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Friday, October 30, 2009

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We could complain all day about if Pedro should have gone out in the 7th (at the time, I thought he was done as well) but it really didn't matter. The Phillies never got anything else on the board. I have to be honest, but I'm not upset. It wasn't a blowout, we kept it close, we have a win on them, and we're coming home. The goal was to come home with a win and they accomplished that. I'm confident in this team right now. And Pedro is still a big gamer. He done well!

I liked this from Phil Sheridan's game story:

"Phillies fans who marveled at Cliff Lee's craftsmanship and guile now see the view from the other side of the looking glass. When it's Ryan Howard swatting harmlessly through perfectly located third strikes, it's not quite as entertaining as watching Alex Rodriguez walk back to the dugout with his eyes spinning like a cartoon character."

Stairs OPSed .951 before the All-Star Break (albeit in a 76 PA sample). Did he really age that much in the last 3 months that he can no longer hit major league pitching? Maybe he did, that just seems like a very rapid decline.

Call Stairs' hit an error if you want. I don't think it's indefensible. Regardless, it was the hardest hit ball of the night against a pitcher who was absolutely dealing.

I actually agreed with Manuel's decision to not send the runners in the 8th. With a left-handed batter at the plate, that opens up the possibility of an easy strikeout-throwout double play. Steals of third are a surprise-type play. With Posada expecting it, I think there's a good chance of him throwing out Rollins at third.

According to Eyre's blog from 10/27: "I spent last Thursday night in the hospital with the flu. Don't worry, it's not swine flu. Now I just have a head cold and a cough, but I'll be ready."

Dobbs sent home sick. According to Dave Murphy and Andy Martino, Walker also was sent home sick.

Now Pedro says he wasn't feeling well tonight.

Lovely. The flu bug is spreading among the team.

Who's feeling good about Cole in Game 3? And how do you like our chances w/the bats v. Pettite?

DH: Don't get me wrong: this loss was not Matt Stairs' fault, although when a guy is an absolutely automatic strikeout, he's a pretty inviting target. In all fairness, Stairs probably didn't have enough ABs this year for anyone to definitively conclude that he's finished. But I know this: you have to judge him on the information that you have. Based on that information, would you want him back on the team next year? Do you think any team would want him on their team next year?

When a guy's sole function is to pinch hit, the sample sizes are small by definition. And since pinch hitting is Stairs' only remaining ticket to a major league job, he pretty much has to perform within those small sample sizes if he wants to remain employed. If Stairs is on a major league roster next year, I'll be shocked.

BAP: Good points. I want to avoid the same argument of semantics that was rampant around here in the summer when people were arguing about Jamie Moyer. Does "washed up" mean a player cannot be a significant positive contributor, does it mean he cannot be a positive contributor at all, etc.

Given his second half, I doubt Stairs will be in the major leagues next year. However, his excellent first half makes me wonder if, given another 100-150 PA chance as a pinch hitter, he'd perform closer to his first half than his second half.

Is Stairs headed back to his local volunteer firehouse now?

Not a bad game for the Phillies. Love that JRoll has been having great ABs late in the game, just need Shane and RyHo to come alive back in CBP. Hopefully that double-wide strike zone won't go to the big man's head and he can keep laying off the bad pitches. Wish the bullpen could get the first out, especially Madson. Is there any chance Feliz will get on base for the rest of the Series, hell is there a chance he'll see more then 5 pitches in an at bat? Lets go Cole! Time to step up and be the man again.

Stairs had the only RBI for the Phils - I'm loathe to say it, but Charlie has had the exact right lineup each night so far. Anyway, as a baseball fan, I'm pretty content with a split - I actually have no problem with this series going back to NYC as long as the Phils ultimately win - a memorable Fall Classic would really cement this team's place in history in everyone's minds.

"We could complain all day about if Pedro should have gone out in the 7th (at the time, I thought he was done as well) but it really didn't matter."


It could have mattered. Pedro should have come out after 6. Weitzel also agrees with this. You have a 8 man bullpen (for whatever reason) with a off-day tomorrow. Pedro gave them 6 really good innings. You know with Rivera coming for 2 innings, the 7th inning is a HUGE one, to keep the score at 2-1. If you have to use 3 pitchers to get 3 outs in the 7th, you do it. If you have bring Madson in the 7th and maybe use Madson for more then 1 inning, you do it.

It was like Cholly wanted Pedro to win the game in Yankee Stadium, instead of the Phils winning the game. He seemed like he was trying to squeeze one more inning out of Pedro, to hope that the Phils could get the lead and get him the win. I think he got too caught up into the Pedro "story". Pedro gave them exactly what any sane person would have hoped he could give them tonight. It just wasn't quite good enough to beat Burnett tonight. Maybe he got caught also thinking about LA and thinking he pulled Pedro too soon. He ended up losing on both deals.

You keep that game at 2-1 and that puts a lot more pressure on Rivera for 2 innings. Its a completely different deal.

I thought the Phils played the game way too conservatively. This was a "house money" game. They needed to be more aggressive, both at the plate and on the basepaths. The manager needed to be more aggressive ESPECIALLY when Rivera was out there. You get Rollins on against Rivera, he HAS to try and steal 2nd right away. Rivera doesn't hold runners well. The only way to do anything against Rivera is to run against him and hope to scrape together a run or two.

Here is how the 8th inning COULD have played out:

1 out and Rollins walks. Rollins steals 2nd. Vic singles to RF (might have been able to sneak that one through weather Tex was holding Rollins on or not) and Rollins scores. Now Vic is on 1st, down 1 run, with 1 out. You have shown you can score against Rivera and you are upping his pitch count. He still has 5 more outs to get and now its a 1 run game.

Rivera probably still gets it done, because that is what he does. But we didn't put near enough heat on him or the Yanks in general tonight. We seemed to sitting back waiting/hoping for the long ball and playing it station-to-station. That was not the recipe tonight.

denny b - You dear to question the genius of Cholly's managing acumen? Blasphemer!

In all serious, Cholly made a couple of spotty decisions tonight that backfired on him and Girardi made a couple of decisions that worked out in their favor. Cholly got outmanaged tonight let sees what happens the rest of the series.

I was surprised the Yanks won though considering what zeros Jeter and ARod were tonight. Both guys had pretty awful games including that ridiculous bunt attempt strikeout by Jeter. Even McCarver really got on one of his favorites for making such a boneheaded play.

Just remember, game 2 of every series this postseason has been a tough loss. I'll see you celebrating outside the stadium after game 5.

We're terrible in game 2...always...

Dodgers and Rockies this year...

Rays last year in the WS...

Bats were cold, we weren't aggressive enough on the first pitch, when we did have a pitch to hit we missed it. The Yanks can gloat all they want but I had Pedro tagged for 6 innings and 2 runs regardless...he did his job. AJ just painted that outside corner all night as he got the Maddox strike call.

CBP should be rocking come the weekend and I can't see the Phils not taking 2 of 3. Cole scares me to death right now but if anybody on the staff has the magic stuff it's him. He needs to reach down need and find it.

No big deal. I had this one chalked up as an L before the first pitch. Still, Pedro was effective. Worst thing he did was strike out the side 3-4-5 in the 6th. You knew he was going back out and you knew he had probably fired all his bullets at that point. Strike zone was wide and low tonight and that helped all pitchers. Howard with the golden sombrero needs to learn to protect the zone that's being called, not the one he wants them to call. Hopefully, that meditation routine helps him wash this one away. Could not believe they didn't send the runners in the 8th - our two fastest guys against a reliever whose only weakness is the running game. Still, lots of good patient ABs. I'd love to see them get to Andy Pettite early and often on Saturday night.

We could get bogged down in breaking down minute details and moments from last night but the fact of the game is this- AJ Burnett was on and dominated the Phillies hitters.

The key to Burnett's success is throw the fastball for a first pitch strike and then use his secondary pitches to get hitters flailing. At one point he had thrown 22 first pitch strikes to 25 hitters. On top of that his curveball was as good as his fastball and he was changing speeds with it all night long. The curveball was sick and he was freezing hitters with it even in the 7th.

Sometimes you just need to tip your hat to the opposing pitcher. The Yankees had to do that in Game 1, the Phillies did for Game 2. The onus is now on winning game 3 now.

Utley was safe and the runners should have been moving. Just sayin'

Yep, when Burnett gets 22 of 25 first pitches in for strikes, it pretty much shoots your game plan out the window. I wasn't keeping a pitch count but my perception was that after getting that first strike over, which virtually all the Phils took, there were not many good pitches to hit at all. Also seemed to be an expanded strike zone outside to left handed hitters, which to his credit, he was able to exploit.

Burnett was red hot last night, and going by the book and being patient did not work real well. Question is for next game, do you write this game off as a Padilla type one shot deal and stay with the book, or do you come out swinging on the first pitch if it's good. They weren't meatballs, but some of the first pitch fastball strikes were very hittable.

Surprised to see people talking about Stairs, who had the only RBI of the night.

Burnett has killer stuff. It's all a question of whether or not he can find the zone. Once he's ahead, he crushed the Phils with the breaking ball at their toes. Biggest AB of the night was Utley's, where the ump expanded the zone, Utley quickly had two strikes, and hit into the inning ending DP.

In any case, seemed like the only way Phils were scoring more than 2 runs was if every men on base situation broke their way.

What is there to say about Pedro? Love that guy.

I can't remember a game where a guy got strike one as often as Burnett did last night. Rivera getting out of that jam was dispiriting. That guy is a first ballot hall of famer. As for Stairs, I'm not going to rip him. They all had a bad night. But, A-Roid should have put leather on that ball.

JZ: Wouldn't have mattered in the 8th. Howard was bound to K anyway. The problem all night was taking the first pitch fastball. Then Burnett twirls his curve and stays ahead in the count.
Maybe the NL can have a DF (designated fielder) for its home games. My candidate is Feliz.

sophist: Stairs, or whoever is DH, is a pretty big target since the largest difference in the two teams is at DH. The Phils don't have a bench player who would start for even baseball's worst teams and the Yanks have Matsui. Big gap and last night it bit us.

Probably going to sound like a broken record here (didn't read all of the in-game posts), but two managerial blunders hurt the Phils last night: Pedro in the 7th and not starting the runners on the Utley GIDP. We've been reading throughout the playoffs about managers "over-managing." This might have been a case where Cholly was "under-managing." As JW writes in the header: "Down one, the seventh would have been a fine time to go left/right match-ups using his well-stocked 'pen, which is a minimum of eight, fresh relievers deep." I couldn't agree more. But then again, it seems easier to second guess his maneuvers after a loss.

Note: I did not write "cost the Phils the game." Cholly is by no means the reason the Phils lost Game 2. Burnett was really, really good last night. The curveball to lefties on the outside corner was a strike and unhittable. To borrow a oft-used phrase "tip your cap to him," he pitched well.

Also, if A-Rod fields a ground ball, they're shut out.

But all they needed to do was split and they did that. Leaving NY 1-1 is just where they want to be.

Cole pitches a gem in Game 3 and Phils take a 2-1 series lead.

I agree 100% with denny b. about lack of aggressiveness on the base paths last night and strongly disagree with DH Phils.

Whether to run or not with 1 out and 2 on in the 8th inning depends on 3 factors: Who's batting, who's pitching, who's on base.

Last night was a perfect storm for sending the runners on a full count: You had a guy at the plate who has a .452 OB with a full count, a guy on the mound who doesn't hold runners and the 2 fastest runners on the team on base. Icing on the cake: Posada has thrown out only 28% of attempted base stealers this season.

They should've been running.

Lest anyone think I'm dissing Charlie, I thought his decision to bring Pedro out for the 7th was CORRECT. He hadn't thrown many pitches, Pedro looked good, told Charlie he felt good. Then he gives up a piece of crap bloop single to Hairston.

Madson or Park could easily have done the same. That's baseball.

If you want to second-guess, though, maybe Charlie should've yanked Pedro after the bloop.

clout: you are 100% correct. And to top it off, we already had a win in the books. Be aggressive and you have the opportunity to step on their throats. A missed opportunity for sure.

If you would have told me we left Yankee Stadium with a split, I would have been happy-and I am. But I can't help feel today like most Yanks fans did yesterday- a little uneasy. Love the home field of course, but I do not like the pitching matchup Saturday. I know this has been beaten to death on this board, but I'm going to be a lot more surprised if Hamels throws a gem as opposed to the mediocre starts he's had for most of the season.

And if we lose Saturday, then what? Lee on short rest? Blanton? And do the Yanks counter with CC on short rest? I'm going to Game 4 and can't wait.

I'm not second-guessing Charlie. It was an obvious move for him in the circumstance. I just felt like I'd seen the movie before. If not for a very hittable two-strike pitch by Park, could have been a no harm decision. Not starting Rollins and Victorino in the 8th was the only move I could really criticize last night and, it was a big one. Of course, with Howard taking a collar on the night it's probably academic.

I hate to say it but, tonight's matchup worries me. For reasons I won't go into (i.e., would sound offensive and irrational), I detest Andy Pettite and wish he would retire so I don't have to see him pitch anymore.

Good morning all after a tough but somewhat expected loss. Winning 2 at Yankee Stadium when they have previously been 5-0 there was maybe too much to ask for. But as the current trend of losing Game 2's continue, it seems after watching that after Werth's pickoff, the team almost just wanted the game to end already. But now all the Yankee fans are back on board and going to talk their smug talk the next couple days.

I was reading the NY papers today about the game and saw this one comment from a Yankee "fan" that I thought was hilarious.

"Helllllllooooooooo Frillies fans !.... How was it meeting your Daddy last night ?.... Has your delusional stupor finally worn off ? REALITY BITES !.... Next up Pettitte and then back to CC... Who you throwing ?.. Hamels, 10-11 4.32 ERA ( 1-1 6.75 ERA) and Joe Blow er Blanton. Blanton (4.66 ERA 3.2 I vs the Rockies) ?...... Baaa Haaaa Haaaaaaa.... Turn out the lights the Frillies party is over !..... Imagine how much you are going to hate the Yankees when they take your Title and Trophy !..... Baaaaaa Haaaaa Haaaa Hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa..... As I have been saying since Christmas........ 2009 is all NEW YORK YANKEES !"

The Mo swung to the Yanks the second Werth got picked and we never got it back.

All of the talk going into the game - from "experts" and laypeople alike - was that the Phils vaunted lineup would smoke Burnett. I think people assumed (wrongly, in fact) that since Burnett was a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, the Phillies would tag him for a bunch of runs in and knock him out in 4-5 innings.

I honestly believe a large part of the lineup listened to what these "experts" were saying, and they forgot that you need to bring everything you've got to the plate. Every. Goddamn. Game.

From the outset last night, the hitters either seemed impatient when they needed to take pitches, or tentative when a swing early in the count would have been preferable. The top of the order didn't set a great example early in the game for the rest of the lineup to follow.


Nonetheless, there is one definite positive to take from the game last night. That is that the Phillies showed they can stay with Mariano. Even with a couple absurd calls from the home plate umpire, Rivera danced in and out of trouble to the tune of 39 pitches last night.

Rivera gave up a couple hits and should have conceded a couple walks, but what struck me is that the Phils hitters (at least Chase, Jimmy, and Raul) just seemed to see the ball very well out of his hand. Jimmy took a couple close pitches, fouled off a bunch of close ones, and worked a well-deserved walk. Chase should have walked twice in his at-bat. And Raul hit a scorcher to the opposite field gap.
I would think that has to give them a good amount of confidence going forward in this series.

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opponent.

Did anyone really expect the Yankees to just roll over for us?

Phillies in 5.

Jimmy piles on. Unbecoming of a guy who was a void at the top of the lineup all year long:

"Asked about the ways the new leftfielder has impacted the team, Rollins first talked about defense.

"There were less balls falling in the outfield, so that meant teams weren't getting extra outs on balls that should have been outs. They were turned into outs this year," he said. "[And] for me at least, on the left side, I got a little rest not having to go out there and catch as many fly balls."

Oh well, I called a split before, so I won't bitch about it now. You have to lose two before you can win in 6.

If Jamie Moyer was pitching last night, he would have thrown a no-hitter. That strike zone was RIDICULOUS. Yeah, both teams got those calls, but Burnett made better use of it. Our lefties could do nothing with that outside curve.

I would have taken Pedro out after the first hit in the 7th, but oh well. 3 runs still isn't that bad, you need to put up some runs yourself.

And I wanted to see that little ADD kid sit down. His parents pay 3k for a seat so he can act like he's at the circus? F him and his parents.

Very surprised people are killing Stairs.. would ben francisco have drove in 5 runs or something?

completely agree with clout/pblunts on sending the runners. I thought they woudl be much more aggressive on the bases this series but they havent had many runners on to even try it. And the few times they do, they didn't take advantage.

I dont think this is why we lost or anyone's fault, just my observation of what they should be doing better.

Ran into a buzzsaw, it happens. I really am looking forward to a Pettite bashing.

diggitydave- i agree. Mariano has looked very hittable this season. with a few more looks, i think the Phils will catch up to him this series. i have a feeling it might be the difference in the series. i can't explain it, it's just a feeling i have.

maybe it'll be in Game 3, since i also have a very bad feeling about King Cole. dig deep Hollywood. it's go time...

re: strike zone

I think Burnett earned the outside corner. He proved he could throw it wherever he wanted, so once he got a call on the outside corner, he pinpointed it everytime. Hats off to him.

I, too, thought this was the second straight game with a big oversized strike zone. At least when Lee was pitching the bulk of his strike threes were swinging strikes. Last night there were at least three Phillies batters punched out on wide (not over the plate) called strike threes. I believe that a called strike three should be an obvious strike.

My boss' son pitches for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League. As an American pitcher, the only way to strike out a Japanese batter is with a swinging strike or a overtly obvious strike. All the strike zone edge pitches are called balls in Japan when the Japanese batter has two strikes. If Bud Selig wants more scoring, he should enact such an unwritten rule for the US MLB playoffs.

Just like I'm STILL waiting for Matt Holliday to touch homeplate from his slide home in 2007, I'm still waiting for Burnett's curveball to pass OVER the plate and not AROUND. I don't mind an umpire being consistently low/high, but those pitches were off the plate and even with Howard 36 inch club, would be hard to hit.

Howard's AB in the third and Utley's AB in the 8th were their 2 best scoring opportunities. When they do this against some 3rd rate pitcher on the Astros, I'm furious. On the other hand, Burnett on his game is as tough as they get. Get em' Saturday, but Hamels isn't inspiring much confidence right now.

As I said in my earlier post, I thought Burnett's curveballs all caught the corner. I thought the strike zone was relatively reasonable (considering how poor it has been in recent memory). No disrespect to Pedro, who pitched a very good game, but Burnett was outstanding. The Yankees were the better team last night and deserved the win.

CBP should be an interesting place, to say the least, for the next few days. These aren't Rockies and Dodgers fans in town. These are NY fans. They are as loud, obnoxious and passionate as we are, and have a nice easy commute to CBP. Things will be heated. Should be fun to watch...from home!

What is with Mariano Rivera anyway? Any other closer in the majors, you put them in for a six-out save and it's like lighting a fuse. With Rivera, it seems like the Yankees do it repeatedly with no qualms. And this with a guy who must be, what, about 57 years old?

Bionic arm? Deal with the Devil? I am amazed that more people don't talk about how other-worldly his career has become.

curt: I had that same reaction to Jimmy's comment. He basically ripped Pat Burrell. I am not a Burrell apologist, I was actually behind the Ibanez signing from the beginning, but to rip a teammate that you played with for 7-8? years and won a championship with is a pretty low blow. Uncalled for.

However...I LOVE this quote from Jimmy from Zoleki's blog!

Jimmy Rollins was asked about the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium compared to other ballparks.

"It's really more of a different atmosphere at our ballpark compared to the others," he said. "Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy. I was really expecting some of that here, but it was very tame and civilized actually."

In New York?

"Yeah," Rollins said. "You only heard one big cheer and that was on the home runs. Other than that ... those expensive are running the loud fans out."

Rollins later was asked if this feels more like a World Series compared to last year's series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"When we get to Philly it will," Rollins said.

Disagree 100 percent with the Good Phight's claim that Burnett was just lucky last night. The Phillies wanted to hit fastballs and Burnett wouldn't cave. He wasn't lucky. He was smart.

Did Jimmy say anything that wasn't true? What's the big deal?

The only thing that still bothers me from last night is Werth getting picked off- The Yankees crowd was silent , the Yankees team looked like they just gong through the motions before that play.
When you make a mistake , like Werth did, you wake the sleeping dogs .
Plus Jason ,on defense , guns down mistakes by runners at first base all the time- he ,of all people, should have been alert to that play.
Oh well, just venting after a loss.

For some reason, I'm getting the sense that the winner of game 3 will be the series winner. Pettite might be 40, but he still has an impressive post season track record.
Hamels remains a puzzle

TK - no he didn't, but that's not the point. Jimmy can say what he wants and make his own bed, it just doesn't show much class to put down an old teammate.

Burnett gave the Phightins some serious first pitch face balls to get ahead in the count.
That was frustrating to watch them take 1st pitch strike and play right into burnet's hands.

Also, I didnt like what I saw outta Howard last night. Looked to me like he was swinging for the river.

Burnett had some umpire help too.

Hope for a win tomorrow or else Cliff will have to pitch Sunday on short rest. In fact, I'd say it's a must-win. Will the real Cole Hamels please stand up.

Two things:

1.) The runners probably should've been going in the 8th but it's a risky proposition because they have to make it. Also, if Utley lines a ball right at someone the runners are dead ducks with Howard coming to the plate.

I'm not saying you should've kept the runners still necessarily, but there is a pretty big risk involved in sending them. If they go and we get the double play then people would kill Charlie for sending runners with Ryno coming up. On this one Charlie gambled and lost.

2.) I think there were some pitches off the plate that Burnett got but some of those curveballs (especially late) were nicking the back corner of the plate and were just amazing in their location. Balls and strikes are judgement calls and the old adage in baseball is, "anything close," with two strikes. It's hard for me to get outraged on pitches that are an inch or two out of the strikezone. Try and foul it off.

For me there were 4 major decisions for Cholly last night: (1) start Pedro, (2) DH Stairs with Raul in LF, (3) leave Pedro in for the 7th, and (4) not start the runners in the 8th. I can't argue with (1) and (2), (3) surprised me, especially knowing now that Pedro wasn't 100%, and that 3rd run did give Mariano greater margin for error, and (4)...this is tough, I see Cholly's point of view, but I also agree with posters that say we had a game in hand, let's be aggressive, see what happens, and I would have liked to see that approach. It's sort of a Hail Mary, but Rivera is tough and we needed to scratch out 2 runs somehow.

More important was the strategy to take pitches against Burnett, including the first pitch seemingly every time. Our first 8 hitters took the first pitch for a strike. It's like Burnett knew we would take pitches and he put the first one right in there (usually a fastball), and we never adjusted to that. Often we bemoan swinging at the first pitch, but in this case, it may have helped to be more aggressive. With the count in his favor Burnett could use the curve out of the strike zone to get us to chase, and he did that very well. He pitched great, but we also didn't make any adjustments to his approach.

I just watched some of the replays of strikeouts last night.

Burnett's curves on the outside of the plate to left-handers were simply unhittable pitches. I don't think it was a question of bad umpiring or of the approach of the Phillies' hitters.

They had too much movement to hit. If the Phils had gone after them they wouldn't have made solid contact. And they were way to close to take. Burnett established that as a strike, and once he did, he stuck with it.

Marc H - I am always anxious after a playoff/WS loss. With Hamels up next the anxiety is higher than ever. This would be a real good time for the Hamels of old to show up. I have to say, Petitte is the perfect veteran pitcher for the yanks. Hamels is going to have to find his game.

I heard Larry Bowa and Rollins both speak to Hamels issue as not one of velocity or even pitch selection, but of command. Any people on here know how one finds his command again? Is it something that just comes and goes? I remember Cliff Lee sayaing it was command issues that he struggled with the last month of the season but "found it" again. The question is, how does Hamels "find it?"

Related with Dukes' comment - has anyone heard/noticed Hamels having trouble with inconsistency in his release point?

TTI - I agree. As I posted last night, McCarver drove me nuts by stating that Manuel was blatently wrong for not sending the runners. It's a difference of opinion not fact.

Dukes - it's not like Pat Burrell doesn't know he's slow.

It was nice to hear Buck rip the home fans constantly.

I should repost my comment after the second game of the NLCS - the last two letters changed:

Did you really expect tham to win both games in NY?

Going into games 1 and 2 I would have thought a loss against CC and a win against Burnett.

Doesn't matter. Good split. See you in Philly!

I don't think anyone expects the Yankees to roll over and die. So far, we have seen two really great games. I am furious over the loss, but it's not like they got blown out. It took a superb pitching performance and a 6-out save from the greatest closer of all time to beat the Phils by two runs. I'm no more worried about the series now than I was at the start.

As baseball fans, we saw the two best teams in MLB play two great games. Besides coming home 2-0, what more can you ask for?

awh - Game two was winnable. Taking two outta NY would have been tough, but in retrospect, perhaps a better approach to Burnett in the early innings, a tighter leash on Pedro and a more aggressive base running on Rivera could have turned the results. Hindsight is 20-20, but these were all conscious decisions that the Phillies had complete control over. I certainly hope the team isn't content with simply splitting in NY and has learned a thing or two from game 2.

In Re: Rollins' comments.

I agree with TK. What's he supposed to say? If he said that there was no difference in the defense from last year to this year, people would be ripping him for not complimenting Ibanez's defense. So what did Jimmy do? He told the truth and put it in a way that doesn't necessarily put down Pat's defense, but instead compliments Raul's.

What's the big deal?

loctastic - Sure he knows he's slow but your former teammate doesn't have to tell the world about it. Some disagree with me on this and that's fine, I just found it a little (not a lot) rude, that's all.

Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to an opposing pitcher, much like the Yanks had to deal with in Game 1 against Lee. Burnett was tough last night. He had his curve working and some good movement on his fastball. Like many of you have said, he got ahead in the count, which is no guarantee for him.

I thought Pedro threw the ball well. He was victimized by a good piece of pull hitting by Teixeira and then a pop-up by Matsui that just barely got out. Then again, Utley didn't exactly crush his first HR in game 1. Just the nature of the stadium.

I think Hamels is the key to the series anyways. If we have '08 Hamels, we'll be in good shape. Pettitte will do his usual thing, but he's hittable. Howard is going to have to start putting the ball in play. Check out some new Phillies Memorabilia World Series stuff too from my client, Steiner Sports.

Hey, if you had told me before the series that we'd split in New York, I would've taken it. Now we have the home-field advantage. It's our turn to capitalize.

Cole: Heidi, I'm reading BL and they write that I need to find my control. Do you know where it is?

Heidi: Trixie was chewing on it and it looked pretty nasty, so I threw it out?

Cole: Threw it out!!?? Have they taken out the trash yet?

Heidi: Oh, Cole, don't be silly. I threw it out last winter. Your control is long gone, buried deep in a landfill somewhere.

Cole: Oh, no! Woe is me! What will I do this Saturday without my control?

Heidi: Oh, Cole, man up. You can always redevelop your control. Start this Saturday!

awh - billingsly: i appreciate you putting the loss in perspective. you are right, a split is what we were all asking for going in.

it felt that the game last night was so winnable - but the second game of the dodgers series felt even more winnable.

The difference is the Yankee rotation is much better than the dodgers. To beat CC once is fine - but to do it 1, even 2 more times, is asking a lot.

Here's hoping they can do it!

Lake Fred, if that was, indeed, the conversation at the Hamels houseshold, I'm just glad to see that they've learned how to better manage their waste. I'd have to assume that the grass clippings are now under control?

Not saying I agree, but homeplate ump Jeff Nelson's wikipedia page contains this nugget this morning:

"Jeff Nelson served as the plate umpire for game 2 of the 2009 World Series. He failed to find the strike zone the entire night and handed the game to the Yankees."

chaz, that is priceless!

That's pretty funny, Lake Fred.

Everyone in the organization who has been asked about getting Raul has called it an upgrade. From Ruben to Charlie to any of the players. Jimmy didn't even say that, he just stated the fact that he doesn't need to run as much.

As for leaving Pedro in, FYI, all 3 of the baseball guys on MLB Network - Larkin, Reynolds, and Mitch - thought Pedro was doing great and didn't have a problem with him coming back out. I will say that Ricky Bo thought it was a bad decision, by way of offering that the decision is questioned by some experts. But clearly, it wasn't something obvious.

Matt Stairs did not strike out every at bat, quit harping on him.

Burnett was dealing and the Phils can't hit breaking balls too well. They tried to wait for mistakes, but since he threw all those first pitch strikes, they were working out of a hole all night.

We lost not b/c of Stairs, or Charlie leaving Pedro in. Although you could argue if Pedro left with the score tied, that in extra innings we might have gotten to their BP. And that's true. But this game was a loss b/c we couldn't muster any real offense v. Burnett and Rivera. Very good pitching beat by excellent pitching, much like CC v. Cliff in Game 1.

Very anxious about how Cole will perform in Game 3. A little anxious about our offense, too. Hopefully Ryan returns to his locked-in status and gets lots of help from the rest of the guys. At least the Yankees won't have a DH and we'll get last AB.

I'm not sure starting the runners would have avoided that double play--Vic was out by a pretty big margin, and they blew the call on Utley at first anyway.

Manuel should have removed Pedro though. They showed him on TV talking to Pedro and Pedro telling him he was fine to go another inning. Felt like Charlie listened to Pedro instead of trusting his gut. And if we all know how important it is to trust Charlie's gut, he should certainly know it too.

Bubba: I would be pist at Werth too - but then I remembered that I am immune to Victorino and Werth playing like retards since I've seen it for so long - so i didnt even bother getting mad at it.

All Jimmy had to say was "Raul's defense has been a pleasant surprise." Instead, he basically said "Burrell sucked" on the biggest stage he could find. It may be true, but was entirely unnecessary, especially out of the mouth of the worst leadoff hitter in the game.

I thought it was important to have Stairs at DH last night. He needed a few AB to have a chance at getting back in a groove for the future pinch hit ABs he'll have in the next 3 games. Likely to be in key situations. If he has success, I think you'll be able to give a nod to having been in the game last night.

I was against starting Raul instead of Francisco, but The Gut had that one right.

Not sure about the 8th. I can't really fault The Gut. McCarver is wrong, The Book does not mandate a double steal in that situation, it was just his opinion. Me? I would have tried a Hit-n-Run early in the count. I have faith Utley could get the bat on it.

Re: Jimmy's comment. The word is called "discretion". You dont have to say anything.
I give the credit last night to Burnett's performance. The Phils just couldnt figure him out, just like Lee the night before. You can question some of UC's moves, but they didn't lose this game, the lack of offense did.

"it felt that the game last night was so winnable"

"Game two was winnable."


joe l, Dukes:

Hey, I was just as frustrated as you were, but in the big picture a split in NY is still pretty good.

The Yankees are a very, very good baseball team.

So are the Phillies.

They are the two best teams in their respective leagues right now(regardless of regular season win totals, oops - clout alert!).

Going in, we all thought it was going to be a knock-down, drag-out, intense series, and, despite Game 1 where Cliff Lee just cruised, last night provided that.

And for the record, you are both correct.

But then again, every close games is "winnable".

The Phils came up on the short end last night.

Let's see how the Yankees respond to the playoff crowd at the 'Zen.

If Yankee fans think the "Who's your Daddy?" chants were something, wait until ARoid and Andy PED-ttitte walk onto the field and into the batter's box.

Curt: All Jimmy had to say was "Raul's defense has been a pleasant surprise."

So, was Raul's defense was awful before? Jimmy had no faith in Raul to play solid defense? He can only field in a smaller ballpark because he's limited defensively? And so on and so forth...

See what I'm getting at here? One can analyze this to death. He was put in another damned if you do, damned if you don't type of situation. I think what Jimmy said was fine. It's a non-issue.

clout - true enough. it just didn't strike me as the difference in the game last night. Stairs' role in the game was trumped by storylines already discussed: the starting pitchers, some close strike calls in crucial AB, and Mariano Rivera.

I thought Rollins had some great plate appearances. Really made Burnett work and saw many pitches.

Can the Phils win the series without Lidge making a single appearance?

Fair enough, Curt. Don't we all wish we expressed ourselves more diplomatically? I know I've regretted the way things have come out of my mouth before. Maybe you are better at thinking through the implications of what you say before you speak. I know my husband is pretty good at it when he's in a public forum. But this isn't the first time something a ballplayer said could have been more tactfully expressed. I don't think Jimmy sounds like he's openly insulting Pat, but I can see how it could come across that way, and I agree your choice of words is better.

But being a good or bad leadoff hitter has nothing to do with whether Jimmy should be more diplomatic in his speech. Even the best of leadoff hitters should be thoughtful and considerate of others!

To continue to beat this point to death, and then move on...

Old Phan: "The word is called 'discretion'. You don't have to say anything."

To piggyback off my last point, saying nothing (i.e. not responding to the question) leaves more open for interpretation. If he says nothing, thereby NOT giving Raul credit for improved defense in left, he is somewhat dissing his current teammate in favor of the former teammate. Either way, he's screwed.

Again, what is he supposed to do? Opinions can vary, but I don't see the harm in it.

I just realized that I'm the only one making a fuss over this and thus my "it's a non-issue" comment (which I stand by) is quite hypocritical at this point. Therefore, I'm done with this topic.

Burnett looked really good last night, especially that outside breaking ball to lefties. The ump seems to have had a wide K zone against lefties. AJ did a good job of using it.

I think one of the better moments of the night was after J Roll was walked in the third. Burnett had to have thrown over to first more than a half dozen times. You could tell that Rollins was really starting to get into his head, evidenced by the number out of the zone pitches thrown to Victorino. Burnett really gets unraveled in situations like this and I think it is a key to beating him.

thephaithful-
You're right- I will let it go.
Boneheaded plays just set me off a lot more than agressive baserunning mistakes.

Werth has had a great year (with a few moments thrown in that make you wonder where his head is ).

- Cholly clearly left Pedro in too long. He was at 99 pitches after the 6th inning and he had done for the night. Pedro always wants to take the ball and go out for another inning. Its the manager's job to realize that he putting his player in a position where he is likely not best positioned to succeed.

Cholly has generally done a good job of doing that this postseason especially with Lidge. He didn't make a good call with Pedro last night.

At the very least, he should have taken out Pedro after the Hairston hit (people acted like that Hairston got a hit but he was 10-27 in his against Pedro in his career going into the night and generally is still able to make contact & handle a guy with Pedro's stuff) and brought in Eyre to face Cabrera.

- Stairs had that generous "hit" but otherwise he had a poor night at the plate.

The more important thing though was that the bottom of the lineup didn't make Burnett work at all.

Stairs saw just 6 pitches in 3 ABs vs. Burnett. Feliz saw 8 pitches in 3 ABs and Chooch saw 6 pitches in 2 ABs.

Burnett needed only 20 pitches to get through 8 ABs by the bottom of the order.

Allowed Burnett to have some quick innings in terms of a pitch count and allowed him to hang around through the 7th inning when it looked early on that they would lucky to go 6. Turned out to be a huge difference in the game.

"The Phils don't have a bench player who would start for even baseball's worst teams and the Yanks have Matsui"

Technically, that's untrue. Francisco was more or less a starter for Cleveland. But I agree with the overall point you were driving at, as well as the other ones in your posts. The Phillies definitely should have been running in the 8th inning. It isn't risky when you're already down by 2 runs.

One thing I don't want to see if Stairs/Feliz back-to-back in the lineup together again. Feliz has been BRUTAL at the plate. Not taking pitches and making some really weak outs. Hitting .132 now this postseason and .191 in his career as a Phils in the postseason while slugging well under .300 too.

Sort of off-topic for now, but what do people think of trading for Akinori Iwamura to play 3B next year? Assuming TB exercises his option, he'll make 4.85M.

He doesn't bring much power but his OBP has been consistently around .350 for his career. He played 3B regularly in 2007 before switching to 2B in 2008, and he was injured for most of this year. From what I remember reading, his defense at both positions is a plus.

I would prefer him to Feliz and the other potential 3B candidates (Beltre, Glaus). Although Figgins would be nice, he will be grossly overpaid by someone. I don't know what TB what want for Iwamura in a trade though; if they want too much it makes this unattractive.

j: "Lucky" is certainly the wrong word to describe a pitcher who figures out the ump's liberal strike zone and exploits it to the fullest. But the Good Phight is right about one thing: that strike zone last night was a joke. A lot of pitchers would turn into world-beaters when the ump expands every side of the strike zone by 6 inches. I suppose it helped Pedro too, but it probably helped Burnett more, since he has better stuff and worse command.

Benches do make a difference:

- Yanks had Posada on the bench last night and he delivered a key insurance run last night vs. Park.

- Phils have 3 guys (Bruntlett, Stairs, Bako) who won't be a MLB roster next year and they are likely going to be really short-handed in Philly too if Dobbs really has come with the flu because I don't know if he will be available this weekend.

Cairo stinks and won't be a MLB roster either next year but it is very likely the Phils will only have a 4-man bench for the Sat. night game and the decision to keep an extra man in the bullpen over another man on the bench might look foolish this weekend.

I don't really see Burnett's appearance in the 7th as that much of a game-breaker, especially when Rivera goes 6 outs.

Sophist - It was important though because the Yanks middle relief has really struggled and they would have been forced to go at least an inning (7th inning) to get to Rivera.

Burnett was already at 72 pitches through the first 4. Burnett was able to get through the 5th/6th innings with some most moderate pitch counts and was able to last through the 7th.

I bet if the Phils had been able get Burnett to around 105 pitches or so at the end of the 6th that Girardi might not have brought him out for the 7th.

5th inning (13 pitches):
-Feliz (1 pitch)
-Ruiz (5 pitches)
-JRoll (6 pitches)
-Vic (1 pitch)

6th inning (11 pitches):
-Utley (4 pitches)
-Howard (5 pitches)
-Werth (2 pitches)

Intriguing idea, krukker. I like Iwamura. But he hasn't been playing 3B; did I read once that he used to? Is he as good there? And who would you propose trading?

I was wondering whether we have a prospect who could play 3B (already does, or could be converted) ourselves. Anyone know?

Weitzel,

I agree with all the points you made in your post today, in fact I made the same points in my post today. Burnett was awesome, but that game could have swung in the Phils favor if Howard would have come through, or the Utley call not been blown. *Of course, then there's the Damon phantom linedrive double play that was called wrong too. Too many "what ifs".

MG - Posada is only a bench player because Girardi is a bad manager. That first point is equivalent to saying: benches do make a difference. Utley PH for Bruntlett in a key spot and drove a run in. Molina is basically a good-hitting pitcher with a bat. Posada's appearance doesn't really speak to the Yankees' depth.

Sophist - Molina made 3 plays last night (2 blocks behind home that prevented a Phils' runner from advancing) and that throw down to 1st to pick off Werth in the 4th. Posada likely doesn't make a single one of those plays.

Plus, it was clear that Burnett/Posada just don't work well together. Verbally scrapped on and off the field with some really mediocre results. It happens and Posada has had issues with several Yanks' pitchers over the years.

Starting Molina last night (and Hairston too) weren't bad calls by Girardi.

Buster Olney on ESPN repeating the claim that Hamels' struggles are in part due to his lack of a third pitch. When asked what happened to Hamels' curve, Olney claimed that Hamels is simply not throwing it.

fangraphs doesn't back that up.

06: 11%
07: 11%
08: 14%
09: 11%

Regarding not seeing a lot of pitches from Burnett at the bottom of our order, I heard it said that while normally, you want to see some pitches, and it can be valuable the first AB, since Burnett was throwing 1st pitch strikes, it made sense to swing at the 1st pitch, which was likely the only fastball you were going to see. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)

Maybe this explains the bottom of the order not seeing a lot of pitches. Also could be explained by the 1st pitch strikes leading to being in the hole and not catching up.

MG: Philosophically, the Phillies' brass believes that the bench is the least important part of the team & that a bench player's primary role is to save the team money to spend on other areas. How else can one explain why they let So Taguchi occupy a roster spot all of last year, and did the same with Eric Bruntlett this year? It certainly wasn't for lack of better alternatives.

This might well be the worst bench unit in the 106-year history of the World Series. 3 of their 5 bench players are so bad that they almost certainly won't find major league employment next year. If you count Cairo, it's 4 out of 6.

In this thread we've seen commenters criticize the Phils for not swinging at more pitches (fastballs early in the count and pitches the ump had called strikes pretty much all game).

But we've also seen them criticized for not taking more pitches - even though the pitcher they were facing for most of the game was throwing a high percentage of strikes.

We've seen one hitter singled out even though he had one of the few hard hit balls against Yankees' pitching all game.

We've see Charles criticized for not being more aggressive with baserunners, late in the game when the Phils were behind, with the most productive RBI man in the game in the on deck circle, on a play where even if the runners had been started, the outcome would likely have been the same.

We've seen Charles criticized for leaving Pedro in the game, in the 7th inning, in a one-run game, even though he had been pitching extremely well and there were no apparent signs he was weakening (judging by what he did the previous inning), and even though the Phils have highly questionable bullpen.

Of course, when Charles has lifted a pitcher early, even though there were no signs that he was tiring, and the bullpen has come in and given up runs, Charles was criticized.

It sucks to lose a game like last night - but what it boils down to is that Burnett was dealing. When he's on, he's one of the best pitchers in the game.

Turn it around. "Blaming" the loss on the Phils' hitters or Charles' decisions would be like finding ways to "blame" game 1 on the NY manager or hitters. Did Girardi pull Sabathia too soon? Should the NY hitters have made Lee throw more strikes, when he was dealing, and watching pitches would have simply meant watching called strikes?


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