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Thursday, April 15, 2010

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The offense has given the bullpen a lot of decent leads to work with. Not a lot of high pressure yet.

Figueroa was real impressive last night. I can't see how the Mets cut him. The Nats are no contender but they have some good hitters in their lineup.

It wasnt the best game, but 14 runs with your lead-off hitter and #5 hitter out? Pretty darn impressive.

No matter who's pitching, you're going to have games like these. It's how your team responds that separates the losers from the winners. It's fun to think that no matter how far behind this team may be down, the game is never over.

Ok, I feel for Nats' fans. All 200 of them. To put up 7 runs and lose because your own pitchers gave up 14? Ugh.

Wanted to say that I'm impressed with how the Phils seem to have gotten quite a bit out of their BP the past couple of years - not ignoring Lidge's struggles, but thinking particularly of middle relief. Is this attributable to luck? good selection of pitchers? coaching? attitude? all of the above? Whatever, it's great to see.

Didn't the Mets rush a prospect to the Majors for their bullpen and then cut Figgy? Either way, their loss. I'd love to keep Figgy around as the long man all year as he's got decent long-man stuff. He's also perfectly in line to step into the rotation.

Appearances:
Apr 8
Apr 14
???
Regular 5 days rest essentially.

The BP looks very very solid this year thanks to guys like Durbin returning to form, Contreras showing some good stuff, Herndon being a diamond in the rough and Madson finally appearing to know how to set batters up.

Bullpen burnout is the big concern at the moment. Hamels can't pitch beyond 6, nor can Moyer. Blanton needs to return ASAP. I wonder how Halladay is mentoring KK now. Look for 7 strong from Happ today.

****I wonder how Halladay is mentoring KK now. ****

"Quit following me around, I dont want it to rub off on me."

Man I just wonder how many good pitchers in both leagues are watching the scoreboard and wondering what if.

****but thinking particularly of middle relief. Is this attributable to luck? good selection of pitchers? coaching? attitude? all of the above? Whatever, it's great to see.****

I think its a combination of a strong scouting dept, a smidge of luck, and good coaching from Dubee. Other than some notable exceptions (KK, Eaton), Dubee seems to get the most out of guys.

Normally I would be hesitant to pull a starter from the rotation but not KK. He just mentally out there lost it last night in the 2nd inning. He had the chance to settle down and give this team a serviceable outing. Just didn't do it.

Even if Blanton can't come back until May, I would skip KK's next start in the rotation & flip-flop him with Figueroa. At least Figueroa looks like he is capable of giving this team 5-6 IP of 3-4 runs. You just can't afford these starts where KK goes 4 IP or less.

The same reason KK is afraid to throw strikes is the same reason a 5 year old no longer touches a hot stove.

The amazing thing about KK is he's a better pitcher than 99.9% of all men who ever played baseball. And he can't pitch in the major leagues, at least not as a starter. Maybe a middling reliever...

Like Herndon's scouting report. Get him. Even Aumont vs Drabek last night. What's the scoop on that.

You know that adage about trying to find a silver lining:

Lidge had hoped to be ready to come off the DL this week, but has been slow to build velocity and sharpness on his pitches. He did have a strong outing for Single-A Clearwater on Wednesday. He walked a batter and struck out two while pitching a scoreless inning against Tampa.

Translation: The catcher through out the leadoff runner at 2nd and this was Lidge's first scoreless inning in nearly 3 weeks while pitching against A-hitters.

“He took a nice step forward,” Amaro said. “His slider was tighter and had better location. His fastball was 90 to 91 (mph). He felt good – sharper and more crisp.”

Translation: He topped out at 90-91 and was yet again in the upper 80s with his fastball which is a red flag since it is 6-7 MPH slower than he was throwing last season.

It is really hard to believe that Lidge is remotely healthy as evidenced by his velocity and results. This team simply is better off without him right now than with him. Leave him in the minors until he at least is getting some more positive results & throwing a bit harder.

they aren't going to skip kendrick. manuel said so in his PC last night

People talk about KK is 'pitching scared.' That did seem true against the left-handed bats last night but his control was awful too. He simply couldn't throw a single pitch with and kind of consistency last night. Cutter/changeup/4-seemer/Sinker. None of them was a strike with regularity.

I think KK's upside is Clay Condrey.

Re scouting: I don't have any experience in professional baseball, so I don't know how this really goes. But the Phils' scouting seems unusually perceptive about players' potential. Every team has scouts, so I'm thinking the Phils must have a better philosophy regarding what to look for in a player. Either that, or there's some really special guy in the Phillies' scouting department that they need to clone.

Is there anybody here who knows something about pro scouting that can fill me in on what's really going on?

Boy, opinions change fairly quick around here. Last week when Figueroa was signed, anyone who suggested he was a better pitcher than Kendrick had rocks thrown his way. Andy and NEPP are the only consistant guys on this subject. Kendrick is a AAA pitcher. He is afraid of contact and he can not strike anyone out once he gets into jams.
Kendrick's fan club still does not think his inability to miss bats(k/9) is an issue. Lol.

Roy to Kyle- "You worry too much. I heard you had a chance to be a star college quarterback"

In Kyle's defense, while his ERA looks scary at 17.47, his FIP is a sparkling 6.39.

Though, perhaps his strand rate of 34.3% could use some work.

Yes, that's right, so far this season 2/3 of all baserunners have scored on KK.

Roy to Rodney - "Good move - At least that is one of your birthnames. Maybe you'll start getting some respect."

I think KK's just been unlucky so far.

MG: You just love bashing Lidge :)Seriously though, you weren't at the game. There is no reason to make your own assumptions about what happened. You mention its them trying to find a silver lining but what you put is just you trying to prove your point. It's basically the same thing.

The twitter feed on the right hand side is pretty interesting. Anthony Hewitt is tearing up Lakewood to start the season apparently. Also, the Reading Phillies beat Drabek last night. Gillies got him early for a triple and Galvis helped create the run that put them on top for good. Even the guys in the farm system seem to be hitting well to start.

Of course, you're right, ozark. The BP can't pitch 4-7 innings on a regular basis without burning out at some point mid-late season. Here's hoping the starters get on track enough to spell the 'pen. One day Blanton will return, and that should help. Hamels and Happ have the potential to go 6 innings regularly. Even Moyer can go 5-6.

Wonder what the score would have been had Charlie left KK in? Not a pretty thought, but a potentially amusing one. Maybe they should have adopted the rule my daughter's softball league has - limit the runs to 3 per inning! (My son's baseball league allows 5R/I, which is too high a limit for last night.)

Hewitt has been a pleasant surprise in the early going. It'd be pretty cool to see him prove all of us wrong and become something valuable for the team.

Its still a very very very long shot though. To his credit, he's been hitting well all Spring and now the first couple weeks in Lakewood after doing NOTHING for his first 2 seasons. Sometimes it just clicks. Sometimes its just a small sample size too though. I'm hoping for the former.

Polly had a couple of nice plays at third last night. First time I've been even remotely excited about what we're getting out of that position in longer than I can remember. Rube pulled the right string once again.

Simple game for Polly. See it hit it. See it catch it. He must be able to pick up the ball real fast with his peepers.

What Polanco lacks in height, he makes up for in super-human vision.

Freddy should start moving up the charts if his hits remain timely.

Cole: Hey, Heidi, come quick and check out this morning's Beerleaguer. There's not a single negative mention of me. They are really kicking KK to the curb, poor guy.

Heidi: Where'd you put Trixie's backpack? We need to go shopping. Why do you waste so much time reading Beerleaguer? Turn off the computer. We need to get to the Mall before it gets crowded. I need new summer clothes. You can carry Trixie.

Uh, I'm a little worried about what's going to happen when we start to face teams that actually play like major league teams. Washington-Houston-Washington? Hey folks - it only gets harder from here.

"I'd love to keep Figgy around as the long man all year as he's got decent long-man stuff. He's also perfectly in line to step into the rotation."


When Blanton, Lidge and Romero come back, there will be no room for Figgy.

Durbin or Contreras eventually will become the long man.

Yeah, when Lidge comes back...which isn't any time soon. Lets play it by ear, denny.

Chirs: You're right. The Phillies are 7-1 which is great, but they have played the two worse teams in the National League. The only point I can make is that we shouldn't toss aside this great start just because of the competition they are facing. The Phillies SHOULD beat up on teams like this, and they have done just that. When it comes time to play some tougher NL competition I expect this team to perform as well.

I'm not going to complain about a problem that doesn't exist yet.

Kris Benson is going to be starting for Arizona - wow.

I don't think the Nationals are one of the 2 worst teams in the National League.

The Astros are clearly worse and are the worst team in the NL. But, cogent arguments could be made for declaring the Pirates (like the Nats but in the Central, no pitching, some hitting), Padres (probably worse than the Nationals) and potentially the Mets (their best pitcher is better than the Nationals but they're fundamentally a disaster) as worse teams than the Nationals.

While they don't have a competent pitcher who's better than any other team's 4, they have a talented offense.

TTI - Nah. I don't want Lidge to fail. It is that he just clearly isn't healthy yet & velocity/results show that. This team is simply better off without him than with him right now.

It is going to be interesting to see if he is able to gain more strength & velocity because it has been a slow climb back.

Think the Nats are happy to be packing their bags and heading out of Philly ?

Great game last night.
Can we get last year's Castro back?

denny - It will be interesting to see which pitchers depart as the injured pitchers return from injury. But it certainly isn't a foregone conclusion that Figgy will be one of the departed.
Sure its early. But right now Figgy is better than KK, Bastardo, and Moyer. And Lidge seems to be a long way from returning.

Was thinking JW might quote Iceman's story from the previous thread, but here's the key section for those who missed it:

Anyway, the significance of this starts with the fact that my father has cried twice in front of me during my life (his own father dying, and at the death of his brother, who died serving overseas). That's it. Never in the 25 years I've known him. Tonight he sat on the couch with my mom and brothers, after Utley's first homer, he very obviously welled up. He didn't draw attention to it, but once I saw him, everyone turned their heads looking for an explanation. First, he told us to go to hell. Then after enough 'Cmon, Dad's' from my younger brothers, he says "You cannot possibly imagine what a pleasure and a privilege it is to watch this team. I have seen 95% of all Phillies games since 1960 and it has mostly been a death sentence. 1980 was great, but it is nothing compared to what's being built up now. These guys play with a personality that is EXACTLY fit for this town, and it's a personaility that is not necessarily a will to win any more than it is a refusal to lose. I've just...I've never seen anything like it, and I never thought I'd see the day where the Phillies are actually taken seriously."

Anyone believe Cholly's assertion that KK will be starting 5 games from now?

For the Phillies, that is.

I'm on boat with Noah. The Nats can score runs especially with Zimm in the game. The Phils challenge, and BL's also, will be the ninth inning and extra inning pressure cooker games. Throw strikes David Herndon.

Figueroa has held his own in long relief. Nice pickup by Amaro. I'm not anxious ot anoint him a starter / better than Moyer at this stage of the game. I do think they should skip Kendrick's next turn as it falls on an off-day, and, despite what Manuel said in his post-game, he may be persuaded to do it if the bullpen sees extended action this weekend. That performance last night was Kendrick's worst ever (at least that I can recall). He didn't throw strikes and looked like he was afraid to throw strikes. Good thing Stammen was just as bad. I'm a little anxious to see how the team looks against stronger pitching. Polanco, in particular, is just silly right now. The pitch he struck out on was so bad, I think it startled him into the check swing.

Thanks for pointing that out EFF. I'll put it in the game chat header.

Cholly and Dubee really stuck it to me.

A couple days ago, I procured good seats for Saturday's game in anticipation of seeing a Halladay start. Then, it was announced last night that Doc and Moyer are switching days - Doc on Friday, Jaime Saturday.

Ugh

EF & Iceman
In Smokey Robinson's words " I second that emotion"

Great team , great time to be a Phillies fan.
What was JW's banner a while back- the most frustrating franchise in America - or something like that.
No more.

i believe it curt. i don't see why he would say that if he didn't intend to start him

On the bright side, some day you'll be able to tell your grandkids you saw the Geezer pitch before he turned 50 and before his fastball turned 50 (mph).

And again another ring ceremony this afternoon with Lidge and Romero in the park.

st - hopefully because he doesn't like to hit his players when they are down. He has time enough to "discover" the off day option.

I've retrained myself to expect some good things (once in a while) when watching the Phils, but when Utley hit that HR I figured it had to be a 'flashback', not live. No way they could score runs every time they need to.

Of course the Nats announcers reaction didn't help much.

Charlie wasn't going to throw Kendrick under the bus so quick. I have a hard time believing he will get another start. And if so, I will probably wait until the 3rd inning before watching.

EF & Iceman, right on! This team is awesome. I love how they are refered to as an American League team in the National League. They still don't get any respect. For the last five years, I check the cap racks at the local Walmarts in the Houston and New Orleans areas and have yet to see a Phillies cap. You can get caps for the Astros, Braves, Bosox, Yankees, Cubs and Cards. This year, they even have a Yankees WS Champions cap. We are just like Rodney Dangerfield....no respect.

I have lived in Louisiana since 1981. My kids were born in Louisiana and have never been to Pennsyvania, but I have taken them to Phillies games in Houston. They are now all die hard Phillies fans, wearing their Phillies gear proudly. My oldest daughter calls and texts me game updates and has Utley, Howard and Werth on her fantasy team competing with people where she works. I think she's called her fantasy team "The Good, the Bad and the Utley".

EF - What did the Nats announcers say?

The Nats announcers are a bit pathetic, like their team. I find Dibble entertaining, nonetheless. Victorino's homer was great. Teh play by play guy makes a comment about Victorino taking a big cut on 3-0, then Dibble comments that Victorino has some home run power then, on cue, Vic hits it out. The play by play guy made almost no call on the hit other than to somewhat quietly say "homerun" as the ball was retrieved by a fan. Best part of the telecast was when Dibble displayed his acumen as a student of the game, asking about when the Athletics changed their name to the Phillies, then, when his partner informed him that hte Athletics was a different team, he asked whether the Phillies were an expansion team. Or, maybe I had too much borboun and I dreamed that exchange.

Lake Fred - I named my fantasy team "The Good, The Bad, and The Utley" back in 2008 and won the league championship. Combined with the WFC, it was quite a year for me.

Hopefully your daughter will have the same luck with the name!

Then there was the camera shot of the animated Master Moyer teaching the lefties Happ and Hamels some subtle secret of the trade.

I don't have as much of a problem with Dibble as others due. He's not great, but does add a bit of entertainment. I think that's why he was brought in. Carpenter strikes me as very dorky.

Hugh -
I didn't get to watch the game, but that excahge about Dibble and the Athletics/Phillies is classic. He has absolutely no idea what he's talking about half the time, but he played the game so it doesn't matter.

This team is truly unique; I haven't been a fan as long as some of those on here, but having suffered as a die-hard through the 80s + 90s (obviously '93 was the exception), I can appreciate how lucky we are.

Is BL conventional wisdom correct?
Is it time to trust the gut ?

From philly.com :

"I think Castro can hit a little bit," Manuel said. "I think he's got a good swing. I think he's got a good approach. I think he's probably a better hitter than people think he is."

In all honesty KK should have never came up in 2007 the only reason why he did is because at the time happ was on the dl in AAA. This is back when eaton was on the dl n they brought KK up from double and he had one lucky year. He is nothing better than a aaa pitcher he pitches scared.

that A's / phillies convo definately happened.....hilarity at its finest

In re: KK being "unlucky"
It continues to be amazing to me that our expectations for Kendrick are built on 2007 when he posted a .215 BABIP with RISP - the very definition of "lucky." Now, when his stuff gets batted around - like it always has - without falling right into people's mitts, some folks think he's been unlucky.

It's like betting on red at the roulette wheel all night and winning. Then, the next night, trying the same thing and losing and claiming that you're "unlucky."

Really. For those who still think he will, in 2010, be an effective big league pitcher, by what method will he get people out? Will they pop up? Ground out? Strike out? How exactly are these outs going to happen? Especially against left handed hitters - how will there be outs made?

As long as the team is 7-1 and collectively killing the ball, it may be okay to give him another start or two. But Manuel is deluding himself if he thinks that things are going to get much better as Kendrick faces better teams. (And before anyone says that the Nationals are a "good hitting team, peruse the line-up they started last night. Gonzalez at third. Kennedy batting sixth. Morgan is the lead-off hitting below the Mendoza line. That was NOT a good hitting line-up; but they toasted Kendrick.)

Completely off-topic. Seems to be my M.O. lately.

I just watched (on Phillies.com) the video of the team raising the '09 NL Champs banner. When they were walking out onto the field from left center, through all the fans on the field, the camera was following Halladay for quite a while. The smile on his face was as big as I've ever seen him have. He almost looked overwhelmed. He seems really excited to play for this team and in front of these fans. It was fun to watch. If you haven't seen it already, check it out. It was pretty cool.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Kyle Kendrick analysis/bashing.

The only thing lucky about Kendrick's outing last night was when the pitcher fouled off ball four for a strike out.

Bubba: Always trust the gut.

KK was lucky the offesnse scored 14 runs and he wasn't saddled with the loss.

Other than that his luck ran out.

***that A's / phillies convo definately happened.....hilarity at its finest****

That is just brutal. Dibble is a moron...an aspect he displays regularly on XM radio.

UD Hens: You know how our Generic Announcer Guy gets excited no matter which team hits a HR? A couple of the Nats' HR calls last night were the opposite of that.

Hey JW, did you ever get my emails on that book raffle you had a few weeks back?

Bubba - Cholly said similar stuff about Nunez too even though that man was useless with a bat. It is just a manager being PC and supporting his player. I wouldn't expect from else from Cholly.

The real answer will come if Valdez starts to get his share of starts at SS which I think will happen sooner than later. Castro was pretty crappy at the plate last night & didn't do anything in the field to suggest is his solid defensively.

Castro was once a useful MLB player because he was sound defensively and had some speed. Those days are long gone. He is a stiff.

"Bubba: Always trust the gut."

Thanks RB, Charlie has the only vote that counts- might as well trust him.

Castro hasn't been good defensively in a solid 3-4 seasons now.

The Phillies have now scored runs in 29 out of the 70 Innings they have played. In other words they score in 41.4% of the times they come to bat.

They have scored multiple runs in 17 of 70 innings (24.3%).

Putting up the fabled crooked number almost a quarter of the time?! Ridiculous.

A team that is consistent AND explosive is a tough team to beat.

Our pitchers are averaging more than 1 hit per game right now.

9 hits from the pitching staff in 8 games played.

Fig and Roy lead the way with 2 a piece.

MG - I agree, the fact that they brought Valdez up in the first place (despite having to send him through waivers when Jimmy gets back, although that won't be for a while) tells me that he'll get a very fair crack at SS over the next week or two. Be different if they went the easy route with Bocock.

If I were Castro, I'd play the best defense of my life in the upcoming few games. We ate Eaton's salary, Jenkins's...we'd eat Castro's, too, although that would be SUCH a waste of 900K.

Rain on the parade:

- Phils have been scoring runs because their 1-4 hitters (maybe 5 if you include Werth) have been hitting like crazy. The only really decent starter they encountered so far (Oswalt) really put the wraps on this offense.

Don't expect this offense to go into a terrible funk but they are going to be putting up 6-7 runs a night vs. Fish/Braves coming up. Going to start to need some stronger starting pitching from someone else besides Halladay to win those games.

2-4 week time period on JRoll was being aggressively optimistic. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see JRoll again until Memorial Day at the earliest.

Even if he recuperates faster than expected, he will still likely need at least 3-4 rehab starts to get some of his timing back.

Good thing is that if this team gets Blanton back by the end of the month they can make do without JRoll for 4-6 weeks.

I had the pleasure of listening to the Nats announcers last night. I couldn't find a HD myphl17 on my cable, so i went with the masn? hd channel I have for some reason. (i guess because i live in harrisburg?)

Only did it for the HD though, I can't watch sports in non hd anymore..looks ugly. I think the bigger hd tv's make them look even worse.

Was funny listening to them call phillies runs all quietly.

MG- While the bottom of the order hasn't gotten a ton of hits they have been doing a great job of having quality at bats and getting on base via the walk. The offense wouldn't be nearly as prolific if there bottom half wasn't getting on base for the top half to drive in. Ibanez and Chooch don't have great batting averages to start but they are getting on base. Even if it doesn't result in runs, the pressure that good at bats from the bottom puts on the opposing pitcher inceases the chances of success for the top half.

.

6 hole - .226/.316/.323
7 hole - .161/.212/.258
8 hole - .217/.400/.217

Not much production there and there won't be with Castro/Valdez hitting alot and Schneider getting his share of ABs. Need Ibanez to pick it up a bit because the top 1-4 guys aren't going to continue to stay on fire.

Bench is 1-7 PH in the early going.

Phils are hitting .286 with RISP and .317 with runners on base. That's really high and they are going to come back to earth. Last year they were .255 and .266 respecitvely.

I'd feel a little better about the Phillies 7-1 start if I forgot that the 2009 Marlins went 11-1 to open the season, having played the Nats for six games and the Mets for three.

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