've got Lee optimally slotted for the Game 1 start. I'd say it's a high likelihood at this point, but not quite carved in stone.

I think KK is our new "long" man, replacing the Geezer.

GBrettfan - I don't think the DL list means much after rosters expanded Sept 1.

I feel sad that anyone actually saw any Rocky that had a roman numeral in the title.

Lake Fred- But Madson is on our side !

Bay Slugga: I believe Madson's changeup had the highest swing-and-miss percentage of any single pitch from a pitcher in all of baseball last year.

thanks, bubba, didn't realize.

Did see in Murphy's Notes that Myers and Park are supposed to throw BP sessions today.

BAP, yeah, Tasch did pretty much suck. But supposedly he adjusted his arm slot in the minors and became effective. I'd be curious to take another look.

Although the time for postseason auditions is rapidly dwindling.

Eyre was up for the 9th last night, so I imagine he can be used at least sparingly.

***the time for postseason auditions is rapidly dwindling***

That's why I thought KK gets in. No time to figure out whether some of these other guys (e.g. Myers, Park, Condrey) will be healthy and otherwise able to pitch in the postseason.

Astute point made about the least inexperienced BP arms engendering the most confidence at the moment. I'd push back, however, with two points: (1) The popular sentiment seems to be that the standard for inspiring confidence is low for even the best reliever (Madson). Hence, saying that one set of relievers inspires the most confidence is like saying that amongst American cars manufacturers, Ford is the best; and/or (2) In the case of someone like Durbin, his 'experience' as a playoff-tested reliever can be hedged by saying that last year was an outlier career year. Durbin's performance this year is much more in line with career norms.

But JW, could you clarify who exactly in the bullpen, inexperienced or not, gives you confidence?

This bullpen group, over the course of the year, has been very very average. In fact, in a lot of peripheral categories (SO/9, SO/BB, OBP), they line up as exactly average in the NL. Interestingly, they compared very similarly in these particular stats in 2008, when they had the second best bullpen as measured by OPS+ behind the Dodgers (who this year, have the best BP once again although the Rockies have quite a high SO/BB ratio). This year, however, the Phillies SLG against is relatively higher.
In looking at these stats, I noticed that the Phillies relievers, compared to the rest of the NL, is one of the worst at giving up stolen bases over the past two years. And this doesn't include the several defensive indifference bases given up over the past month.

Not sure why Condrey keeps getting lumped in with the injured guys. He has pitched 6 times since coming off the DL and has performed acceptably well. He's definitely a better option than guys like Durbin, Kendrick, and Walker. For sure, he's in.

My son caught Feliz's grand slam ball last night. A thrill I will never forget. Today he's a rock star at school.

Other than Happ,Madson and Lidge, the other six spots are up for grabs if you assume the 4 starters are Blanton, Martinez, Lee, Hamels.

As for this year, I had a Mets friend ask me before last night's game if I was getting nervous and I sent him this..

“I’ve been there many times and this all feels very normal to me, very much like what a pennant race should be. My players are feeling it, too – and this will be a good experience for them. When we sip a little champagne later on, it’ll be a little sweeter.”

Condrey a better option than KK?

Bubba - I totally agree. Media attention is in general bad for player performance. Heck, right before the playoffs start, I hope sports beat writers blow smoke up the asses of the Phillies' opponents by doing profiles of how awesome they were this year.

Nothing good comes out of talking to the media. As a fan, I appreciate the insights, but I'd rather the players (and manager) focus on their on-field performance and less about how they're presented in some reality TV show or as to why they're such a good player. Moreover, why give information to opponents? For instance, why did Manuel talk about how he goes about making the decision of keeping Madson in the game last night? Stupid. Why did Lidge tell reporters that Dubee told him to fire just fastballs the other day? Stupid.

I've never understood the daily press conference. Wouldn't once or twice a seek be plenty unless there was something important to talk about, like an injury.

Playoff bullpen:

No-brainers: Madson, Condrey, and (unless Pedro re-aggravates his injury) Happ

There, for better or worse: Lidge:

Question marks due to health: Park, Romero, Moyer, Eyre, Myers

Not very good, but might make it because of injuries: Walker, Durbin, Kendrick, Escalona

Out under any circumstances: Taschner

So there are, essentially, 3 or 4 openings. Romero seems to have the inside track for 1 spot, since he is one of our better relievers & is at least healthy enough to have pitched in a game. That leaves 2 to 3 spots.

If I'm reading the tea leaves right, Myers' return is doubtful. Eyre was warming up in the pen last night, but who knows? Plus, his status depends on Romero & Moyer, as I doubt the Phillies would carry 4 left-handers in their pen.

Moyer & Park have both pitched recently enough that, if they said they were healthy, and looked ok in a bullpen session, they'd make the roster. If one, or both, can't make it for the first series, Walker would probably be first in line to take the vacancy, and Durbin second.

Loctastic and Bubba, upon more reflection, I believe Ivan Drago was using steroids (ditto for Rocky). I just think that Madson is a non-steroid using six foot six machine.

Taschner should be closer...I mean, he is 6'3''.

With Lidge, instead of DITHL, shouldn't it be PITO (poodle in the oven)?

Pete Happy - With Lidge it should be BLNY(Better Luck Next Year)

TNA wrote:Nothing good comes out of talking to the media.

Agreed- I think that's why most players spout cliche's in response to questions.
Moyer & Park said what they thought when they went from starters to relievers , and got a lot of grief over it.

Unless you're a professional media manipulator like Pedro, most athletes are better off without the attention and pressure.

LC: That is awesome

LC - That's awesome. Don't let him leave it out in the rain or play wiht it on macadam.

I firmly believe the tallest player should be playing 3b.

Im still confused to why we haven't used the GNOME as closer yet.

I'd rather see KK enter a game than Tyler Walker or Chad Durbin, but I guess I'm in the minority.

Kind of a funny thing but I was at the game last night and I spent the whole time yelling at the Astros bullpen guys and in the bottom of the 8th we couldn't see who was warming up in our pen. So i asked Doug Brocail to look down and see who's warming up for me. He went over took a peak, saw it was Lidge, and just turned and started laughing haha. He's like i feel bad for you guys. Of course Madson stayed in but it's funny to see what other players think of Lidge right now.

This bullpen discussion reminds me of late last season when the question was who should the Phillies try to acquire during the off-season to take Burrell's spot. I remember names like Milton Bradley and Jeff Francouer being bandied about. Ugggh! The answers to both questions are pretty much the same. A.O.S. All Options Suck. Hope for a quick clinch tonight and then a group field trip to Lourdes for the pen.

Diehard, it's a sad state of affairs when a player on a team that is going home next week is laughing about a player that is going to the playoffs.

J.R., you are not alone. I'd rather see KK come into a game ahead of injured players (like Moyer, Park & Eyre), Walker, Taschner, Durbin and Lidge.

Diehard, great story! I cry when I see Lidge take his jacket off.

Donc, for the Lourdes trip, I suggest full immersion for all attendees with rosary beads wrapped around the muscles of their pitching arms.

diehard: Ouch! That's a great story, though. Ya gotta love baseball! :-)

I'm very excited about all the love KK is getting right now. I think it was just a few months ago that we were assured that his career was basically over. ;-)

I look forward to see him battling for a back-of-the-rotation job next year, especially as he refines his changeup.

Sure, the Astros can be snarky about it, now that they have Bourn. And their 2008 WS ring.

Wait, what?

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