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Monday, May 31, 2010


Ah yes: Bell, Lieberthal, and the Pitcher spot. Always used that inning to take a bathroom break.

Matt Gelb (via Twitter): "Brad Lidge has been activated. Nelson Figueroa is DFA"


Zolecki (via Twitter: Today's Lineup @ ATL Gload RF, Dobbs 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Victorino CF, Ibañez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Blanton P.


Isn't being "Hitting Coach" of Charlie's Phillies kind of a ceremonial position at best, much like being the "Offensive Coordinator" of Andy Reid's Eagles?

Regardless, ultimate responsibility resides w/ the guys at the plate. The Phillies' 3-4-5 hitters are all batting sub-.150 during this stretch (8 Games Beginning 22 May):

Utley - .133/.212/.200/.412

Howard - .148/.281/.148/.429

Werth - .111/.143/.148/.291

Ibañez is batting .238/.333/.381/.714 in that same span ... which looks wonderful in comparison w/ 3-4-5, but still blows goat.

In the end it's a shame that Rollins (& more recently Polanco) have been out, but their absence is no excuse. The middle of the order has been beyond awful, & it's killing the team right now.


In other news:

Oliver Perez Refuses Minor League Assignment

Say what you will about Brett Myers, but he took being demoted like a professional, & it paid off for both him & the team.

When the guys at the plate prove they are completely lost, then it is the job of the hitting coach to give them a map. People here are quick to criticize Charlie for all sorts of things, Dubee for inflicting Cutteritis on his guys, Perlozzo for his randomness in sending and holding runners, so why does Milt Thompson always get a free pass?

Hanson's ERA is a bit inflated from his previous to last start in which he didn't get out of the 2d and allowed 8 earned runs. Otherwise, he's allowed 18 ER in 56 IP (2.89 ERA).

Let's compare how the two pitchers recorded their 27 consecutive outs:

Braden: 109 pitches, 77 strikes, 6 K, 7 GB, 10 FB (3 IFFB), 4 LD, +.355 WPA
Halladay: 115 pitches, 72 strikes, 11 K, 8 GB, 8 FB (2 IFFB), 0 LD, +.888 WPA

It seems to me that Halladay was unquestionably the more dominant pitcher in his perfect game, which makes sense, given the difference in skill between the two pitchers. Halladay didn't allow a single line drive and struck out five more batters.

Most remarkably, Halladay performed his perfect game in a situation that nearly required perfection, as the Phillies only managed to plate one run against Marlins ace Josh Johnson. Because of the tight score, Halladay accrued a fantastic +.888 WPA. That mark is the highest for any pitcher since June 26th, 2005, when A.J Burnett and the Florida Marlins defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1-0.

The point of this post certainly isn't to belittle Dallas Braden's perfect game in any way. It was a spectacular achievement and will go down in baseball history as such. Roy Halladay simply increased his own position in the history books with one of the most dominant pitching performances of all time.

Gload and Dobbs at the top of the lineup = Manuel has finally gone off hte deep end.

Pencil one in the loss column for the Phils today unless Ross drops a Gload into the seats to lead things off!

Is there any optimism left out there, specifically, for today's game? I'm getting blue reading JW's header and the posts.

clout: And, as usual, you're misrepresenting what your opponent said. I didn't say "players don't recover from long slumps." I said, when it's deep enough into a season, & a player is well below career norms, he probably isn't going to get there.

And, yeah, I'd say a .251/.339/.543 stat line is well off of career norms, when those career norms are .280/.374/.577.

Cholly hasn't gone off the deep-end at all. This offense has been going through a historically brutal stretch. Frankly I would sit Werth today too after yesterday.

He is simply stacking the lineup against Hanson who has notably weaker numbers against left-handed bats (09-10):

LHB: .264/.350/.399 with an OPS of .750
RHB: .206/.271/.340 with an OPS of .611

Phils better touch Hanson by the 3rd inning because he has a real tendency to settle in & pitch incredibly well if you don't.

Hanson's has a good fastball/great curveball but doesn't have a 3rd decent pitch against left-handed bats. His changeup is better than KK's but not by that much.

Problem with stacking the lineup with so many lefties though is that the Braves have a couple of lefties in their pen including Venters, O'Flaherty, and Wagner. Almost a certainty that Werth will get used as a PH today late in the game.

"So why does Milt Thompson always get a free pass?"

Scott, have you ever noticed that, among a pretty eclectic group of thinkers, you're literally the only one on Beerleaguer who is on a crusade against Milt Thompson? Could it be that you're out in left field on this crusade? What is your theory? That if they had a different hitting coach, the team would never slump? That Ryan Howard would post Ted Williams-like numbers and would strike out at the rate of Ichiro Suzuki? That Juan Castro would hit like Cal Ripken, Jr.?

The Phillies are annually near the league lead in offense & runs scored, so if the hitting coach is having any effect at all, it seems to be a positive one. Personally, my own opinion is that, but for some rare exceptions, major league hitters are who they are & the hitting coach probably doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

Blanton also needs to stop melting down too after the 5th inning. Given up 12 ER now in 7 IP after the 5th inning.

Not sure if he is still working back his stamina or if it is more of an issue that has plagued Blanton in the past (wearing down around 60 pitches/90 pitches). Probably a little of both but guys have been lighting him up the 3rd time through the lineup.

He has to give his team a chance to win today. 4-5 runs won't cut it.

b_a_p: Yes, of course I've noticed that. It occurs to me that I could be wrong, and it also occurs to me that I could be right. Plenty of the other eclectic thinkers are sometimes incorrect about things, so that means I'm pretty much no different than anybody else here, if I am indeed incorrect about it. My theory is pretty straightforward: With the raw talent on this team, we do not play to our potential. Just because our numbers are generally among the best, it doesn't mean that those numbers couldn't be even better. Quite a few of our hitters appear to be regressing, not progressing. Slumps are inevitable, regression isn't.

That said, I'll drop my "crusade," and enjoy reading the criticisms of the other members of the coaching staff.

Time for another sleepy afternoon ballgame in half-empty Atlanta. With Hanson pitching, I wouldn't expect much to change.

Cholly is grasping at straws. Even in previous years when the team went though offensive droughts, he never tinkered much with the lineup.

I'd say if you are Greg Dobbs, Ben Francisco and maybe Raul Ibanez, you better start doing something at the plate. Rube and Cholly might be ready to shake things up. And not just with the batting order. Maybe the roster.

Maybe with Morales out, they would be interested in either Ibanez or Dobbs. Francisco doesn't seem long for Philly either (especially being arb elgible in the off-season).

MG: Agree with you about Blanton. He definitely needs to give the team a chance to win. In other words, he needs to pitch a shutout.

I get that he wants some lefties in teh lineup. But, if starting two left-handed pinch hitters 1-2 in the lineup doesn't smack of a desperation move for a team deep in the doldrums, I don't know what does.

Scott: Except your theory has no support in any evidence. Which players are "regressing" and how, heaven tell, do you make the determination that a player has regressed? Besides, most of these same players progressed to their maximum level of productivity under Milt Thompson's watch. So when they hit well, it's just because of their natural potential, and when they don't hit quite so well, it's because of the hitting coach?

And what exactly do you mean that our stars don't play to their potential? Haven't they won 3 straight division titles, 2 straight NL championships, & a World Series?
Isn't our 2nd baseman the best 2nd baseman in baseball? Isn't Ryan Howard the game's best power hitter? Didn't Howard & Rollins both win MVPs? Didn't Werth, Ibanez, Rollins & Vic all make the All Star Game? What is it that you think these guys could accomplish if only they had a better hitting coach? And how, pray tell, did you go about assessing this "potential" and measuring it?

Ok Charlie, that's a pretty funny lineup card you filled out. Now how about the real one? come on, no foolin'..

Now would've been a good time to throw Marson, Donald and Taylor out there to shake things up.

I have a tough time wrapping my mind around BAP's previous two posts. He spends most game threads, including Halladay's perfect game, complaining about how the team stinks. Now all of a sudden, two straight posts praising the team in a stringent defense of Milt Thompson.

Two theories on this: 1) BAP is honoring our troops by trying to avoid being miserable for a day, or 2) BAP is Milt Thompson.

In what baseball universe is Ross Gload a leadoff hitter? J-Roll may not be typical, but he has speed. And how can Dobbs, who hasn't been hitting at all, be a good #2? I hope these strange moves don't give the players the feeling that their coach is desperate.

OTOH, Charlie's got good gut feelings about hitters as often as not.

As for getting rid of our underperforming bench players, I just don't feel great optimism that there are good & reliable bench players to be had out there. It just seems to me that by its very nature, such a position is not going to draw the best of hitters - otherwise, they would not be bench players - and that the lack of regularity with which they get ABs makes their challenge that much greater.

The question I was angling at in bringing up it up at all was not "Why does Milt get a free pass?", but "Why does Milt even draw a paycheck?" In comparison to the other members of the coaching staff, Thompson appears to be at least somewhat alone in that he draws criticism when the Phillies are hitting, & Charlie draws praise when they are. In general, however, I agree w/ b_a_p's assertion that hitting coaches make little, if any, difference. I'm merely wondering how much influence Milt actually has behind a manager who is noted for being a hitting guru of sorts.

Iceman: 90% of that stuff during the Halladay perfect game was tongue-in-cheek, which sailed right over the heads of our many humorless posters.

As for my defense of Thompson, I'm not praising the team's recent play, nor am I honoring the troops or trying to avoid being miserable (if I wanted to do that, I simply wouldn't watch the game). In fact, I'm not even defending Thompson, since I really have no idea whether or not he's an effective hitting coach. I merely find it comical that someone would actually think it's the hitting coach's fault that this team has been so futile at the plate for the last week. And I find it even more comical that this same someone believes himself capable of quantifying our hitters' potential & determining that we're not living up to it.

No one on Beerleaguer really has the slightest idea if guys like Milt Thompson & Rich Dubee are doing good jobs. We can only judge them from the team's results. If there were a pattern of players leaving the Phillies & suddenly having career years, or coming to the Phillies & then having career-worst seasons, then that would certainly reflect poorly on our coaching staff. But I don't see that happening. In fact, if you look at the hitters who've left the Phillies in recently years, almost all of them either fared about exactly the same for their new team (i.e., Abreu, Helms, Bell), or got substantially worse (i.e., Burrell, Feliz, Michaels, Rowand, Coste). The only exeption I can think of is Barajas.

I was always under the impression that hitting coach was supposed to, umm, coach the hitters. I don't expect Milt to turn Greg Dobbs into Ty Cobb(s), but to observe and to help correct mistakes.

With a line up card like that, the Phils are due to drop 20 today.

It's the opposite of rolling over the odometer. When you've already bottomed out and you get worse, the only place to go is the top.

Offense: reset.

(Or it's just going be a reaaaaaaaaaaly long afternoon.)

GTown: Well, it used to be the same way with pitchers. When one of our pitchers stunk it up, it was Rich Dubee's fault. When one of our pitchers did well, it was because of Jamie Moyer's influence. Now it's gotten a little muddled because sometimes, when our pitchers do well, it's Roy Halladay's influence too. And, when our pitchers do badly now, it's sometimes because Rich Dubee is trying to turn them all into Roy Halladays.

I'll go with a 14-2 Phillies win.

No doubt.

That is one ugly Phillies hat...good cause though.

Hugh Mulcahy - You've been watching these games; it pretty much is desperation time. I'm willing to consider any shake-ups Charlie has to offer at this point.

This lineup is an earnest prayer from Cholly to the baseball gods.

b_a_p: In the cases of Dubee & Perlozzo, successes & failures have drawn the requisite plaudits & condemnations. At least I have heard & read praise for Dubee's work w/ the pitching staff, whereas I cannot say the same regarding anything Milt Thompson might have done for the production of Phillies hitters. Not that it hasn't happened, mind you, merely that if it has, I have not noticed. He only ever seems to be mentioned when the offense slumps.

Never a doubt with Dobbs...he's a pure OBP machine.

Chase just missing on a easy fastball down the middle.

Even though it will undoubtedly end in a strikeout or weak pop-up, at least Utley is having a quality AB. That, itself, is a rarity of late.

Great AB by Chase.

Nice baserunning by Dobbs. Good to see him do something positive.

Or, then again, maybe it will end in a hit.

Damnit Ryan...damnit damnit damnit.

Sorry BAP...since all you do is complain about how terrible the team is, it's going to "go over" everyone's head when you trash them in jest.

They've hit into an astounding number of DPs during the course of this week-long offensive blackout.

Makes me feel good every time I'm pissed.

OK, talking about hitting coach, can't Milt at least drill into Howard's head (since he appears to not be able to get it on his own) what everyone else knows: when he is not in one of his hot streaks, he's not going to get many fastballs. He really needs to sit on a curve ball or slider in the zone. He may get one fastball per at bat, and if it's a strike, it's a mistake. Baseball is all about adjustments, and for some reason Howard has never been able to make this adjustment.

Love the high socks look in baseball. Everyone should go with it.

Prado is just a machine. He's like a young Placido Polanco.

It's the negative influence of sharing a bench w/ Wilson Valdez.

GOod thing Heyward "just" missed that

This kid is gonna haunt us for a decade.

****when he is not in one of his hot streaks, he's not going to get many fastballs****

Caveat: When he's at the plate, he's not going to get many fastballs.

Pardon my technical ignorance, but...

In that last at-bat by Howard, because the batter was out after the fielder's choice at 2nd, wouldn't the run count if the runner crossed the plate before Howard was called out a 1st? I know it makes no difference when the runner crosses the plate if the batter gets thrown out at 1st without an intervening out, but I thought that the intervening out made it a question of who got there first.

What's the rule?

Yes, if its not a force out, the runner is safe. However, it was a 3-6-3 DP I they kept the force in effect.

This game feels like second place.

So we're down 2-0 in the it a ballgame since we are unable to score runs?

I despise Chipper Jones.

So as long as the outs are all force outs, it doesn't matter when the runner scores?

Blanton's always a slow starter, but his numbers are not pretty at all.

Sorry philwynk, I misread your question. However, it would only matter in that play if the 1B had stepped on first and then thrown to 2B for the tagout. Otherwise, the force out always takes precedence over beating the runner in your scenario.

Really cool book to buy is the illustrated MLB rulebook. I have it laying around somewhere and its a great read. It goes into all sorts of odd scenarios like that.

Blanton not having it today, eh?

BAP: As I mentioned in the previous thread, the only things "well off" Howard's norms were his BA and his walks. His RBI and HR were right on the money, as were his extra base hits. I don't consider a 7% drop in OPS to be "well-off his norms."

Always good to see the bench guys get a start.

Another All-Star bench player. Ladies & Gentlemen, your 2000 Philadelphia Phillies.

Already paying for putting Gload in

Better get Figgy up...oh sh!t.

So now we know that Ross Gload can manufacture runs. All we need now is to get him to manufacture them for US.

Here's that book I was referencing...good stuff on all those oddball MLB rules that aren't really clarified in the official rules with examples.

Looks like the Braves all all the runs they need. Hellp 2nd place

clout: Well, that's a semantical debate. Overally, it was pretty clearly the worst season of Howard's career.

Of course, all of our flaws pale next to the inability of 3-4-5 to drive in a run, but it is just remarkable how bad our benchwarmers are. I'm very nostalgic about Eric Bruntlett.

I blame the bench coach...its clearly his fault.

Too bad for the Braves that they aren't allowed to take these 3 runs & re-distribute them to give themselves 1 run in each game of this series. If they could do that, they'd have already secured a sweep.

Now Vic needs to steal 2B to give us some sort of boost.

There's the Vic we all know and love.

Now take 3B, Shane.

I don't recall any pitchers praising Dubee - ever. Halladay praised Moyer and Chooch. Come to think about it - has Dubee ever taught anyone a pitch ?

Might as well pitch around Ibanez and set up the inevitable GIDP

I'm calling this now...we will win this game.

Kool Earl: It's a holiday. Why aren't you drunk?

I smell dp

Nice job Chooch advancing the runners.

Well, that wasn't utterly fucking predictable.

You can only laugh.

Valdez brought his winning ways over from the Mets.

"I'm calling this now...we will win this game."

Now THAT is what I call blind optimism.

Somebody has to look up the stats on team streaks hitting into DPs. Phils have to be up there over the last say, 2 weeks.

Vic looked as disgusted as I feel. I'm going to take a shower & try to wash the stench of being a Phillies fan off of myself.

Valdez - 8 GIDP in 69 ABs.

Proposed Phillies slump drinking game: A sip each time 4-5-6 batters K. A shot each time the Phils ground into a double play. A double shot for every bench player fielding error.

Would anyone make it past six innings?

Joe, I've got the spins just thinking about it

Coming into today, Howard is hitting .246/.343/.311 w RISP this year.

The baseball gods are laughing at Cholly's prayer.

Sophist: I'm an old-timer who dosn't understand most of the newer stats, so I didn't understand your post on the perfect game. But I did ask the other nite about game scores for SP. Doc's was 98, the other PG was 93, and Cain has a 94. My questions were, how can 2 PG have different scores, and how can Cain have a better score than a PG?

Blanton! A hitting machine!

@Joe I: I'm tempted to add "Chug a whole 16oz beer every time the Phils have a RISP with 1 out or less and don't score a run by the end of the inning," but I'm thinking I might die of alcohol poisoning.

Nice job Kentucky/Tennessee Joe.

Gload just blew a perfectly good double-play opportunity.

pitching game-scores account for strikeouts, a point for each k. doc had 11 strikeouts, brayden had six.

cain was given three points more for strikeouts than brayden, and though he allowed a hit, each hit only subtracts two points from the game score.

What inning does Cocks get tossed?

Charlie tossed, bottoms up.

I didnt expect that.

Can't blame Cholly for wanting to get out of there early.

goody, pitchers get positive game score points for SO so two perfect games can have different scores if one has a different number of SO. Here's the breakdown:

Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched. Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

Crack open a cold one, Charlie. You deserve the rest of hte day off.

That was no doubt a calculated decision by Cholly to get himself ejected.

Cool. No DP.

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