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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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I didn't get a chance to watch the game live, so I followed it on MLB.com Gameday. Seemed like every hit, and I mean EVERY HIT the Nationals had yesterday was off Cole's fastball. If he leaves that anywhere over the plate, hitters crush it.

That's the puzzle: how can you be a really effective pitcher if you can't work off your fastball?

I smell something too. Lake what happened last night?

****The late scratch, occurring after lineups were officially announced, meant the Phillies were short a player off the bench. Juan Castro got the start and produced a mixed bag, bobbling a fairly routine play at short, but also pounding a key two-run double into the gap in deep left center.****

That is why I love baseball...little in-game stories like that. He wasn't even supposed to play, let alone lead off and he gets the huge double that breaks the game open. Best sport in the world because of that.

Hopefully the MRI comes back with a Grade 1 strain today for Jimmy and that tweet from Salisbury on the Grade 2 was incorrect/exaggerated. Otherwise, we'll see him in June most likely. Either way, the lineup can survive without Jimmy for a month.

On Pedro: Great move if it happens. His arrogance and personality are contagious. He has a certain swagger that great teams need.

Cole did blow by that one strikeout fastball at 93 mph which surprised one Nat. He really needs to throw strikes with his other moving pitches and when he does early on, he will be striking out batters into the seventh.

When the other players were jogging during warmups yesterday, Rollins was getting pushed on the shoulders by trainers. I think that in this case, a cigar is just a cigar.

If the calf strain was just a cover-up for him getting benched for being late, do you really think the team would go the lengths of getting a very expensive MRI just to continue the cover-up? Occam's Razor should be in play here.

I would be shocked if JR was scratched for being late after being in the lineup card. It makes zero sense. Charlie has shown in the past he'll publically reprimand JR, why make it a secret this time? Why put Castro into the leadoff spot? Why not bench JR a few minutes earlier and have Shane lead off?

That's one theory which does not hold H2O, IMHO.

Exactly...he's clearly injured.

Now, its a distinct possibility that he was also late to the game in addition to straining something during the warmup sprints.

Off topic, but last night the ol' lady and I were watching the replay of the game. When Marquis hit his RBI double in the fourth just over Polanco's glove, my wife turns to me and says "if he were only a few inches taller..."

I cracked up. When I explained why I was laughing, she called me a nerd.

Tartan: Exaclty right. Granted, injuries can pop up any time (the other night, Bedrosian's Beard suffered a charlie horse while sleeping, which nagged me all day.), I don't think there really is an injury.

Lee being on the DL is making me feel a little better, but the more I think about it, and the more $ the Phils spend towards Pedro and/or other pieces, I get upset that they dealt Lee. I do like the pieces we got back, but I'd rather have two studs at the top of the rotation.

With regards to Cole, accoding to Fangraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4972&position=P

Cole's value for his FB is -2.5/100 runs (which is pretty bad). On the other hand, his value for this Curve is -5.8, for hit cutter is -2.35, so it's not like his FB is all alone. The only pitch which has a positive value is his change, which is .49 above average per 100.

All of these are well below his historical norms. What will happen when we get a good sample size to analyze? We'll see when it happens.

And he was late, rushed through warm-ups too cold and injured himself.

Dan in Philly: The problem is that you have to have a fastball. The other two - the curve and cutter - are still very secondary.

He may have been late but, Manuel wouldn't have put him in the leadoff slot unless he intended to play him anyway. Castro in teh leadoff spot tells me he was scratched due to injury. It sucks when you get caught short - the Pirates scratched Ohlendorf shortly before yesterday's game and the emergency starter was a guy who is the no. 5/6 guy in AAA; not even on the 40 man.

I do like that he felt confident enough to throw his cutter 14 times yesterday. That makes it a legit 3rd option. The curve is just not there...he should simply junk it for now.

Location is killing him with his fastball...absolutely killing him.

Meyer, this was posted at the tail end of the last thread.

Cole: Well, Heidi, its a great day! The Phillies are in first place with a 6-1 record and I'm 2-0! You see, I was right; that it was okay in doing the nasty the night before the game.

Heidi: Cole, you are so full of yourself. If the Phillies were playing any other team than the gNats, you'd be a .500 pitcher right now. Your performance wasn't much to get all excited about.

Cole: Aw, Heidi, you're supposed to pump me up.

Heidi: I've decided that I am going to help the Phillies by cutting you off for nights before your pitching starts. I think you were physically drained and your mind was elsewhere at times during your pitching performance, you dirty dog.

Cole: Cutting me off!! Wha...wha..why?

Heidi: I'm sacrificing for the team. Now here's Trixie's lease. She looks like she's ready to unload.

Posted by: Lake Fred | Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 10:04 AM

My guess on Rollins is that if he was late he wouldn't have been on the lineup card...

I'd Like to give Cole a pass so far. I think both starts have been improvements over last year. And his 2nd was better than his 1st.

Also the Nats are a respectable team at the plate (including marquis who is a .202 lifetime hitter -- and hit .310 in 87 ABs with the cards in 06)

Billingsly:

The guy I was sitting next to at the game said "if Polanco was only 6 inches taller"... I also laughed, then stopped my self, so I wouldn't have to explain to my buddy, since he would have called me worse than a nerd.

JW, my thinking is Cole spent too much time working on his 3rd and 4th pitches, and not enough on his FB and change. I think he should ditch either the cutter or the curve, and only throw his 3rd pitch about 15% of the time (close to his historical average), and spend the bullpen time thus saved on his fastball.

One positive on Cole in the first 2 starts: His GB rate is WAY up. 54.5% in the early going (his career rate is 40.5%) Eventually, that should help keep his ERA down if they start hitting it at guys.

Granted his HR% is nearly double his career rate right now as he's left a couple pitches up. Small sample sizes of course.

NEPP, if Cole can cure his HR problem, he'll be an ace. The only question is, will he?

best part of opening day: They introduced the lineup in reverse order just so Jimmy was the finale, and rightfully got the loudest applause (ryno close 2nd).

Right now, I think his biggest issue is getting behind players to start off ABs. His first pitch strike % is nearly 10% lower than his career numbers.


All in all, I thinnk Cole will be fine and we're worrying way too much about him.

Cholly doesn't have it in him to pull off a little white lie. Of course Rollins hurt himself.

Someone compared Hamels to Randy Wolf.

The going rate for Randy Wolf is around 10 million a season.

So let's look at Cole and cheer all the millions he's saving our team that they add to their Pedro fund.

They've been doing that reverse lineup deal for a while. Kinda makes sense, the bigger cheers come in the middle and the end.

And you don't end up with "And warming up in the bullpen..."

I just saw that Cole's next start is on Sunday -- another day game.

Dont they understand that he's a vampire? Just pitch him in night games already.

For practical purposes, Cole seems to have already abandoned his curveball.
He now only throws it a couple times per game - in unhittable locations, in harmless spots in the AB - just to barely keep it in the hitters' heads and on the scouting report.

that's pretty stupid meyer. pregame warmups were after all the intros and stuff. he didn't rush to do that. the whole team did that together. he got hurt 5 minutes before the game started. jeez

"One positive on Cole in the first 2 starts: His GB rate is WAY up. 54.5% in the early going (his career rate is 40.5%) Eventually, that should help keep his ERA down if they start hitting it at guys.

Granted his HR% is nearly double his career rate right now as he's left a couple pitches up. Small sample sizes of course."

This is what's bothering me about Hamels. NEPP sites an encouraging statistic about Hamels and then qualifies a negative stat (HR%), saying that it is a small sample size. I'm not picking on you NEPP, but this is the problem. Everybody wants him to do well. We all know that his performance will be critical to the Phillies success. This is our once and future ace. The World Series MVP. And all we can do is make excuses for him. Two years ago he was about to become one of the best pitchers in baseball. Now we are trying to justify him as a legitimate #2. Since the end of the '08 World Series he's only thrown a handful of good games. Last year he was out of shape coming into ST and then he got hurt. This year Jayson Stark and everyone else said what great shape he was in, and he was. But now the performance is again mediocre. Let's not dance around the issue. For 1 plus years he's been mediocre. That's it. If it were only these two starts nobody would care. But he's clearly not the pitcher we've all been expecting. He looks tentative out there. And that is hard to believe for a guy that did what he did in the post-season at age 24. That guy had balls as big as church bells. To the guy who pitched yesterday I say "Who are you and what did you do with Cole Hamels?"

Has Cole ever tried to throw a slider?

I blame this calf strain on Texas food eaten late at night, an early wake up call and early flight, a high first week OBP and the pre-game schedule in that order. I once ran marathons and travelled constantly and my soleus/gastrocnemius problems were a nuisance. I believe its a dehydration problem caused by fluid intake.

If it's gotten to the point where the Phillies are going to punish a supposed infraction of team rules w/ a benching, yet still go through all of the dog & pony show of parading said player into the stadium, putting him on the lineup card, introducing him over the PA, etc., then this team is going down a very bad path.

That said, I can't imagine Charlie being a willing party to any such thing. He publicly reprimanded the then-reigning NL MVP twice in '08, & I'm sure he'd do it again if he felt it was warranted. I simply have to believe J-Roll is actually injured.

Also, Jimmy is absolutely correct RE: Cliff Lee. The Phillies made a decision based on payroll & payroll only, & everybody w/ a working brain cell or two knows it. This team was one more decent starter away from winning a second straight WFC last season, & when the time came to act the brass played it cheap. Monty & Rube can talk about prospects all they like, but losing Lee was about saving money. You can't blame the position players if they're a bit ticked off as a result.

I have to say, I don't see the story here that JW does. Maybe he's hearing rumors among knowledgeable people that I'm not, but from my perspective, this is simple: he got hurt in warmups, and couldn't play. Maybe he showed up to the park a little bit late, but obviously not late enough to cause him to be benched--why would he have been introduced as the starting SS and Castro put in the leadoff spot?

I agree with Occam's Razor. He's hurt. Again, even if there was the crazy coincidence that he was also late to the park as well as being hurt, that's not really a story. The injury is the story.

donc, I see a lot of positives when I'm watching Cole pitch right now. Its mainly a location issue. He's getting swinging strikes, his velocity is good, his cutter looks good and he's mowing guys down in spurts.

For a guy that's "struggling", he hasn't pitched too poorly really. Hopefully, he makes a few less mistake pitches, keeps the GB rate and turns into what he was in 08 again...only with a legit 3rd pitch in that cutter.

Veterans usually support other veterans. And of course, they only know the Cliff Lee of 2009, where the front office has to consider the Cliff Lee that struggled other seasons and the contract talk that would define 2010.

This is shaping up to be one exciting season. It's amazing to me how much of a focal point Hamels has become. There could almost be a blog just about him. Lots of other things to talk about also.

I'm booking a lot of limos for June 15 -17 which is the Phillies series at Yankee Stadium. Sweet.

Every report I saw at game time said that Rollins was a "late scratch" so my theory is that CBS3 just got confused and turned that into "Rollins late, scratched."

(Their tweet is http://twitter.com/cbs3/status/12062403028 but the linked story (updated at 5:28) is about the calf injury

donc: Then change your expectations of him. He is NOT an ace. He's a good #2 pitcher, a guy who should post a 3.40-3.70 ERA consistently. His underlying numbers said that that's how he has basically pitched the last 3 years (yes, including last year). I expect him to do so again this year--if he doesn't, then I'll reconsider.

G-Town Dave says, "The Phillies made a decision based on payroll & payroll only, & everybody w/ a working brain cell or two knows it."

Uh, payroll is relevant, isn't it? And so is the prospect of losing Cliff Lee after '10 with getting nothing in return? I would've loved to see Halladay and Lee at the top of the rotation, but I'm not sure that was realistic ... and considering that Lee's half-season with us was so much better than his first-half with Cleveland, it makes me wonder if his hot stuff was better-than-normal Lee (ie, that we couldn't expect him to maintain that through 2010).

Maybe Jimmy was snugglin' up with Johari and didn't fell like gettin outta bed. I know I feel that way many times when I'm snugglin' up to my honey and don't feel like goin' to work.

Career ERA:

Josh Beckett - 3.81
Jon Lester - 3.72
CC Sabathia - 3.62
Justin Verlander - 3.92
Cliff Lee - 3.97
Cole Hamels - 3.69

Amazing no one has talked about Pedro yet in this thread. I expect a Clout post very soon telling us all how much better both Kendrick and Moyer are then Pedro.

Carlton wasn't #1 in St. Louis.

NEPP -

Right, let's try to keep some perspective here. Talk Radio is desperate for a negative story, and have descended on Cole like a pack of vultures.

It's hard to generate negativity when the team is 6-1.

While I'd like to see Cole pitch a little better, I think there's something to be said for the fact that he looked a little better, despite 1) his track record of being worse in day games, for whatever reason, and more importantly 2) the fact that the Nats saw him just a few days before. Even for poor hitting teams, this is a big advantage. Compare what we saw from Cole to Max Scherzer's first two starts for Detroit, both against another bad-hitting team in the Royals.

4/7: 6 innings, 1 hit, 3K, 2BB, 0 ER
4/12: 5 innings, 9 hits, 3K, 2BB, 5 R (only 2 earned, but 2 of the 3 unearned were on a homer following a 2-out error)

While Cole's first start wasn't as good as Scherzer's, his second wasn't as bad. It's too early to worry so much. When we can look at 7 and 8 and 10 starts, we'll see where he is. But off the ledge, people. They've got the best record in baseball.

even tho its ok to get on someone when they are underperforming - just remember that everyone here should still be on their knees bowing to hamels at the end of the day.

even tho its ok to get on someone when they are underperforming - just remember that everyone here should still be on their knees bowing to hamels at the end of the day.

I'll second that. Lake.

Jack:You are 100% correct. It is time to change our opinion of him. I already have. But at this point I think calling him a good #2 (sorry for the vulgarity) is a stretch. He's had two mediocre starts against a mediocre lineup. Without Zimmerman yesterday they were the soul of mediocrity. As NEPP says he's doing some things well. But the net result is a guy getting bailed out by a lineup full of animals.

He's hardly the first pitcher to start the year off a bit rough. Lester is doing far worse than him...Lee and Sabathia both had rough aprils last year too.

It would be great if the Phils can pull in Pedro who by all accounts is one of the best pure pitchers in the game today. He has a very old school attitude about the way he plays the game.

Concerning Cole Hamels and I've mentioned it before the Phils or Cole needs to seek out Steve Carlton to learn how to throw a nasty slider to go along with his straight fastball and devastating change-up. Or if Cole still wants to dabble throwing the cut fastball seek out Al Leiter as a mentor and get inside his head.

NEPP, if Cole can cure his HR problem, he'll be an ace. The only question is, will he?

2009 HR/FB%

Hamels: 10.7%
Halladay: 10.6%

Hamels gave up plenty of HR in 2008 as well. I don't think his problem is the HR. Was Willingham's HR that significant yesterday? What makes you think it is? There are plenty of examples of "aces" with bad HR numbers. Johan Santana 2007 being an example.

Sophist, his HR rate last year was fine...its that 22% this year that I was referring to. If that normalizes, I bet his ERA goes back down into the 3s fairly quickly.

I really dont think he's pitching that badly this year.

thephaithful: I agree. As disappointing as he has been to me, he'll never have to buy a beer when I'm around.

#2's pitch more than 5-6 innings per start. Cole, right now, is a #3-ish with still a chance to improve. He is a two-pitch pitcher with little deception/movement on his fastball.

He's still young. If he is determined to do so, he can adjust by learning secondary pitches, and learning to tinker with his fastball grip to give it movement.
Guys like Doc have that determination and drive. It remains to be seen whether Cole does.

Kendrick would be valuable in the pen.

We seem to be in agreement that an experienced Brad Lidge will be unable to repeat his 2008 fluke season. I am equally of the opinion that a comparably inexperienced Kendrick will be unable to repeat his 2007 fluke half-season.

I hope he proves me wrong, but he hasn't done much at the MLB level for over two seasons now to give me any confidence that he's more than an AAAA starter. The most realistic thing that I feel comfortable hoping for is that he's able to reinvent himself following the path laid by Madson.

In the meantime, I'll gladly welcome back a first ballot hall-of-famer who has proven that he still has what it takes to win at the major league level.

Willingham was coming off a pretty good game vs Santanna. Give him some credit.

The whole JRoll thing was strange all-around. Can't remember something ever happening with a Phils' player before. Late to the game, announced in the starting lineup, and scratched because he was injured in warmups?

I will say that my opinion of JRoll though as a leader has lessened somewhat over the last 2 years especially after what happened last year. JRoll also isn't such a superstar either that you need to make a special unique set of rules for him either.

Cholly to his credit has done a good job of handling & disciplining JRoll without alienating him. That's is a tough time to do as a manager.

God, imagine if he had had the same start as Jon Lester...he'd be burned in effigy.

Cole looks healthy, is getting swinging strikes, has developed a solid 3rd pitch in his cutter and is undefeated so far. Things could be far far worse.

He's already got 2 more wins than Cliff Lee. What's Cliff up to right now?

We all question CBP's reputation as HR haven, but HRs like Willingham's that barely clear the flower bed often don't impress me as major mistakes by the pitcher.

In the future there will be little interactive gizmos on the seats where we can enter what specific thing we're booing:

1) Cole
2) Willingham
3) Fan Who Won't Throw Ball Onto Playing Field
4) Spotted Mayor Nutter In The Stands

Hamels has given up 2 HR this year. I think the regular season may need a clout day when it comes to some of these metrics. Watching his command of certain pitches is fair (and interesting), but of course his HR/FB is going to be haywire. Even if you take away the solo shot yesterday, his ERA is still mid 4.

I'm not trying to dismiss Hamels criticism, but I'll be far more interested in these numbers in May

I'll be match-making again with Pedro and Herndon budding up. David will be wiping Pedro's nose if they buy him before the hot summer weather.

JW - If you look at the pitch f/x data from Hamels' 2 starts so far this year, his horizontal & vertical movement on his 4-seem fastball have been about the same as they have been in previous years.

He isn't pitching poorly but he hasn't been sharp with his location on his fastball in either start yet especially his first time out.

Fans have probably been a bit too tough on him but he hasn't pitched well either by any stretch.

I thought the last sentence of Chase's remarks was funny:

“Jimmy’s a special type of player. It’s hard to replace a guy like that," second baseman Chase Utley said. "But with Castro, you know what you’re going to get. He plays great defense. He’s fresh off of spring training and he’s had some at-bats recently."

He's had some ABs recently - not exactly a ringing endorsement of Castro's offensive abilities! Just thought I'd share for the chuckle value, if it makes you smile as it did me.

Bill B. over at crashburn says the crowd booed hamels yesterday. i for one didn't hear it, did anyone else?

http://crashburnalley.com/2010/04/13/dear-philadelphia-deal-with-it/

Here on BL, I generally don't think the criticism on Cole has been unfairly harsh. I think that we are simply, rightly demoting him from 'ace' status.
Cole, I think we all agree, is still probably the 2nd most valuable member of Phil's rotation.

GBrettfan - "He's had some bats recently" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Castro starting the next few weeks if JRoll is out.

Kind of reminds me when Cholly/Amaro say a player has 'veteran presence.' Polite way of saying he leaves alot to be desired in terms of actual ability & results.

MG - Do you think any of the Phils' opinions of Rollins as a leader has diminished? I doubt it. I don't think any of us can pretend to know the dynamics in the clubhouse.

He never really struck me as a Halladay/Utley type leader anyway. He's not a dudley do-right type leader. if I had to make a guess anyway.

I heard the booing on the radio.

The fact that Charlie has publicly chastised Jimmy in the past is misleading when analyzing this current incident. This was a home opener where Jimmy as defacto, if not acknowledged, team leader being benched for punishment would have been the instant overwhelming story.

The front office wanted their good PR day. So letting Jroll wave his hat, get cheered, and then sit for the day with a mild calf strain is a win/win considering the shitstorm of the alternative.

Dukes: Watching on TV, I heard some boos after the hit by Marquis. Frankly, I can't say I'm too surprised; going down 4-0 to a bad team on a 2-out hit by the pitcher is frustrating.

On the list of undeserved jeering, that's pretty far down there (although I personally would tend not to boo a 5-1 team coming off 2 straight WS appearances--but expectations are high these days).

Lincoln: Except it's not a minor calf strain. By all reports, he's going to be out a good amount of time. If it comes back today that he's just fine and not going to miss any time, then maybe I'll believe the conspiracy theory.

Hamels hasn't been particularly sharp but, he's been strong and that is a big upgrade from his performance through 2 games last year. The best part is that the team won both of his starts when he had an ERA over 5. It's quite a positive to win when your big arm isn't at the top of his game because, I'm confident he'll hit his stride.

Hamels definitely got some boos in my section. I turned around and yelled 'that is your World Series MVP you are booing to some dunce behind me'. The dumbest part was they booed him after the Marquis double, which was a complete fluke, and not the Kennedy walk, where he might have deserved it a little more.

Hamels actually pitched pretty well yesterday. The homer was a CBP special, and that rally involved a seeing eye hit, a uniform nick HBP, and a humpback liner to a perfect spot in the opposite field. Pudge's hit and the walk to Kennedy were bad, but giving up 3 runs that inning was a classic example of tough luck for a pitcher. It sounds like excuses, but you have to look at the context. Its not like he got hit hard, he just has to regain the confidence to attack weaker hitters like he did in '08.

I have to bring up that pitch to Ryan Howard in the 4th yesterday. I can't remember a missed ball/strike call that changed the complexion of a game so dramatically.

Nats had just scored and were up 4-0 with every ounce of momentum. Marquis threw a 2 strike pitch to Howard that caught every part of the strike zone but was blatently missed by the umpire. That at-bat continued and Howard got the opposite field RBI single.

Had the Ump made the right call, it would have been 4-0, 2 outs, runners on first and second. Instead, it was 4-1, 1 out, first and third. Riggleman then visited the mound and promptly got himself ejected. In my mind if there is ever a time to get kicked out of a game, that was it. Werth's subsequent groundball, which would have been the third out, drove in another run to make it 4-2.

There is a huge difference between a 4-0 game and a 4-2 game. That call effectively changed the outcome. It is the reason the Nats commentators were going crazy and the reason I defended them in yesterdays thread.

I live and die with the Phillies and always want to see them win. However, I know that I, along with a lot of my friends here on BL, would have been absolutely livid had the roles been reversed. Umpires make mistakes just like anyone else and it is foolish to be on them all the time or expect them to be perfect. However, I understand the Nats frustration as that call was, more than any other I can remember, game changing.

Of course, if the Phils weren't being no-hit at the time Marquis got a hit the fans might have been a little quieter. Still booing, but quieter.

Kendrick's K/9 will be higher than Cole's HR/9.

Yes, because there has NEVER ever been a bad call that has gone against us.

It happens all the time. Dibble is still an a$$ for going on and on about it like that.

Given the normal start to a Phillies season, I'm pretty sanguine about the start that Hamels is off to. Let's see what he's doing at the end of April before we pluck the chickens and heat the tar.

In re: Rollins injury
I wonder what Ed Wade would want for Keppinger. Maybe we could get him for, say, Jiwan James and D'Arby Myers and a hand full of other toolsy prospects (and maybe a middle reliever). He's not a great fielder, but he hits. And when Jimmy comes back he'd be a lot better than Castro on the bench.

(I know. It's ludicrous to assume that even Wade would make that deal.)

I dont think its been mentioned but coincidentally, that was Cole's 50th career win yesterday.

Sophist ("wise one") RE: Cole's HR rate vs. Halladay's HR Rate:
Though you are correct that in 09 both had a similar HR/FB%, Halladay is a ground ball pitcher and FB% of just 29%, while Cole had a FB% of 39%, being a fly ball pitcher.

Although you may be correct that Cole may not have a high HR/FB%, in terms of HR/9, Halladay in 09 was at a 0.83, while Cole was at 1.12. Therefore I would contend your comparison is not appropriate.

Call me crazy, but I think Jimmy hurt his calf in pre-game warm-ups. He sat because of said injury. The Phils are taking MRIs to determine the extent of the injury and will adjust the roster accordingly.

That's my take. All this talk about him being benched because he was late is pure speculation. If the MRI comes back negative and he plays on Wednesday night, then we know something was up. Until then, I pass no judgment on Jimmy's leadership abilities and/or dedication to this team. I believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Meyer, since 1901 how many SP with 10 starts in a year have had a HR/9 over 3 (which is much lower than Kendrick's K9 in any case)?

How do we know the pitch to Howard was a strike? The centerfield angle is always clearly off center and does not show you if the pitch is inside or outside...

You Call That A Strike??

****Call me crazy, but I think Jimmy hurt his calf in pre-game warm-ups. He sat because of said injury. The Phils are taking MRIs to determine the extent of the injury and will adjust the roster accordingly.****

No, no, no...its a vast conspiracy!

I'm glad its raining and I didn't start mowing the lawn. Cut out my crap and this is nearly a perfect blog page.

Chris in VA: I never said payroll wasn't relevant. What I take major exception to is the fact that the Phillies (Monty & Rube specifically, & more than once) said Lee was NOT a payroll issue, but rather a move to restock the farm system. That's a flat lie in the classic Monty "we're a small market team" mold. I believe we ended up getting essentially nothing for Lee anyway, but only time will tell.

Also, can Pedro play SS? Otherwise, why even bother this early in the season? If anything the FO should wait to pick him until even later in the year than they did in '09, or he'll be completely burnt by the All-Star Break.

G-Town, that is a pretty serious charge. Can you prove that the FO "flat out" lied about their motivations RE: the Lee trade? I looked at the economics of the deal, and it seemed pretty clear to me that although the current year's payroll may have been a factor, it couldn't have been a big one. What is your proof, or your logic, behind such a shocking allegation?

Nepp: Where did I say we never had a bad call go against us? I even qualified my post saying that umpires aren't perfect and it is foolish to think they are. The point that I was making is that particular call had a huge impact on the game. Say what you want about Dibble, I am not here to argue his merits as a commentator. However, I will argue that in this case his complaints were legitimate.

EFF: If you can go back and watch that pitch and can honestly say you don't think its a strike than more power to you. However, if that pitch isn't a strike, I don't know what is. The angle is kind of irrelevant as it is always the same.

Dan, no reason to name call. I suggest you dig a little deeper into your dictionary in any case.

Cole Hamels had a 142 ERA+ in 2008 with a HR/9 of 1.11, basically identical to his HR/9 in 2009 when his ERA+ was 98 and lower than Schilling's in 2001 when his ERA+ was 157. Schilling's FB% in ARI was usu right around 40%, by the way. Dan Haren is another good example. He had a 140+ ERA+ with ARI last year with a 1+ HR/9 and a 35%+ FB%.

They were completely legit...Dibble is just annoying as all hell.

"Kendrick would be valuable in the pen."

He could be, but it's hardly a foregone conclusion. Pitching in short spurts might allow him to improve his strikeout rate or improve the action on his sinker -- in which case he could be a decent reliever. But if he still can't strike anyone out or induce a lot of ground balls, it's hard to see how he would be terribly effective in any role.

Besides, which reliever in our current pen would you propose to replace with Kendrick? Certainly not Madson, Contreras, Baez, or Durbin. Almost certainly not Herndon, since he has pitched great and we have nowhere to put him. That leaves Bastardo & Figueroa. But we need at least one left-hander and ideally two. So, as long as Bastardo keeps pitching decently, I want him there. Figueroa is really the only immediate candidate for replacement and, when Romero comes back, he'll be the replacement. Unless there's an injury, or an implosion by either Herndon or Bastardo, I don't see any room in the bullpen for Kendrick.

Where did this Pedro smokescreen start?

Sophist, who is name calling? I assumed your nickname was a reference to the greek root meaning wisdom. I was actually complimenting you. No offense intended!!

EF- Interesting comparison with the camera angles and strike zone that we see on TV.

I wonder if the Phils will switch to a dead on camera angle?

i said this in yesterday's game blog - and think it's bears repeating

hamels looks like a middle or end of the rotation pitcher,

rube took a leap of faith - by making an assumption hamels was going to be back in top form in 2010 -

i will worry about 2011 and 2012 and 2013 as far as prospects go when the time comes, but to me trading lee was nothing more than a veiled salary dump to makeup for the signing ole man river for 2 yrs @ 6-8mil per..

Bears - s/b bares

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EST. 2005

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