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Monday, June 28, 2010

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Jason, I hope you're right. The Braves don't look like they're going anywhere. When they come to town next week, the Phils better be ready. (I splurged on some seats in the Diamond Club for the July 6 game.)

I was impressed with Ben Fran yesterday. Time for a platoon?

Its no surprise that Moyer is posting a better WHIP than Roy. Jamie is the better pitcher.

Yesterday was Jamie's 267th win. (267-201, .571%)

It was his 56th win in red pinstripes...giving him a 56-37 (.602) record as a Phillie.


At this point, its probably safe to say he's gonna be around next year...where he might be pushing 280-290+ wins.

I'm honestly more concerned about the Mets than the Braves. If they add another pitcher (like Lee), then they'll honestly have the better rotation than us (even with Santana as a shadow of himself) and their offense has been clicking.

Don't overlook a very good Reds team and a trip to Pittburgh, where the Phillies always play down to the competition. This is a tricky little road trip coming after the Phillies finally unwind at home. I don't like it.

I buy into the Braves more than the Mets.

NEPP - Actually more concerned about the Mets longer term too especially if they Mets get another starter (doesn't even need to be Lee) at the trading deadline.

I just wonder if their bullpen is going to hold up long-term. Phils have their share of question marks too but the Mets' bullpen has a ton of question marks and a real lack of depth.

Beltran's return may prove to be the wild card in the division race. Ultimately the Phillies still have the most talented team and in the NL East, they have the Mystic and Aura.

I'd say in the coming months the key hitter will be Shane Victorino, the key starter will be Joe Blanton, and the key reliever will be Brad Lidge.

If Raul Ibanez gets going the lineup will become ridiculous to handle for every other NL team, and with Shane behind him it will add some potentcy to the bottom of the order. if raul continues to slide, then shane will have to pick things up so its not a giant black hole after Werth.

the team needs a third starter to be able to play with the big boys down the stretch, and blanton is our guy.

lidge is a gimmie because they can't have a giant 9th inning question mark and expect to win in september and october, especially if the race is close this year. they got away with having a crappy closer last year because they ran away with the division.

Phillies don't see the Mets until August. Lots could change. Phil were at an all-time low against them the last series, but they didn't have J-Roll. I think it makes a difference in a rivalry like that.

Don't mean to dismiss the Mets and Braves, however. Good teams, but teams the Phillies should beat. Phillies also need to figure out a way to produce runs at Citi Field. That's a definite concern.

phinbk: good post, i agree with a lot of it. However for starter, I think that Hamels still isn't removed from the #1 question mark yet. He has pitched well this year, but i was actually expecting a little more him in a bounce back year after his Verducci steback in 2009.

Interesting thing with the Mets is if KRod and Feliciano can hold up. KRod is on pace to pitch 77 G/83 IP. He hasn't had that kind of workload since much earlier in his career ('05). Feliciano is on pace to pitch 93 G/68 IP. The IP is glaring but the number of appearances is.

After that it is a real crapshoot for the Mets. Do guys like Dressens, Nieve, and Igarashi get it done for the Mets in August/Sept during a pennant race? 2007 Redux?

Phils are going to have to remain sharp; both the Braves and the Mets are in this race to the finish, I believe. Cincinnati is playing really well with great pitching; I believe the Phils are facing all RHP there, so hopefully, that will help. I do think this team is capable of performing quite well as the chaser. It's not going to be like last year, when they could coast a while in August and still remain in 1st place. Whoever plays the best will take the division, obviously, so the pressure's on!

Feliciano's appearances are deceiving because he comes in for 1 batter a lot of the time, to get a key lefty. That's not all that much of a workload.

The Braves are probably "more" for real than the Mets, but people shouldn't be dismissing the Mets. They need a couple more things to break their way-- a deadline deal for a pitcher, and to get anything out of Beltran--but if they get those, they're in this for the long haul I would think. People have imagined in their minds that we always dominated the Mets, but in 2007 and 2008 we beat them by a combined 3 games. We were very close in the years before 2009, and appear to be very close again.

Phils key hitter - JRoll. There is a chasm in the production he gives you vs. what the duo of Castro/Valdez does. If he goes down again for the season, this offense will really notice it.

Other guy is Howard. His numbers have always perked up in the 2nd half and he has had a few months in the past during August/Sept where he has just carried this club with crazy production. Might have to do it again because Utley's production usually notably dips in Aug./Sept. because of a lack of power and besides maybe Werth there isn't a hitter really capable of putting up the numbers to carry an offense.

How much should we make of the Mets' history of late-season collapses?

Moyer:

- Moyer has grown through stretches like this in a Phils' uniform where he has been very good. I just wonder if the early workload won't catch up to him in the 2nd half. He is on pace to pitch 213 IP which is something he hasn't done since '06.

More and more, it makes me think Happ is going to be a real key guy for the Phils. Unfortunately, I think he is trying to pitch through an injury and will be shutdown for good at some point later this season.

Does Pedro return for a 2nd act in Aug. to try to give this team some help in the starting rotation?

Can we stop talking about the Mets getting Cliff Lee? Their cupboard is completely bare. Unless they want to start raiding their current roster - surrendering John Niese, for example - Lee isn't coming to Queens.

...and for that I am grateful.

Jack - He still has to warm up and go through a fair amount of pitches. The 63 IP would also be near a career high for Feliciano. It's a pretty heavy workload have to appearing in a lot of back-to-back games.

****I buy into the Braves more than the Mets.****

I think, on paper, that the Braves are the better team. I also think that the Mets are in the position to do more at the deadline to win...and, based on Minaya's tenuous job situation, he'll sacrifice whatever they have on the farm to do it.

I also think we're better than either team in the end and that we'll pull away eventually....assuming we dont get more banged up.

****How much should we make of the Mets' history of late-season collapses?****

Very little.

You're right JW.

...but you are wrong about Blanton. I'll come and talk to you in 2.5 years.

I would love to be wrong about Blanton. Kentucky did look strong his last start ...

I think the Phillies right now are a team of "ifs", mostly centered around "if" everybody plays like they are supposed to. I think they'll definitely win the division if everyone gets to their career norms. If a few guys pick this year to have their off year, (Utley, Werth, Blanton, Ibanez, etc.) I don't think we make the playoffs.

****If a few guys pick this year to have their off year, (Utley, Werth, Blanton, Ibanez, etc.) I don't think we make the playoffs.****

Werth is having a career year.

Career OPS+: 118
2010 OPS+: 144

Bridoc10: Mets cupboard isn't that bare, it's not particularly deep, but it's not bare. Wilmer Flores is probably a better/higher regarded prospect than anyone involved in the last two Lee trades. Were I the Mariners I'd take Flores and a couple complimentary pieces for 1/2 a season of Lee. Mets can get him if they want him, probably. Question is, will they want to gut the system to do it.

JW: Not sure how much to make of the Mets' late-season collapses. If you recall, the Phillies' meme from 2004-2006 was a similar inability to close down the stretch when it mattered--until we did, in 2007, and now we're the team that comes up big when it matters.

Heather why are you such a downer? I cant think of a positive post coming from you..ever...have a little faith

If I'm the Mariners, I'm trading with the Twins or Rangers before I trade with the Mets. The Twins have that great catching prospect (his name is escaping me now and I'm too lazy to check) and the Rangers are pretty much STACKED with pitching in the minor leagues and have a strong minor league system in general.

By comparison, the Mets can't sniff the deals the Rangers or the Twins COULD make...I think the Mets only have a chance to get Lee if these two teams refuse to give away anybody valuable.

That's why (right now) I'm not getting wound up about Lee to the Mets. Assuming the best deal for the best prospects is going to get it done, I think the Mets are out of the running.

@JBird: I have the (unfortunate) pleasure of living in the NYC media market. Even the local media doesn't believe the Mets have the prospects to land Lee. Flores is banged up right now, too.

I think the Twins or Rangers make the biggest push for him. And both teams - especially the Rangers - have deeper systems than the Mets.

Caught Dom Brown in Durham last night. Aside from getting picked off at first, he looked quite good, going 3-4. Very fluid. He's much lankier than I expected. Have to assume that he's going to fill out and cut an imposing figure in a few years.

Sat right behind the visiting BP. Scott Mathieson was throwing a change-up and slider, along with his fastball, in warm-ups. Could smell the Icy-Hot on his arm (unless flaxseed oil comes in menthol). Got the last out on what I believe was a slider. There were lots of Phils fans in attendance, more, at least, than I would have expected. A good show.

Rire Fube: What on earth did I say that was so down? I said if the Phillies perform like they "should" they'll make the playoffs. If they don't, they won't.

If you think that's negative, then I think that says more about your perception of the Phillies than anything else.

****If I'm the Mariners, I'm trading with the Twins or Rangers before I trade with the Mets. The Twins have that great catching prospect (his name is escaping me now and I'm too lazy to check) and the Rangers are pretty much STACKED with pitching in the minor leagues and have a strong minor league system in general.****

Ramos.

Oh, BTW I saw that MLB network is broadcasting the Lehigh game at 1pm today...so set your DVRs, take a long lunch whatever...I know it's probably the only way I get to see Domonic Brown.

Hmm. Interesting arguments on why the Mets are more dangerous than the Braves. May need to rethink my postion on buying into the Braves more.

Mets may be better served going for a tier #2 pitcher like our old friend Brett Myers, and going after Lee in the offseason, then emptying the cupboard for Lee now.

That may be true Heather, but both the Braves and the Mets have bigger "ifs". Your post illustrates perfectly why most of the hand-wringing above is out of place and misguided. If we are are to buy in to the concept that the Phillies will fail to perform like they have the past few seasons (ie. muddle through the first half of the year and then get strong secondhalf into the playoffs), what is the chance that both the Mets and Braves will also break free of past patterns of performance at the exact same time?

The Phillies are on a season trajectory close to, if not ahead, of their previous two World Series-appearing seasons. I'll start to believe that their history is no longer applicable when they get mathmatically eliminated. My prediction is that the Mets who have been talented the past few years but collapsed anyway, will do the same. They have had runs of considerable success the past four years but ulimately failed to make the playoffs. The Braves are a different animal, built with more forethought to team chemistry and are considerably younger. They are getting better but I fail to see them having the presence and experience to hold onto the division lead all season. Wildcard appearance in the playoffs is a distinct possibility though.

The Mets are said to be eyeing Ted Lilly as a possible option. That would be a smart move for them...especially given our inability against LHP.

Lilly is having a very good year (135 ERA+ in 12 starts now) and will be a Type A at the end of the season.

Birdoc10: Wilmer Flores just got promoted to hi-A a few days ago at 18 and he's hitting over .400 since the step up. I'm not saying better offers can't be made by other teams. I'm just saying the Mets could make a significant offer if they wanted to... but if I were them I wouldn't part with Flores.

Also, realize the Mets have not played Houston, Pittsburgh and Arizona yet, so their schedule is about to get a lot easier. The X-factors are whether or not they can ever figure out Florida and Wash and whether a healthy Beltran returns.

If they acquire a starter, that will push Takahashi back into the pen/long man which will improve a medicore pen that has been pitching over it's head. I don't trust Dessens who has been incredible.

I still think PHI is the best team. The Braves have good pitching but how long is Troy Glaus gonna play like an All-star? And Wagner, need I say more?

"Not sure how much to make of the Mets' late-season collapses. If you recall, the Phillies' meme from 2004-2006 was a similar inability to close down the stretch when it mattered--until we did, in 2007, and now we're the team that comes up big when it matters."

So it was true... until it wasn't. Very Yogi of you.

And I agree, with the caveat that you can only use that logic in reverse, not forwards.

****And Wagner, need I say more?****

He's a solid competitor, a great teammate and a historically dominant closer with tons of NL East experience?

I've never seen JW comment so much, wowzers

I agree with point one and three NEPP, but two?

Where does the assertion he is a great teammate come from? My reading is exactly the opposite.

Wagner either melts in big spots or will break down by season's end. Take your pick.

I am not hand-wringing, merely pointing out that it doesn't make sense to de-value the competition unless the peripheral stats indicate the team is winning a lot of games it "shouldn't".

The fact that the Phils are outperforming their 08 and 09 mark at this point but we are looking up at the Mets and Braves is telling.

Is it hand-wringing time? No, but I think it can breed complacency (in both the players and the fanbase) not to take the competition seriously.

I don't think the Wagner / Larry Jones / Glaus trifecta is going to make it to year's end unscathed.

Of course Eric Hinske is hitting very well in a reserve role. He was one of the bench guys I was hoping the Phillies would pickup. The other, Jamey Carrol is also hitting well. . . Juan Castro, not so much.

****Where does the assertion he is a great teammate come from? My reading is exactly the opposite.****

Sorry, I guess my feelings on Wagner aren't as well known anymore. If I saw Billy crossing the street, I'd probably hit the gas instead of the brake.

"Don't overlook a very good Reds team and a trip to Pittburgh, where the Phillies always play down to the competition. This is a tricky little road trip coming after the Phillies finally unwind at home. I don't like it.

I buy into the Braves more than the Mets."

Agree w/ both points, esp. the former. The Phillies have a crap Winning Percentage at PNC Park (11-17, .393), & have gone 4-5 there over the past 3 seasons. Someone ought to let the Phillies know the Pirates are TERRIBLE, & that these are the kind of series one ought to sweep.

Also, RE: Moyer. Any chance he's pitching so well this season because the groin &/or ab issues he had surgery on in '09 were more minor, lingering, partial-tear-type problems before finally giving way completely? If Jamie is pitching fully healthy it could make quite a difference. Not that I have any evidence of this, mind you, merely an idle conjecture.

"Sorry, I guess my feelings on Wagner aren't as well known anymore. If I saw Billy crossing the street, I'd probably hit the gas instead of the brake."

My bad. Should have caught that. I have fallen into the for <1 zillion> points of damage.

Heather, I didn't mean to imply that you were the one guilty of hand wringing, I was refering to the posts above yours. I was using your post as the basis for my objection to the profound worrying that is cropping up in this thread. I agree that the Phils season balances on a handful of big "ifs", my point is that the Braves and Mets have bigger "ifs". Ifs that if they go right, would be more unprecedented than the Phils for that matter.

And for the record, we spent time in 08 and 09 looking up at other teams. In the end, being in first place only matters for one day a season. The last day.

I like when JW comments...I hope he does it more

ha, I triggered some html by accident. Disn't think it was valid on typepad comments. That line should read:

I have fallen into the [Sarcasm Chasm] for [1 zillion] points of damage.

Can someone tell me whether the Reds are for real this year or not? Everytime I seem to catch them on my MLB extra innings, Arroyo or Harang are blowing up. Unfortunately the Phils are facing Leake who I have seen do well but my (admittedly not very educated or informed) opinion has been the Reds are simply a halfway decent team playing in a very weak NL Central with a Cardinals team that is thus far not performing up to potential. Is that inaccurate?

I don't buy the Mets either. They are a paper tiger, who will fold up when it counts.

The Braves are the better team and will be playing hard for Bobby Cocks and Clipper Jones. The Braves will be there in September. The Mets will fade back to .500 and both their manager and GM will be heading to umemployment.

Lee ends up in Minnesota. They have the prospects and now have the extra money to get it done. They are probably one starting pitcher and one decent reliever away from being a legit WS contender. They will go for it and Seattle will get much better prospects from Minnesota then New York or anyone else could dream of giving up.

The Reds have loaded up on lefty relievers for this series. They are using this series as a "litmus test" for their team. Should be a very spirited 3 gamer in Cincy.

Heather,

The Reds are a scrappy bunch. They play all 27 outs and have come back to win games all year. Guys like Gomes and Stubbs have given them very good energy and Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball nobody knows about.

Right handed starters can give them problems though and the back end of their bullpen has been real shaky. And like many teams, their middle relief is real weak.

They have good starting pitching which will only improve if Edison Volzquez returns soon and a young lefty (Wood) gets into their rotation (which might be by this weekend).

These will be 3 tough games for the Phils.

I thought Volquez was out for the season with TJ?

I've read in a couple places some writers clamoring for Jamie Moyer to make the AS team (which I don't agree with), but I was looking up some numbers on the NL pitching leaders. I thought that Jimenez was the clear-cut best pitcher in the NL, but take a look at Jimenez compared to Josh Johnson

Pitcher: ERA, WHIP, K, IP, CG/SO
Jimenez: 1.60, 1.06, 95, 107, 3/2
Johnson: 1.83, 0.96, 107, 108, 1/0

Johnson's WHIP is ridiculous, and he has more K's and less BB's. His ERA is reasonably comparable and I'll forgive his lack of CGs since he pitches in Florida, while Jimenez pitches in Colorado.

What do you guys think? Johnson the best pitcher in the NL?

I don't think Moyer can be explained by conventional wisdom. The man is a statistical anomaly in every sense of the word, so we shouldn't try to dissect his numbers in such a way we would with any other pitcher.

I'm going to sit back and enjoy the ride with Jamie, because my gut tells me he has a few Boston-like games up his sleeve.

if the phillies stay true to their history, they'll readily handle the reds and then somehow blow two outta three to the pirates, only to take the series from the braves and leave everyone scratching their heads.

see thats only a partially negative comment.

I heard a Reds fan talking in the mens room and he was saying Volquez is ready to return to action.

Phils' record in PNC is inexplicable. While the Pirates annually define terms such as "inept", "terrible", "pathetic", etc., this year they seem to be hitting rock bottom in teh starting pitching dept. I've never seen a starting staff this bad. Good news - Duke is hurting (not sure if he's gone on the DL, yet). Bad news: Charlie Morton has not yet returned to hte DL - He's reportedly recovered and the Bucs are not sure if he'll return to MLB this year. Looks like we're missing hte rookie Lincoln in favor of the likes of Ohlendorf, McCutchen, Maholm and Karstens.

Mensroom conversation has been deemed unreliable.

However if you read it on the internet or heard it from Howard Eskin it must be good info.

Fatalotti:

I think Johnson is the best pitcher in the NL so far. Jiminez has been impressive, no doubt, but Johnson is unreal. He just never seems to make mistakes. It's a shame he has to play in FL.

I sorta want the Mets to get Cliff Lee, because they'd give up a lot, wouldn't resign him and wouldn't make the playoffs anyway. An improved Mets team would make life more difficult for the Phillies, but I'm more worried about contending with the Braves for the next decade.

Could we be interested in Ted Lilly? He's relatively cheap for a future a type A free agent and those extra picks would be nice in a deep 2011 draft.

Who would Lilly replace in the Phils rotation? Kendrick? What about Happ?

OT: are the nats planning on a capping strausberg's innings this season? I know they are closely watching pitch counts every game, but what about his season totals?

I would hate to get Nats tickets in that late Sept series only to have strausberg removed from the rotation completely by then.

Who exactly are the Mets going to trade for Lee? (My cynical self: "Surely they have no one as good as Ramirez, Aumont and Gillies in their system.") The Mariners will get much better offers than what NYM can actually afford.

In re: Phillies possible pitching upgrades
Given the faltering starts of the three guys we picked up to "shore up our minors," who exactly is there to trade for people like Ted Lilly? Greg Dobbs? I think that this year, the Phillies are who they are, for better or worse.

Does anyone know exactly what the deal is with Happ, anyway? I think when he initially went down, it was called "forearm tightness". Now some of the people on this and other boards are saying he's playing through injury and possibly needs surgery. I'm not a doctor but I don't think "forearm tightness" = surgery...so what, exactly, is the deal?

Or is everyone speculating because the Phillies aren't being specific?

thephaithful - the Nats do have some fairly rigid parameters on the amount of work Strasburg gets this year - minors and majors. I do not recall specifics but, my impression was that it would be unlikely that he is still pitching in September.

****I'm not a doctor but I don't think "forearm tightness" = surgery...so what, exactly, is the deal?****

The reason for the pessimism and thought of playing through injury is that "forearm stiffness" is oftentimes a precursor to TJ surgery as its caused by issues with the elbow joint. It could be that Happ has a partial tear of one of his ligaments and that's causing the stiffness or he has bone chips/spurs (also a precursor/warning sign of TJ) and that's causing the stiffness.

Basically, that is why we all think he's either gonna eventually have TJ surgery or is playing though a partial tear.

Add in his much diminished velocity in his rehab starts and its worrisome at the least.

If the Phillies wanted to make a trade, they have the parts to do so, just not much as far as "major league ready" talent. Nor, should they trade a Colivn or Cosart for the likes of Ted Lilly.

Depends how desperate the Mets get, but any combination of Mejia, Flores, Havens (2b/ss with power), Thole, Fernando Martinez, Familia, Holt and obviously Pagan.

***Could we be interested in Ted Lilly? He's relatively cheap for a future a type A free agent and those extra picks would be nice in a deep 2011 draft. ***

I dont think we have the pieces that we'd want to give up for Lilly as we'd have to think of it as trading for Lilly (a very good LHP AND two 1st round picks) He'll demand a pretty good price most likely. Though I'd be leery of offering Lilly arbitration as I dont think we'd be able to afford it if he accepted it.

Seems to me when most of the media noise is focused on one team, for example, the Twins, another team trumps expectations. Three way deals are difficult, but possible. The Phils have been quiet, which to me means they're exploring options. They won't trade Brown, but there are a few others who could go in a package. They have more money than most teams, certainly more than they're willing to admit. Happ would be attractive, a good financial and pitching fit for Seattle.

Who knows? Making a deal is probably easier for RAJ than admitting the team should not have traded Lee to Seattle in the first place, letting the rest of the division catch up to it.

Half season rentals are risky. Lee is tired of bouncing around and will no doubt let certain teams know that he's not interested in them long term. Does Lee really want to pitch in Texas? Doubt it. Minnesota? Maybe. Mets--not a chance, but they're not in the running anyway. Yankees--yes, but they'll wait for the offseason, if he's available. Phillies--yes.

Well, Lilly's a very solid #2/#3 guy. He's got a 125 ERA+ over the last 4 seasons now and his peripherals are very solid. I'd be worried if the Mets acquired him and happy if we acquired him for a fair price. I dont think we should trade the pieces that would be required for him though.

It would likely start at Cosart/Colvin and go from there in a 3 for 1 scenario centered around Cosart or maybe Singleton or maybe both. It wont be Carpenter, Rizzotti, Galvis and Hewitt, it'll be real prospects. SOrry, I just picked 4 random guys from the minors, I'm not bashing any of the 4 but I always hear that type of trade rumor around this time of the year and its always completely ridiculous.

"Who would Lilly replace in the Phils rotation? Kendrick? What about Happ?"

I wouldn't count on much help from Happ this season.

"Forearm tightness" was the pre-cursor to Romero's season-ending surgery last year. Like NEPP said, it's often an indicator of torn ligaments.

AFA Lily is concerned, I don't think the Phils have a real need for another starter at this point (Kendrick's actually been quite good for a #5 this season). I really think they shouldn't bother with a SP unless they have a chance to get a Cliff Lee type of starter to upgrade the rotation from "very good" to "dominant."

A back-end bullpen pitcher could be a much more pressing need come trade-deadline time.

And the Phils don't really have many pieces they'd be willing to give up...I'm willing to bet they're not trading guys like Brown, Cosart, or Singleton at this point, which leaves them with very little trade ammo.

One MAJOR concern on Lilly is the dip in his velocity. He was never a hard thrower but he's been more in the Jamie Moyer range this year than anything.

His average fastball has declined from 89.9 in his last year as a Blue Jay to 85.8 this season.

He's also posting an unsustainable .243 BABIP this season (Career BABIP is .284).

The more you look at his stats, the more dangerous offering him Arbitration would be.

I don't see the Phillies adding anything except perhaps a bullpen piece.

****Does Lee really want to pitch in Texas? Doubt it. Minnesota? Maybe. ****

In all honesty, I could really see Cliff Lee in Minnesota long-term if they're willing to pay him. They really NEED an Ace and he's a mid-westerner/rural type guy (Born in Benton, Arkansas) anyway. He likes to do outdoorsy stuff from all reports (he's a hunter/fisherman type guy) and Minnesota is ground-zero for that type of living.

The more you look at it, the more Minnesota makes the most sense for him if he wants to live near home, be the Ace and be on a competitive team.

Lee/Liriano is a hell of a 1/2 punch in a short series.

I think hte Phils are most interested in shoring up hte bullpen. Figueroa is not their pennant drive preference. I agree that Happ's return is far from certain. If he makes it back, though, he may be that bullpen piece. Every comment I've seen on the market for bullpen trades is that the market is extremely thin this year.

That's a shame on Happ, thanks for taking the time to explain. It's a shame that maybe his season is over and/or he might be a candidate for surgery...I just hope if he does have something wrong they take care of it sooner rather than later, both for Happ and for the team.

****I don't see the Phillies adding anything except perhaps a bullpen piece.****

I see a bench piece more than a bullpen piece. Our bullpen really doesnt need to do anything but get Madson & Durbin back. Other than a few hiccups (every time Baez sees a pressure situation), the bullpen is fine.

I like this bullpen more than the 08 bullpen to be honest. (Dont pull out statistics, I'm well aware of them...by the end of the year, I think this bullpen will be more reliable) The 08 pen in the 2nd half was Madson/Romero & Lidge...nothing else as Durbin was spent. This year we'll have a fresh Madson, fresher Durbin and Contreras. Baez is a better mopup guy than Condrey and Herndon has gotten better as teh year goes on. Even Zagurski is a decent piece to have and Bastardo was an okay LOOGY when healthy...no worse than Eyre last year.

I don't see any way in hell the Twins meet Lee's asking price...It would be a half-season rental + draft picks for them. Lee's looking for a deal that is 20 mil+ from all accounts, and I don't think there's any way the Twins pay him more than Mauer, or they could have Mauer, Morneau, and Lee making about 60% of their entire payroll.

Well, they have a brand new stadium that's a cashcow and they've been hinting at massively expanding payroll recently. I think they could do it ($20 million per) if they want to. Pohlad is a business man first but he seems to have realized that he should cash in on the perpetual sellout machine he just got the taxpayers to give him. Lee would be a smart move to make in the sense that you have to spend money to make money. I also think the Twins fans are sick of getting killed in the ALDS and Lee/Liriano would match up well against the Yankees. They dont need much to make a run at it and fanwise, they probably have to make it past the first round to keep fan interest up, even with the new stadium.

Fatalotti: "What do you guys think? Johnson the best pitcher in the NL?"

Not only is Johnson not the best pitcher in the NL, he's not even the best pitcher in the NL East - I've heard Johan Santana is.

In all seriousness, I think the Johnson should be the ASG starter this year. Didn't he have some ridiculous streak where he gave up 0 or 1 earned runs for 8 consecutive starts?

from Phillies.com, about Polanco's injury:

Placido Polanco had his left elbow wrapped in a compression sleeve Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

He has an injury that won't go away.

Polanco is expected to receive a cortisone injection into the elbow on Sunday, which would be his second shot this season and keep him from playing until Tuesday at the earliest. Polanco originally injured the elbow on April 21, when he was hit by a pitch against Atlanta. It flared up in late May, when he received his first shot. He missed six games from May 28 to June 3, and has missed the past two games after he aggravated the elbow diving for a ball on Friday.

"There's inflammation in the capsule," Polanco said. "You use it every time you swing. You take [batting practice]. You take a million practice swings. Every time you do that, it's irritating it."

Rest is the best option for Polanco.

"Rest is not a choice," he said. "We're going to have to take care of it somehow. Maybe the shot. Keep treating it, you know?"

Polanco said he mostly felt fine after he received the first shot, but occasionally felt it when he swung the bat.

"Nothing major. Nothing bad," he said. "This time? Pretty bad."

Mauer's the new face of the franchise...I just don't think the Twins will give another player a larger salary contract than what he just received.

They definitely COULD pay Lee and increase payroll, now that Carl Pohlad's out of the picture they look like they'll be pushing payroll up even further. Lord knows the Pohlads have enough money to do it.

Johan Santana is a shadow of the man who played in Minnesota. Give him credit for reinventing himself as a finesse guy but he's not nearly as dominent as he used to be. He's still a very good pitcher but he's no longer the shutdown guy that you used to have no shot against.

Ranking the NL Pitchers?

The top 5 is Jimenez, Halladay, Johnson, Lincecum and Wainwright. No specific order really as all are nearly as good as the others.

And then there are guys like Gallardo, Carpenter, Cain, Oswalt, Pelfrey and Kershaw just below that.

The next tier (of very good #2 pitchers) is too long to list (guys like Santana, Hamels, etc)

There are ALOT of very good pitchers all of a sudden. I can't remember a time recently where there are that many legit Aces in the NL

GBrettFan - Ugh. Two cortisone shots is normally the limit you want to give a player during the season. If his elbow inflammation doesn't get much better, you are talking a DL trip in the near future.

Hopefully Dobbs does get his stroke back because I bet he is back here one way or the other (Sept. 1 callup or even sooner).

****Polanco said he mostly felt fine after he received the first shot, but occasionally felt it when he swung the bat.

"Nothing major. Nothing bad," he said. "This time? Pretty bad."
****

That's honestly a really big blow to the offense.

Also consider that you can only get so many cortizone shots in the same joint so if this doesnt work, it might mean the DL for a few weeks/possibly months.

When all 4 of your Infielders are on the wrong side of 30, it should behoove you to invest in a legit backup infielder...RUBE!

If I recall correctly, haven't the Phils beat up the Reds the past couple of years especially in Cincy?

As for PNC Park, the Phils for whatever reason just don't hit there period. Been that way since the park opened even though most seasons the Phils have faced less than stellar pitching from the Pirates. Anything less than 3 of 4 against the Succos would be unfortunate.

I am going out to the games on Sat./Sun. though which is possibly a bad omen. The Phils are now 1-7 in the games I have gone to the last 2 seasons.

Phils need to give PP a 15 day break around the ASB. Hopefully he doesnt have any intentions of playing in the All Star Game even if he makes it.

I wonder what's actually wrong with the elbow to be causing this type of continual inflammation?

Something that was caused by a beaning too so its likely not a ligament issue. Maybe it chipped off some bone and there are chips floating around. Its clearly not something that they can quickly fix via surgery or they likely would have cleaned it up and just DLed him for a few weeks. Worrisome at best.

Did I miss Happ news recently? Last I heard he was still pitching rehab in AA-results not being great, but needed to "build arm strength", which isn't unusual. I know BLers like to diagnose things, but didn't we cross over the scare point with Happ?

Re: Lilly. His numbers are better than I thought. He's a guy that never excites me, but has been a pretty reliable pitcher.

Its still just worry over the original injury BB. Nothing new yet. Add in the lack of info on him from the Front OFfice, his mediocre rehab results (stats and velocity) as well as the Phillies tendency to downplay injuries and you get our continual posts on it.

"****If a few guys pick this year to have their off year, (Utley, Werth, Blanton, Ibanez, etc.) I don't think we make the playoffs.****"

Umm, yea, that would be true about all teams.

"How much should we make of the Mets' history of late-season collapses?"

Plenty. No reason they cant do it again.

NEPP - Add in the fact that we was only supposed to be out a few weeks/month and it is now over 2+ months and he might not be back until around the ASB now.

Wonder if Lee holds a grudge againt Rube...

****Wonder if Lee holds a grudge againt Rube...***

I'm guessing a "probably" on that one. If his version of the facts is even remotely accurate, he likely does. I mean, the finding out he was traded via ESPN is pretty crappy...especially when you're in the midst of a long-term extension negotiation as far as you know.

Phillies shouldn't be considering bringing Happ back prior to the All-Star break.

I didn't think Colvin, Cosart, Singleton or Brown would need to be included in a deal for Lilly, but maybe I was wrong. I wouldn't give up any of those guys. I consider Lilly a Blanton-type and thought it would take a similar deal to acquire him.

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EST. 2005

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