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Monday, April 12, 2010

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Scoring 7 ryns a game is a great way to start a season.
I voted Ryno- he can carry a team- not that this team needs carrying just yet.

Jimmy Version 2007 is by far the best.

Just the general discipline of the entire lineup, with Howard staying on the ball and knocking it the other way, Rollins drawing walks, etc. Should have included "discipline" as a choice.

Despite his 0-4, 3 K effort, Howard still saw 23 pitches yesterday. That's fairly impressive as Oswalt had his number all day.

Oswalt was very sharp yesterday, which made the second-inning "small ball" really stand out.

Rollins getting on base means the big guns have someone to knock in. I don't see this team winning many 2-1 and 1-0 games.

Yes, the 'Stros may stink, but I actually think Washington's offense is going to be pretty effective this year. Maybe not likely, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nats with a better record than the Mets this season.

to anybody who has been paying attention, it is clear that a large part of the phillies success over the past few years has been their ability to run up the opposition pitch counts through patience. even man-crush object pat burrell was (eventually) very good at this, which made his value greater than his numbers would imply.

this raises the chicken and egg question: are the phillies good because they cause high pitch counts, or do they cause high pitch counts because they are good?

ah the luxuriant times we live in....

Did anyone see K-Rod plunk Willie Harris yesterday and the two get into it? Wonder if anyone had thoughts on that. To me, hitters are crowding the plate more and more and Harris didn't budge. The pitch wasn't even that far inside.

If JRoll continues to play the way he has, that is if he continues his approach, then even when he cools down he'll still acheive his 150 runs this season goal.

Voted for Jroll. There has been a lot of talk on here over the last two years about Rollins getting older and not being able to play at the level we expect of him. While Jimmy probably won't ever duplicate 2007, he is showing that his first half of 2009 should be a distant memory. The guy still plays a hell of a SS too.

Hitters crowding the plate, wearing armor, and losing their cool over every single HBP has made pitching inside effectively virtually impossible.

And I voted for Jimmy's fast start; after the pathetic first half he had last year, it's good to see him rolling early.

If he can put together a full season like his second half last year, he's pretty close to his '07 MVP level.

JW: To me it looked like Harris was thinking about swinging, checked, and as a result wasn't able to move. I don't have a problem with what Harris did.

What bothers me is that Krod started charging first base and shouted F*** Y** 5 or 6 times. After watching Burrell for all those years I became a pro at reading profanities.

Wonder how much we should read into JRoll and Howard. Yes, they're both streaky, but maybe they're inspired by playing and losing to the Yankees last year.

The Nats are a .500 team, take out their games against us and they are a .667 team...

JW - I have noticed that too especially with a bunch of hitters back foot even over the box line. It is getting a little ridiculous especially when hitters get really aggravated when a pitcher throws inside. What do they expect? You stand on the box line & you might get hit. Utley does that but you don't see him get all aggravated & bent out of shape. He just trots down to 1st base.

KRod is a piece of garbage. He was before he went to the Mets. If anything, they have merely brought out the worst parts of his game.

JW - No long for the bullpen? In a week where you generally saw some really mediocre starting pitching from this club except Halladay, they more than held down the fort.

17 IP, 0-1, 1 SV, 1.59 ERA, 1.18 ERA, 5 BB, 15 K

Figueroa was really the only guy who pitched poorly and he just got off a bus a few hours before the game.

Bill, where the Nats and Mets finish in the standings will be determined by their pitching.

The Mets have a legitimate ace, a top flight closer, and a pretty good LOOGY. After that, IMO, the rest of their pitching staff is a big question mark - could be up or down.

The Nats, OTOH, don't have an ace, but have a #1 who's been pretty consisitent throughout his career, and a guy in Lannan who has pitched pretty well for them the last couple of years but has a bad W-L record probably because of the team he plays on. In Capps, they have a servicable closer.

All in all, the Nats, while lacking a dominant ace and closer like the Mets have, actually might have better pitching depth.

We'll see.

awh- I think the Nats are motivated to show they can play & will keep their heads in the game all year & finish around .500.

Once the Mets are out of the hunt (sooner the better) they will mail it in & be worse than the Nats, but with world class excuses for why.

Wonder if J-Roll is hearing footsteps. Watched Galvis square up three hits from the left side yesterday in Reading including lining a double off the warning track in right. He also fielded flawlessly.

I don't know if he's hearing footsteps, but I believe he does want to show that he's undervalued contractually. He's been quiet from that standpoint, but I think i've picked up a few stray remarks from different writers on the subject. He wants to prove his value.

Wow, four tough choices there.

(The one exception is the Washington/Houston storyline -- I think Washington might actually be okay when they're not playing the mighty Phils: they even have a winning record against the rest of the league so far!)

Could've voted for any of the other four: Rollins and Howard's quick starts are indeed encouraging, but they're icing on the cake. And I was a big booster of Polanco's signing (loss of defense at hot corner be damned -- his contact-hitting and breaking up the lefties is vital to this offense, and makes us an unstoppable force), and that would've been my second choice.

But i voted for Halladay because, come October, it's Roy who can help seal the World Series deal. I think we're going to be in the playoff mix regardless of the Howard and Rollins fast starts and Polanco's talents. So that's why I voted for Doc.

Isn't it nice that the we have such a large choice of "best stories" from which to choose?

While I'm thrilled to see a revitalized Rollins, a disciplined Howard, and a dominant Halladay, my biggest concerns going into the season were the bullpen (which has done well - see MG's post above) and Polanco. Not that I thought Polanco would tank, but I thought he wouldn't perform well, bringing out the boo-birds, etc. and causing general angst.

As has been stated before, it's atypical for us fans not to have something legitimate to bitch about in April.

Gotta go with JRoll.

I think there's a pretty well-established track record that his on-base percentage correlates strongly with the Phils' offensive success.

Of course, the same could probably be said about Howard's rbi production - but his performance in that regard has been amazing consistent throughout his career. For that reason, JRoll's early performance this year seems to me to stand out more.

I'd also agree with MG's observation about the bullpen - although the incredible early run differential would seem to diminish the impact of the bullpen's performance.

I voted for Rollins. Him and Polanco were kind of the same subject, but I think Rollins has a much higher ceiling than bighead. Rollins on top of his game is a much bigger asset to this lineup because of his knack for extra bases and swiping bags - and thats not even factoring in his excellent D day-in day-out.

One Man Army.

Concerning the K-Rod v.s. Willie Harris comment: Until umpires start calling the inside strike and allowing pitchers to establish the inside corner the hitters will keep taking advantage. If immortals of the game like Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale played today they'd be thrown out before completing the 1st inning. We all know its a dangerous sport but a hitter wears a helmet and multiple protective gear at their leisure at times. Pithers should be allowed to pitch inside with confidence they'll get the right calls to finally even the playing field again. The days of respecting high and inside chin music has been replaced by whining batters, overly protective mommie umpires, stingy inside corners and football protective gear. It really makes you wonder how much better players like Halladay, Santana and Hamels really could be

I'll give the bullpen props in the pregame.

re: pitching inside

I watched Baseball Tonight yesterday and they had George Will on to talk about the length of game time (joe west's sox/yanks comment). He made the correlation of strike zone size to game length, citing the smaller the zone the longer the game. Said that umpires have shrank the zone over the years to a point where it would take an exponential amount of time to get the zone from today back to that of 1960. Made a lot of references to body armor, batters' psyches, and even the quick hook that some pitchers get for even 'buzzing' players - summarizing by calling pitchers an 'opposed minority of baseball' over the past decades.

I voted for J-Roll's hot start, but MG has a good point. The performance of the bullpen has definitely been the single most encouraging development from week 1. Not just the good results, but the fact that so many of our relievers have really been dealing.

Bullpen is a good story, but it can't be the top story when the Phils are setting franchise marks in hits over the first five games. They lead baseball in so many categories.

Holy crap, those are the bullpen numbers?!

I voted for J-Roll. Polanco hasn't really been much of a surprise. Amazing how good offense makes the bullpen better.

The R-Phils will be in my town on Thursday. I'm looking forward to taking in a game or two.

Polly. Better than advertised.

The disappearance of the inside corner: It makes you wonder how good Ted Williams & Joe DiMaggio would have faired in this hitters league.

Washington does not suck, they may be bad but not as bad as last year. Their lineup is quite formidable. The Astro's suck and will finish with the worst mark in MLB.

We should remember the Marlins started out last year just like the Phils this year.

re: Harris and K-Rod. Both said after the game it was a misunderstanding. Harris said he wasn't mad he was hit, he yelled because it hurt; K-Rod thought he was saying something to him. For the record, I didn't think Harris was really crowding the plate all that much; Utley stands closer than he does. Also, I can't stand K-Rod.

AWH when strasburg and Wang join the Nats rotation, they'll be pretty interesting, I think Desmond looks loke a stud as well.

The key to the Phillies will be Polanco and Werth causer if both do well because J-Roll and Ryan will get some protection. It was great watching pitch counts of opposing pitchers climb.

I voted for Polly. I was a big fan of the signing (though I wanted Beltre even more). But I am very happy to see that he still has the stick to be a very efficient 2 hole hitter. I also think that the corollary affect of having Vic hit 7th is giving the lineup terrific versatility. I love the idea of having a second leadoff hitter in the bottom third of the order. If Chooch has a decent year offensively that could be huge.
My favorite knockdown story has to be the one about Don Drysdale. Walter Alston went to the mound and told TwinD he wanted to put the next hitter on. Drysdale said ok but we're gonna do it my way. So he knocked the guy down 3 times and drilled him with the fourth pitch. He has to spin in his grave every time he sees one of these hitters charge the mound after a pitch comes a bit inside. Not many would charge he Drysdale. He was big and mean.

The story is the offense. Halladay is as good as advertised, but this team is scoring runs at a brutal pace. How many 1-2-3 innings before the game yesterday?

So far, I've liked Polly's defense. His range and arm have been fine. Overall, his instincts at 3B are still a work in progress. I think he's been playing a tad too deep on some plays and its hurt him when he has to charge the ball. He also was out of position on the Halladay miscue yesterday. Granted, that lies primarily on Chooch and then on Halladay for not executing but Polly's mistake at charging the ball led to him being out of position.

Mostly, I think its a repetition issue and he'll get stronger as the year goes on. His arm/range are both fine for the position and the rest will come.

Offensively, its night and day between him and Feliz.

You plant yourself close to the plate and you're going to get bonked. It's part of the game and hitters should understand that.

I voted for J-Roll's start. As he goes, so goes the Phils...

Jimmy's start.

At least we've gotten away a bit from the era of Mo Vaughn showing up to the plate in a suit of armor and sticking his elbow over the dish.

From Delaware Online: "[Dubee] then made the point that closers don’t have good spring results because the adrenaline isn’t pumping."

Oh please. That sounds like the kind of explanation that MVPTommy would provide. Lidge has gotten lit up by Single A hitters 5 times in a row, and it's all because his adrenaline wasn't pumping? Was his adrenaline pumping when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, a 1.81 WHIP, a .301 BAA, and 11 blown saves last year?

If any other Single A pitcher had these kind of results, the Phillies would already have demoted him to the GCL to pitch against 18-year olds. Lidge pitches this way & he not only earns a promotion back to the majors, but immediately assumes the most important role in the bullpen. No doubt, he's going to be right back in the closer's role as soon as he manages to throw a scoreless inning against Single A competition. Assuming that ever happens, which is about 50-50.

Dear Cole,

I'm leaving for the Ballpark now. Please do not take a big, steaming Chopper all over my Opening Day.

Sincerely,

Dave

If the following rule were enforced by the umpires some of the drama from batters would go away pretty quickly.

(Of course, it would cost Utley some on-base % too.)

6.08 The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when—
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless
(1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or
(2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;

How would they enforce it Bubba, I don't think I have seen Utley or anyone else "make no attempt". Everytime even Utley gets hit, he still turns his body and acts like he is trying to avoid the pitch.

bap, its kinda like when Dubee said the reason KK was getting hammered in 08 was because his arm wasn't tired enough to throw a good sinker.

A lot of times batters are not trying to avoid the ball.
They are turning to allow the ball to hit on a less damaging part of the body , not to get out of the way.
It is hard to call and doesn't get called much anymore.

Slocs, I didn't mention Strasburg and Wang only because they are "unknowns" at this point.

If Wang is healthy he'll definitely make a difference, and Strasburg obviously has huge upside.

If they both show up mid-season and pitch well, the Nats could, IMO, definitely finish ahead of the Mets, and become a real spoiler for teams that aren't ready for them.

I'm hoping for Strasburg's MLB debut vs. the Phils, but remind myself:

"Be careful of what you wish for".

I would ignore all information on Lidge until he shows up in the Phillies bullpen. If that happens at all.

.

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