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Monday, June 14, 2010


Talk about a small sample size. Howard's contract was for 7 years and we are judging it based on 3 weeks? That is sure taking the long view, isn't it?
I know it isn't the case, but it feels like every one of Utley's outs lately is a weak grounder to 2nd. That ain't bad luck.

Nerd alert!!

Everytime I read "smalll sample size" i think of rita's water ice and start to drool lik Homer J Simpson. Mmmm small sample size...

Bedbeard, you got that right.

mmmm...water ice

Ryan Howard has clearly overhauled his approach and tried to cut down his k% which is stupid because we know it correlates pretty well with power(slg) and patience(bb%). Both of which are at all time lows for him(SURPRISE!). He needs to get back to taking pitches and swinging hard.

Mostly the causes of the slump are:

Awful bench of replacement level flotsam and/or jetsam.
Poor luck.
Ryan Howard's new approach.
Poor luck.
Ross Gload 2yrs/6m
Extremely poor luck.
Raul Ibanez 3yrs/31.5m
Juan Castro: Major League Player

The dollar value thing is as follows:

If Ryan Howard were a free agent and you were told his opening 2.5 months would go exactly as they have, then 2mill is what you would pay him for that 2.5 month contract(just a 2.5 month contract). In other words if someone told you: here is Player A he is a LH 1b who will hit 286/342/461 with average defense how much would you pay for 2.5 months of that. Fangraphs calculates that market rate based on the previous free agent class $/win. It's a convoluted way of saying he's even more overpaid then we would have projected. And at some point we have to worry that this is just what Ryan Howard is now. And then we can remind ourselves that his contract extension doesnt start till the END OF NEXT SEASON.

Callers to WIP and 97.5 (and some posters here) keep discussing the correlation between being caught with the binoculars and the slump. If this is brought up, here are some stats for you:

In his final full season at Triple-A, Chase Utley hit .325 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In Ryan Howard's final minor league season, he hit 46 home runs between Reading and Scranton. So, unless the Phillies organization also had someone stealing signs from the Syracuse SkyChiefs, these two are better players than we've seen in the past few weeks.

Wow, JW, tell us how you really feel. :)

Actually, and I posted the numbers a couple of days ago, Howard has not been a culprit during this offensive swoon by the team.

It's easy to single him out because of the big contract, but he hasn't been nearly as bad as Werth and Utley.

Since the first Boston series he's hit .247 - below average, but not below the Mendoza line the way his 2 teammates have.

When Utley missed two days with the flu, I thought to myself "When I get the flu, it takes me a whole lot longer to recover than two days ... and all I have to do is sit at a desk and click buttons all day."

Obviously, he no longer has the flu. But maybe he played through a weak spell and that put him in a funk.

On May 16th, in the third inning, Utley got slap tagged pretty hard in the junk by Dave Bush, as he tried to get an infield single. He then missed the next two games with "flu-like" symptoms. He hasn't been the same since.

Re: Chase. Who knows the efficacy of a surgical repair of a torn labrum? God help us all if Chase has re-injured his (ostensibly) repaired hip. It's not like he'd tell us what's wrong or anything like that.

John Kruk like symptoms? I believe it.

Swing the bats boys or you'll be walking to the dugout not to first base. We're speeding up the game. Those freeswingers who couldn't stop swinging before have suffered less than the pitch watchers.

Right now Utley sucks, whether injury or slump. It is the managers job to do something about it. Apparently, 'play through it' is that something.
About all Utley is good for right now is walking ahead of a Howard popup and Werth double play.

Continuing to bat him 3rd is insane. Granted that nobody else on the team deserves to bat 3rd (except maybe Polanco) either.
Utley, Franciso, Polanco, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez/Werth, Valdez, Schnieder.

The only thing Angelo cares about is how sexy the skanky contestants are for the hot tub jewelry contest.

I still maintain they need something drastic to chase off the bad juju. My current suggestion is a bonfire of all their bats and Ryan Howard Garden Gnomes

Just from watching it seems like Utley was hitting into some bad luck - lots of line drives right at someone - but that he has tailed off a bit more just over the past week to ten days. Just a tad less range in the field and more weak swings reswulting in chopped grounders to the right side of the infield and a number of popup fly balls.

I guessed a cvouple of weeks ago that there might be some recurrence of or variation of his hip injury, then backed off this "theory" when he had a good game. Now I'm again thinking there may be some type of injury or longer term illness having an impact. He's streaky, sure, but the swings I saw against Boston were not that short, compact Utley swing that we've all gotten used to. I did not see every single AB of that series, but the Utley ABs I saw were not typical Utley ABs.

The dorks geekazoids and poindexters are the ones that keep people coming to beerleaguer and make the site interesting. I assume your comments were in jest and just a shot in the ribs to the posters that you love.

You best be ready, that Angelo is a tough interview! LOL!

You don't need advanced stats to know that Werth has been terrible in RF. Yesterday was a perfect example on two balls he misplayed that lead to doubles. Haven't looked at the stats but I would bey that Werth is one the worst-rated RFs in the NL this season so far.

So you think tedious and endless debate over contrived stats that may or may not mean anything is interesting? Interesting.

Is that what I said?

Jayson -- Please remind Mr. Cataldi that he had to be blackjacked by his "crew" before he abandoned his Yankee allegiance and committed to being a Phillies fan. Geesh. Nothing worse than a transplanted New Yawker...

I agree with JW about Werth's fielding. Aside from the gun, he is an annoying adventure getting to the batted ball at times.

Let's throw out the misjudged ball hit over his head in yesterday's day game against the Red Sox, but not catching Pedroia's "double" near the Pesky Pole in right was directly responsible for Hamels' not pitching deeper into the game. He had to approach the Martinez at-bat very differently from the way he would if he were batting with one out and no one on base. A mere 15 pitches later, Martinez walked and Cole had to work hard to get out of the inning unscathed.

Good for Hamels, but bad for the pitch count. Werth overrated? Yes.

So, you missed what I was doing there. Interesting.

Werth is a great player but he has no business making whatever he makes next season! And they say Howard's strike outs are ugly!

I also have to comment on Howard's approach to hitting this season. Again, using yesterday's game to illustrate my point of view, his at-bats against the knuckleball-throwing Tim Wakefield were defensive in nature. He might have caused a windstorm in previous seasons, but he also might have connected on some very hittable pitches and knocked the ball into the Citgo sign, or over the bullpens in right. Instead, he hit a frozen rope to right for a double and flied out weakly on two other at-bats, I believe.

I cannot recall in previous seasons Howard sizing up a meatball and then flying out lazily to the outfield. I do agree that Ryno must be taking the no-strikeout approach to hitting, but he is also sacrificing his innate power and settling for singles and doubles. Not the right approach for slugger who heretofore could be counted on to hit 45 homers and knock in 140 runs.

These are all interesting theories, but where is the coaching staff in all this? If Ryan Howard has "decided" to not strike out and therefore hit bunches of doubles and singles and sacrificing his power, where are the coaches saying, "That's stupid, Ryan. Swing it like you used to."

If there is a suspicion Utley is hurt, why isn't the coaching staff sitting his butt down until he gets a thorough physical?

I can understand you want Werth to play out of his slump, but why isn't the coaching staff dropping down in the order to 6-8?

This things seem obvious common sense. Granted, maybe the coaching staff can't "make" Ryan Howard swing differently (although they can suggest it) but the rest of the things are completely in their power.

Charlie has said in the past that he doesn't think Utley is hurt. Really? Does he think or does he know? WTF is Philly paying a medical staff for if they can't give the fellow a thorough physical? WTF is Charlie writing the lineup card rubber stamping Werth in at the top of the order?

Can someone explain this to me?

I have no idea if Chase is hurt or not but, if he is, it's not always as simple as sitting the guy down until he's right. Sometimes, when you're dealing with an injured player, the choice is between season-ending surgery or playing through it. If it's the type of injury that is serious enough to hamper the guy's play, that's a lose-lose choice.

Also, I'm not a doctor, but I think a medical exam is pretty if the patient just says "I'm fine" over and over.

I meant a medical exam is pretty USELESS if the patent keeps saying "I'm fine."

No, an exam isn't useless if the patient keeps saying "I'm fine." There are ways around that. And there's always the xray, CT and MRI machine doohickeys of your exam doesn't tell you what you want to know.

And I am a doctor. A happily retired one.

I resemble that comment.

Wow, after last week's comments about women and global warming I expected asksmith to advise leeches for Utley's hip.

Sweet, second Beerleaguer quote in 4 years. Maybe I should post more often.

Although unlike NEPP, for me being in NE now has put a damper on the Phillies watching.

BAP is exactly right.

Moreover, what incentive does the team have to share information about the health of its players--the medical exams its players undergo, for instance? None, so far as I can see.

Also of note, it would appear that in addition to not hitting that great in general, Utley, Howard, and especially Werth were "unclutch," that is, he hit even worse in high pressure (for example, late game /w RISP) situation than in an average situation.

And did I forget to mention leeches? They are great for thinning the blood and improving circulation to poorly perfused areas. And maggots, did I mention maggots? Great for debriding dead tissue and leaving the good tissue intact.

Here is an in-depth look at a couple of LHV bullpenners...

Mathieson had his first rough outing in probably the past year tonight in Buffalo.

Was brought in with 2 runners on and 2 outs in the 8th (which was a strange move, considering the team they were playing had lost 8 games in a row and you had a 3 run lead with a pitcher on the mound who hasn't been scored on in close to a month). He promptly walked the first batter on 4 pitches. He then struck out the next batter with the bases loaded on a 98 MPH painted bullet on the outside corner.

He then came out for the 9th and walked the leadoff hitter. The next hitter had a 14 pitch AB, before flying out. Then a base hit to RF (on a ball that 1B Andy Tracy didn't seem to pick up off the bat) and a infield hit loaded the bases. With his pitch-count in the mid 30's and with his velocity down 4 MPH from where he started the night, he throws a high fastball which gets taken out to RF by Fernando Martinez. Pigs lose 7-6.

He didn't seem to have his real good fastball tonight and looked a bit "jumpy" on the mound. They had Duckworth warming to start the 9th, so I wonder what was up with that. Its not like he hasn't had 1+ inning stints this year. I am not sure he got a swing-and-a-miss during his outing (which is very unusual for him) and the umpire's postage stamp small strike zone was an issue. He usually keeps pounding the strike zone, but he just was off tonight and not getting the close calls.

His slider has a lot of natural bite on it. I think sometimes he throws it too hard. He looks like somebody who Lidge could really help if they ever get to spend some time with one another. In fact, he reminds me a little bit of a young Brad Lidge. Lidge used to rely almost solely on his 98-100 MPH fastball. And it was fairly straight. He kept developing the slider, which helped him keep hitters off-balance and off his fastball. As he lost some velocity, his slider became his wipe-out pitch as he got older. If he can come up at some point this year, I'd have him tied at the hip to Lidge.

I think if Mathieson could just take a hair off the slider, it has enough movement coupled with the slightly lower velocity, could work also as a off-speed pitch for him. He normally has very good control and has the ability to spot his high 90's fastball where ever he wants to. Tonight he kept falling behind and it got him in trouble. The hitters were still having a lot of trouble getting around on him, until he noticeably got a little tired in the 9th and the swings got better.

Tonight was a rough one for him. Just like anyone else, its about command. And tonight he didn't have command of either his fastball or his slider. That's the life of a closer.

Zagurski kept his scoreless string going tonight. His fastball looks back to its pre-arm injury level. He has showed a pretty decent slider, that he has learned to control and use to get lefty's out. He is also down some weight as well. Looks very confident in himself.

Not sure Zags will ever project to be anything more then a pure LOOGY, but its at least promising that he has put up the numbers this year that he has. Maybe he could be in the mix for a lefty bullpen spot in 2011 in Philly. Plenty of competition though.

I think "geekazoid" should have been highlighted in red because that's who the picture was of.

I've been in the car all day so I can't get all geeked out at the moment, but Utley and Ibanez have both been "unlucky" when it comes to line drives. I wrote about this a few days ago. Average BA on line drive is in the .710-.730 range and I know Utley sits at .629 right now.

This is, at least last I checked, a problem team wide, although it's gotten better of late. Before the Sox series, the Phils LD BA was in the .670s, worst in the NL, and it's climbed significantly since.

Otherwise, Utley has gone 21 games without a HR. May 20th against the Cubs was his last. His career high is 27, which occurred during the 08 season (late August to late Sept.). He had a 23 game streak w/out a HR stretching from the end of last year to the beginning of this year (not counting the playoffs).

last 21 game 09: .197/.295/.316 - 1 HR, 8 BB
last 21 games 10: .160/.264/.213 - 0 HR, 8 BB

Howard's transformation into Victorino has been one of the more surprising aspects of 2010. The other crazy thing about Howard is that he's only hitting .247/.333/.364 with RISP something we all know is a big contrast from his career splits.

Actually, according to UZR, Jayson Werth has been one of the best right fielders in the game over the last three years. If you don't believe me, look at this:

i thought BAP was going on vacation to Indonesia

According to DBE (denny b's eyes), Jayson Werth has been terrible in right-field in 2010.

Also according to DBE, Raul Ibanez has played 3 full months and has 4 HR's and the Phillies have had a startling lack of power in the past month.

Also DBE says that despite Uncle Cholly's ramblings about "his guys eventually hitting" there really has been nothing in the past month that would show anyone that this team is going to break out of this in 2010. A slump is something that goes on for a week to 10 days. When you can't score, can't hit with RISP and can't hit the ball out of the park for almost a full month, that looks more like a trend to me.

This team didn't have a .300 hitter last year remember (or maybe they had 1, but I thought I remember them making a big deal about not having a .300 hitter last year). But they made up for it, by hitting a ton of HR's and being the best in baseball in SB %

Truthfully, this team has been a overrated offensive team for 3 years now. They were miserable with RISP in the 2008 playoffs. Their pitching saved their bacon then, with Hamels, Madson and Lidge pitching out-of-their-minds.

We have to remember, that we struck gold with guys like Werth and Victorino. If anyone thought they'd develop and have a few of the years they have had, they are lying. Werth was platooning and barely playing against RHP until mid 2008. Vic was not highly thought of, despite having a big year in AAA 4 or 5 years ago (after being a Rule 5 guy). He made the team as probably the 24th or 25th guy.

Maybe we just need to realize, that this is a very average offensive team in many areas and very below average when they don't hit HR's. Add in the fact that they haven't had Rollins most of the year, Ibanez is a shell of his former self, Utley is in the worst funk of his career and the bench is non-existant and you have a team that predictably now, isn't very good on offense most nights.

Glad we've got the dennyb referring to himself in the third person to make up a stat with no discernible numerical value to tell us that it's all a mirage, the Phils are overrated offensively and have been through this entire run of success.

And I love the "I don't think they had a .300 hitter last year, maybe one, but I'm too lazy to check even though it doesn't go anywhere near proving my point." They haven't had a .300 hitter in the past two seasons. Took two seconds for me to look it up. Also taking two seconds to look up (and is actually relevant to the 'They're overrated' argument): they led the NL in runs scored last year, tied for 2nd in 2008, led it in 2007, led it in 2006, 2nd in 2005. The core of this team has led the Phils to being 1st or 2nd in runs in the NL for FIVE SEASONS IN A ROW, but the DBE says "They've sucked for three weeks, it's all been a mirage." So in the world of denny b, a five-year track record is deceiving, but a three-week drought is a 'trend.'

In the word of clout, interesting.

Does scoring runs matter? I can never keep that straight.

Truth: Tomorrow morning.

The Phils will be in 1st place by 3 games when BAP returns.

b_a_p is going to miss it when the team comes out of their slump. Bummer.

aksmith: Obviously I'll defer to you regarding medical diagnosis. They didn't teach me about that stuff (or much of anything else) at engineering school or law school.

If Utley is hurt, the team 99% knows about it and is letting him play through it. They did the same thing in 2008. Just because they dont announce it to the media doesnt mean they aren't fullyl aware of it. He got treatment on his hip for the entire 2008 really dont think that coaches/FO are exactly aware of what physical therapy/treatment that each player is getting in the trainers' room?

I think the flu explanation is more likely...or maybe he has Mono or something like that. He's not acting injured on the basepaths or in the field like he did in the 2nd half of 08.

I agree completely with JW on Werth's fielding. The raw ability is there and he flashes it (just as Howard does from time to time)...he's got a great arm, he's got great range but sometimes he looks like he has no idea what he's doing out there. He (and Vic) take some of the oddest routes to balls I've ever seen. He's inconsistent more than anything.

Old Phan - Not a chance. They will be fortunate to be 3 games back with their upcoming schedule vs. AL opponents.

Bill Conlin brings up the Lee trade today. . . hey lets talk about that again. . . jk

Denny b declaring the Phillies offense as overrated for the past few years is one of the more ridiculous things ever said on here. I don't think a team that scored as many runs as they have for the past 5 seasons can be declared overrated.

That's according to TTIE (The Truth injection's eyes)

On to a new subject:

Does anyone think the Phils will go better than .500 over in their next 12 games against the Yanks, Twins, Indians, and Blue Jays? Yanks/Twins are tough enough and the Phils have to play the Jays in Toronto where they have scored runs by the boatload this season.

BAP: To sum up the next two weeks: "Feels like a loss".

MG - Phils play Toronto in Philly. Remember, extra home series.

MG - Don't the Phillies play Toronto in Philly? Wasn't that the big deal that was supposed to help the Phillies? Except it never does in IL play.

J.R. - Just lean to play with your handicap.

That's "learn" of course. Need an edit button on this site. Or maybe an EASY Button.

Teams go through slumps and they'll come out of it.

Concerning thing for me is the team was exposed for stealing signs right around the time this hitting funk started. I can't think stealing signs makes that big a difference but seeing Werth wave at pitches like he is clueless makes me wonder.

dennyb does a nice tommy invitation.

Iceman, of course, does a nice job immediately debunking denny.

I have read a lot of ridiculous and idiotic stuff on this site, but never, ever has anyone posted anything close to what dennyb posted.

Why? Because while we have "healthy" disagreements on this site all the time, never has anyone so totally and completely ignored the evidence. NEVER.

And, as Iceman points out, there's 5 YEARS of evidence that's being ignored.

So, I am going to use dennyb's methodology and extend it to it's logical conclusion.

Doing so allows me to declare something that's should have been obvious to all of us, but could only have been obvious to dennyb:


Since May 21, over 100 PA, this is his line:

.282 .420 .526 .946

Since those numbers are below his career averages - especially the BA - I can, using dennyb's logic and paraphasing him, safely declare that

"this [player] has been a overrated offensive [player] for [8] years now"

How do I know this?

dennyb has enlightened me to the fact that the last 3 weeks performance is more important in my evaluation than anything else.

Beerleaguer logic:

Since Utley is perfect, he does not slump. Ergo, his bad stretch is not a slump. It is an injury.

Since Howard is black, he makes bad decisions. Ergo, his bad stretch is not a slump. It is the result of a bad approach at the plate.

Since KK is hated, he has no major league skills. Ergo, his bad start last week is the real KK, not the previous good starts. It is the result of his lack of talent.

JW - I'd compare Utley, et. al.'s, BABIP this year with their career.

clout: I think your Howard comment is a bit too simplistic. Race certainly plays a factor, but it's not the only one.

Funny, though, that your Utley and KK comments are just as simple but (in my opinion) are absolutely true. You could also substitute Moyer's name for KK, of course.

Not sure if this was mentioned, but Scott Mathieson blew a save and took the loss last night. It will be interesting to see how he rebounds from the BS.

Clout: how is an injury better than a slump? If Utley's not able to perform because of an injury but he's playing though it anyway and hurting the team, that's worse than just trying to battle through a slump. Take a week off and heal. I don't know which it is personally. Probably a slump.

Howard makes bad decisions at the plate every time he chases that breaking ball in the dirt to k again. He's made great decisions off the field to work on his conditioning and game and I really appreciate the work he's put in. (Promoting Subway over Quiznos or Wawa is pretty questionable though). not being able to hit lefties late in the game is not a racial issue.

Every one want KK and Moyer to pitch a perfect game every time they go out. Some people are just dubious of their ability to do so.

dennyb may have to go into hiding after that ridiculous rant. it would be interesting to see a response though...

guys like KK who don't miss bats are prone to disastrous outings. they may have a few decent/good starts in a row, but their bad ones can be quite ugly inflating the overall numbers by years end. imo, happ is the same way. he somehow averted the disaster last year, but if he was healthy this year he'd have some rough looking numbers. how lucky for him that he's been on the shelf so the naysayers can't be proven right.

blanton can credit his career 2009 to his improved k rate. he ratcheted it up over 2.5k/9 last year and voila - sustained success. it's remarkable what a strikeout can do to improve your chances to be a legit contributing starting pitcher. stating the obvious, of course.

The problem lies in the verbage. KK is a "servicable starter" or a "legit contributing starter".

clout, did you see my posts yesterday - the ones where I showed which MLB pitchers are actually performing worse than KK this season?

But as we all know, conventional wisdom among the haters is that KK sucks.

clout: I dig your 9:20 post. It's a little smug (which I sort of like) but the thought behind it is dead on. If you were so inclined, you could expand that post to include just about everyone on the 25 man roster, i.e. Since Moyer is older, he is "washed up." Ergo, his bad start last week is the real Moyer, not the stretch of previously good starts. It is the result of his age and washed upped-ness.

Lately, I've been riding Chase pretty hard (both on BL and in the outside world -- yes folks, there is one) because he doesn't seem to get it anywhere else. I love Utley as a player, but he is constantly excused while others are taken to task.

"Scott Mathieson blew a save and took the loss last night. It will be interesting to see how he rebounds from the BS."

Slugga, my bet here is he'll be fine. After all, he has come back from the adversity of 2 TJ procedures.

Coming back from a BS should be a piece of cake compared to that.

some kendrick numbers:

era 4.80
fip 4.80
xfip 4.82.

that's a number 4/5 starter to me.

i think it'll probably get worse for kk from here though. he's giving up a career worst 37% fly balls, and his line drive rate is a career best, which could be due to improved skill, but is likely just a bit fluky. as he gives up more liners and summer rolls along many more of those fly balls go bye bye. i'd say that he ends up w/ an era well north of 5.00 by years end.

Everything Denny said is true.

Dave, not this - "Truthfully, this team has been a overrated offensive team for 3 years now. They were miserable with RISP in the 2008 playoffs. Their pitching saved their bacon then, with Hamels, Madson and Lidge pitching out-of-their-minds."

I sure hope Ryan Howard learns to hit LHP a little better.

Still, I just hope his career winds up as good as these guys:

Player A:

vs. RHP: .277 .387 .539 .926
vs. LHP: .248 .336 .440 .776

Player B:

vs. RHP: .294 .376 .560 .936
vs. LHP: .250 .317 .446 .763

Player C:

vs. RHP: .299 .398 .492 .891
vs. LHP: .244 .321 .371 .692

Any guesses? Answers coming soon.

This Phils team is clearly overrated! We don't even have Cliff Lee and our 3rd baseman isn't tall enough!

"Yankees to Phillies: Don't Panic"

Makes me actually have positive feelings about the Yankees (players only, not franchise)!

Something to ponder:

Since this team is not running/stealing bases this season, perhaps, when Jimmie returns, Charlie should move Polly to 7th and Vic back up to #2?

Maybe that would help jump start the offense a bit more.

Blue Jays do play in Philly but still treat it as a 'home' series for the Jays with the DH rule in effect/hitting last. Disadvantage Phils.

As for this team, if they don't begin to really hit better/score some more runs this really is the new 'normal' where they are a middle-of-the road offense. More than 6 weeks of not hitting as a team collectively is just not a slump.

My bet is the offense ends up somewhere in between what it through the first 6 weeks of the season (over 5 runs/game) and the last month (under 3 runs/game). The runs will pick up because they have been struggling with RISP but this is going to be an offense that ends up around where they are at now (4.5 runs/game).

It would mean they finish th season with ~730 runs which isn't that bad but just a dramatic dropoff from what we are used to seeing.

Phils are 12th in RS at 272 but 9th in HR and 9th in SLG. My bet is that their positon in RS improves but they finish the season in a middling fashion largely because of the dip in HR/SLG due to several factors: combo of Castro/Valdez at SS which has been the worst offensively in the NL by a wide margin if you remove JRoll's numbers, the notable decline in Ibanez's power numbers, Werth & Howard not duplicating their power numbers, and a punchless bench with almost no power.

Thought before the season that the Phils would struggle to hit 200 HRs this year. There is no way they reach that mark now and they would be hard pressed to reach 180. That's a huge drop from 224 and would likely lead to a run dropoff of 50-60 runs by itself.

Robert Burns said "the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley," and I think thats simply what's happening to the Phils this season.

In 2008 everything broke just right for this club--Hamels hit his stride in the playoffs, Lidge was perfect, and they met a young Tampa club in the WS that had run out of a steam a little bit after beating Boston.

In 2009 a few things started to go wrong, specifically Lidge and Hamels, but Ibanez's crazy first half and Werth's monster season, coupled with the Lee deal, allowed them to make it back to the Series, only to run into a hot Yankees squad.

This season there have been many more unexpected problems--some of which the FO maybe should have expected, but still: Happ's injury, Jimmy's injuries, Lidge's injury, Ibanez's season-long slump, a May-June swoon from Howard, Werth and Utley... its enough to derail any club. I mean, its looking like the big plan for this season of a 1-2 punch from Halladay and Hamels is turning out perfectly, but its probably not going to matter in the end.

GBrettfan - don't hold your breath for the interview where Pettitte and Jeter tell the visiting team's reporter that the visitors looks cooked and were always overrated anyway. These guys have been feeding reporters appropriate, bland babble almost as long as Geezer has been lobbing pitches.

It is going to be interesting to see how much heat Amaro begins to take though in another 2 weeks or so as this team hits .500. Seems like the general fanbase is mixed but the ridiculous success they have enjoyed since the middle of '07 to present has really changed the underlying psyche of Phils' fans. Most fans still believe this is 'just a slump.' We'll see.

If they don't hit the next 2+ weeks, it is more than a slump and an offense that is middling this year.

The more interesting thing is that if Utley does finish with a notable decline in his numbers this year (.270/.370/.450) than it might just be that 'Utley peaked' in '07/'08 will have alot of merit too it. Middle INF don't age well (they are like RB in the NFL in PG in the NBA) and it just might be that Utley is on the downside of his career (turns 32 this year in Dec).

timr, did the Rays "run out of steam a little bit" or did the Phils just beat them?

By that definition, I could say that the 2009 Yankees were fortunate to meet a Phillies club "in the WS that had run out of a steam a little bit after beating" the Dodgers.

Expect injuries? I think all teams "expect" that some will happen - that's why they try to build depth. But some players, like JRoll, are just impossible to replace.

Could the Cardinals "replace" Albert Pujols if he were injured for a long stretch?

timr: I hate it when things gang aft agley

Any insights out there on Jimmy Rollin's injury? When he comes back again, will he hold up to everyday play? I want to wake up from this nightmare back in first place. Or at least see the offense firing on 8 cylinders, and dropping the occasional 20 on the Cardinals, or whoever gets in the way when the Phil's click. Just like they used to do.

Phillies go 7-5 at worst over the next 12 games.

Book it.


from Friday

Jimmy Rollins (strained calf, ERD 6/20) J.A. Happ (strained forearm, ERD 6/25) The facilities are getting quite the workout down in Clearwater, a fact that can't have the Phillies medical staff happy. Rollins is down there now and will begin another stint of rehab games on Monday. That timeline means that, as expected, the Phillies are being just a bit more cautious with Rollins than he would like. It's not enough to knock him way back; we're talking a couple days extra, but hopefully just enough to know that his calf isn't going to go sproing again. Rollins is going to be limited and self-limited, so don't expect anything in the way of steals until the All-Star break. The key for him now is defensive range. Observers say that in drills, Rollins isn't having much trouble with lateral motion, but doesn't seem confident in his ability to pivot or plant and throw. Those are two skills we'll have to watch for starting Monday. The Phillies are also watching Happ closely. After a disappointing first rehab outing with Single-A Clearwater, he'll step up to Double-A Reading on Sunday. The Phillies aren't tipping their hand about how they'll bring Happ back, but that's a bit of cart before the horse. Happ is going to have to show something in his next couple outings to prove his stuff has come back from his forearm issues before that's any sort of decision.

"But some players, like JRoll, are just impossible to replace."

Maybe only in the minds of Phillie fans. He's a poor leadoff hitter, and an average infielder.

Also, the Phillies will be fine. They've battled injuries all season and have tread water pretty adequately so far this season.

I know some people on here are simpletons but the fact is this- for as awful as this team has played in the past 3 weeks they are 3.5 games out of first place with 99 games to play. For a team that is known for lighting it up after the All-star break that is more than enough time to catch teams.

Additionally, around the ASB (probably right after) we are looking at getting Madson, Happ, and Rollins back which will be huge. Essentially that is 3 moves coming onto the roster and it helps every aspect of our team.

I know that people find it more fun to play Paul Revere riding through Beerleaguer screaming doomsday is coming but it just makes you look dumb.

Curt: Are you serious? I'll give you the "poor leadoff hitter" thing, but JRoll being impossible to replace is "only in the minds of Phillies fans"?

What? I don't know what to say to that.

I thought even the "running out of steam" Rays were supposed to beat the Phils because of their membership in The Best Division In Baseball AND in the AL. Plus, David Price was awesome.

Yeah, that Rollins guy sucks...I mean, he's only a top defensive SS and a fairly good leadoff guy (taking his power and SBs into account). What a bum.

I understand that Howard's power numbers are down. That is absolute fact.

However, can we stop referring to it as a May-June swoon from Howard. The guy raised has raised his average from April 30th by 12 points, and his OBP by 32 points. His slugging is down 23 points and his OPS is up 9.

So his numbers are up in some categories and down in others.

MG, Werth and Utley won't hit under .200 the rest of the year. If you look at the last 7-14 games most of these guys - except those two - are more or less out of the slump. Vic has been hitting well for awhile now; Polanco is hitting well over .300 over the last 2 weeks; Howard is hitting .316/.366/.500 in the last 2 weeks.

The thing that confuses me about the people who deny the possibility of a slump, is that in the season's first 40+ games this team averaged about 5.5 runs/game. Reality is somewhere between those 40 games and the last 20. I usu. favor towards career lines and the greater number of games.

Sophist -- I'm bookmarking now. Bummer about the timetable for Jimmy. Looks as if J.A. Happ hasn't been missed nearly as much as The Sparkplug.

MG's point -- "Middle INF don't age well (they are like RB in the NFL in PG in the NBA)..." is a real downer, too. It would be too cruel to have both Jimmy and Chase crumble sooner than expected. Hell, I'd like to see this infield together (with a solid backup at 3rd base if Polly goes down) for at least the next 3 years.

Howard 2010 splits

Apr: .794 OPS
May: .778 OPS
Jun: .883 OPS

Seems to be warming up so far.

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EST. 2005

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