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Sunday, November 01, 2009

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It's gotta hurt J-Dubbs. It's gotta hurt.

Welcome to Major League Baseball Philadelphia.

Cholly should have hit Francisco instead of Bruntlett in the 6th and made a double switch putting the pitcher in Ibanez spot. In the 8th with two outs you put in
Gnome against the lefty, what's-his-name, and hope you get lucky cause you have no righty bench options left. (Hey Rubin, you paying attention for this off-season?!?!)

Stairs. Well at least he put the ball in play. Given the situation, you have to let your big lefty bench bat take his hacks on Rivera. It's a 1/100 long shot at that point, but you have no options.

Hamels was leaving pitches high in the zone. Only a matter of time before he got burned with that lineup. Getting burned on the curveballs in the zone. I'd suggest keeping them in the dirt. Maybe you get them to swing, like the first one to Swisher. Maybe it sets them up to take a low change.

The top of the lineup is in a nasty funk. They don't get on base, we don't win. They got to find a way. Work the count, hit, walk, bunt, whatever. Time for a pre-game talk with Uncle Cholly and maybe a shake-up of the lineup.

JW - Petitte terrific? No way. Capable yeah. His stuff wasn't nearly as good as Burnett nor really even Sabathia. He didn't have feel for a single pitch tonight and there wasn't a pitch he was able to throw for a strike consistently all night long.

Made a few pitches when he had to but the Phils really helped him out too. Dave Campbell added on radio after the game that he counted 10 pitches alone in the 4 innings that were out of the strike zone and the Phils swung and missed on tonight. I also saw at least 4-5 pitches that were right down the zone including that pitch to JRoll in the 4th with a runner on that the Phils just missed on doing something on a hittable pitch.

Everybody has gone gaga over the Yanks' starting pitching in the series but Burnett was the only guy who really had great stuff and even he struggled a bit in the early going.

The only starter the Phils have faced all postseason who I really felt they had no shot against was Padilla in Game 2 of the NLCS. Padilla's stuff was electric that day from a velocity and control standpoint.

Kinda a negative synopsis, Jason. Understandable, but its not like they got beat 11-1 and made 3 errors and a bunch of base-running blunders.

I thought Chooch had a poor game behind the plate tonight. Obviously the pitcher has the final say and he is the one throwing the ball, but I think on many of the key hits tonight, the pitcher hit the spot with the pitch that Chooch wanted. Outside fastball to A-Rod was a HR. Outside fastball to Swisher was a HR. Outside fastball to Matsui was a HR. I see a pattern.

The Phils got beat in Game 3. The Yanks were better in Game 3. Their starter was better (although Pettitte wasn't all that sharp either) and their hitters were MUCH better.

And the obvious edge in bench strength for the Yanks has been shown loud and clear. The Yanks first pinch-hitter tonight was Hideki Matsui, who homered. The Phils first pinch-hitter tonight was Gnome, who hit a 200 foot flyball to RF. I am sure Ruben's #1 priority in the off-season will be revamping and improving the bench and depth of the team. It has to be. Some of our older pieces (Ibanez, Feliz and Rollins) have looked old too much of the time this year. If the Yanks can find a way to rest Jeter 25 games a year, then the Phils can probably do something similar with a few of their everyday guys.

The guy they have counted on as their "other ace" has just been average in 2009. He hasn't handled being average very well and has looked like the 25 year old person he is too much of the time. The key is how he comes back in 2010. If he puts in the work (that he admitted he didn't put in last offseason) and his arm recovers from all the 2008 wear-and-tear, he'll be fine. We must not forget how dominant he was in clutch games in 2007 and 2008. His career isn't going to end, just because of a lost season where he's been a little bit off and some bad bounces have gone against him.

The Yanks offer 2 things that are tough on the Phils of 2009:

1. 2 really good lefty starters, who can stifle 3 of the main cogs of the offense.

2. A dominant closer, who will shut the door on any late-inning Phillie magic.


Going forward, whatever ends up happening in this series, 2 things HAVE to happen in 2010 and beyond. Hamels has to rebound physically and more importantly mentally in 2010 and try and learn from what Lee and Happ have in the makeup department. And second, Howard has to learn how to hit lefty pitching. Its painful watching him flail away up there, even against bad lefty pitchers. He's too good a talent to continually not be able to at least make contact against a southpaw. He concentrated on his defense and conditioning last off-season. He needs to figure something out hitting lefty's this offseason.

As for Happ, he clearly pitched better than Durbin or Myers. Pitched out of a huge high leverage situation when he came in for Hamels in the 5th inning with runners on 1st/3rd and 1 out. He managed to get ARod & Posada to keep it 5-3. Thought that might be a turning point in the game but it wasn't.

Durbin's control just abandoned him tonight and he didn't have it. As for Myers, I am not sure if he just badly missed location or just tried that machismo crap where he tries to muscle a fastball up in the zone past a hitter. If you can throw 93+, that generally works. It doesn't work with Myers' fastball velocity (upper 80s) though it doesn't.

You would think that after watching so many of those pitches land in the seats the last 2+ years when he does that he would learn but then again it is Brett Myers. Maybe some other team gets lucky with him and gets the more reflective and dedicated Myers who turns out be a real bargain as a starter or key bullpen guy. My bet is that they don't and they largely see more of what the Phils have.

I'm mostly trying to avoid thinking about this game, so I don't know if I have the heart to talk about it too much.

I think it's a little harsh to say you could give or take Happ and Durbin. I thought Happ did a reasonably solid job (it was really just the one pitch) and Durbin has generally pitched well this postseason.

I can't even read the whole post right now, but I noticed that part at the end and had to comment.

And hey, it's not over yet. We've been spoiled by this team so far, but a 2-1 deficit is far from insurmountable. This team has proved their character already, if anyone is capable of coming back, it's them.

Okay, time to curl up in a ball now.

Obviously, tonight is the key game of the series. I'm placing my bets on the home team. Just a gut feel.

Big Joe vs. Big CC, The Beef-
Blanton is listed at 250 pounds and Sabathia 290 (per MLB.com), combined weight of 540. That's a lot of beef on the mound tonight. Phils absolutely need to get after CC and have a Blanton pitch well. 2-2, makes it a 3 game series; 3-1 makes it do-or-die.

May not have made a difference overall, but I have serious questions about the A-Rod homerun off of the camera. I am not familiar with the guidelines for instant replay review of HR's, however, it seems to me that the umpires made an impermissible, if not wrong call.

The umpires made a judgment call on the HR. My question is this: Why is a judgment call on that play any more accurate when reviewed if it is still a judgment call. There is no doubt that if a fan had reached over the wall and grabbed the ball, that it would have been a HR; there is a rule for that. However, a camera is neither a fan, nor a permanent part of the stadium. Therein exists a grey area not covered by any rule of instant replay. In the absence of a hard and consistent rule to base the call, I believe that the original, and not the replay aided overruling should stand. The World Series is not the place to be creating ad hoc rules. There is no way to determine whether that ball would have cleared the railing absent the camera.

I am of the opinion that the camera should be considered a part of the stadium, but either way there needs to be a rule, not ad hoc judgments. In hindsight the next two batters went K and popout. That would have meant a scoreless inning.

Regarding the home run: I heard some comments that, by ground rule, a ball off the camera is a home run. If so, it was an easy call for the umps.

Did anyone see Cole's post game quote?

"I can't wait for it to end. It's been mentally draining. But, you know what, it's one of those things, a year in, you just can't wait for a fresh start,"

I think that speaks volumes to his character this season, if he had a little of jayson werth's fire from last night he'd have been in the driver seat, did you say werth slam his bat down after that second hr and try to fire everyone up

From Lauber (and others):

Well, as crew chief Gerry Davis explained after the game, the umpires take a tour of the field and review the ground rules before the first game of each series at a new ballpark. And during their tour of the Bank yesterday, the umps came across the TV cameras positioned along each foul line and decided that, “because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera, home run,” Davis said.

RE: changed call of a HR after ball striking camera-

Had the original 2b call stood and had the reuslting Posada (6-3) and Cano (F2) ABs not changed, sure, there would have been only 1 run scored. Yes, a difference, but, with a runner on 2nd, would Posada and/or Cano had approached thier PA differently with possible different results?

The Big Issue - and I am not sure if it was addressed during the game chat - is how much the changed call got into Colebert's head.

All the above is arguing how many angels are on the head of a pin. The loss was due to: not getting to Pettitte early, the o-fers from the Phils #2, #3, #4 and #6 hitters, and hanging curveballs. The last, IMHO, got into Hamels head the most.

This is going seven. I still believe.

I miss the Ryan Howard who was such a monster in the NLDS and NLCS this year. Where did he go? He's turned back into Mr. K from 2007...okay, without the extra 25 pounds, but still.

Not saying that nobody else shares blame, it's just frustrating after feeling so happy to see him step up just a few weeks ago, now I feel worried when he steps up. What happened to the "get me to the plate, boys" guy?

Hamels is obviously having a tough year, both mentally and physically. It's unfair, however, that every failure is now tied to his personality. The guy wants to win and he's frustrated, a little immature.
Take a minute and look up Andy Pettite's year-to-year record.
It's a game of adjustments and Cole will adjust. It won't happen in 2009, but we will stand and applaud Cole Hamels again.

Don't get too high after a win or too low after a loss. Big Joe CAN beat CC tonight to make it 2-2. With Lee going tomorrow, we COULD head back to NY needing only 1.

I'll be at the park tonight to witness the Phillies come-from-behind magic.

Maybe there was some truth to that 'long layoff' talk.

Howard struggled last year in the first 3 WS games, same this year.

We've gotta start losing more than 1 game in the NLCS from now on.

Yep, it's time for Blanton to step up, once again.

Obi Wan, you're our only hope.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXAhOlh8sIM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPSemQOrslM
Watch these videos. And J-Roll predicted the Phils would win in five on Jay Leno's show. Now you know that Ellen Degeneres is a washed up comedian, David Letterman is worthless, and Jay Leno's primetime show is a failure. All because of Saturday's game.

I would love to see someone do a comparison of old vs. new ballparks. Nobody said much about it, but Utley's first homerun in game one was a joke as was A-Rod's last night. When I see replays of old Shibe park I see a big fat 493! sign in left center field - that means it had to be huge all the way around. Nothing will be done about this because homeruns = money, but these ballparks are a joke. You basically have to get lucky pitching guys up and away! The A-Rod homerun was a nice double but not a homerun.

I don't see how Bonds, A-Rod, or Howard, could ever be home run "kings," it's a completely different game.

Hamels' collapse has been the most-mentioned event on both the game thread and this one, and rightly so, but this is also worth mentioning: Hamels allowed 5 runs in 4.1 IP. The bullpen allowed 3 runs in the next 3.2 IP. Had those bullpen innings been clean, the score would've been 5-4 heading into the 9th. But Happ, Durbin and Myers each allowed 1 run. That is a recipe for losing.

So if it goes 7, do you put Hamels back out there? I mean, we know Chollie will, but after last night, and after his quote after the game -- Cole Hamels 2009 version sure doesn't seem like the guy you want on the mound for Game 7 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, does he?

Had Hamels done his job as starter, the bullpen wouldn't have pitched 3.2 innings. Quite making excuses for Hamels. It was a terrible end to a terrible year for our "Ace".

There are very interesting aspects to the remainder of this series:

1) This is the first time in six postseason series that the Phils have been behind in games. How do they respond? Will they be too tight and crumble under pressure? Or will they remember how 2007 felt and claw back with everything they've got?

2) Starting tonight, and for the rest of the way, we'll see a Yankees pitcher on 3 days rest versus a Phillies pitcher on full rest, a test of different approaches on baseball's greatest stage.

Whatever the results (and I still have high hopes for a WFC2), it will be fascinating to watch.

Also, its been 12 hours or so but Eric Freaking Bruntlett in a key WS AB???

WTF Cholly!!!

The next two games at home are must wins. The layoff seems to have dented Howard's timing, he has looked like a Rookie the last two games. Tonight our boys must dig deep and get those bats going. A loss tonight puts us in one hot mess that I do not think we could recover from. Kentucky Joe and his pinstriped mates must bring it tonight.

Let's go Phillies!

NEPP: No excuses. As I said in my post Hamels failure has been the dominant theme, rightly so. I just thought it was worth mentioning that the bullpen gave up 3 runs in the next 3.2 IP after Hamels left. You may think that's just fine. I don't.

Hamels looked sharp -- the FIRST time through the Yanks order. Why the hell he started throwing curve balls (especially to the PITCHER) is beyond me. If the TOP of the order can get its head out of its ass, we can right this ship -- even with Blanton (winner of Game 4 last year -- http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2008_10_26_tbamlb_phimlb_1#boxscore) on the mound.

But I'm expecting a late afternoon announcement that Manuel will throw Lee tonight, and then have him available for a potential Game 7. I like a Blanton-Burnett matchup in Game 5 better anyway. If I were the skipper, I throw Lee tonight, Blanton tomorrow, Pedro in Game 6 and Lee again in 7.

One of the most painful part of last night was when I heard the fairly audible (although not completely overwhelming) "Lets Go Yankees" chants.

Keep the faith ...

I don't think its fine either. The Yankees came out and ripped us a new one once Cole wet the bed. They're a good team and they did the same thing we did in Game 1...they piled on and locked it up.

However, if Hamels does his job and goes 7 or 8 strong innings (something that looked possible after 3 innings, then we're talking about being up 2-1 in this series.

TapRoom: Can't imagine anything stupider than throwing Lee on short rest so you can start Blanton in Yankee Stadium against Burnett.

If we lose tonight, does it really matter who we throw in Game 5? Does anyone really think we'd come back from a 3-1 deficit?

And it would be Blanton vs. Burnett in CBP for Game 5, not Yankee Stadium.

TapRoom: I take that back. The only thing stupider I can imagine would be to use Eric Bruntlett to pinch hit in a crucial situation in a World Series game. Nothing could possibly top that for stupidity.

That Eric Bruntlett moment will be used as one of UC's ultimate bonehead decisions. That was just so ridiculous and stupid.

NEPP: Either way it's idiotic. Lee has never pitched on short rest in his career and you need to win Game 5 no matter what. Unless you're a Yankee fan, the move makes no sense.

I agree, I wouldn't use Lee on short rest when we know he's completely dominant on regular rest. We go with Blanton and a prayer tonight in Game 4.

Moneyline tonight is Phils plus 160. That is value city. Phils win tonight, then the whole momentum flips. 2-2 series with Lee on the hill tomorrow. This Phillies team is too tough not to expect a killer effort tonight. Get on CC early, get to the bullpen, and let Kentucky Joe settle into a strike throwing groove...

Charlie was unable to get Cole right all year, but not for lack of commitment. He stuck with the diva all year. Unfortunately, Cole's left his 2008 big game marbles on the banquet circuit.

The key is getting to Sabathia EARLY. We need a few runs in the first couple innings or he'll get in a groove and hammer us. He's a very good pitcher despite our ability to beat him the last couple times out.


On Hamels: As pissed as I am at his season. It was kind of expected after that workload last year and the hoopla of the WFC off-season. I really think he'll be dominant in 2010 (despite the only 2 pitches, blah blah blah). I would expect his best season to this date in 2010 where it all comes together. He's too good a talent to not learn his lesson from this terrible year. His peripherals suggest nothing less.

"There is no baseball after the World Series for four or five months, so there will be plenty of time to rest."

- Joe Girardi

Did the layoff hurt Howard in game 1 when he had two line-drive hits?

Clearly there is a delay in the effects of a layoff. It doesn't strike till the 2nd game after a long layoff.

polanco - love the optimism. you are right, if we somehow win this game, the talk tomorrow is all phils.

clout: the middle relief's unreliability is more or less a given, thus underscoring the failure of Hamels to pitch more deeply into the game.

denny b: no disrespect, but I'm glad you aren't the one writing the game synopses. This was not one that had any business coming with an 'always-sunny-in-Philadelphia' type of spin. It really means the Phillies played well because they didn't lose 11-1 with 5 errors? They lost a game they dearly needed, a game in which they had a 3-0 lead, with all kinds of fan energy and momentum. There is no way around that. They are essentially dependent on a letdown game from Sabathia in order to get back into the series now.

If there is anything for sure this Phils team won't quit. They will fight to win this series, Blanton will throw 7 good innings tonight and Lidge will get the save. Hamels is done for 09. I'm still right on Phils in 6.

Bats come alive tonight also. Howard and Ibanez hit HR's and all is well. Jimmy and Shane get going also.

RED night at the BANK.

Cole: Heidi, I'm home. Hi Trixie, come to poppa.

Trixie: Grrrrr!

Cole: Heidi, Trixie is growling at me.

Heidi: I put your pillow and blanket on the couch for you.

Cole: Aw, Heidi, I had a rough night.

Heidi: Get away from me. Don't touch me.

Cole: Aw, Heidi.

The only reason I could figure about Bruntlett is that Charlie wanted to save Francisco for a late-inning (post-7th) defensive replacement for Ibanez. I was at the game, and told my brother that the blogosphere would be having a meltdown when I saw Gnome coming in to hit.

So I just had the following conversation with my fiancee:

NEPP's Girl: So, is there a game tonight?

NEPP: Yeah, not that its looking too good...

NEPP's Girl: Well they were fine last night till Cole blew it. He's sucked since he went all Hollywood. You know who he's married to, right?

NEPP: Yeah, but he's dated her since 2006, he was great last year.

NEPP's Girl: Yeah, but now I see him all the time in magazines and on commercials, he needs to remember what got him there.

NEPP: Yeah, he got a big contract last winter so he's already set.

NEPP's Girl: Not if she's in charge of the money. Remember what she did on Survivor for peanut butter...they were gonna give it to her anyway. She's an attention whore. She's another Brook Shields (referring to Brook destroying Andre Agassi).

NEPP: Yeah, but Agassi bounced back.

NEPP's Girl: Yeah, after he dumped her. Did you want me to wash your 2008 WS t-shirt?

NEPP: No, they lost the last 2 games I wore it.

NEPP's Girl: Wear your WS Sweatshirt instead, they haven't lost with that one, right?

NEPP: Nope, not lately.


I thank God every day that I have a woman like this.

What's with these reports that Phillies players picking up the flu? Why weren't they given vaccines? So far, it's affected Eyre, Pedro, Victorino, Dobbs and Lidge. I assume it's affected a few others as well.

I don't want to know who's sick. I just want to know why precautions weren't taken.

MG: "The only starter the Phils have faced all postseason who I really felt they had no shot against was Padilla in Game 2 of the NLCS. Padilla's stuff was electric that day from a velocity and control standpoint." I guess you didn't watch Burnett in game 2??
Before the Series I was alone in voicing my reservations of having Hamels in the rotation. Nothing he did in the recent past inspired any confidence that indicated he had turned things around. I took some hits from BLers, who continued through yesterday to claim Hamels would be great, showing his 08 form. Wishful thinking.
I want the Phils to win as badly as anybody else, although I don't own a jersey. However, as I said I would last week, TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!

Maybe they got a strain that the vaccine doesn't cover?

Thanks Ozark...though its not really the time for that, is it?

I'll toe the line and say that, if the Phils win tonight, they'll win the series in 6. I love Lee in game 5 and Pedro will squash a short-rested Pettite.

I'll also wager that Hamels sees no more action this series, certainly not as a game 7 starter. No way he can go in NY in game 7, with the postgame comments he made.

In other news, a look at Bruntlett's beard last night makes me think we're going to have a very cold winter.

It happens all the time. A "golden boy" with an ego (Hamels) can't accept the fact that the world is not organized for his convenience. An infielder blows a play. An umpire blows a strike call (maybe). Instead of bearing down, he blows up. I hope Moyer sends Cole to his sports psychologist this winter. And I hope Charley finds someone else to pitch game 7 if it gets to that.

I have more confidence in Blanton's ability to go out there and toss a good one tonight than I've had in Hamels ability to do the same, all season long.

Howard needs to shave.

If the Phils lose this series in 5 or 6, I think we'll all look back and tell the story in this fashion:

Their mentally questionable starter threw well and didn't falter. Ours threw well but then hit a wall. Tough two game swing.

What are the chances of a victory tonight?

Can you hope for more out of Blanton than 3-4 runs in six innings? Can you hope for less that two runs out of middle-late relief?

What are the chances the Phils score 6-7 runs against Sabathia and Rivera?

I put the chances of winning at 10-20%. Much lower than if Lee were starting this game on short rest.

This game is key. The Phils need to win BOTH remaining games at home. What are the chances of winning two games in NY, if neither of them are pitched by Lee?

People say it wouldn't matter whether you win game 4 because Lee is pitching or game 5 because Lee is pitching. No, you need to win both games, and the likelihood is greater if the matchups are Sabthia/Lee and Burnett/Blanton than Sabathia/Blanton and Burnett/Lee.

But I sure hope I'm proven wrong, and Blanton shuts the Yankees down tonight.

The one thing lacking in all of this analysis is that the Yankees are just the better team. They won more than 100 games and easily won the best Division in baseball

Blanton pitches to the Yankees' strength; It'll be 5-0 NY by the time the Phillies even have any one up

I don't have much faith in blanton tonite, and CC with blood in the air might be a tough task for us to overcome, but then again, this team seems to thrive in this type of situation, so who really knows?

And who is available tonite out of the bullpen, happ? Chopper? Lidge?

Can someone PLEASE tell me how Feliz is escaping the blame so easily on this blog right now????

His offense is a downright JOKE. He has, what, 2 hits this post season, and 1 in the World Series. Way to many strikeout, he's ALWAYS swinging at the first pitch regardless of the situation or who we have on the ropes. When he manages to make contact it's been nothing but weak, front-foot ground balls to Jeter and A-Rod, Including a rally-killing double play in game 2.

For everyone who wants to tell me that "his glove makes up for it" yada yada, well until yesterday you were preaching to the choir. However, after watching him bobble a dead double play ball yesterday, I have just had it with this mess.

Can we at least START pinning some of this blame on him?? For goodness sake, our pitchers have more hits than he does! AND they've been more consistent in the field (see Cliff Lee!)

I was watching the game with a Yankees fan last night. Cool guy, totally respectful and it was fun to watch and have two civil different viewpoints on a game.

Throughout the first and second I kept saying- Petitte's fastball is flat and catching way too much of the plate. When the Phillies worked him to 40 pitches thru two I said, "I like our chances against the bullpen if we keep this up." Then in the 2 of the next 3 innings the Phillies let Andy get away with single digit pitch counts. The whole approach changed and the Phillies struggled mightily. My buddy kept saying- at this point I'll take my chances with the bullpen. The Phillies just let off the gas.

To me a big moment in the game was during that second inning, and it was Victorino's at bat. Yes he got a sac fly out of it but he had a terrible approach early in the at bat. Andy had just walked Rollins following the bunt being dropped for a hit. He was clearly struggling. Vic went up and swung at two cutters in the dirt (the only pitch Andy seemed to throw effectively last night) and buried himself 0-2 early. Had he laid off those pitches he is up 2-0 and in one of the next two pitches probably sees a fastball which Andy could not get any movement on. We got a run but there was a chance for a big crooked number out of that scenario and we only got 2 which left the game too close for a potent line-up.

philipper: We can hope for more than that from Blanton and the bullpen. I think it is realistic. Then again, it was also realistic last night, but it didn't happen. If Blanton is sharp, I think he'll keep us in the game, at the very least.

Today's collective wisdom re Ryan Howard:

Maybe there was some truth to that 'long layoff' talk.

Howard struggled last year in the first 3 WS games, same this year.

We've gotta start losing more than 1 game in the NLCS from now on.

Posted by: EastFallowfield | Sunday, November 01, 2009 at 08:24 AM

Did the layoff hurt Howard in game 1 when he had two line-drive hits?

Posted by: Benny Profane | Sunday, November 01, 2009 at 09:36 AM

Clearly there is a delay in the effects of a layoff. It doesn't strike till the 2nd game after a long layoff.

Posted by: NEPP | Sunday, November 01, 2009 at 09:37 AM

Howard needs to shave.

Posted by: ozark | Sunday, November 01, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Funny stuff.

couldn't agree more, curt. from crashburn alley...

"Thanks to two southpaw starters in three games, Ryan Howard has faced a left-hander nearly 70% of the time in the World Series as opposed to 17% in the NLDS and 52% in the NLCS."

This does not explain his game two (lack of) performance, but the fact that Burnett was dealing and Rivera is touch on lefties does.

Let's stop talking layoff - it's ridiculous. The Phils are down in a series for the first time and it's just the convenient thing to blame. Sure, he has been better against lefties of late and he didn't strike out as much against the Rockies or Dodgers, but the fact is that he still has bad numbers against lefties and is still prone to strike out a ton.

Stop it with the layoff crap already - he's being overmatched. Of course, he's Ryan Howard and this can end at any point and I hope it does.

If I were running the Phanavision tonight, I would run a video of the wrestler Rick Flair. You know,...To be the man, you have to beat the man. I know the Phillies are champs, but they are underdogs and backed into a corner. I fully expect them to come out smoking tonight.

The Yankees punched the Phils in the mouth. A great team wipes the blood off the cheek and comes right back at them. Screw the matchups, this is about attitude. I think this team has that attitude.

Get on CC early. Throw some brush back pitches high and tight to the Yankees early in the night, especially AROID and Jeter. The Phillies pitchers let the Yankees get way to comfortable in the box last night.

so when big mouth said phillies in 5... did he mean they would lose in 5? and does cole hamels know this is the world series not a roller coaster you cant just cry and ask them to stop the ride... game 3 of the world series and he cant wait till its over so he can go home and curl up in a ball.. what a soft puss such a big talker in the offseason .. hmm maybe work out instead of marring tv whores and behaving like a snot nosed spolied little kunt...oh yeah i forgot he is a snot nosed spoiled little cunt my bad!!!

"On a team of true tough guys, Hamels has isolated himself with yet another soft start - this one in the biggest game of his career - and one can't help but wonder what his future holds."

A number of our true tough guys went 0-4 last night, and since performance is entirely a function of toughness--because baseball is that easy--I'm forced to conclude that Howard, Utley, Ibanez, and Vic are totally un-tough.

And since, as JW's insightful statement suggests, the future is foretold by what happened last, expect to see our line-up of pansies and weaklings flail and panic for the remainder of series and cost the team a second consecutive championship.

A team of pansies, through and through.

It's very hard to conceive of a Philly comeback in the Series. The Yankees have exposed some fundemental weaknesses in our team. Our starting pitchers were good enough to enable the Phils to win two consecutive NL pennants, but when facing the top teams which possess two premier starters, the Phils come up short. Unless Hamels transforms himself into a true frontline pitcher, the Phils find themselves with just one such pitcher. That was good enough last year, but when the Yankees broke the bank signing Sabathia and Burnett, the formula for winning any future matchup with them also changed. The Phils lack a second frontline starter, an absolute necessity in the post season. For planning purposes, the Phils need to assume that the Yankees are the ultimate opponent.

As for the lineup, I see Rollins and Feliz as interrelated problems. Rollins is clearly on the decline, and Feliz is, in a word, pathetic. Cholly's use of Rollins at leadoff is inexcusably stupid. Rollins need to be dropped into the 7 spot in the order and a new leadoff batter is essential. Feliz needs to find another team. Think Chone Figgins. Yes, all this requires a bigger payroll, but that's the price you pay. I don't have the impression that the Phils are strapped for cash.

Cholly has always had a penchant for emptying his bench in reverse order of talent. It's like he's constantly saving his best bats for a critical late-game situation, while ignoring the fact that there's a critical moment right before his eyes & that another such moment may never arise.

I've always found this to be sort of an ironic mindset from a manager who used to pull Pat Burrell from the game in the 6th inning. If you want to save your best bench player so you'll have him available in the 8th & 9th inning, wouldn't the same be true of one of your best hitters?

The layoff theory is BS. Knock it off now.
These guys have been playing for eight months now. One week isn't gonna throw them that badly..or at least it shouldn't.

We all know that this lineup individually has it's holes. Every one does. What we expect from them is what we've come to know and that it the resolve to gut through the adversity and do anything at the plate to help this team win. So they're down a game...they need to take care of business this evening.

TTI: You're completely correct about the Victorino AB. He wasn't thinking at all and seemed to be trying to win the game all by himself. Frustrating to watch.

"Thanks to two southpaw starters in three games, Ryan Howard has faced a left-hander nearly 70% of the time in the World Series as opposed to 17% in the NLDS and 52% in the NLCS."

Bingo.

And add the fact that in the game the Phils won, Utely hit well, and he's been terrible since. It's pretty tough for the Phils to win games when Utley and Howard produce nothing. It seems to me that worrying about anything else (including which pitcher to pitch in the 4th or 5th game) is pretty much secondary.

What shot do the Phils have of winning if Howard and Utley don't produce? Unless they get a complete shutdown of the Yankees, slim and none.

"In other news, a look at Bruntlett's beard last night makes me think we're going to have a very cold winter."

True! Few people know that his beard has the same function as a "wooly" caterpillar and the Old Farmers Almanac.

Cole Hamels is the living embodiment of the expression: "Million dollar arm. Ten cent brain."

He "can't wait for this to end." Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings on Cole's career in a Phillies uniform, and it did last season too.

Use that money to extend Cliff Lee and let Cole walk in free agency. He can take his "Princess & The Pea" act elsewhere.

phlipper - Utley can hit LHP though and he did in Game 1 in a big way.

Howard though has been generally pretty weak against LHP all especially LHP relievers who have even modest control and something in their repertoire with breaking action away (especially a curveball or slider).

It is no coincidence that Howard's IBB have plummeted has his numbers (especially his power numbers against LHP) have diminished the past 2 years.

do yourselves all a favor and don't look at fangraphs from last nights game. it took me back to how promising it was after the third inning and how quickly it turned. thought i'd save you all the pain.

w. preacher - get rid of cole? just let him go? let's not get crazy. pitchers don't grow on trees.

Schweitzer - Typical complete and ridiculous overreaction by a Philly fan.

So the Phils should sign Lee this hugeseason to a huge and lengthy extension when he is at maximum value and will be a huge risk going ahead forward given his age (32) and let Hamels walk away away after 2011 when he will likely be entering the prime of his career?

As for this nonsense about "Competing with the Yanks" you don't build your roster in mind in order to theoretically compete against a team you may/may not face in the World Series.

Let's see what happens tonight in Game 4 before talking about the offseason or other completely ridiculous things around Hamels.

I seriously hope the "Beerleaguer Reverse Jinx" is in full effect because there is some pessimistic bull flying here today.

CC is on short rest, the Phils been the only team able to expose him in the postseason and Blanton is the kind of pitcher that will give the Phils a chance if they can get on the board.

I'll be happy with a win tonight. Look, this run has been amazing, and we have just as good of a chance as the yankees to win this series. Take out the blown saves by Lidge this year and this team finishes at or near the same record as the yankees, who had the most wins in the regular season. They are a good team, plain and simple, and were gonna take our lumps against them.

At least, we can take this series 6 or 7 games, win or lose. If we do that, then I'm happy. I'll just be happier if we win it all, of course. Our epic, game 5 world series winning game at home is not to be, so what. I think breaking the hearts of 50,000 yankees fans in yankee stadium will be just as fun to watch.

They'll win tonight. They'll find a way, like they always do.

MG, I'm not sure what your point was.

Utley hits LHP, but he looked terrible against Pettitte.

We all know Howard is generally atrocious against LHP (although he has had some big hits against LHP this post season).

My point was this: Given the amount of LHP they've been facing, when Utley fails to come through like he has the last two games, the Phils are hard-pressed to win a game against a high-scoring opponent. Given that Howard will continue to see a lot of LHP - Utley needs to come through if the Phils are to have much of a chance.

Over the course of a season, Howard's performance against RHP balances out his weakness against LHP. In short series, where the Phils are facing 75% LHP, Utley needs to hit.

OK, the long layoff is no excuse, and the fact that some guy isn't wearing his lucky sweatshirt is a legit reason we're doomed at 2 to 1.

Victorino's been my biggest disappointment. Hamels I expected this from, it's just a continuation of the regular season. But Victorino. Here's a guy who excelled the first two rounds, and this series he just swings at everything. Thanks to him and Feliz, Burnett managed to go 7 after throwing 60-plus the first three innings. Then yesterday, he swings and misses at two balls and just hits the sac fly. Could've been a bigger inning. There was also that hanger he popped up.


If the end result for the series ends up for the worse, I am not going to excoriate Hamels and will consider him facilitating the WS win in 2008 as overriding his underachievement in 2009. However, regardless of the outcome of this series, Cole has a lot of work and thinking to do over this winter. He will get the benefit of the doubt from me.

Lake Fred, you may be giving Ms. Hamels too much credit for living in a realm that she probably doesn't (reality). Or rather, you may be laying too much blame at the feet of Mr. Stroebel. Cole has been steadily prissier since he's gone deeper into marriage with this woman.

Those two seem more worried about which glossy magazine photo shoot they can get into these days instead of how to be the best team mate Cole can be. She's primped and preened his ass until he becomes someone that doesn't even comprehend how ignorant his post game statements really are. Worst part of it is, he is too soft to agree in the first place.

Thanx, Heidi. Do you think she even cares about baseball? Does Cole anymore?

Well, at least the Eagles are crushing the Giants.

Yo, many newer threads

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