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Saturday, May 22, 2010

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JW, the video looks perfect on my CPU. high quality video. good stuff.

brooksbaseball had Hamels throwing 68 FB (49 st), 27 CH (20 st), 14 curves (3 st), and 3 cutters (1 st). One of his FB hit 95.

Tells you how early in the season it still is: last night's performance caused Howard's BA to go up 6 points, his OBP 9, and his SLG almost 20. He's on a 16 game on-base streak (.359/.431/.500) and has hit safely in 13 of the last 15 games (.377/.441/.525).

This is his second highest OPS 41 games in.

2006: .297/.352/.566 - 13 BB / 40 K - 3 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR
2009: .252/.332/.515 - 18 BB / 51 K - 11 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR
2010: .310/.359/.503 - 12 BB / 43 K - 7 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR

So, is a partnership with CSN the upcoming news?

Hamels played the "eye-level" game perfectly, as JW notes. The AB that stuck out to me was the long battle against Beltre in the 2nd. Beltre kept fouling off pitch after pitch on the 2-2 count. Finally, Hamels decided to waste a fastball up and in, buzzing Beltre with some heat. The next pitch, on a 3-2 count, he drops a perfect changeup that has Beltre miles out in front. That was the AB that got him rolling, in my opinion, and a perfect example of playing the fastball-changeup setup game that makes him so effective.

Why does Rollins insist his role is leadoff, and then swing for the fences?

Fox really needs to nationally black out 4 games regardless of what one they are showing in your area? So now there are 3 games that I am prohibited from watching (including the Phillies)? What the hell is that about.

I'm thinking Tito has Ortiz try his hand at 1B today so he can get some hacks against Kendrick.

Jack: Now that you mention it, CSN's site has occasionally referenced Beerleaguer, so your hunch is an interesting one...

Brooks baseball pitch fx for last night's game says Cole threw 14 curveballs, and only 3 for strikes. He threw the cutter 3 times, once for a strike. (Does the HR count as a strike?)

Some technical issues today. Bear with me.

Gsl: Assuming you're talking about mlb.tv, I'll tell you that the Fox games are not blacked out if your ip address is from the Netherlands. Check out privateproxysoftware.com. $10 a month.

Isn't the game at 7 EST, so therefore not subject to FOX's blackout?

. Currently, local broadcasts are allowed on Saturdays if the game starts at 1 p.m. ET, but at no other time. If a game starts at 6 p.m. ET (both the teams in the state of Florida, the Florida Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays, have done this occasionally), the local broadcaster must either join the game in progress or air it on tape delay at 7 p.m. ET, the end of the exclusive Fox window.

Exclusive window ends at 7 EST

According to the fine print on my mlb.tv subscription, the exclusive window actually ends at 7:05 PM and the game airs at a 7:10 PM.

But the little box indicating a blackout is there, so there's nothing you can do about it.

If I had to guess on what a new Beerleaguer site look like:

- New sponsor (CSN) tied in with JW's new gig.
- New layout. This is has served its purpose but is kind of bulky & too busy. If CSN is the new sponsor or this is tied in with CSN, then the ad boxes can largely go too.
- New software. JW could go with something out of the box (Wordpress/Typepad) or use a true COTS Web content management system. My bet is the later.
- New media. Going to see more video (especially CSN footage) and more professional content. Helps Beerleaguer get more traffic and likely would be a feader site for the CSN Philly site.

All understandable & frankly would probably be an improvement to the site navigation, feel, and content. Surprised that JW has been able to do this as a one-man army for so long yet produce a pretty high-level of content on a daily basis. That's damn hard.

My only hope is that the 'new and improved' Beerleaguer doesn't squelch the things that JW brought to the table & helped to make this a creative site in the first place. His Photoshop skills, unique viewpoints, and most of all his gifted & creative word play.

My bet is that they are likely to remain pretty much in intact regardless of some of the changes. MetsBlog never had that with Cerrone even before he got acquired. Did plenty of things well but creative word play wasn't one of them. You can work at it but that is generally a skill you intuitively have or not.

I do wonder though if CSN take a more predominant role if you will see things like the 'Gnome Rainout' graphic or some of the rare harsh commentary (Abreu trade) from JW. My bet is that is unlikely. Being in the corporate world means you have to play be some modicum level of rules. Just hope they don't turn it into a more lukewarm version of CSN Philly website.

What would BLer be if we couldn't rag on the Abreu trade on a slow off day?

JR King, wow, that site looks ripe to be included in a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode as some sort of pedo loophole...

The MLB blackout is in effect for the Phillies game tonight because the Fox National Game of the Week isn't at 3 or 4, as usual. It's at 7, for the Yankees-Mets game.

Few thoughts from attending the game:

- Looked very much like Hamels from 2008. Good command on his fastball with some real life to it, a very good changeup, and just enough of a 3rd pitch to keep them honest.
- Hamel's curve though still isn't even an average pitch. The same criticism (he can't throw it for a strike with any kind of consistency & almost never misses a bat with it) are still true today. It seems like Hamels is going to see what he has a better feel for early in a game for a 3rd pitch (cutter/curve) and then go with it a bit more.
- Best crowd of the year in a game I went to although there were a ton of Sox fan including 2 of my friends from Boston. At least 30-35% of the crowd. Just didn't have much to cheer about.
- Either Herndon or Bastardo is going to get a chance to enter the rare inner circle of "young relievers that Cholly actually uses more than once every 7-10 days." Herndon pulled ahead again last night in the race.
- Frankly I don't know how Romero is succeeding lately. 'Wildly effective' might be one way to put it with opposing hitters for some reason swing at his 1st pitch and chasing his wild slider out of the zone that is really in the zone.
- Phils' two big weaknesses right now are their bench & their bullpen. Starting pitching though this month is averaging just over 7 IP/GS (no other NL club is even close to that) & they haven't played that many close game because they usually have had a couple margin at the end of games. Starting pitching won't last but you do have to figure the bench will improve a bit on their PH numbers which are the most in MLB by a wide margin.

imagine that... 9 whole starts with his cutter and hamels is back on track....

Best nickname I heard fro my buddy:

'Corpse of Bill Hall' because of how he looks in the plate and how just how awkward it is to seem him in the field including a couple of hilarious misplays at Fenway in CF (which is the toughest CF in MLB).

Said this Sox reminds my friend of the early Dan Duquette days in Boston when he would go dumper diving through other teams veterans and come up with a bevy of below average/poor players for every occasional jewel he found (Troy O'Leary).

MG, why does Hamels have to throw the curve for a strike for it to be effective? He threw the vast majority of his curves out of the zone without swings and misses last night.

J. Weitzel;

id rather BEER with you, but i suppose bearing will have to do.

Joe - Hamels had apparently been treated for his early season 'cutteritis' and is is throwing it less:

April (10.3% of his pitches were cutters)
May (8.2% of his pitchers are cutters)

No. of Cutters by start:

April
7 (6.8%)
12 (11.7%)
10 (9.8%)
14 (12.8%)
12 (10.6%)

May
18 (15.5%)
7 (6.5%)
5 (5.2%)
3 (2.6%)

He is using his curveball more in May (9.6% vs. just 5.0% in April).

Sophist - That is my point. Hamels almost never gets guy to chase his curveball out of the zone and can't put it at their knees with the class 12-6 motion to get many called strikes either.

It isn't a good pitch but I am glad to see Hamels is throwing it a bit more and slightly less cutters. Glad to see Hamels as more of the 4-seem FF/changeup guy this month while mixing in a few more curves. His fastball also has more life on it than we have seen in probably 2 years. It was pretty damn good again last night too.

Halladay vs. Hamels comparison doesn't make sense either. Hallday is a legit 4-pitch guy (sometimes even 5-pitch guy) who throws at least 4 average or better pitches (4-seem fastball, curve, cutter, changeup, and some modified pitches that are pretty damn tough to classify).

Hamels is still a guy with only 2 average or better pitches (4-seem/fastball) but he has a better pitch (changeup) than anything that Halladay has in his arsenal. When Hamels' changeup is 'on' it is an incredibly tough pitch to hit. Sometimes gets close to 40-45% swing & misses in a game on it which is ridiculous at the MLB level. Basically if you are a left-handed bat on one of those nights your odds of success are slim to none.

It is going to be interesting going ahead forward thought to see if Hamels can keep this increased velocity on his fastball and how he utilizes the cutter/curveball as his main 3rd pitch.

don't you guys know that tonight's game is on FOX?

Went to the game last night and sat close to the plate. It was a great game to witness. Cole looked very good with my only complaint being the Sox fouled a lot of pitches off and ran his pitch count high early. A good 6th and 7th helped a lot to keep him in the game.

Jimmy did not look good running to first. Hope it's not too bad.

It was great when JD Drew lost the ball.

Jayson's HR was a absolute BOMB.

that's what the sox do. they make pitchers work and foul off pitches

Glad to see Hamels get his ERA under 4. This will help shut up the dimwits and morons that constantly attack him. I used to think Ryan Howard was the most under appreciated player on the team. Not even close. The treatment that Hamels takes on the internet and radio is despicable. The same jerks who have these unreasonable expectations of Hamels are the same guys who question why the old heads did not care much for Schmidt.

Fox is airing the soccer Champions League final this afternoon, so they've shifted their MLB coverage into the evening for this Saturday alone.

Depends on your viewing area st. I can't watch the game on MLB.tv because it is blocked out by the asshats showing me some game I don't care about.

MG -- it doesn't matter how often he throws the cutter its the threat of the cutter that makes his fastball and changeup more effective. If the cutter isn't working particularly well he only has to throw it a couple times to keep that threat going.

You can produce all the stats you want to say that his changeup is his "best pitch" (swings and misses, BAA, etc) but the fact is a changeup - by definition - can only be as good as the pitch he is changing from, i.e. the fastball. Now that he has 2 fastballs with different movement his changeup is that much more deceptive.

MG - PhillyJoe had a similar point to my question. I was wondering why you think he has to throw the curve for a strike (looking or missing) for it to be effective. I don't have a strong view, but it doesn't seem it necessarily has to be thrown for strikes if it's a secondary pitch.

st - whether or not it's on FOX depends on where you live.

Joe - "The threat of the cutter." Yeah it probably helps in theory but even though the evidence has shown that he has gotten the worst results with his cutter this season & he has started to get better results as he has progressively stated to use it less & mix in his curveball more.

"You can produce all the stats you want to say that his changeup is his "best pitch" (swings and misses, BAA, etc) but the fact is a changeup - by definition - can only be as good as the pitch he is changing from, i.e. the fastball."

This makes no sense. Hamels' best pitch is his changeup. He gets a 'swing and miss' rate on it at 4x a greater rate than his cutter and his BAA is over .50 lower than his cutter so far this season. If he had more of a mediocre changeup, he wouldn't post nearly those kind of impressive difference. Hamels' changeup is 'Ferrari' and his cutter is an economy vehicle. The difference is that vast.

Sophist - For Hamels to be as good/better than Hallday, than yeah he has to be able to throw that curve for a strike occasionally or at least get hitters to swing at it if it is out of tzone. He is under 50% strikes (called/fouls/swing & miss) on the season. That's mediocre at best & not a sign it is a quality or consistent pitch yet for Hamels.

MG - I think you're being unnecessarily harsh here. Joe is exactly right that a changeup relies on the possibility of a good FB.

As with any good changeup, Hamels throws his with the same arm speed and motion as his fastball. "The pitch is nasty," Reds leftfielder Austin Kearns says of the off-speed offering. "He disguises it really well. You think it's a fastball coming at you, and you guess wrong."

"The Brewers were complimentary of Hamels after his victory. On the bus ride back to the hotel, Weeks told reliever Matt Wise that Hamels' arm speed on his fastball and changeup were indistinguishable. Milwaukee pitching coach Mike Maddux was more impressed with Hamels' high baseball IQ. He's seen enough radar-obsessed youths in recent years to have an appreciation for a young pitcher with guile."

"From his firsthand contact with Father Time -- also known as Jamie Moyer -- Hamels also knows the value of upsetting a hitter's timing. He realizes that lineups will adapt eventually, and he wants to be ready.

"If I can add another pitch, instead of the hitter having to guess 50-50, it's now 33 percent that I'll throw a fastball, change or curve,'' Hamels said. "That just helps out my case.''

This is where all this stuff started (besides that last paragraph quoted above) and gives some insight into how Hamels thinks of his pitches and why he added the cutter:

“I easily could’ve thrown my changeup in any one of those situations. That’s kind of what I normally would always favor,” said Hamels, who gave up a leadoff homer to Jose Bautista and a total of three hits, struck out three and walked one batter in two innings. “But I’m trying to stray from it and really throw the curveball and throw the cutter. That’s what I was able to do. Now, to add in the curveball, the cutter, I think it just makes it a little bit harder for the hitters.

“I’ve watched guys like Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee, [Jon] Lester have so much success with that [cutter] that I think it’s something where if I’m able to add it in with the type of changeup that I have it can only make it that much better. When I’ll have my top game, when I’m really feeling like everything is going well, I’ll be able to throw four pitches for strikes effectively.”

http://blogs.delawareonline.com/philledin/2010/03/05/the-evolution-of-cole-hamels/

I think Hamels prob. overcompensated, and I think his more effective starts involve heavier use of the change - but that's not to deny that his change relies, in part, on an effective FB, and would only be harder to hit - in theory - if he had one or two more pitches.

Uh-oh ... Beerleaguer is gonna get Fadooled! :-o Speaking of which, I apologize again for Fadooling up last night's thread w/ the italics. Makes me curious as to how (or if) Beerleaguer 2.0 will improve formatting, update speed, etc. I hope it's slick, but not too slick.


MG: Not sure if you saw it, but I found the answer to your BPS question (12.20AM Post).

http://bit.ly/9ugBqm

MG - And note what Hamels says (which answers the other discussion you and I are having): When I’ll have my top game, when I’m really feeling like everything is going well, I’ll be able to throw four pitches for strikes effectively.”

Sophist - Yeah it obviously helps out to have 4 pitches than 2 pitches. My point was is that makes Hamels go is just how effective his changeup is. If he had a run of the mill changeup, he would be a mediocre starter at best.

Curveball & cutter though if you measure them by various outcome criteria (% of swing & miss, BAA, strike ratio) they are still 2 pitches that are 'work in progress' types. Don't want to see Hamels continue to throw less chagneups in favor of these two pitches that much more often.

Also was hoping he would use less cutters & he is. He has nearly doubled the amount of curveballs he is throwing this month so far.

Still LA made a pretty valid statement 2 weeks ago. Hamels still throws a bunch of 4-seem fastballs and it comes back to his location.

He just has had better location on it this season especially since early April & had more velocity especially of late.

Sophist - "When I’ll have my top game, when I’m really feeling like everything is going well, I’ll be able to throw four pitches for strikes effectively.”"

This is like so many conversations I had with physicians over the years on quality & efficiency data. I bet pitchers/pitching coaches are the same way.

They make THINK or perceive something but the aggregated data shows something different generally. So does benchmarking it to their peers. Why pitch F/X data is going to change pitching & I am hopeful that greater adoption of health IT will do for healthcare in 5 years although that is much more dicey.

Hamels can't throw his curve for a strike consistently whether it is fouled off, swing & miss, or called strike. Been that way since '08. He will uncork a few good ones a game but he also throws a ton that hitters don't bother with/even worse hang in the zone & get mashed.

Even last night, threw 14 curves and had 3 strikes. That is a lousy ratio by any stretch.

He is generally able to throw his cutter for a strike more often but again he makes his share of mistake with it too as evidenced by some poor outcomes it (BAA, RC/100).

Dave - Yeah those were some good numbers. Had no idea that you had a better shot of seeing a Phils' victory in an Interleague game on the road than a BPS at CBP the last 5 years. Weird stat.

I just saw Dice-K's ERA is over 7? Yeesh. Do we have confidence in KK tonight?

apparently dice-k works out to the backstreet boys. 'nuff said.

Sophist and Joe: You are exactly right in what you are both saying. I've said numerous times- the curveball, or cutter for that matter, doesn't necessarily have to be thrown for strikes. They do need to be relatively around the plate though.

As Cole said- if he can develop the threat of either of those in an at bat you are giving the batter a harder choice to make. Hamels bread and butter pitch will always be his change-up. That is complimented by his fastball which sits in the low 90's. The change-up sits around the mid 70's and with the consistent arm speed it is hard to pick up on. However, with only two quality pitches it really is an either/or proposition.

If he can be around the plate with the curveball and cutter it means that a hitter has to respect that in any at bat. His game against the Marlins he struck out a guy with a curveball and should've had another one rung up on one. With that it makes a hitter have to account for that pitch.

The biggest thing I've seen from Hamels so far this season is far more maturity on the mound. He has resisted the urge to come unglued when things don't go his way and is far more controlled with his pitches. He is not overthrowing the side pitches and is focusing on his main pitches with dashes of the 3rd and 4th pitches.

Zolecki (via Twitter): "Tonight's Lineup vs. BOS: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibañez LF, Ruiz C, Castro SS, Kendrick P."

Just saw a Tweet from someone else that pointed out Jamie Moyer & Roy Halladay have the same WHIP (1.051) ... of course Halladay has pitched a full 19 innings more than Moyer, but still

Multiple Tweets: Rollins to the DL; Valdez Recalled.

I have to think that this is more than a mild strain

Zolecki also Tweeted the following last night:

"Victorino spent 7/31/07- 8/21/07 on DL with injured calf. Tweaked calf 8/24/07 and started just 6 of 23 games he played rest of the season."

J-Roll's injury sounds similar, & if so he could be looking at another long layoff. Time to find something better than Juan-Valdez.

that's a misallocation of trading resources going to try and find a SS. they need to save whatever guys in the minors they have for a starter or a nice reliever. they can be ok for a while with those two at SS. just play good defense. as far as rollins injury, it could easily be mild but they are being precautious.

It was mentioned yesterday regarding Hamels age and where his ceiling is. His toolset is not complete yet. Its hard to believe, but this guy will only get better. What I like from him is his confidence in his own abilities. That's why you see him get frustrated at times. Its not some sort of hissy fit. He knows what talent he has. And where his ceiling is.

As he matures, we're going to see one heck of a pitcher...

st: Didn't necessarily mean right now, but looking past '10 definitely. Jimmy ain't gettin' any younger. Of course the Phillies do have three fabulous prospects, late of the Seattle organization, which would surely fetch any of the best SS in the game in trade ...

The broadcast Fox station in NYC has a subchannel that always shows the same thing as the regular channel but in 4:3 instead of widescreen.

Last time the Phillies were on at the same time as the Yankees, I suggested that they put the Phillies on the subchannel. They ignored me, of course.

Oh, and YNT.

Where is GM-Carson now? He has tucked tail and hid ever since Hamels has looked good. Where's the rants and raves over how terrible he looked in April?

Yo, New DL thread.

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