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Monday, May 17, 2010

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Here's my thinking on this series with the Pirates.

Things are going way too smoothly.

The Pirates can hang with the Phillies for some reason. Charlie Morton's numbers are pathetic and whenever the Phils face a guy like this, for some reason they have a tough time (or they put up like 20 runs, which is a likely scenario as well). I expect a football score though tonight.

From the last thread:

DPatrone,

The problem with really all mentalistic explanations of performance is their circularity. They assume the very thing they purport to explain. So, why did Hamels give up two runs? Because he lost his focus. How do we know he lost his focus? Because he gave up two runs.

In other words, the proposition ("he lost his focus") is either meaningless or just another way of saying "he gave up runs".

I think the best rule of thumb is to be at all times circumspect when conjecturing about the contents of other minds, particularly since minds don't technically exist.

Hope Utley gets well soon. When I saw he was out, I remembered he kind of got slap tagged in the junk in the 3rd inning, and was hoping he didn't get hurt on that play...

Klaus: Totally right about the circularity of the "mental toughness" argument. Trying to explain something you don't know with something you can't prove gets you no closer to the answer, it just raises more questions.

CJ: So what I hear you saying is, "This game feels like a loss?"

Good lord, the Pirates are nine games under .500 and only five games out of first. The NL Central is UGLY this year.

Tonight's game is another example of why the Polanco signing was beneficial. Last year, if Utley was out for the flu, we got Bruntlett at 2nd.

bap: "CJ: So what I hear you saying is, "This game feels like a loss?""

I can't say that. I'd have to give up my title as President of the Blind Optimists.

All I'm saying is that we should procede with caution. ;-)

Looks like the light rain here in Chester County is working its way towards CBP.

Phils have had a tough time hitting at PNC Park over the past couple of years. They aren't in Pittsburgh though & the offense is raking.

Should be able to put at least 3-4 runs up against Morton tonight.

Klaus is Klassic. He got all Immanuel Kant on us in that last post.

I think the best rule of thumb is to be at all times circumspect when conjecturing about the contents of other minds, particularly since minds don't technically exist.

Klaus with the call of the day.

MG: My thoughts exactly. If this game were in Pittsburgh I'd be worried. At home, however, this is one the Phillies ought to win.

Jack: Right, and another thing is the basic human inability to cope with randomness. Remember Baseball Prospectus' argument for Cole's underlying consistency--an argument from randomness: a greater percentage of balls put into play happened to be find holes. A lot of people found that unpalatable.

Worth skimming:
http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-04-07/#feature

Heard this morning that the Pirates haven't had a winning record on a road trip since something like 2007. They are on a 5 game trip - they went 2 and 1 against the Cubs and have the 2 in Philly. So they need to win 1 of 2 to break their streak.

CJ: Well, I wouldn't be performing my assigned role on Beerleaguer if I didn't say that this game feels like a loss. So I'll say it.

Kendrick pitching; 5 lefties in the Pirates lineup; Utley on the bench; Rollins likely to be rusty; and a Pirates team that is so bad, it's hard to get up for them. I'm not having great instincts about this one.

I love Kyle Kendrick. So much fun to watch

b_a_p: You were saying?

Feels like a loss.

QED.

I'm thinking that's a hit with Castro or Valdez in the game.

Valdez made a similar play last night. Castro, I'm not so sure.

Good job getting the run in. Jimmy didn't look too slow, either.

Phillies' small ball!

Gotta say J-Roll is looking a little portly...RBI on first pitch nonetheless

Unfortunately, Charlie Morton doesn't seem to be losing his concentration thus far tonight.

Dobbs starting to get a few AB's. If he continues to suck, we can't use the "not enough AB's" excuse...

By the way, the Pirates are actually 16-21.

Pirates should be 10-27 according to their run differential

Many things annoy me, but pitchers who can't bunt infuriate me.

WP: The "not enough ABs" argument is every bit as unprovable and circular as the "He lost focus" argument that was the subject of Klaus's fine posts.

As far as I'm concerned, the lack of playing time for Dobbs & Francisco is an EFFECT of their crappy play, not a CAUSE of their crappy play. When Dobbs hit well a couple of years ago, he got a lot more playing time. Same goes for Francisco in the 2nd half of last year.

These guys are bench players. If they want to play more, they need to hit better. Until they do, I want to see less of them, not more of them.

I'm not at all thrilled with Dobbs since his great year in '08. His defense is crap and his hitting is way too streaky.

Two pitches in two at bats for J-Roll.. HE'S BACK!

Rollins is back!

Popped up the 1st pitch with bases loaded....

First. Pitch. Swinging.

This is not the J-Roll I was looking for.

He went 0-fer in his last game at Clearwater--did you guys really expect him to come into this game guns-a-blazin'?

Geebus. No one gets any slack around here, even with the best record in the NL.

doubleh: I don't expect much from Rollins for at least the next week, but I think people were more disgusted with the process than the results.

doubleh: The problem is precisely that he's come out "guns-a-blazin'". Take a pitch, dammit.

At least the Phils managed to get a couple of runs. Would have been a shame to leave the bases loaded & not score.

Speaking of which: WEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

This feels like a certain lo . . . Er, maybe not.

Quick! Get 5 innings in!

Complain about it if you need to, but I think Rollins' swinging at the first pitch was actually genius: He knew this was going to happen, and he was doing his best to get his at bat over with so we can make this game official as quickly as possible.

Morton went to the well too many times with that fastball away. Asking for trouble against Werth especially as that last one came in a bit.

Werthtastic

How's the weather looking?

**The problem is precisely that he's come out "guns-a-blazin'". Take a pitch, dammit.**

Ditto. Obviously, Jimmy didn't talk to anyone about being patient at the plate during his hiatus

NEPP - As we discussed this morning, I'm thinking that HR from Werth was a double at Coors thus hurting his chances at the doubles crown. Having said that, I'll take the HR.

BrianG: LA and Franzke reported the rain was picking up.

I don't know if 5 runs is enough of a lead to stay ahead of the Pirates...

Speaking of which, what's with KK throwing 8 fastballs and nothing else last inning?

Wow, Morton's ERA is approaching 10. Kind of feel bad for the guy, he doesn't look at have THAT bad of stuff.

I know the Pirates stink something fierce, but this is the best combination of stuff and command that Kendrick has had all year. I don't know where all these strikeouts are coming from.

****NEPP - As we discussed this morning, I'm thinking that HR from Werth was a double at Coors thus hurting his chances at the doubles crown. Having said that, I'll take the HR.****

Jayson needs to choke up on the bat and simply hit it to the gap to chase the title. Stop with this damned HR swing.

2k's - there's lil' doc!

Looks like KK's been following Roy around again.

BrainG:

Philadelphia Local Radar

The "+" sign under the "d" & "e" in "Philadelphia" marks the Ballpark.

Some really nice pitches so far by KK on his sinker & even a couple of nice changeups to lefties.

It is funny how TMac said Church was in the lineup because they wanted to stack the lineup against KK & his good career despite benching a good hitter like Milledge.

Milledge is at .246/.319/.311 so far this year & has been a sub .700 OPS hitter the past ~2 season. Milledge just sucks.

KK looked pretty good that inning. Against all lefties too.

Hanley Ramirez just made one of the most pathetic "dog" plays you will ever see. If I were a pitcher, I would have strangled him.

He is a hell of a hitter and all-around talent. But he has WAY too much dog in him to ever be considered elite.

This game is over. 6-1 lead against this woeful Pirates' lineup with limited power & ability to get on base.

Pirates are 1-14 when they have allowed 6 or more runs this year & their biggest comeback all year is 2 runs down. This is a 'Grand Canyon' sized lead right now.

Weather aside, JRoll in the 3 spot, coming back from an extended injury and inevitable rust is probably anticipating seeing a bunch of FB's (especially first pitch FB's) as a result of his time off and spot in the lineup right in front of Howard.

That said, it might not be the dumbest thing in the world to try to hit the first pitch FB if you're him, especially on his first few AB's.

BAP - The law of sample sizes in unprovable? Maybe in some deep philosophical sense, but how bout we give Dobbs - a career .268/.314/.424 hitter and a .301/.333/.491 hitter in 08 (his last healthy season) - a few more chances before calling him done at 31?

Jimmy has always been a "swing at the first pitch" type of guy and its a big reason he gets a lot of big hits when guys try to sneak a fastball by him. If I were pitching to him, I'd never throw him a first pitch fastball.

KK isn't a good bunter. Something he never did well even in '07 & '08.

Do you think the Phils will consider trading Francisco soon?

With him arb elgible in the off season, that is some extra cash they won't want to spend for a player who obviously doesn't seem to have a place. And I would think with as many weak hitting lineups there are in baseball, he could be somebody a team would take a chance on.

Mayberry certainly has shown vast improvement both in the off-season and this year in AAA. He would be a cheaper alternative to Ben for not only this year, but the next couple of years too.

They probably wouldn't get much back for Ben, but a minor league position player (preferably a middle infielder or catcher) wouldn't be bad to get back.

Big league hitters crush on first pitch. The NL is hitting .351/.354/.559 on the first pitch this year. Rollins hit .330/.337/.574 on first pitches last year.

Swinging on the first pitch can be a good idea. Sometimes the results aren't there. Swinging on the first pitch isn't always a question of discipline. Sometimes it's part of the approach. Rollins lost on that one.

sophist: The law of sample sizes is not unproven. But that strikes me as a little different from the argument we so often hear, which posits that the reason Dobbs or Francisco are stinking it up is because they're not being given sufficient ABs to stay sharp.

It's just a fact that if you're a bench player, you're not going to get to play that much. If a bench player wants to play more, he has to earn that playing time by playing well in the limited time he gets.

Morton has MLB-caliber stuff including a pretty good fastball tonight. He just lost his focus/concentration in the 3rd inning with RISP. Also been leaving too many fastballs up in the zone too including that one that Werth smacked out.

PH here for Morton? That's dumb. Russell is just going to needlessly use his bullpen a bit.

BAP, I agree, for the most part. However, I love the flexibility we have in being able to move Polanco to 2B and get Dobbs an occasional start, rather than stick the utility IF du jour into Utley's spot automatically. Recent (lack of) success aside, I prefer Dobbs getting the start here to Castro.

Love seeing JRoll back out on the field. Those kind of plays are just routine again.

I don't pretend to know the reasons, but I'd be willing to bet that - so long as he's healthy and given 150+ PA - Dobbs will have an OPS over .800. Dobbs isn't stinking it up so much as he isn't doing anything at all. <30 AB in over a month is a sample re which nothing much can be said. He's put a grand total of 21 balls in play.

I don't know anything about sharpness. He's just barely played, so there's not much to say. It would be similar to less than a week's worth of play from a regular - only a regular gets to be up there every day.

I see some serious DITHL potential from this kid...

MG: Coming into this game Morton had a 13.50ERA in the 3rd Inning of games he has started in '10. He now has a 21.00 3rd Inning ERA. The 2nd time through the lineup has not been kind to his stuff.

WP: Well, I agree with all that. Based on -- yes -- the law of sample sizes, I think it's safe to say that it's better to have Dobbs' bat in the lineup than Castro's. I'm just dubious of the oft-made claim that the reason Dobbs isn't hitting is because his infrequent playing time prevents him from staying sharp. I mean, I don't really doubt that it's true to an extent, but it's also true that, if he were hitting better, his playing time would be more frequent.

Besides, if we played the bench players as often as some would like us to play them, the benefit of keeping those guys a little sharper would be more than offset by the cost of keeping a much better player on the bench.
ides,

Nothing like a catcher with a hitch in his throw to really distract his own pitcher. I'd like to see Ryno run on Doumit. My money is on the big man.

Preacher - Karstens is just one of those guys who is a marginal MLB. Isn't a lefty, doesn't throw particularly hard & or have great control, and doesn't have a plus offspeed pitch.

alright, hockey boy get out of my radio until you learn to judge a fly ball.

does anybody think that KK not looking that runner back when he went on to third is absolutely what is wrong with him as a player. He is just not smart!

Ok, in a 6-2 game, how long does Kendrick stay in the game. I would try to get him 8 innings total. Although he is only at 80 pitches.

KK's got a shot to go 8 tonight. Interesting to see how Cholly plays it & tries to give some of his gusy who have been used a bit this month (Contreras, Baez, Durbin) a night off tonight.

Exactly, I would like the bullpen to get as much rest as possible. I would have KK stay over 100 pitches (as long as the runs are down)

Ha!

That's why hustling is important...good work scoring there.

D'oh!

Thanks, Andrew! :-)

Hey, completely seriously, can we start talking about Kyle Kendrick as having the potential to become a legitimate starter now?

I know, he's got an 89 mph fastball and mediocre junk pitches, but this is, what, the third start in a row that he's kept the Phillies in the game for 6+ innings by placing the ball reasonably well. He's not overpowering, and yes, it's the Pirates, but it's looking like he can develop into a reasonable 5th starter, and can win some games.

I'm not sayin' he's anything great, I'm just sayin' he's not a complete disaster, and seems to be working his way into a consistent pattern that's acceptable.

could have kept valdez as a reliever (ala tony larussa)

I dont know about KK being a legit starter.

He pitches well some nights and really well against the Cardinals. But he does usually go 6 innings of 4 run ball, he is a #5 starter and barley a starter on this Phillies team.

We do have to keep in mind he is shutting the Pirates down.

Jimmy looks healthy.

I figure KK pitches one more inning and then Figueroa finishes, since he hasn't gotten into a game in ages.

I liked that AB much better than the previous two, both in terms of approach & results. Jimmy looks good running, too.

Figgy is still on the roster?

Let it be noted that both of Rollins' hits tonight, in his last two at bats, came on the first pitch.

Damn that free swinger!

Woops. Let it be noted that I was wrong about that last AB. Looked up and saw 0-0, but it must have changed quickly.

I was wrong about his other hit too!! Lesson to all, don't write a paper, watch the Phils, and comment on BL all at once while your dog barks for an evening walk.

Fourth pitch.

Big Man moving down the line.

Fastest "big man" in the game.

Rollins got the 2b on a 1-2 pitch

Good job holding up there so you could get the double, Jayson...too easy.

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