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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Comments

As far as losses go, this one was pretty encouraging. Lidge looked sharp (though I'm not past buying into the Larussa "Tank against him so they'll think he's a closer again" conspiracy) and Blanton's outing was incredibly encouraging.

Jaime Garcia has been pitching well this year. With the offense the Phils have- and I can't believe the offense's proficiency is still even up for debate- when they get starting pitching like they did, they will win more than they lose. Last night they just happened to lose. It happens.

Lidge did look sharp though. I'll need to see two or three more performances like that before I assume we'll avert disaster with him, but...baby steps.

Is it wrong to be optimistic about this team? I mean, we're snakebitten for the moment, but that should correct itself by, say, June, and then we should be in decent shape, no?

The problems they're facing don't seem to be any different than they were last year, which is both good and bad. On the one hand, we overcame those struggles last year; on the other, it may show that the Phils are in denial about their bullpen situation.

Lastly, at what point are our problems less about the pitchers themselves and more about their coaches?

I honestly wouldn't be upset if Ryan Madson never pitches for the Phillies again. He's a mental midget.

Coaches and say Ryan Franklin. He did pull it together since moving to St. Louis.

The loss of Mad Dog is maddening. If Mad Dog wanted to inflict pain to himself, he should've contacted Officer Dibble of the CPB Security Force and requested a non-lethal Tasering. He wouldn't be on the DL today. What an idiot!

I am optimistic about this team as well. They have the potential to win 100 games. In order for that to happen though Ruben Amaro needs to add at least one if not two bullpen arms.

I don't know that I blame the coaches over the pitchers in this case. These same coaches were able to manage the pitchers the last few years.

http://www.mtrphilly.com

Missed the game thread and turned to the flyguys during figueroa's appearence so i may be speakig uninformed but:

Was Contreras or Durbin unavailable last nite?

It is insane to have figeroa pitching in any leverage situation unless it is necessity.

Perlazzo and McKannin are both on the on seat now!

thephaithful - via Zolecki

If everything had worked the way Manuel had hoped it would work before the season started, the Phillies would have asked Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin or J.C. Romero to pitch the seventh. But with Ryan Madson hurt, Durbin unavailable after pitching two innings Sunday, Baez struggling and only having pitched once previously in consecutive games this season and Manuel trying to ease Lidge and Romero back following offseason elbow surgeries, he felt he had no other options.

http://zozone.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/05/you_see_something_new_every_da.html

Note he doesn't mention Contreras

Read this about the Phils today:
"They are still just 1-10 in games in which Roy Halladay doesn't pitch and they don't score more than six runs."

Yikes. I don't know how you can read that and not be concerned about pitching. But having Blanton back should help. OTOH, we have no idea when Happ will return, or even whether he'll be back and effective this season. We HAVE to rely on Cole and KK finding a way to put hitters away and work out of jams.

I was all for having Durbin come in and stay 2 innings the other night. Simply b/c I didn't trust other BP arms to hold the lead, big as it was. (A sad comment right there, and perhaps overanxiety on my part.)
But it worked smoother when Charlie had his 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys he could turn to for 1 inning apiece, like clockwork.

Howard has walked 5 times all year. Through 25 games (2B-3B-HR - BB% - K%)

10: .280/.313/.505 - 7-1-5 - 4.5% - 22.4%
09: .283/.372/.505 - 5-1-5 - 11.5% - 29.2%
08: .299/.367/.666 - 2-0-5 - 14.9% - 41.1%
07: .200/.383/.378 - 2-0-4 - 23.3% - 41.1%
06: .311/.388/.489 - 1-0-5 - 11.6% - 26.7%

Howard's P/PA still sits around 3.6. That's Victorino-like.

Tells you how awful Howard's start to 08 was. I copied one slash over and it didn't fool me at first. 08 should read .178/.299/.367

Somehow I just knew the whole season would come down to Kyle and Cole. They worked hard in the off season and now is the time to show the right stuff. They will also need to get a couple RBI's.

maybe we should call every loss that can be attributed to his bone-headed tantrum, a "Madson." and we can see how many he racks up before his return. hoping, of course, that it's a very small number.

Re: Howard's BBs. It was pretty striking watching the difference in Howard's and Utley's approaches against tough LHP last night: Utley working a nice walk and getting the HR (after a near HR earlier), but using his short swing and not chasing; Howard taking called third strikes after getting behind by chasing bad pitches with huge swings.

I'm not going to argue with Howard's overall success - but does he really believe that it would mess him up if he tried shortening his swing when behind against tough lefties with good breaking pitches?

I would take the straight jacket off Madson an hour a day and stretch his arm out tossing from a wheel chair and bring him back as a starter. Maybe with the crooked toe he can develop a screwball.

If "Real Deal" Durbin is still the party animal he claims to be, he'll love playing Fukuoka. It's allegedly home to the most beautiful women in Japan and the weekend starts early on Oyafuku Dori. Enjoy it Mr. Durbin.

Utley has just gotten off to ridiculous starts recently. His first 25 games.

05: .301/.366/.554 - 6 HR
06: .272/.333/.478 - 4 HR
07: .296/.395/.582 - 5 HR
08: .365/.446/.760 - 9 HR
09: .333/.476/.642 - 8 HR
10: .301/.440/.634 - 8 HR

Is there a player in baseball who's been better in the early going than Utley since 2008?

first time posting, long time lurking.

It seemed like the phillies were happy to come away with the moral victory of Blanton pitching well last night. It also felt a little too much like managing by the numbers, imo. Everyone figured figueroa was going to see some time last night due to Blanton being on a pitch count (plus not knowing what you'd get out of him in his first start) and they couldn't waiver from that plan. I know you don't have a lot of options in the bullpen, but I can't see how you leave figueroa in after that holliday at bat where he skips two fast balls over chooch's head. At that point I think you have to go to contreras and hope he can either work eighth as well or bring herndon in.

BB since Juan Castro joined the lineup:

Ruiz: 14
Utley: 14
Ibanez: 10
Werth: 10
Howard: 3
Victorino: 3
Castro: 2
Polanco: 2

Night and day there. Vic is betting .263/.286/.500 in that time, and he's having a pretty good homestand: .333/.333/.722 and has been batting about .290 since the ARI series. Again, the most noteworthy thing is the power and the lack of walks. Howard isn't alone in this.

Utley's early numbers are good i guess, i like these better:

Howard's Sept/Oct:

05: .292 .359 .708 - 11 HR
06: .385 .562 .750 - 9 HR
07: .260 .413 .630 - 11 HR
08: .352 .422 .852 - 11 HR
09: .303 .390 .582 - 8 HR

Sophist - Utley always get out to a really hot start especially from a power perspective and it gradually fades through out the year. By Sept., his power numbers are about half of what they are in April. It is that big of a drop.

Howard has generally been the opposite in that he starts slow in April/May and has some really impressive including some ridiculous career numbers in Sept.

Some other random numbers as I continue to procrastinate from this other assignment:

Swing %

Utley: 35.2
Ruiz: 37.8
Ibanez: 38.0
Werth: 43.0
Vic: 47.8
Polanco: 48.1
Howard: 51.5

That said, Howard's swing% is right around career numbers. He's just missing less often (although more now than he was in the early going). Although his contact numbers are up across the board, he's swinging more often at bad pitches and less often at strikes. His GB/FB rates are still off (too many grounders) but is better since the last time I checked, as is his HR/FB (up to 18.5 which is still 13 below career norms)

roto: i agree 100%. It felt like a Spring Training game where they had Blanton and Figueroa scheduled to pitch.

Livid about Madsen. I understand his frustration, but it's no excuse for such a boneheaded move. I would imagine the clubhouse is not a particularly warm place for him right now.

I also thought Blanton did an overall good job from what I saw last night, and am sorry it came apart. I'm concerned about the pitching but certainly not panicing at this stage of the season. Hamels, Blanton, Lidge, Happ, and possibly Romero all offer some significant upside over what we have seen so far. Hard to believe that none of these cards will not play out in the Phils' favor.

Sophist, I watch Utley every year and his starts are incredible. I always have to temper my enthusiasm by realizing that as good as he is, he isn't going to hit 50 homers over the course of the year. I read Hard To Believe, which has summaries of each game; and in the early part of the 2008 season, it seemed for a long stretch in the firstthird of the season like Chase was hitting a homer almost every night. Since he consistently seems to run down say, late July/August, I would love to see him spread his offense out a bit more, but you know what, I'm happy to have him around just the way he is.

Sophist - Probably swinging more often at bad pitches because he is seeing even more sliders this year (30.3% of all pitches and up dramatically from just 20% 2 years ago). That was pretty much all he saw last night Garcia when the count as even or he was behind.

Howard keeps seeing less and less fastballs. Down to 44% this year (51% 2 years ago).

Interesting thing is that while Howard has seen more sliders, Fan Graphs' Pitch Value Counts actually indicates that Howard has done pretty well against sliders this year & last year which kind of promises me although I imagine the slider from a right-handed pitcher is much less effective against Howard although I would love to see the break out between the two splits.

My bet is that sliders from left-handed pitchers like Garcia & Feliciano just eat up Howard.

Phils are in the middle of arguably their toughest stretch of schedule this year right now besides Interleague play and so far are 2-2. Curious to see what their record is through this stretch until their next off-day (May 13th) but hard to see much better than .500.

If somebody gets hot in the NL East the next 2 weeks, they are likely going to open up a little lead (~2 games) on this team.

In other news, Werth's BABIP is out of control. .415. Compare him to Utley in the early going: LD-GB-FB :: HR/FB :: BABIP :: ///:

Utley: 23-33-44 :: 24 :: .299 :: .301/.440/.634
Werth: 22-35-43 :: 13 :: .415 :: .352/.423/.636

Werth is BABIP is .280 on GB (compared to Utley's .230); .355 on FB (compared to Utley's .120): 1.000 on LD (compared to Utley's .688).

MG - which is fine because, even with slightly imbalanced schedules, there will be a time when the Phils have it easy and someone else has it hard.

Here's a contrast between two generations. On the 1 day anniversary of the taser incident falls the 40 year anniversary of the incident at Kent State. Kids these days...

Every lefty for the last week, other than Santana, starts Howard off with a sweeping curve or slider that falls outside. And, he swings every time. From strike one, he's generally toast. He can't hit the slider or curve unless it's a hanger. Until he learns to lay off them on strike one (instead of watching them sweep by for strike 3), he's going to be the strikeout king. It's teh same formula as last year.

phlipper - i don't really know if the issue is howard's swing or his guessing game. i feel like he does offer a kind of short swing at inside pitches (often pulling off and missing). i know hitters often guess pitches, but i feel like howard's up there guessing all the time. i feel like the old school "see ball hit ball" approach would serve him well.

Would be nice if security had one of those nets that you can toss over someone to subdue them as opposed to a taser. Maybe hold the taser in abeyance until someone starts fighting or someone is in danger of being hit or hurt?

I didn't see the incident so I'm coming out of left field here. If it was a threatening situation, I apologize. Hate to see CBP get a rap as Taser Town.

Hugh, it would be interesting to look at the Pfx data. Howard's first pitch strike % is way up this year (61% from 53% last year).

That said, here he is after an 0-1 vs 1-0 so far this year

0-1: 52 PA, .300/.327/.560, 2 BB / 15 SO
1-0: 44 PA, .268/.318/.390, 3 BB / 9 SO

For his career, it's a much different story (1.063 OPS in the latter, .777 OPS in the former), but something different is happening in the early going this year.

It didnt look like a threatening situation. Just looked like they couldnt stop the kid so they brought out the Taser. Sad, and yet another black eye for Philly's reputation.

The kid who ran on to the field was an idiot who should be fined & do some community service this summer on the weekends. End of story. What I don't understand is the two extreme reactions you get to this kind of thing (it is harmless fun vs. they should have used even more force against him).

Just to be clear, the difference between .300 and .268 in that many PA is 11/41 in 0-1 and 15/50 in 1-0. Not that big, but the XBH difference is pretty sizeable.

First pitch data should be included since any ball put in play or in the seats counts as a strike too.

First pitch: 4/16, 2 HR.

Howard is a very very good first pitch hitter. .394/.396/.847 for his career.

MG, agreed the guy is a moron who absolutely should be punished. I'm sick of fans who think stuff like that is OK (I get annoyed with fans trying to interfere with balls in play). I do thing the tasing is a bit much, though.

Sophist - thanks for pulling the numbers. Something different was happening wiht Howard in the first few weeks. The last couple, seems like it's deja vu all over again. I think he needs to figure out a way to lay off hte off-speed stuff early in the count and he'll have a good shot at umps calling them balls. Hitting .300 when he goes down 0-1 is a good thing. A bigger issue for him is 2 strike counts. I swear he strikes out on 2/3 of those. I don't know if he's ever going to be good at pitch recognition but, to my mind, he needs to improve his approach on just about every count.

The taser incident reminds me of the first trial I ever saw. State cop was being sued for excessive force. Seems he was patrolling a depressed mill town that had disbanded its police force and saw a junkie on a corner he knew had warrants out. He turned on the lights to signal him he wanted him to stopand the guy ran away through some back yards so, the cop got out and gave chase. The cop was pretty round and the suspect was pretty wiry. Anyway, he nearly caught up to him on a back porch where the guy tried to get in a locked door, then, when that failed, the guy turned to climb a retaining wall and continue to run. The cop shot him in the ass as he was going over the wall. It was obvious to anyone from his record that the guy wasn't a threat to anything but a bag of heroin but, the cop just couldn't keep running after him. Judge didn't even let the case go to the jury. Justifiable use of force. "What else are you going to do?"

Bottom line: this team needs to bring up Mathieson and give him a shot. Send Romero back down to build up his arm strength some more. I'd rather see Mathieson than Figgy in that situation.

This game can be analyzed in the folloing way: You win some, you lose some.

Not a fan of tasering. Honestly there's too much that can go wrong. Tazering anyone with a heart condition isn't good. You don't know before hand if they have a heart condition which is the problem. Too many variables. Some guy I think about a year ago was tazed by cops and died from it due to a pre-existing condition. I think we should train security to use bola's to tie up peoples legs. That'd be fun. Or keep some ex rodeo guy on a horse with a lasso stationed in the stadium. Make it a show.

So Teva Respiratory is offering 'free asthma screenings' before the game tonight. Isn't it just a bit of conflict of interest that a major manufacturer of asthma pharmaceuticals is offering 'free asthma screenings'?

I have always disliked the elitist national media looking down their nose at Philly's Boo Birds! Last night the fans booed the tasing and cheered when the tased victim/criminal/terrorist got up and walked off the field. Philly fans are intelligent and know when to boo and when to cheer. Ask Johan Santana about that.

I must admit I'm somewhat surprised at the almost visceral angry reaction to Madson's injury -- & this coming from a poster who's no stranger to the visceral angry reaction. Yes, it was a dumbass thing for Ryan to do, & yes, it does hurt a team desperate for bullpen options. However, it seems to me people are putting perhaps too much weight on the supposed wonders that the erstwhile Mad Dog was going to work for the Phils beleaguered relief corps. Moving him back to an 8th inning role might have eased the pressure on Madson a bit, & eventually led to him regaining some of his late '08 form, but he was not going to immediately morph into Walter Johnson as a result. Ultimately, the Phillies bullpen woes are firmly rooted in the ineffectiveness of & injuries to a starting rotation almost completely lacking in depth, & a poorly constructed, patchwork bullpen suffering from the same. I can & have been as hard on Ryan Madson as anyone, but I'm far more inclined to be flat-out angry at Rube for this mess. In the end, Madson was just a frustrated competitor who did something stupid, but out of character. He gets a mulligan from me. Rube, Jr., Certified Genius, does not.

Excessive force? Yes. But this was the first and the last time this will happen, I'm sure, because of all the negative attention this will garner. Apparently, small fines and being ejected from the game aren't enough of a deterrent. Everyone should remember this:

Don't want to get tased? Don't run onto the field. (and/or act like a jackass at CBP).

MG - How is it any different from all the other sponsored discounts at the park? a dollar dog for instance.

MG,

We're on the same page I think. I support a zero tolerance policy for this stuff. You do this and you get caught, prosecuted, hefty fine (high enough so you won't ever be tempted to do it again after a few beers), and some community service. Just wish there was a way to easily corral someone like that without the taser or spending 5 minutes chasing them down.

However, if you pick a fight with someone at the game who's trying to enjoy themselves, pour beer on someone, throw something at someone, take a punch at a security person, that type of thing, well, you're pretty much on your own. No sympathy for what may befall you. Common sense.

Is it me or do all the Cards look like Mark MacLiar? Besides Dominican Republic, Larusa Is Ground Zero for illegal substance promotion. I got a hunch those guys are eating more than Hungry Man frozen dinners.

Tasing isn't meant as a deterrent (though it does have some small effect). It's meant as the quickest way to detain an individual without using excessive force.

I agree that Madson's little act was stupid though not deserving the criticism it seems to have gotten around here. On the other hand, I don't really understand the lack of depth arguments too much. The Phils did not assemble the deepest SP in baseball, but how many GM assemble sufficient depth to deal with 2 SP injuries for the first month of the season? Go through the NL and find how many teams could lose their 3/4 starters and not throw some pretty lousy starters up there in their place.

I do agree that Amaro did not sufficiently address the 'pen. Lidge and Romero have been question marks for some time. The Phils have been forced to use relievers in innings they have no business in.

"Don't want to get tased? Don't run onto the field. (and/or act like a jackass at CBP)."

RBill, words of wisdom.

I have a question for all of the hand wringers (and everybody else) on the board:

Did you really expect that, with
1) Blanton coming back for the first time,
2) a southpaw STL pitcher who's been pitching really well,
3)the inevitalbe letdown from a big win over a division rival, and
4) the bullpen in minor disarray,
that the Phillies were really going to win last night's game?

Way to handle fans on the field:
45,000 fans in the park x 15 minutes wasted time = 11,250 hours = minimum jail time

Cost of security detail at CBP for the night = minimum fine.

That should make his 15 minutes of fame even.

Let's say this guy took up 5 minutes of time away from the game. That's (5/60) / (2 + 47/60) * 100 = ~3% of the total time. Attendance was reported at 44817, let's say the average ticket price was only $33, so 3% of $33 = $1. So if this young man returns next dollar dog night, and buys an entire round for the park, I say he's paid his fine.

Random thoughts:
Blanton looked good. He's definitely the most reliable SP after Doc. That speaks volumes. Madson should be traded to baseball hell: Pitts, KC, Balt or elsewhere.
The interference call on Blanton was definitely a game-changer.

I'll answer my own question:

I didn't, and I was surprised Blanton hung in there as long as he did.

Good job by Joe.


Also, to add to RBill's comment above, my only regret is that it wasn't a Mets' fan who got tased.

Mathieson and don't laugh Duckworth should get a chance immediately.Both have looked great for the PIGS and that isn't easy to do.

I agree Sophist Tasing is the quickest way to detain someone. Not always sure about the excessive force part.

Does anybody remember the good ol' Vet days, when idiots such as the one last evening were hauled deep into the bowels of the stadium by a couple of local goombas w/ a violent streak to be thoroughly worked over before being unceremoniously dumped into the parking lots, their faces used as battering rams to open sets of swinging metal doors along the way? I'd rather be tased. That dope should read up on Phillies history, & write the officer a Thank You note.

Bastardo hasn't gotten a fair shot to stick around and regularly pitch to anyone but lefties so I can't see Mathieson getting a shot anytime soon.

"[H]ow many GM assemble sufficient depth to deal with 2 SP injuries for the first month of the season?"

I don't really disagree with that statement as a general principle. But I do think the Phillies could have done more to insure themselves in the event of starting pitching injuries (which, after all, are very common).

There are basically 2 places to turn to when you have an injury to a starting pitcher. If you have a hot pitching prospect who has pitched well at AA or AAA, you can roll the dice and turn to him. Otherwise, you have to turn to your most experienced or major-league ready pitcher in the minors. Both of these options present a high probability of failure, so it's really just a numbers game. And the Phillies can certainly be criticized for not doing enough to tilt the numbers in their favor.

Last year, the Phillies entered the season with one hot pitching prospect at AAA (Carrasco), another hot prospect who was moving up the minors quickly (Drabek), plus KK, plus two reclamation projects with some plausible upside (Ro Lo and Chacin). This year, Carrasco & Drabek are gone, so the Phillies' "injury insurance" basically consists solely of Kendrick (whom they knew, or should have known, had a high probability of failure). Adding Figueroa at the last minute was a good idea but they seem to regard him as bullpen depth more than starting pitching depth.

That being the case, it would have been nice to see them bring in one or two Ro-Lo caliber pitcher for AAA, rather than packing their AAA starting rotation with journeymen minor league roster filler who couldn't possibly be of any use to the major league team.

I readily stipulate that the results might be no better if the Phillies had added a couple more credible journeymen starters to their AAA rotation. But at least you wouldn't have Rich Dubee responding, "Who else do we have that's better?" when asked if Kendrick would stay in the rotation. We might at least have possibilities.

No, awh, I didn't expect to win the game, either, but seeing Figgy in there letting the Cards score more runs was a disappointing confirmation that our BP leaves something to be desired.

If Figgy was coming out, he should have been out to START the 7th, not come on in relief of Blanton with ducks on the pond. Blanton was running out of gas and should have been pulled before the 7th, or at the very least, after he gave up the bomb.

I agree with you to a point BAP. But don't the likes of Fogg, Voglesong and Bump qualify as these kind of guys? I know they don't quicken any pulses, but neither did Rolo or Chacin.

donc: A decent point. Which raises the question: Why does it seem like those fellows don't even exist to Charlie & Dubee? An increasing disconnect between what the FO considers a useful acquisition & what the guys running the actual games consider a viable option, perhaps? After all, if guys such as the following didn't come over pretty much ready to pitch if needed, why were they signed at all?

donc: Fogg, yes. But I have no idea where he is. He's not even on any of our minor league rosters.

Voglesong is more like AAA roster fodder than a legitimate option. On paper, Bump could plausibly be the kind of guy I'm talking about. But, if the Phillies don't even regard him as a viable alternative to a guy with mid-7s ERA, that pretty much tells you all you need to know about whether they signed him as injury insurance or whether they just signed him as a cheap body who could stock the AAA roster.

Count me as ready to see any AAA starter go Wednesday over Kendrick. I expect them to get pounded, either way, but, at least it raises my interest level in the game. Isn't that how Kendrick ever sniffed the majors in the first place?

Any thoughts on Lidge's inning? I wasn't really paying too close attention to the game by then.

sophist: i'll give them Baez(ineffective) and Durbin(unavailable), but there is no excuse for him to get the call over Contreras. He hasnt ptiched since Apr 28 and only has given up the 1 run on McLouth's walkoff this season.

I mean, I don't want to overstate my case. If I made a list of the FO's mistakes, the lack of AAA pitching depth would probably not be at the top of my list. But I do think they did a much better job last year, when they had guys like RoLo, Chacin, Tyler Walker, Gary Majewski, and Mike Koplove on the AAA roster. Granted, only Rolo and Walker ended up making any contribution. But, as I said, it's a numbers game when you're talking about this caliber of player. The thing that all these guys had that Nate Bump & Ryan Vogelsong don't have is a past history of actual success at the major league level. Vogelson & Bump have played at the major league level, but they were terrible.

Query: who made the call for Figueroa? Mackanin, Dubee, or Manuel from the tunnel?

re Madson: there should be a clause in contracts that make non baseball, self inflicted DL stints unpaid time.

re Tazer: isn't the reason to even carry a tazer to subdue people without harming them? Why would this be considered excessive force? I think they give mallcops tazers so they can't be that vicious.

This is almost mind-boggling:

"The Phillies are now 1-11 in games in which Roy Halladay doesn't pitch and they score fewer than seven runs."

David Murphy: High Cheese (05/04/10)

I guess that's what Charlie & Dubee were thinking when they brought Figgy into last night's game.

Yeah. None of them are any good, I agree. I guess it is the difference between a has been and a never was. Like you say RoLo had some nice success earlier in his career. So he did have some pedigree. The three guys I mentioned just have funny names.

I actually thought Lidge looked pretty good last night. Color me cautiously optimistic. Actually, even that may be too strong. But he had decent velocity and the slider had good bite on it. He hit 94 according to the gun, but I noticed those were only on the high overthrown type of fastballs. When he got it over it was a few mph short of that. Still, he was better than I expected.

I, for one, wasn't trying to say that tasering that kid was excessive force. Just relaying a vignette with the subtext that, I bet the cop and the junkie in that case wished that tasers had been invented by then. All police departments have guidelines on the use of force, which generally proceeds along a continuum from minimal to deadly. From my understanding, different police agencies place tasers at different places along that continuum. There's alot of noise about whether tasers should be classified as deadly force due to anecdotal evidence of death resulting from their use. I dont' know what that is. I tend to think I'd rather get tasered than closelined and beaten into submission with fists or a billy club but, whatever. I have some qualms about using it to apprehend a petty offender but, the incident might serve to clarify what's appropriate and what's not so, that's good.

Additional perspectives on the whole taser deal: How much money was on the field at the time? And I don't remember who was batting, but what if it had been Pujols? Just he & Howard alone are worth a fortune -- a literal fortune. Furthermore, you can't assume harmless intent, & you can't take the time to find out for certain before reacting (the Tom Gamboa incident & Seles stabbing spring to mind). Using a taser is a perfectly acceptable solution.

Apparently the kid called Dad first to ask permission. 'Dad, can I run on the field? I said, 'I don't think you should, son,'

Contreras was supposedly the closer last night, which is why he didn't pitch in the seventh.

As someone else just said, the taser is really unpredictable; people with pre-existing conditions can die from it.

Now, I have no tolerance for fans running onto the field, but security people have been able to handle this in baseball for years without needing tasers. In this case, the new technology created the need; I doubt any cop twenty years ago would have told you that it was really hard to subdue a person who runs onto a baseball field, and I doubt any would have lamented the lack of some technological solution. Its just not necessary in that kind of situation.

EFF - There you go. Sometimes it's not about lack of depth but plain old reliance on baseball myth. Contreras wasn't in because they were saving him for what in all likelihood was a less important situation. I'd actually rather see Baez than Figgy in that situation.

awh - thank you for running with my point. there are very few guys who can pitch as well as even Kyle Kendrick in the world, bizarre as it may seem to some. Look at JD Durbin getting paid 6 figures to throw the ball in Japan. Pitching is definitely a concern, but the Phils just need things to come together (in the least for Blanton to build on yesterday and Hamels to get his stuff together for a sustain period).

It's getting worse by the hour! :)

At 10am, I posted:
Read this about the Phils today:
"They are still just 1-10 in games in which Roy Halladay doesn't pitch and they don't score more than six runs."

At 2pm, G-Town posted from Murphy's blog:
"The Phillies are now 1-11 in games in which Roy Halladay doesn't pitch and they score fewer than seven runs."

It's getting worse by the hour!! :)

Actually, sounds like it got worse with just one game. Or else one of the writers of what we each read got the numbers wrong.

Either set of numbers is pretty pathetic.

The kids a brat. He should be sent to bed without dinner and his ipod and computer privileges should be revoked for a week.

They should taze the father for reproducing that dunce.

Looks like no more Strasburg Express coming to Reading. Moved to AAA.

While the Phils relievers are having their troubles, they are 2nd in IP in the early going to the Giants with just 66.2 IP. With Madson down for an extended period and guys like Romero and Lidge not using their arms for much of anything, that's at least a hopeful picture long term. How they've managed to limit relief innings with this staff, I have no idea.

Compare this to the Mets (99.7 IP). The Mets BP is outperforming its xFIP by a run and a half. The Rockies by 2 runs.

By most measures the Phils pen has been middle of the road, which is encouraging considering who've they have a to use out there. At the same time, while it seems like it couldn't be worse, it certainly could.

GBrettFan: ... & we'll get to see Murphy's first "Question" in action again this evening. I hope the Phillies score at least 8 runs.

Also, upon watching Utley's HR from last night again, all I have to say is

:-o

I was hoping that when Happ returns, Kendrick goes. Plus I don't want to see him on the big club again. Can't believe Moyer is a better option. The bullpen will be overhauled (again) at or by the deadline. Other than Halladay, enjoy the 11-6 wins (or loses) as much as you can. People who run onto fields are jack-ases.. I don't think you NEED tasering in a closed venue.. That being said,if it's used, I have no problem.

You gotta love the people who quoted Murphy without quoting the rest of the post:

Including Halladay's starts, they are 3-11 in games in which they score under seven runs.

That might sound dire. Needing to score at least seven runs to win a game in which your ace isn't pitching doesn't sound sustainable.

But try this one on for size: In their first 25 games of 2009, the Phillies were 4-10 in games in which they scored fewer than seven runs.

Point is, while much of the hand-wringing about the Phillies' pitching staff is warranted, their performance through 25 games is hardly unprecedented.

And while we might think we have a pretty good handle on how this season will unfold based on its first 25 games, the reality is we know nothing more than we did when spring training broke.

Bring Back Eyre

Trade the prospects we got for Lee back to Seattle for Lee

I think all cops are trained to say, "Stop (insert malfeasance here) or I'll tase you."

That said, if the kid's dumb enough to run onto the field, he's probably dumb enough to keep running even after being threatened with a taser.

Is it too much to ask Charlie to one up LaRussa and bat Cole in the 7 slot?

One night last month while I watched the Oakland Athletics pitchers walk 10 New York Yankees, an idea occurred to me about what some people find "wrong" with baseball. It's not the time of games, the pace of games, the dilution of pitching because of expansion or the way hitters adjust their batting gloves and cup in between pitches -- the usual complaints that get attention.

Instead, we are missing an essential part of the game's allure and romance: the crack of the bat. You hear it less and less in today's game. Hitting and pitching have evolved in ways that mean the baseball is put into play less frequently than ever before.
In April, 28 percent of all major league plate appearances ended in a walk or a strikeout, continuing what has been virtually an unchecked increase in such non-contact plate appearances since the game was invented. Ten years ago, for instance, the rate of plate appearances without the ball being put into play was 26 percent; 20 years ago it was 24 percent; 30 years ago it was 21 percent . . . all the way back to 15 percent in 1920.

...

Like a mature industry, baseball continues to grow more specialized. And the increased availability and commodification of information (analysis, instruction, training techniques, etc.) has accelerated the rate at which the game specializes. I'm not sure much can or should be done to alter this evolution. It is interesting, however, that both a traditionalist and the modern marketing guru might actually agree on one change: calling a bigger strike zone, particularly when it comes to that pitch a catcher catches right in front of his mask that is regarded as too "high." Promoting strikes, swings and contact may be a good thing.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/05/04/contact.pitches/index.html?eref=writers

"And while we might think we have a pretty good handle on how this season will unfold based on its first 25 games, the reality is we know nothing more than we did when spring training broke."

This is kind of a 'duh' statement as it holds true almost every year unless a team is hit with a season-ending injury or gets out to a horrendous record (say 8 or 9 wins).

Best case example is the Livan Hernandez is pitching for the Nats tonight vs. Braves and he is 3-1 in GS with an 0.75 ERA. He and Olsen are the only reasons why the Nats' starting staff has been an outright disaster again.

Going to go out on a limb here (laughing) and say that Livan isn't likely to be an effective starter the rest of the season for the Nats.

Mathieson with another save today. ERA now at .71

He's now given up 5 ER total in the past 2 years. Pitching in a role (as a reliever) he had no experience with at all.

Both he and Bastardo should be in the bullpen in Philly; not Allentown. And both will be soon, if they continue to dominate. Their numbers and their stuff, speaks for itself.

One of these days, Cholly will actually be forced to trust someone under the age of 30 (like he was forced to with Kendrick in 07' and Happ last year) and maybe, just maybe, you might find something good.

Of course, it would be nice if Cholly actually trusted his bench players too, but that evidenly is never going to happen either.

Its a criminal that a guy like Francisco (who has proven he can play in the big leagues) has all of 18 AB's this season. He literally has given us nothing this year. He has one XBH, 0 HR's, 0 SB's and has scored 0 runs.

BF had 350 plate appearances with Cleveland last year, before he got here. Now, Roy Halladay gets a chance to hit more often then he does.

It was one thing to not use Mayberry when he was here last year (just getting his feet wet in the bigs and Ibanez was scorching hot to start the year) but its a joke that Benny has been nailed to the bench so much this year. Raul is one of the least productive LF's in the National League. Yet, he's in there EVERY day.

Dobbs still isn't getting any time either. He had 237 plate appearances in 2008. He has 20 so far this year. When he has gotten some semi-regular work, he has always hit. When he doesn't, he doesn't.

Would it really kill us, to play Dobbs once a week at 3B? Or to play Francisco two or three times a week in the OF (twice for Ibanez and once for either Werth or Vic). I don't think so. Might keep those old legs of Ibanez and Polly a little fresher for late season games too.


I'm loving the repeated refrain along the lines of "but the Phillies had a really bad start last season, & they went to the Word Series!" True, but there's a strong chance that rebounding from the awful start of '09 w/ a similar, if not worse, start in '10 is not a sustainable plan for success. One might as well cite the few teams who come back in playoff series down 0-3. Sure, it's possible, but that hardly mitigates the fact that there are some serious issues about the position said team finds itself in.

denny b: I completely agree w/ you RE: Dobbs. I don't have that much faith in BenFran, however. Even so, it might be worth a shot (as you pointed out) if for no other reason than to help keep the oldsters fresh.

The Phils have started each of the last three seasons 14-11. 0-3 in the playoffs it is not.

madson out at least 8 weeks

Cholly has ridden his regulars hard every year, and it's worked so far. On the other hand, most of those regulars have gotten older right on schedule, and Polanco replacing Feliz and Ibanez replacing Burrell accelerated the problem.

Here's a weird note about new Softbank Hawk J.D. Durbin that I didn't pick up on when he was here: His middle name doesn't start with a D. Baseball Reference lists his name as "Joseph Adam Durbin". I can understand that J.D. was probably his nickname, but it's listed as his real name, not a nickname, in the records.

Consider the above proof that I have too much time on my hands.

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