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Sunday, May 16, 2010


Juan Castro > Bruntlett
Wilson Valdez > Bruntlett

That one Brewers' pitcher had a hell of a moustache, though.

Complaints: Ryan Howards new approach at the plate is awful.

Compared to his career numbers Howard is swinging at 8.5% more balls and 2.5% less strikes. His contact rate is way up and its sapping all his power/walking ability. This seems to be a concerted effort to put more balls in play, which has led him to hit MANY more ground balls, many less fly balls(which is many less extra bases), and a walk rate that is basically Pedro Feliz career walk rate. None of these trends are good. Help.

tell me if this is crazy (probably is) but do you think the phillies can redo lidge's contract? He's due 11.5 next year and 12.5 the year after with a 1.5 buyout. so he's gonna get 13 next year we all agree on that. he strikes me as the kind of guy that wants to earn his money which is why i don't feel he's been very honest about his injures at least with the public/media over the last few years. Do you think the phillies would be willing to pay him slightly more than 13 mill say 13.5 or so but split that over next year and the year after? saving about 4-5 next year depending on how they work it. basically would you save 4-5 a year over the next two years or 13 mill in 2011. the way i see it that money could be used to help toward werth next year and maybe just maybe lidge could be some what useful in 2010 or 2011 if we shut him down for awhile now

From the look on Contreras' face after Dubee's chat on the mound I suspect that he was told to get the damned last two outs or his mom was going to be sent back to Cuba.

I have a complaint. I hate ESPN. I'm away on business and couldn't watch the Phils. So I turn on ESPN to get a recap. What do I get? Prince Fielder's home run. Vic's home run. Then Counsell striking out while the announcers's voice over says, "The Phils survive."

FU ESPN. Survive? This was a 10-6 game. The only offense worth showing was a big, fat turd's HR and Vic's 2 run shot? What about the weird GR double for Utley?

Glad I got more here on BL.

I was in a sports bar yesterday (I'm in SF), and they were showing the Giants/Astros game. Everyone was afraid of the same outcome as the Lincecum-pitched game agains the Phils. One guys told everyone to calm down. "This is the Astros, not the Phillies." Made me feel good about our team, but I kept my mouth shut.

Lidge is due 12m is 2011 and 1.5m to walk in 2012. This year's FA are Moyer and Werth. Next year is Lidge, Ibanez, Rollins, Romero, and the glut of shitty 2-year contracts Rube handed out this past offseason.


Where should Victorino bat when Jimmy comes back? Is Polanco and his low walk rate best suited for the top of the order?

PHinBK: Everyone knows that Placido Polanco is the greatest 2-hole hitter in the history of the game.

@pb --
re-structuring a deal without giving an extension is rare... Chipper Jones deal is a good example of how restructuring is done... but that was a deal to save the team money and guarantee he retires a brave... I'm not exactly sure anyone is clamoring for Lidge to retire as a phillie. Unless he does so today and save us all the trouble...

in this want to spread 13 million over two years... when he's going to get 12 next year and mostly like the 1.5 buyout... and the he can some sign some 5 to 8MM deal from Ed Wade and finish with something like 20mm over the next two years...

you could take some of the dollars and make it a signing bonus that you defer over time with interest... but that's rare... and i have no idea if the union would frown upon that or mlb would... and if it would still fall under luxury tax issues...

PHinBK: Interesting question, but only in the hypothetical sense. Rollins has been batting leadoff in all of his rehab starts, so I'd almost bet the farm it's Rollins, Polanco, Utley, etc., & Vic back down to 7th, when Jimmy returns.

Cholly probably won't do it, but why not have J-Roll bat 7th and leave Vic where he is?

Personally, I'd leave Vic in the leadoff spot. But, then again, I'd have put him in the leadoff spot to start with, due to his .347+ OBP in each of the last 3 seasons.

It's sort of ironic that Vic is succeeding in the leadoff spot, not by following the high-OBP formula of his last 3 seasons, but by following the same formula that Jimmy Rollins followed: a low OBP but lots of extra base hits. But, whatever the formula, he's certainly succeeding. And, over time, I would expect his walk rate to go up, and to exceed Rollins' walk rate. I also have some concerns about how Rollins is going to do when he comes back; it's pretty common for players to struggle after coming back from a significant injury. For all those reasons, I think Vic should stay where he is & Rollins should bat 7th. But we all know that's not going to happen.

OldPhan: Because that makes too much sense for too many reasons(let rollins have a week or two to re-acclimate himself to real pitching and not minor league bs, let vic ride out his hot streak and not mess with him, provide more pop from the 7 hole as we don't know what chooch will be like when he comes back). But this is Charlie. Rollins will be leading off the day he comes back.

Old Phan: I think that's a great idea. Unfortunately, both Charlie & Rollins have a complete mental block when it comes to the idea of batting Jimmy anywhere but the leadoff spot. It's like the "Lidge is our Closer" nonsense. Personally, I'd like Jimmy to say something to the effect of "I'll hit wherever I'm most useful" -- which, at the moment, would be somewhere other than where Vic is currently on a tear -- but it's not in his nature to do so, nor is it in Charlie's to stray from his Book. We might as well just get over it & hope J-Roll comes back in early '10 form, not first half of '09 form.

kuvasz - Speaking of Contreras' mom she definitely looked 75 (if not even a bit older).

I am sure that Contreras is younger than Moyer but I bet isn't that much. Say 43 or 44?

If Shane is leading the team in RBIs now, and his avg. is so much higher with runners on (both of which statements are true), then theoretically, his potential is maximized by hitting 7th. Someone have stats on him, b/c I don't think of him as any more disciplined a hitter than Jimmy. But he is good in the clutch. And he's been doing a great job for us.

Of course, if Werth knocks in the top half of the order, and Raul fails to get on, then there will be no one for Shane to hit in from the 7-hole.

OTOH, if Chooch comes back continuing his hitting trend - if we get production from the bottom of the lineup, then Shane does benefit the team hitting 1st. (I know, clearly he already is benefitting the team hitting 1st, and that is due to the bottom of the lineup getting on base.)

Maybe we should try a "LaRussa" and bat Shane 9th.

Nah, I doubt that would happen, either. And I don't think anyone seriously believes Jimmy will bat anywhere other than leadoff, either.

* Should be "DOES someone have stats on him?"

Kutztown Fan--if you have MLB Network that's a better bet for highlights. They often use the play-by-play from the game as well. And no devotion of half the show to talking heads chatting about where LeBron will play in half a year.

Maybe Contreras' mom has just had a harder life than US moms?

I'll admit long time troller here and great discussions for a guy living out side of the city in Cleveland.

I made the 45 min trip to see the R-Phils last night in Akron thought we'd see Aumont and/or D Brown. Was not in the lineup and saw him with his thumb wrapped. Not sure the severity but didn't look too bad and he was a hell of a nice guy was the only phil to come out after the game and signed for anyone. As for the Game well 5-0 loss says it all. They ran into a new AA arrival in Kelvin De La Cruz who had a 5 inning no hitter and was pulled in the 6th. Kind of odd but I guess that is AA ball. We were thinking of the criticism if that would ever happen in the bigs. Overall a fun night at a minor league park.

FWIW, my ideal lineup is:

1. Victorino
2. Polonco
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Werth
6. Ibanez/Francisco
7. Rollins
8. Pitcher
9. Ruiz

How about Chooch 7th and Rollins 9th? Excuse me, I've just entered fantasy land. I'll be back to reality in a moment.

Would it be crazy to bat Chooch leadoff?

"...talking heads chatting about where LeBron will play in half a year."

The sad thing is they've been talking about it for 2 years.

It wouldn't be crazy if you thought Ruiz could maintain his present production. I'd bet against it.

A lot of the lineup discussions are academic because we all know what lineup they'll trot out there 80% of the time and these small changes will probably make very little difference in the grand scheme of things. The difference between Rollins 1 and Vic 7 or vice versa may not add up to even one win.

Vic isn't succeeding as a leadoff hitter in the table setter sense. He hasn't hit a lick to start innings or with the bases empty. He has done very well at driving in runs when the lineup loops around. He's already had 5 PA with the bases loaded (Utley has zero).

All this is just to describe what's happened since Rollins went out because I'd bet, given enough PA, he'll end up hitting .300/.350 as a leadoff hitter with the bases empty or .300/.350 as a 7th hitter with the bases empty.

No, but right now Vic is succeeding in every other sense. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The idea that their is some sort of synergy or interaction in lineups is vastly overstated(it exists just not to the extent we may have once thought). You really just want your best hitters getting the most ABs. Also batting order in general is vastly less important than one would think. The difference between the most and least optimized lineup of 9 players is worth less than intuition dictates. However, your 3 best hitters should hit 1,2, and 4. An optimized Phillies lineup would probably look like(based on my back of the napkin projections+L/R distribution):


I think we all tend to forget that batting order is a secondary distribution of playing time. GS is what we tend to look at for playing time, but from an offensive perspective PA is more important.

pretty pointless to argue about things that aren't going to happen. i like to deal in reality and that's not reality. rollins will leadoff and that's that

Here's another lineup change worth considering. Actually, it's not just worth considering; it absolutely should be done, although it won't be.

Assuming Rollins returns to the leadoff spot, why wouldn't you bat Vic 6th & move Ibanez to 7th? In late game situations, the opposing team will ALWAYS bring in the LOOGY to face Utley & Howard. Even with Werth in the 5-spot, most managers just leave the LOOGY in the game because, after Werth, he gets to face another left-hander in Ibanez. Vic tears up left-handed pitching so, if he were batting 6th, the opposing manager would either have to have his LOOGY face two excellent right-handed bats or he'd have to bring in a right-hander & probably leave him in to face Ibanez. This just makes too much sense for Cholly to ever consider.

BAP - and Ibanez's recent numbers are pretty much acceptable for a #7 hitter.

Clearly the ideal lineup is as follows:


I think they should go with that from now on.

Either way, its 70 and sunny and I just did 5 hrs of yard work. Good times.

The difference between the most optimal lineup and the least is actually pretty big (maybe 2 runs a game) although I'm not sure how that compares to people's intuition.

What isn't large is the difference between the lineups that are close to optimal. The difference between Vic 1 and Rollins 7 or vice versa is very small.

"The difference between Vic 1 and Rollins 7 or vice versa is very small."

Does that mean that you take a guy out of a position where he is hot just because another guy is coming off the DL and he is the de facto leadoff hitter?
It may not make a huge difference, but for now you leave Vic where he is.

Sophist: Right. We often hear people say that "lineup construction doesn't matter." But what they really mean is, "Within the realm of reasonably appropriate lineup constructions, the specific construction matters very little."

If you batted the pitcher leadoff and Wilson Valdez in the cleanup spot, I suspect it would have a rather significant effect on run production.

Doug Davis scratched from tonight's start. Righty Dave Bush will start tonight on normal rest.

So those of you who thought there was a chance in hell of seeing Fransisco tonight, forget it.

I always love how people bring up ideas and then term it as "It makes too much sense for Charlie to do." As if the person offering that idea is the greatest baseball mind ever.

There is a reason they do things the way they do. Line-up moves are not as simple as pull out, put in. It changes the way other teams go after your guys and what's more important to protect. And most managers would still make the same move they do now despite Victorino being in the 6 hole. His numbers career wise are pretty close whether he bats right or left.

In fact, Ibanez and Victorino are almost interchangeable in the 6 and 7 hole since both hit left handers almost identically. But maybe that makes too much regular sense.

I threw the lineup with OBA and SLG guesses into Baseball Musings lineup simulator. The best lineup scores .6 R/G more than the worst lineup (so I was wrong about the difference but right about the small difference between lineups if this simulator is close to right).

Best lineup: Werth, Utley, Vic, Howard, Ibanez, Rollins, Polanco, P, Ruiz.


Here's a claim: Vic will hit the same no matter where in the lineup Manual puts him. He's so comfortable in the leadoff spot, he's hitting less than .200 to start the game and when the bases are empty.

TTI - Every study I've read finds that "protection" is a myth.

Sophist: It's not.

RT @AdamMcCalvy - Doug Davis scratched from tonight's start vs Phillies for undisclosed medical reasons. Dave Bush starting instead

So much for getting Francisco a start versus one of the three lefties this weekend

Truth: Well, just because Cholly does something a certain way doesn't mean that his decision is unassailable.

And where do you get that Vic & Ibanez hit left-handers identically? Vic has an .850 career OPS against left-handers and is still young enough to be improving as a hitter. Ibanez has a .758 career OPS against left-handers. He's also about to turn 38 &, notwithstanding his May OPS, there is good reason to believe that his hitting skills are declining. That would no doubt be exacerbated against left-handers (which is precisely what his 2010 numbers show).

TTI - Enlighten me. Here's an interesting take I recently read:

The protection production function seems to tell us conflicting stories. The "input" findings show that protection exists, but the "output" evidence suggests that protection does not exist. So, which answer is correct? In addition to the potential randomness issue discussed earlier, outputs suffer from one other relative disadvantage – the mere volume of data being studied is different. Analysis at the per-pitch level (inputs) employs about four times the number of instances as per-at bat level analysis (outputs). Thus, while prior research may (or may not) point us in the right direction, I would argue that the production function's inputs push us much closer to the truth.

I get your general point, but do you really think the career and recent numbers of the regulars would go hay-wire if Manual started using the lineup I posted?

The difference between an unimaginable worst lineup and a close to reality optimal lineup is about 4 wins.

vs LHP


08: .305/.368/.497
09: .285/.359/.639
10: .200/.282/.371


08: .282/.345/.537
09: .314/.385/.459
10: .357/.400/.667

As I've been saying, it's way to early to say Ibanez is finished (it's not just May numbers, BAP. He's been hitting well since April 20th, just to pick nits), but I think it's a safe bet that Vic will hit LHP better this year.

Tonight's lineup posted; same as the past two games.

BAP: You casually left out the word "almost" in my statement. It's not like there is a vast difference between the two. Ibanez numbers are down a little too because he is having a bad year this year versus lefties. He also batted .200 against them in 2001.

I didn't say Charlie's decisions were unassailable either. Just pointing out that there are reasons they do things. They may not make sense from the outside but I'm sure they have numbers or some rationale for why they do what they do.

Sophist: I don't think Ibanez is finished either. But, based on his second half in 2009, his spring training, and his overall start to this year, I think it's pretty likely that his hitting skills are declining, though still decent.

But, even if he bounces back and has a typical Ibanez season, I still think Vic will out-perform him against left-handed pitching. I also think that, if there's a way to decrease the number of times that Ibanez has to face tough left-handed pitching, then it should be done. Batting Vic 6th would do that.

Truth: .758 is "almost" the same as .850?

It doesn't really tell us much to say that there's a reason Cholly bats Ibanez 6th & Vic 7th. I mean, obviously, there's a reason; I don't think Cholly arrived at the decision through a random lineup generator. I just think there are much better reasons to put another strong right-handed bat between Howard & Ibanez. Because, for all the Phillies' hitting prowess, the middle of their order remains very vulnerable to LOOGYs late in the game.

Is Vic getting on base more than Rollins has in the leadoff spot in the past? Doesn't seem like it.

Sophist, I'm not sure what your point is re: Vic. Are you saying he isnt hitting well in the leadoff spot or he is but will hit as well anywhere in the lineup?

We seem to get fewer Gavin Floyd updates than we used to now that his ERA is 7.00.

Ooh...I found something to complain about: What's up with our lack of SBs? Vic has become a non-factor this year and even Utley/Werth are holding back on getting to their 20+ SBs.

For the year as a team:

10 SB, 3 CS

We used to be a team that ran alot...what's up with that?


Baseball musings has a lineup analysis tool based on a fairly complicated set of stats. It supports eitheror's contention that your best hitters should bat 1 2 and 4. It also supports LaRussa's practice of batting the pitcher 8th and a guy with OB & speed skills 9th.

Maybe sophist or someone can plug in career OB and SLG vs R and vs L and run the tool to see what the best lineups would be vs. LHP and RHP. I bet you wind up with Utley batting 1st or 2nd.

BTW, sophist is correct that there is a big diffrence in run scoring potential between the best and worst possible lineups (and by big I mean half a run per game) ut the difference between the optimal and just OK lineups in on the order of less than a tenth of a run difference. Still, that could mean an extra win or two during a 162-game season.

Here's the link:

ooops, just noticed that sophist has already done so. Good work.

Here's a complaint:

With the B/P down 2 relievers, and the remaining includes a Rule5 in-training , a Romero who s/be DFA-ed, an exile from the Mets.

Why is Scott M still at LV?

Based on the twitter discussed earlier, it sounds like a money thing.

So the logic of keeping Scott M at Triple A is a matter of $$$ - that is penny-wise and pound foolish - considering the need they have up here in the bigs.

Sounds like the same logic that had them ship out Lee - only to salary dump & get 3 'prospects' back.. now we're short a QUALITY starter - and we need 1 now.

Their record on May 16th is fine - 'yay-yay' -

but a BP that is this short handed now and they're worried about a year in arbitration doesn't make sense to me--

Given the shape the entire pitching staff is in now, will there be anything left to take us to the promised land in November?

A difference of .6 R/G is huge and so is 4 wins a season with the 'best' and 'worst' lineup but that is assuming that same 'best' lineup goes out there everyday too or there are no in-game substitutions. Both are never going to happen.

Lineup construction is generally overblown unless you continue to do something really stupid (put a low OBP at the 1/2 spot) or put a number of left/right-handed hitters in the same order in the lineup.

I share NEPP's complaint: We aren't stealing bases like we used to.

I think the money argument for keeping Mathieson down is BS. He has done really well at Lehigh, but if called up, is he going to light it up that much that his arb award will break the bank? I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

There dosn't seem to be as many running situations this year. And the best runners are getting more XBH's and less singles and walks. But I would send the man on 1st every time Valdez is up.

for like the millionth time, mathieson is still in triple a because he doesn't have a refined secondary pitch

also rollins is back tomorrow fyi

st: Romero doesn't have any refined pitches & he's on the big club ...

i don't care. i'm just telling you the reason. it's what lamar has said several times. you wanted to know the reason. that's the reason

"Why is Scott M still at LV?"

Truthfully, there really isn't room for him now. Now if one more guy gets hurt, there will be.

Scotty actually had a bit of a struggle today. Gave up his 2nd ER of the year and his 2nd XBH (a leadoff HR in the 8th). Still got the save though. Now 6 for 6 in save situations.

If he stays healthy and stays effective, he'll force his way up at some point in the summer.

Glad to hear that Rollins will be back. Then we'll be able to argue about things like whether he or Vic should bat leadoff, & how the lineup should be adjusted to accommodate his return. Oh wait . . . we're already arguing about those very things.

Anyone know what Rolins did in his rehab games?

st: My point is that just because they give a reason doesn't mean it's the actual reason, which is why people are speculating on other possibilities.

rollins only played one rehab game. was 0 for 3 but made a great defensive diving play. proefrock says the plan all along was only to give him one rehab game

Can I complain about Michael Saunders hot start to his mlb career and Triunfel's solid numbers in AA?

Hilarious that Jason puts up a post about how there's nothing to really complain about... followed by a thread in which everyone complains about lineup construction and the bullpen.

You guys are hilarious.

Well hell, if Francisco isn't playing I've lost all interest.

he was going to play but they changed pitchers

Cholly's lineup card has been between bad and awful since the day he arrived. That's just a fact of life.

Jimmy's joining the club Monday? Presumably to start? Woo-hoo! Hopefully, it won't take him too many games to get his swing back. And hopefully, he'll bring his energy with him - Not that the club has been playing badly of late without him. Valdez was even getting some hits. But it will be good to get Jimmy back.

CJ: He only did that because I complained about the lack of posts about the complaining.

bap: Gotta completely disagree with your logic concerning Vic batting 6th and Raul 7th.

Which matchup do you prefer? Werth vs. a lefty or Vic vs. a righty?

I'd much rather a manager decide to leave his LOOGY in vs. Werth with Ibanez on deck than have both Werth and Vic face a RHP.

CJ, if there is any place that can find things to complain about, it's BL.

curt: "Cholly's lineup card has been between bad and awful since the day he arrived. That's just a fact of life."

Whatever... you guys kill me sometimes, pretending you're all a bunch of baseball geniuses while Charlie presides over the best offense in the National League over the last 4 seasons. Just dumb luck, I guess.

CJ: Actually, the probable choice would be Werth AND Ibanez vs. a lefty, or Werth, Vic, and Ibanez vs. a righty. Then there will also be times when the opposing manager would just leave the LOOGY in to face Werth & Vic, on the theory that Vic's a switch-hitter anyhow & they don't want to burn through too many relievers. And in that scenario, you'd a couple of very favorable matchups before having to get to an unfavorable one with Ibanez.

Curt, do you really think this team could win one WS and go to another if Cholly did anything that ranged from bad to awful? You really don't think the other 31 teams are trying, do you?

I dont think Curt was serious. With the talent in this lineup, it would really difficult to mess it up.

What's the latest on Chooch?

jbird: "Can I complain about Michael Saunders hot start to his mlb career and Triunfel's solid numbers in AA?"

Jack was quite clear on this, jbird. Saunders isn't remotely as good a prospect as Tyson Gillies.

Re: Lineups. There are old school guys like Dusty Baker and Charlie Manuel and there are new school guys like Tony LaRussa.

For Baker and Manuel newfangled stuff like OBP is not a consideration when drawing up a lineup.

For guys like LaRussa, a lineup is the product of numerous computer programs.

Ludwick would never in a million years bat 2nd in a Manuel or Baker lineup nor would the pitcher hit 8th. And a guy with a career OBP of .330 would never lead off a LaRussa lineup.

And the bottom line difference is maybe 1 or 2 wins a year, if that.

That one Brewers' pitcher had a hell of a moustache, though.

Read that Mathieson needs 70 more days in the bigs for arbitration and it is a valid reason they are keeping him down. the secondary pitch argument seems weak to anyone who has seen him this year. Slider is nasty, besides he throws in the friggin high 90s!

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