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Friday, October 16, 2009


Shades of Steve Sax.

There's going to be posts on here arguing both sides of the coin, that Charlie did or did not make the wrong move regarding Pedro Martinez. But let's all just forget about it and move on. Think positive: we have homefield advantage, Lee going Game 3, and hopefully the offense picks up and our defensive blunders get corrected. I personally agreed with Charlie's move, but I also agree with letting Pedro pitch the 8th. It's tough to look at the decisions after the fact. Once again, we have to just forget about it and get ready for Game 3.

Cholly: Don't forget what happened in 2003 i.e. Grady Little and Pedro Martinez. I thought UC made a good move. hindsight is always 20/20

Utley: You are STILL the man.

Are you kidding me, Jason? This was Game 2! If it were the clinching game, I might be able to see Chutley down in the dumps, but for Game 2?

And bearing a cross forever? Are we forgetting that the last series proved he doesn't choke in the playoffs? And that he won a WFC last year? Hardly think he'll be thinking about an NLCS error five years from now. Or that any of his fans will remember it, either.

Chase Utley did not lose the game.

The Phils scored 1 run off of Vicente Padilla, that's what lost the game.

Charlie did not whiff on the ball hit to third that Feliz should have handled. Charlie did not fail to field the bunt. Charlie did not throw a routine double play ball into the dugout for the second consecutive game. Charlie did not forget how to throw strikes. Charlie did not walk in a run with the bases loaded. Just thought I'd mention that to people who want to solely hang this on Charlie. Did he take Pedro out too soon? The answer to that is debatable - one can make good arguments to support either side. There is no debate about whether or not Utley should have turned that DP. None.

I don't blame the bullpen and I don't blame the defense (although I don't commend them). I blame the offense. You can't score a total of 1 run in a postseason game and expect to win.

Scott: No one is trying to debate that. Utley should have turned that DP, odds of it happening were very high but he screwed up.

However, every comment you made in support of Charlie can be applied to Chase.

reeeeeeeeeeeeelax, phils in 5 or 6 whatever, the dodgers dont scare me

Yeah, the offense needs to score more than one run. But Utley can't airmail that DP throw either. This one is on him.. that's ok, he'll probably win Game 3 for us.

It was a tough loss because Pedro was great and the 2 dodgers runs came late but did anybody really expect the Phillies to go 2-0 in LA? I didn't and am just happy its tied 1-1 with 3 straight at CBP.

The Phils don't win games 1-0 without a CG from their pitcher. They just don't. And it's not going to start now.

The offense has to continue to carry this team or else the pitcher has to go the distance. The pen is leaking oil.

8thandPine: I remember that and the next day, people kept saying "Grady Little should have taken Pedro out." I hate it when people analyze situations after the fact. We just have to move on.

No, Utley did not singlehandedly lose the game. But without a doubt, his wild throw was the most crucial moment in the contest. I think what's perhaps most troubling about it was that it may not have been an isolated incident: Utley had been having trouble with routine throws throughout both games leading up to that play. What exactly that is owed to is unknown. Will it continue? And what does this do to the way we look at Utley as a big-game performer?

This game is over, so be it. My worry is whether or not Utley snaps out of this defensive funk. Even the putouts he did get didnt look good.

Yea, even if Utley doesn't throw that ball away, Thome hits the next pitch for a single and the game is tied. While that outcome isn't necessarily guaranteed, the game was looking shaky anyway. And even if we'd held the score at 1-1 after 8, our bullpen was not going to hold in extras.

The combination of the misplayed bunt and that DP makes it more painful, but in reality, the Dodgers probably would've scored anyway.

I'm partially saying this just to ease the pain of that game.

If the Phillies can't find a way to score more than one lousy run off of the likes of Padilla, Kuroda & Wolf, regardless of how good their "stuff" is, none of this will matter, anyway. It's a shame Kershaw can't start every game.

Pedro was sharp. 87 pitches.

It is not hindsight to see Charlie making dumb decisions, he has a long history of pulling pitchers too early. Baseball, by the book these days is ridiculous. Loyalty is no excuse, how about loyalty to the team, organization, and fans to win games. I hope that Nolan Ryan's approach will take hold and we go back to what amounts to be a bygone era. I think it is sad. Charlie should have a pitching coach with some guts to handle the bullpen. Let him stick to being a hitting guru (lol), clubhouse dad, and cook.

Tough loss. You hate to lose games like this because of the wasted performace of Martinez.

Yet, it took three consecutive infield mishappens even to put the Dodgers in a position to tie.

As I stated in th elast thread. The two most vulnerable spots on this team are:

1 - BP
2 - Bench

Why give the other team an opportunity to get into your BP? If your starting pitcher has a two hitter, you at least give him a chance to finish the eighth, and possibly the ninth. It is not like this bench is overly productive either.

So maybe you can explain to me why you pull the un-hittable Pedro? So we can get two put-em-in-and-pray innings from the BP in a pitchers dual. It should have been Pedro's game to lose. Not the BP's.

The other fact is, the offense was pitiful. Four hits in 9 innings that you are lucky to be winning 1-0 means that you are in the middle of a pitcher's dual . Going to the BP there is like bringing a knife to a sword fight. Bad idea.

I don't much understand these posts that are lumping Feliz in with Utley for failing to make that play on Casey Blake's leadoff single. That was an extremely tough play that few third basemen would have made. To blame him for not making it is a real stretch. Now, if you want to blame him for his offensive futility throughout the playoffs, I'm with you 100%.

It's said that pitching and defense win games. In this game, both teams had the starting pitching (with the Phils getting a slight edge due to the Howard HR). The 8th inning pitching and defense faltered for the Phils, and the mistakes proved costly. So might we say that in this game, the Dodgers pitching and defense peformed better than the Phils?

You win and lose as a team. I don't think we need a scapegoat.

They'll regroup and come out fighting Sunday. As I said before, I don't expect the defensive lapses to follow them back home. I'll worry about everything - SP, RP, offense, and now I might a worry about defense might try to creep into my head - but I won't worry about this team's drive and determination. They've already had a good run, and it's not over yet.

I will say all this back and forth about pulling Pedro, defense, and offense is very interesting. But what's past is past, let's worry about the future now. Or don't worry, take a page from Pedro and just enjoy it. (Don't know that I can relax enough to just enjoy it, but I like that mantra.)

Observation #1: Overall, I gave very high marks to Rube for some nice moves to help bolster the starting rotation (Pedro & Lee) this year. But the lack of attention paid to the BP & Bench, which were strengths last year, are the Achilles heal of this season's version of the Phightin’s. Do you think Cliff Lee would be pulled if he were doing the same thing? If so, Cholly should be fired before Game 4.

Observation #2: You can't put Happ in a game unless it is the start of an inning. He is not accustomed to entering a game with men on base. The words tactician and Uncle Cholly should never appear in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. Ever.

BAP: I dunno, I think you only givee Feliz a pass on that play if you say it came out of the shadows and he didn't see it. Otherwise, it was a playable ball. He stabbed at it in the same sort of glib way he often approaches grounders, and no one complains because he almost always makes the play and looks smooth as hell in doing so. It just didn't look like he really moved to the ball, instead relying on his hands to make the play. Hard to say since obviously I wasn't on the field, but I was very surprised that it got through.

first point: it's "tailor made".

otherwise, it was a cumulative failure that included a couple bad breaks. i thought pedro should have stayed in, but there was a man on base on one out when he was lifted. francisco is the best bat off the bench and they were trying for a precious second run. and, as someone said, utley's throw wouldn't have prevented thome from driving in the runner on third.

all in all, painful, shitty loss. not the end of the world.

two things:

1-looks like lidge has the only defined bullpen role

2-Padilla stayed sober last night

Unbelievable that people want to pin the blame for this loss on Charlie.

He made exactly the right move. No doubt, he spoke to Pedro and his catcher and decided that his 37 year old pitcher had had enough.

No doubt, no shortage of the keyboard managers (wrongly) said that Pedro shouldn't have been given a start.

Park was dominant last night, and it was entirely reasonable to lift the tiring starter to put Park in. I thought Park got squeezed on a few pitches, that would have made a difference, and uncharacteristically bad defense led to the runs being scored. Any number of other players could have stepped up to change the outcome. Park, Happ, Eyre, Madson, Feliz, and last but certainly not least, Utley.

Taking out frustrations on Charlie is ridiculous. He has made a string of excellent decisions this post season.

Pedro was lifted with one man on with one out?


A team built around offense and only adequate pitching needs to actually hit the darn ball. One run in a potentially series-defining NLCS game is ridiculous.

Chutley surely didn't help the cause with this glove, but he and the other guys holding bats didn't do much at the plate, either.

Phils Phan: Yes, really. One man on & one man out in the Phillies (offensive) half of the 8th inning.

You can't score 1 run on the road against a great offense and expect to win the game. This wasn't just Utley's fault, the entire offense minus Howard didn't do their job.

Phils Phan:

P Feliz grounded out to shortstop.
C Ruiz walked
G Dobbs hit for P Martinez
H Kuo relieved V Padilla
B Francisco hit for G Dobbs
B Francisco grounded into double play, shortstop to second to first, C Ruiz out at second.

Yes, he was lifted before he had the opportunity to pitch the eighth.

I'll stand by my post however. It isn't about one game, or my belief that the Phils will win this series. I am optimistic despite what I believe is bad management and bad baseball philosophy.


Pedro was sharp. 87 pitches.

It is not hindsight to see Charlie making dumb decisions, he has a long history of pulling pitchers too early. Baseball, by the book these days is ridiculous. Loyalty is no excuse, how about loyalty to the team, organization, and fans to win games. I hope that Nolan Ryan's approach will take hold and we go back to what amounts to be a bygone era. I think it is sad. Charlie should have a pitching coach with some guts to handle the bullpen. Let him stick to being a hitting guru (lol), clubhouse dad, and cook.

Hopefully, there are a few here that get behind my idea of how the game should be managed from a pitching standpoint.

When did Padilla become Roger Clemens all of a sudden?

We should all take this to heart:

Also Charlie is considering Blanton or Happ for Game 4. Happ hasn't looked so good, but I hate to lose faith so quickly in someone who pitched pretty darn well most of the season. If Blanton is seen as an important BP piece, I'd say Happ gets the start. Otherwise, I think Blanton will start.

Darn, the Demons beat the Angels tonight. Great pitching from CC & Rivera....Defensive mistakes by Angels...Familiar theme.

Simple numbers...2 hits in 87 pitches. Still looking strong in the 7th, in control of the game. It's hard to argue against this being Pedro's game to lose. Hard to argue against the fact that he was pulled too early. Mistakes happen, I give Charlie a pass, he's been managing well recently, but one has to admit this was Pedro's game to lose and he didn't get that chance.

for those debating what the most crucial part of the game was, the fangraph certainly indicates it was Utley's throw:



Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

You score one run in eight innings, you are putting yourself in a situation where there is no margin for error, fielding mistakes can easily put you in hole you cannot dig out of, and candidly, your team deserves to lose. Particularly when your starting pitcher throws a gem and you don't provide the support he needs.

The other side of the coin is that sometimes you are up against a tough pitcher and the bats are muzzled. That isn't an excuse not to do what you need to do in the other aspects of the game; in fact it is even more imperative to stay focused, to not let down, and to "pick up" the sleeping offense to stay in the game. When you let down in your defense, baserunning, all the little things, and commit errors in this situation, you deserve to lose as well.

A couple of dubious strategic decisions by the manager adds fuel to both these fires.

You can certainly isolate goats as well as players who did what they could to win, but from my point of view there is plenty of blame to go around.

I don't mind at all the fingerpointing and debate on BL about who was most to blame, that's kind of why we're here, after all. But I hope the players are staying focused on the prize and what they need to do individually and as a team to win the next game, and not on griping at other players for their miscues. That is a downward spiral with no positive results at all.

Somehow I think everyone who contributed to the loss is thinking long and hard about the best way to not let it into their heads and to be more productive on Sunday.

so annoying that we have 48 hours to stew over this loss as opposed to 3/4 of a work day after last night's win...

if i were charlie, i would have let pedro bat in the 8th, bunt, and go until he allowed a baserunner, but that decision didn't determine the outcome...

that bottom of the 8th inning was disgraceful on all fronts...utleys recent throwing adventures have been bizarre to say the least....

i understand we earned the split and thus accomplished our goal on this trip, but come on, if we're gonna lose, make the dodgers earn error and a walk? really? i had to watch J. Martin trot home with the winning run after happ was up in the count 1-2?

ok, im done venting.....hopefully, this plays out like the WS did...our home field advantage spurns the team to three straight wins

here's to slaying the kuroda dragon on sunday night.

The Phillies went to L.A., roughed 'em up in Game 1, had the Dodgers squeak by in Game 2 and now head home for Game 3 and Cliff Lee. Color me unconcerned.

"No doubt, he spoke to Pedro and his catcher and decided that his 37 year old pitcher had had enough.."

Phlipper: Actually, the only thing on which there is "no doubt" is that you weren't privy to the conversations & have no idea what Pedro said about whether he could keep going. If in tomorrow's paper, it says that Pedro says he asked to be taken out, then I will take back my criticism of Cholly's decision to remove him. But, judged on what we know, it seemed like a very odd decision for the reasons cited by Mr. Mack.

I didn't think it was the worst move ever, but I disagreed immediately w/UC taking Pedro out. He was CRUISING, throwing strikes and coming up against the bottom of the order. If he allows a base runner, then you bring in the relief.

That being said, the 8th was an unmitigated disaster and Chase simply has to make the throw. Happ was in a tough spot, but a Bases loaded walk is tough to swallow.

BAP. They showed shots of Pedro in the dugout, being congratulated by teammates for his performance. Obviously, there's no 100% sure indication from body language in that situation - but he sure didn't look like someone who felt he'd been pulled too soon.

The most obvious assumption to make is that there were reasons why Charlie made the decision he made. One of them was the strong performance of CHOP the previous night.

One night someone complains that Charlie has a tendency to leave pitchers in too long, the next night someone complains that he has a tendency to pull pitchers too early.

If Charlie didn't feel it was necessary to talk to his pitcher, catcher, pitching coach about his decision, then he must have seen that there was good evidence to warrant the move. Charlie has already shown that he's quite capable of leaving Pedro in late into a game when he's on - to a chorus of criticism at Beerleaguer.

Just heard Mitch Williams speculate that something on Chase's right side is bothering him, looking at the bad throws the past two days and how he didn't plant/throw from his right foot but square on/doing too much with his arm - and then putting that together with his end of season slump...Hip, foot, something may be hurt, says Mitch.

I hope not, for as Magrane replied, if he's injured to the point where he can't turn a routine DP, he shouldn't be playing. Mitch said he had to agree.

The prospect of a postseason w/o Chase is not a happy one, nor is the prospect of a postseason w/Chase playing hurt. And for such a fine, intelligent, hard-working athlete to be plagued by recurring injury would be a crying shame. (Not that it would be a situation unique to him.)

So I hope Mitch is wrong.

GBrettfan: And yet another reason why Amaro has got to do something this offseason to provide bench help that can actually play serviceable 2B without an enormous drop off in production/defense as well as at short.

philipper - You have become the prime candidate for "Cheerleader for Cholly." I agree that it was really the defense and pitching that let the Phils down in the 8th but there are a few decisions you could second-guess with Cholly. That's all people are saying.

Plus, there is a big difference between leaving Pedro in a game where he only had 87 pitches and just gone through the heart of the order 1-2-3 with only 10 pitches. Pedro wasn't at some ridiculous pitch count already.

For better or for worse, I'm focusing on the fact that, for the Dodgers to win a game they badly needed to, it took the combination of (i) an inept performance by an offense that has otherwise shown tons of guts this postseason, (ii) three weird-to-brutal fielding mishaps strung right together, and (iii) a full-count walk in a LHP/LHB matchup in which it was obvious the batter was praying he didn't actually have to swing at the ball. Yeah, the Phillies gave the Dodgers a game they shouldn't have and it would have been delicious for them to be heading home with a 2-0 lead. But, a sweep was too much to ask for, really. I'd rather them have a clunker on the road than at home. The Phillies are quite capable of taking care of business at home and either finishing them at CBP or going back to LA with a 3-2 lead.

One last thing:

For people blaming the offense and not scoring off Padilla - does anyone who thinks this not agree that Padilla's stuff was superior to Pedro's today?

Padilla's location was just as good and his velocity was much more impressive. Honestly, that was the best I can ever remember Padilla's fastball looking.

Padilla had a very up and down career here in Philly (more down notes the last 2 years) but people seem to forget that he could be one of the best starters in the league when he was "on" like he was today.

From the start of the broadcast, you would have though that Padilla was some tomato can reject the Dodgers have picked up who was largely washed up. Padilla has some noted deficiencies but they were largely off-the-field and in-between his ears. Guys who can throw a 95 MPH fastball like that and locate it aren't washed up tomato cans.

Agreed. There is no real cause concern. Phils split in LA and the Dodgers' didn't impress me that much. Like the Phils chances to take 2 of 3 at CBP and head back to LA later this week needing to win 1 more to wrap it up.

MG. Questioning if the game might have come out differently had Charlie left Pedro in is one thing. Saying that his decision was a "bad" one is another.

A bad decision is one made when the rationale for the decision is poor. Even assuming that Charlie didn't get feedback from his pitcher/catcher/pitching coach that his pitcher was starting to fade - Pedro hadn't pitched in a while, was working his way back from an injury, is 37 years old, was slated to bat in the next inning of a tight game, and Charlie had good reason that CHOP would come in and perform well. (There's no doubt that CHOP was close to unhittable the previous night.)

Sure, the outcome of the game might have been different had he left Pedro in. Or, Pedro might have gotten lit up the next inning. Or he might have sustained an injury had Charlie left him in - and if either of those had happened BLers would be lining up to chastise him.

Once again - there were a slew of players who could have stepped up and if any one of them had then lifting Pedro would have been incidental to the game's outcome. All those players failed to step up. I'm not a "cheerleader." I just don't get why people need to vent their frustrations by "blaming" the loss on Charlie.

Doubleh, you're right, and I think Amaro will look for better middle-infield bench help this offseason.

Writes Scott Eyre about Sunday's game:

"Wear your winter coats and be ready. We'll need you."

while we're throwing out theories on Utley, here's mine:

this is what happens when Utley has so many days off between games. plus, it could be that he's stiffer in the upper body from working out too much on the numerous off days.

it looks like he just needs more reps.

Utley was brutal on that throw today when you see it on replay. Belliard didn't even get there in time to alter the throw. It was just a case of the "yips" and Utley throwing it away too quickly.

I really don't hope this is the start of something bad for Utley because this hasn't been a single poor throw or two this postseason.

chuckles made the right move by pulling pedro. he originally said 75-90 was going to be his limit. 7 solid innings from pedro was better than what 90 percent of this board would have guessed. the problem was the offense made vicente padilla look like sandy freakin koufax. if we only score one run, we deserve to lose, no matter how it happens. overall, if our pitchers give up only 2 runs over the course of an entire game, we'll win at least 80 percent of those games. great performance by pedro, i'm sure he's a lock now for game 6 if we head back to LA. the bats need to step it up though.

with regards to charlie's move, i agree with phlipper. to say it was a "bad" move to take out pedro is absurd.

personally, i was hoping he would get to stay in. but the PROPER move to make once ruiz got on with one out in a low-scoring affair was PRECISELY to pinch-hit for him and hope for the best. pedro had already failed to bunt a man over earlier in the game, and who among us here was confident that a 1-0 lead would hold up?

i was almost hoping that, unless ruiz got an extra-base hit, that he made an out, because putting him on first practically REQUIRED charlie to take out pedro for a pinch hitter, but i think charlie made the proper move...and as someone else pointed out, charlie was crucified earlier this year for leaving in pedro too long.

Except for Pedro and Howard, they stunk yesterday.

The Phillies played a bad game as a team. Whether you call it a funk or whatever, please don't blame Utley for an ugly loss.

Throughout the game, I kept saying to myself, "No way they win this game 1 - 0 and if they don't get some more runs, they're going to lose."

Probably every other Beerleaguer was thinking the same.

Saw an interview with Howard postgame and he was asked about the 'devastating' loss and he seemed genuinely untroubled by the game.

All the 'devastating' losses over the last 3 years have yet to be as devastating in retrospect as they were at the time.

Good Morning.

Looks like a little case of the LA yips to me, too. Here's hoping it clears up soon.

Definitely not a devastating loss.

Have a good day.

If Rollins and Vic can get on base, everything falls into place.

Damn good game that turned on a horrible misplay by the 2B. You could see that throw coming based on every previous chance he had in this series. I tend to credit the speculation that he's got a rib injury or something on his right side because he lobs every routine throw the last few days.

With all that said, no surprise that the BL nation is pointing fingers. Relax. Good game. Tough loss. Five more chances to get back to the series.

AS for Manuel removing Pedro, I think it was the safe move. I like the safe move in game 2. Pedro looked tired on the mound in the 7th. He looked like he was drawing from the bottom of the tank. With the pitcher's spot due up and a 1 run game on the road, I don't think many managers would have left the old goat in. Odds are,they still lose that game if he did.

Up until 3 days ago, Utley did a Manny Trillo imitation on every routine throw. He would catch, hold, then fire to first to nip the runner. Now, for 2 or 3 games, he runs the ball toward Howard and soft tosses it overhand. Could be that he just needs to see Chevy Chase, er, a sports psychologist but, I don't want to believe he's lost it mentally just yet.

I don't blame Cholly for taking Pedro out yesterday. You have to remember, that the final out of the 7th inning, was a 400 foot shot to CF by Loney that barely stayed in the park. In the 7th, Pedro's velocity was dropping and it was pretty obvious he was near the end of the tank. It was the right move to go to the pen in the 8th.

The only questionable move I thought Cholly made, was taking Madson out, right after he had struck Kemp out. With the tough visibility, it was going to be tough to hit him, no matter righty or lefty. Going to a rookie pitcher who hasn't pitched much out of the bullpen all year and very rarely ever started a game all year with runners on base, was questionable. I know he has a lot of faith in Happ (and rightfully so), but I thought that was a really tough spot to bring the kid into.

If he had pitched some in relief at the end of the year (which I kept saying needed to happen for the postseason), maybe things go better yesterday.

Padilla had lights-out stuff yesterday and was pinpoint accurate. No shame in not hitting him.

Now that I had a night to think it over. The phillies absolutely gave this game to the dodgers. The dodgers had to get an error and a bases loaded walk to win this game. So I'm not too concerned now.

Paging Chuck Knoblauch, a Mr. Chuck Knoblauch.

Folks haven't mentioned that it was also 93 degrees at game time. That is going to affect the pitchers more than anyone. Pedro almost gave up a tater to Center his last batter. He says that he felt he could have gone longer, but there may have been a price to pay if he did.

I like reading the posts from confident fans. In my experience listening to Mitch Williams the past few years, he's had an excellent feel for this team, like a 6th sense. So I'm feeling churned up by his speculation that Utley is hurt. It could very well be true, and having a 2B with diminished defensive abilities - esp. throwing - will mean the potential for more mistakes is great.

Feel free to contradict me, I could use a dose of optimism!

BAP: I reviewed the goofy plays in that inning and this statement is just flat-out false:

"That was an extremely tough play that few third basemen would have made."

Feliz was playing slightly closer to the line than normal and had to run 3-4 steps to his left and extend himself to get his glove on the ball. Feliz is one of the slowest runners in baseball and, on plays like that, it limits his range. There are many things that Feliz is good at defensively: Great hands, great arm, smart positioning but range (speed) isn't one of them. In fact, any MLB thirdbaseman with average or above average speed would've made that play. If you get a chance, look at the clip. You'll note that Buck Martinez, correctly, says that Feliz just didn't get over quickly enough to make the play.

denny b: I'm with you. To me, the decision on whether to PH for Pedro in the 8th was fair subject for debate until Chooch walked. At that moment, the move was no longer worthy for debate. Pinch hitting in that spot is clearly the right move and one that 29 other MLB managers would've made.

Also, good call on Padilla. To G-town Dave and most other posters here, it is not conceiveable that an opposing pitcher can beat the Phils. Any low-scoring loss is strictly because the Phils offense failed.

"The prospect of a postseason w/o Chase is no
t a happy one, nor is the prospect of a postseason w/Chase playing hurt. And for such a fine, intelligent, hard-working athlete to be plagued by recurring injury would be a crying shame. (Not that it would be a situation unique to him.)" GBrettfan

"Throughout the game, I kept saying to myself, "No way they win this game 1 - 0 and if they don't get some more runs, they're going to lose." limoguy

My thoughts exactly, with a couple others.

Horrible error on a routine play that Chase made, no argument. But defining a CAREER by that is absolutely crazy, although it can happen. I remember circa 1986 when Buckner made that infamous error in the WS against the Mets. Here was a case of a good player with a fine career being tarred (unfairly in my view) as the goat. His error was a big part of the problem, for sure. But I remember screaming at the screen at Calvin Schiraldi and some other reliever well before Buckner's error, and thinking these guys were setting the Red Sox up for a loss. There is always blame to go around in these situations.

Best case, it's one of those things that he'll shrug off and it will rarrely happen again.

Worse case, it is some kind of physical injury that can be fixed, and he'll be fine. Not a great scenario, but a short term one hopefully.

Worst and really ugly case, it's a case of the yips (Knoblach, Sax, Steve Blass) that can potentially stay around and torpedo a career. Gotta tell you after the several poor throws I am officially concerned.

Chase has never had a classic rifle arm a la Rollins, and I've always thought his style was pretty unorthodox. But after watching him for several years, I've never seen him toss balls to the dugout, fail to make whatever throw was needed at the time under whatever pressure, or make those weak lobs to Ryan that seem like he's worried about executing that sharp, snap throw.

We'll see. I have a knot in my stomach about that as big as the one about the game.

GBrettfan: While I've been teasing the posters here who spent last night trying to deflect any and all blame from Utley (and especially Unikruk's heroic effort on Utz' behalf), I don't think his miscues the past 2 games are because of an injury or because he's contracted Steve Sax Disease.

Look at the clips of the 2 plays: On Thursday Rollins double-clutched on the DP feed and threw Utley's timing off. Yesterday, Belliard was barreling in full-speed and Utley had to hurry the throw. Generally he's able to execute those, but now and then when a guy is on top of you as Belliard was, it's going to cause a bad throw.

clout: Feliz definitely does not have good range (actually, he has virtually no range). The ball could have been played. Perhaps it should have been. At the time it happened, my immediate thought was, "It was a tough play, but if you're going to hit .266 with a slugging percentage below .400, you've got to make plays like that, or you simply have no purpose on the team." Nonetheless,the play was nowhere near as blunderous as Utley's.

You're being ridiculous, though, when you claim that the pinch-hitting decision was a no-brainer that every manager in baseball would have done. With a man on first, you could very easily have Pedro bunt & take your chances with Rollins. When you have a shaky bullpen, you don't remove a dominant starter who has thrown only 87 pitches.

Denny: Definitely agree with you about removing Madson for Happ. I know Ethier can't hit lefties, but you also have to look at the whole picture, not just the lefty-righty issue. Madson is a pretty good pitcher against anyone and he throws strikes. Happ is a rookie who struggles to throw strikes, and has especially struggled of late. All year long, Cholly has been following the standard practice of using Madson in the 8th & Lidge in the 9th, righty-lefty matchups notwithstanding. That practice has produced good results in Madson's case. So why would you suddenly break with it in a playoff game?

The only thing that matters right now if the Phillies can't field all of the sudden. Why do the pitchers keep running right past the ball on bunts?? Wait to see where it goes, pick it up, throw to first. Repeat.

Call me crazy, but I say that Pedro is without question our #2 starter from here on out. Hamels can be #3, depending on how well Blanton pitches in game 4. I'll take my chances behind Pedro any time, any where, at this point.

I hope you're right, Clout. But what do you make of the two easy throws to Howard that he nearly threw away? Chase is too good to make 4 bad throws in 2 days. I'd like to chalk it up to happenstance, Charlie's "That's baseball." Mitch's saying Chase looks like he's reluctant to plant his right foot to throw seems entirely plausible. But perhaps I should focus on Utley's determination; even if he is hurt, he'll try to correct this and give 100%+.

I have one thing to say - Chase "Knoblauch" Utley. Let's hope this new trend does not continue, if so, Mr. Cairo should get a start at 2nd in this series.

Joe I ........."Pedro looked tired on the mound in the 7th. He looked like he was drawing from the bottom of the tank."
sorry buddy but Pedro needed 10 pitches to go through the middle of the line up (3-4-5 hitters) in the same 7th inning you saw him tired, not sure you were watching the same game I did.. 7.0 innings 0 run 0 walk 2 soft hits ( a bloop single and an infield hit) and most important 87 pitches; after da phillies bullpen went 3.2 innings the nite b4 Manuel shoulda leaves his hall of famer at least start the 8th. This is playoff , you play it one game at the time, Manuel didn't by setting a pitch count on Pedro and that's why is 1-1 instead of 2-0, it was a golden opportunity, we not only give LA game2 we also gave'em hope. Hopefully won't come bak to hunt us.

You can not compare Feliz's play to Utley. Maybe Feliz should have gotten to the ball, but he was playing closer to the bag to protect the line, and also the shadows may have played a part inhim seeing the ball. On the other hand, my grandmother could have made the throw from seocnd.
It's irrelevant, however. Game over, time to move on. They will still win the series, and all will be forgotten.

Anyone suggesting a Cairo start should be paddled and sent to bed without dinner.

Clout, you are being very charitable to Utley, but I hope you're right. Even the routine throws that he did make in the last few games looked way off. Happily, we have a tall 1st baseman.
He's entitled to make errors, but I'm just concerned about it. Hopefully, he left the yips in LA.

Protecting the line is actually a pet peeve of mine. If you guard the line, you increase the chance of a hit, but decrease the chance of that hit turning into a double. If that trade-off is a bad one for the first 7 innings of the game, why does it suddenly become a good one in the 8th and 9th innings? If anything, I would argue that the trade-off actually becomes LESS justified in the late innings, when the opposing manager is more likely to use a pinch runner. The Phillies have been burned 3 or 4 times this year because they had Feliz guarding the line. I don't know why teams continue to do it. It's kind of like the prevent defense in football. It's designed to prevent only the very worst case scenario but, in doing so, it creates whole new ways for your team to get burned.

BAP, I agree. Statistically, I wonder how many hits it really has saved.

"Call me crazy, but I say that Pedro is without question our #2 starter from here on out."

I'll call you crazy. I take nothing away from Pedro for his performance. But it wasn't like Cholly just arbitrarily settled upon yesterday as the day to start Pedro. He started Pedro yesterday because the game was played in conditions which were very favorable to him -- warm, sunny weather, a right-handed heavy lineup, with the game played in a pitcher's park where Pedro has pitched numerous times before & has done well. I wouldn't expect similar success if he's pitching in cold, rainy weather at Citizen's Bank Park or Yankee Stadium.


I hear you, but my feel has always been that a team can reasonably expect to get 4 to 5 runs in a typical game, less if they are going aginst Greinke, more if they are up against Eaton.

If the Phils are in a zero-zero game against a normal pitcher, I can see how a double would be less meaningful in the first three innings when the Phils are still likely to score several runs; as opposed to a double in a zero-zero game in the eighth or ninth inning when one run may well cost them the game. Particularly against a team with a good closer.

To me, you make these adjustments depending upon the score, the inning, caliber of pitching and relievers you are likely to face, speed of the runners, likely pinch runners and hitters, and more.

I hate the prevent defense too, but as far as guarding the line, seems to me like it is playing the odds so they tilt to your favor, like everything else in baseball.

..." I was able to make pitches at key moments," Martinez said. "The temptation is to push it, but after not pitching for 17 days, seven innings was enough. I would have loved to go one more or maybe finish the game if I knew I was going to stay healthy, but I want to be able to still help the team."

So - it looks like Pedro is taking the high road and supporting his manager - but clearly Pedro wasn't particularly upset that he was lifted.

As for the pinch-hitting - it was pretty clear that Charlie made the decision to lift Pedro at the end of the previous 1/2 inning regardless of whether anyone was on base when his spot in the order came up. People can second-guess that decision all they want, but it was an entirely reasonable decision. It may well have not payed off (then again, maybe Pedro gives up a three-run homer if he stays in or maybe suffers ill-effects from going to a higher pitch count), but bringing in Park and pinch hitting for your pitcher late into a one-run game is an entirely understandable decision.

The Dodgers improved to 7-2 all-time in NLCS Game 2s; the Phillies dropped to 1-7.

As I said last night in the game thread. The debate to pinch hit or not pinch hit is a 50/50 proposition. If you go with the pinch hitter you are trying to create a crooked number in an inning. If you bunt in that spot you are giving up an out to hope one of the two next guys gets a hit. You are also sending your pitcher back out for another inning late in the game. 98 times out of 100 a manager will pinch hit for the pitcher in that spot. there are circumstance you don't but those are rare and the exception. In this case it backfired on us. On another day it might not have.

Pedro gave us everything he had for 7 sparkling innings yesterday. He looked fatigued towards the end a bit and when he got to the dugout he was shaking hands like he was glad he HAD done his job.

Then the top of the 8th happened. But the key to me is this. Had Park fielded that bunt and recorded the out at first, Had Pedro fielded that ball at third, had Utley turned that double play- the debate on whether Charlie was right or not would be much less smaller than it is right now.

Which leads to the logical conclusion that- because of the results of what happened the decision looks terrible. I'm sure there are a lot of managerial decisions Charlie would do differently had he known prior what the outcome would be.

There are compelling "pro-bullpen," and "pro-Pedro" arguments but they are only magnified in a loss.

Chase is most certainly on the hook for this loss. Phillies fans stick up for him like he's Jesus Christ (or Mohammed or Christopher Hitchens or...).

Does that mean he's individually at fault? No. Does that mean he needs to earn the slobber you all give him? Yes.

While the Utley throwing error was very disheartening (I'd compare it to finding out Santa Clause doesn't exist) he is just a mortal like all of us even if we thought differently.

It was a tough, tough loss, BUT we did go 1-1 in LA, which was the goal, and now return home with Cliff Lee on the hill. Time to put this behind us and concentrate on Sunday night.

Look at the bright side; can you imagine Jimmy and Pedro making the same blunder that Aybar and Chone made last night?

You know, it wouldn't be surprising if Chase IS hurt. Mike Lowell had the same surgery and had to have injections a few times this season on the same hip. Delgado had the surgery and was unable to come back. Jeff Joyce of MLB on XM even thought ARod's running yesterday looked off, as though the hip was bothering him. As he said, it would almost be expected that Chase continue to have problems with his hip, too.

He also made the point to a caller that he'd rather keep Utley in the game unless it gets really bad - in other words, a hurt Chase Utley is still better than a healthy Eric Bruntlett. (My words, not his - Although to be fair, Bruntlett plays better when he gets whole games at a time.)

So I will hope his defense gets back to normal and he is not seriously bothered by any injury he may have - better, that he has none. Just saying, it's certainly possible, if not likely.

OH, and NOT liking the headline on right now: "Dodgers having their way with Phillies bullpen." Come on, FIghtins, that sounds like a challenge worth rising to!

GBrettfan: That's an annoying headline, but not unfair. Madson was lucky to escape Game 1 w/ only 2 runs surrendered, likewise for the sorry combination of FIVE relievers it took to get through the bottom of the 8th in Game 2. It was no secret that the Phillies biggest weakness coming into this series was their bullpen, & the Dodgers have been taking advantage. Hell, if not for a timely double play in the bottom of the 9th in Game 1 -- amazingly turned despite that useless POS Utley being involved -- this would most likely be a dark day in Philadelphia figuratively as well as literally.

Taking the longer-term view, I just hope Chase isn't getting Steve Sax/Chuck Knoblauch disease.

Regarding the next phase NLCS, I am looking at the next phase of series this way:

1) Win 2 of 3, and all the Phillies need is the same split in LA that they got this time

2) Lose 2 of 3 and the season probably ends late next week

3) Lose all 3 at home--I don't even want to think about it.

Despite yesterday's disappointment, I still think that scanrio #1 is the most likely

It seems like people are upset because Chase Utley, the second baseman, made a bad play.

Oh, it is at least partly deserved, G-Town, but a challenge nonetheless!

And Marc, perish the thought of #3.

GBrettFan--As negative as I can be sometimes, I just can not fathom that #3 is likely to happen. I think that the Phillies win 2 of 3 at home and take the series back to LA with a 3-2 series lead.

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EST. 2005

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