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Saturday, May 15, 2010



You know you're running out of things to complain about when there's a debate over the use of Herndon, Romero, or Figgy in a 5-run ball game.

This team's been getting by with a 5 man BP and somehow has not taxed it. The 8-9 program seems to be Durbin-Contreras - what would BL have thought of such a thing on April 2nd?

The starting staff has pitched just 2 fewer innings than the Giants. The relievers have the fewest IP in the NL with 88. The NL average is 109.

Figgy will stick around so long as Happ is on the shelf because he can pitch a few innings and give them a spot start. With Mathieson blazing in AAA (16.2 IP, 0.54 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.84 WHIP) it's Herndon, the rule 5 dude, that's the question mark. Herndon's WHIP coming into today was 1.9+. Compare that to Kendrick's last 5 appearances: 31 IP, 13 R, 1.355 WHIP. Herndon does have some BABIP woes.

Another thing to note re Mathieson is a theory from Matt Swartz: he may be getting held back for salary and service time purposes.

If Lidge gets another cortizone shot in his elbow, will that really help him long-term? You can only get so many shots in the same joint IIRC.

Something is causing the underlying issue and cortizone shots will only hide it temporarily.

Dang; T Mac was sounding pretty rosy about Lidge today on the Fox broadcast. Saying he might be back for the Pirates series. Guess he was wrong. Contreras was looking pretty Lidgeish today. Nice to seem him get out of a partly self-imposed jam.

Just watched the end of the Mets game. Barajas just got thrown out at second trying to stretch a single, down 3 runs in the ninth. At first I was happy, then I realized I don't know if I should be rooting for the Mets or the Marlins at this point.

Reposted from the previous, for NEPP:

Happ is on the DL. T Mac said that he threw today.

There's a little something on the Phillies site now, too.

"'He's had about five good days,' Dubee said.

"Dubee said they are hopeful Happ can throw a bullpen session next week."

Herndon does have BABIP issues, but those kinds of issues are pretty common for extreme ground ball pitchers. Ground ball pitchers generally have higher BABIPs than fly ball pitchers. One way to help mitigate those periods of unusually high BABIPs is to strike a lot of hitters out which, unfortunately, Herndon doesn't do (even though he throws hard).

There is a lot to like about Herndon & I can see why the Phillies are reluctant to offer him back to the Angels. It's just that he ought to be refining his skills in AAA this year. The ideal scenario would be to swing a trade where they get to keep him & stash him at LV.

MLB Network didn't address the confusion over the Utley/Hart's foot play at all, & I've been avoiding ESPN for fear of having to see the NBA ... *shudders*. Anyway, I'm extremely curious as to whether it was called correctly, & if so, why they feel a ground rule double was the correct call in that situation. Did anyone hear anything further on that?

Also, the Mets sent Perez down to the bullpen today. Of course the $12 Million they're paying him to sit in the bullpen is a relative pittance compared to what the Cubs are paying Zambrano for the same.

Sophist ---- so when will we be able to bring mathieson up and keep his service time where they want it? June or later?

It's true that the BABIP on FB is higher than the BABIP on GB generally, but that's removed - in the AVG scheme of things - by the fact that roughly one in ten FB is a HR (thus a hit) and roughly zero in ten GB is a HR. The NL AVG on GB and FB was nearly identical last year even though the BABIP on GB was almost 100 points higher (what's more significant was that the NL SLG on FB last year was almost .600 while the NL SLG on GB was less than .300).

So is a period of unlucky BABIP for a GB pitcher like a period of wonky HR/FB from a FB pitcher? I can't imagine a FB pitcher with Herndon's K9 would last very long in the big leagues. It's true that Herndon could help himself if he could get a strikeout, but that's not to say that, going forward, it's not likely that he'll get better results than he has if he keeps this up.

A ~.400 BABIP with a 68% GB rate and a 14% LD rate just shouldn't continue. Given that he's yet to even allow a HR (in 8 FB), that ~.400 AVG against just makes no sense unless there's something special about his GB that makes them difficult to keep in the infield. Is there?

pb, Swartz answers that question on the twitter wires (or whatever) I think. Can't speak to their truth value, but he says Mathieson is probably about 70 days short of arb - would be called up around the break if they needed him but August or Septmeber otherwise.

This came up in the Kendrick discussion, but the only pitchers who can really sustain tolerable levels of run scoring with high SO rates are ground ball pitchers (this is more true as the GB rate goes over 50% and the BB rate goes under 3 per 9). Herndon's numbers are in these sweet spots which is why, despite the low K numbers, his FIP is 3.01. Or so I imagine. I don't know exactly what constitutes FIP.

GTOWN: The way i'm reading it, if the ball hit just his foot, it's a HR, but if it also hit the dirt, it's a GRD. They say the replays are inconclusive.

goody: Thanks. From the replays I saw, not to mention Hart's reaction after, it looked pretty obvious to me that the ball hit his foot & bounced out of bounds ... not that MLB's frustratingly inadequate & unevenly applied replay system even allows for video review of a situation such as this. Quite frankly, I'd rather have no replay at all than what is currently in place. But that's neither here nor there. I'm just thankful that particular call didn't end up affecting the outcome of the game.

Here's another thing to complain about: Phils have best record in the league and the best run differential.

Just glanced at Yahoo sports and saw Burrell got waived. Best comment I read: "He cant hit. He cant play the OF. He will be a Met. Trust me."

I thought Burrell would adjust to the DH and extend his career with that move. Guess not. Not sure if he broke down wiht injuries or what. Hard to follow the Rays for me.

Contreras looked Lidge-ish? He walked one and then K'ed two with the bases loaded, making both batters look completely clueless in the process, so I guess you mean '08 Lidge-ish.

This guy has got sick stuff and there's no reason he shouldn't be the closer until proven otherwise. Of course it looks like it almost doesn't matter who the Phils put where- they just keep winning. Valdez-Hoover-Pitcher and 10 runs on the board, 22-13 with no Lidge, Madson, Rollins, Happ, Blanton, now Ruiz, for stretches of time.

I was mocked when I said this before and I'll be mocked again, but this team knows they are good and sometimes that is all the difference in the world. The confidence they play with is extremely valuable, especially during a string of injuries like they've experienced this early in the season.

goody, Burrell could even eind up in a Braves uni. They need offense.

Iceman, if anyone mocked you they're a bit foolish. Confidence is a factor, as is the lack thereof.

Also, you forgot Romero on you list of players on the DL for long stretches, asn the way he's pitched since returning it's like they have a replacement anyway. and Ibanez played like a replacement level player the first month (I'll bet he still hadn't fully recovered from surgery.)

"I guess you mean '08 Lidge-ish."

Yeah. That's the Lidge I want to remember.

my thoughts percisely Iceman. lots of teams have looked great on paper but its the cockiness that brings you back against colorado and los angeles in october.

Paul Hoover... what is he, a perennial AAA player who gets called up in emergencies for a few games?

I just checked his career numbers -- 34 years old. Two years with the Rays (2001-02,) a handful of games. A big game in the minors. Three years with the Marlins (06-08,) again a handful of games. Two years with the Phils, 3 games each.

What's the story -- is he just a lousy catcher?

That's "a big GAP in the minors." Feh.

philwynk: Hoover is a very good defensive catcher who can't hit, which is why he's a Triple A veteran.

"Burrell could even end up in a Braves uni. They need offense."

If the Braves need offense, they don't need Pat Burrell.

Brad Lidge on the list?
I have to say I'm shocked! Shocked!
Where are my winnings?)

"Hoover is a very good defensive catcher who can't hit..."

And yet it seems as though every time he comes up for a few games, he hits just fine.

Small sample size, I know, and the pitchers don't know him at all. Probably with enough at-bats he'd revert to norm, which is around .250. Plus, I guess it's advantageous to player development to have a veteran catcher at AAA to handle the up-and-coming young pitchers.

But we've been having such a hard time finding 2nd and 3rd string catchers, and going out and acquiring the likes of Brian Schneider and Paul Bako fa cryin' out loud... Is Hoover potentially a worse hitter than Schneider and Bako? Really?

I guess I'm just wondering why the Phillies are working so hard to avoid bringing him up to the majors.

.250 would be the best Hoover would hit in the big leagues, since he's about a .250-.270 hitter these last few years in AAA. His numbers probably more closely translate to .230-.240 with a mid-600 OPS.

Phils' offense has really been raking this month so far. They are either 1 in most categories in the NL or close to it.

BA - .307 (1st)
OBP - .362 (1st)
SLG - .544 (1st)
HR - 22 (1st)
XHB - 57 (1st)

The only thing they aren't doing is stealing many bases (2) which is last in the league and taking many BBs (t-14) in the league. Haven't been doing that much this season as they last in the NL with 10 SB and only 11th with BBs with 126.

Since the monster offense in '07, the BBs rate has dipped down gradually since '07 -

'07 - 641 BBs (1st)
'08 - 586 BBs (5th)
'09 - 589 BBs (7th)

They are still on pace though to walk 583 times. Just been more walks early on in the league overall than normal at this point early on.

Romero & Lidge may be hurt & not help this team at all but the team does need to figure out what/if anything they will get from both of them.

Several reasons why they should have a little patience including it is way too early to write both of them off for this season, the Phils don't have a ton of alternatives, have a ton of money tied up in both guys, and simply haven't seen them pitch much.

Romero is obviously going to have a much shorter lease than Lidge. I just wonder how long Romero has to show he has something left in the tank. My guess is the Phils give him a pretty long rope well into June. If he still can't come in and throw strikes/lagging velocity, my bet is they cut ties with him around the end of June or early July.

Philwynk, you're probably correct that, pound for pound, Hoover is the equal of a dessicated Brian Schneider. I think it's a matter of known quantities--someone like Schneider can be depended on, in some sense. Hoover could well hit .120 in sixty major league at-bats; Schneider very probably won't.

Also, there's the matter of needing warm bodies in the minors. Permanently promote Hoover and you have the not entirely trivial problem of replacing him, at some level. What would that entail? Signing the equivalent of Schneider to catch at triple A. What's been gained?

From this (

"Backup catchers are harder to kill than cockroaches and just as unsightly. The fraternity is the athletic equivalent of Skull and Bones: Once you're in, you've got membership until you're 40 or bat below .180. And sometimes even that won't get you bounced."

How in the world could a ball possibly hit the wall, bounce back toward home plate, hit off the warning track, change directions AGAIN and bounce over the wall WITHOUT hitting off the fielder's foot.

Obviously the umpiring crew failed HS physics.

It seemed like Contreras came out in a situation he was unaccustomed to and may have been nibbling to avoid leaving a pitch over the plate that could result in the Brewers getting back into the game. After he ran the 2-0 count on Weeks, Hoover (via Valdez) obviously advised to just come at the hitters and it worked. I will tell you this: I am not concerned about Lidge and Manson on the DL

"I will tell you this: I am not concerned about Lidge and Manson on the DL."

Earl: I'm not, either. If the latter has the former killed, perhaps the Phils won't have to pay Lidge in '11.

"Permanently promote Hoover and you have the not entirely trivial problem of replacing him, at some level. What would that entail? Signing the equivalent of Schneider to catch at triple A. What's been gained?"

Lower salaries all around.

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

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

The record is fine - yay yay - but the BP is short handed and they're worried about a year in arbitration --

Where are the Philly Supporters? I'd be shocked if Uggla keeps up his pace. Lance has better numbers for sure, but not so much better as to ignore the fact that his team isn't good and will probably keep falling in the standings. I was worried to pick Chipper cause of my bias towards the Braves. Also don't think he'll stay healthy enough to keep his numbers high enough.

Also, there's the matter of needing warm bodies in the minors. Permanently promote Hoover and you have the not entirely trivial problem of replacing him, at some level. What would that entail? Signing the equivalent of Schneider to catch at triple A. What's been gained?from this (vibram five fingers shoes)

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