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Monday, July 19, 2010

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It's only fitting that we get shutout tonight, which will proceed a long offensive boom!

If those recent head-to-head records aren't a neon-screaming BL jinx, I'm Shane Victorino's uncle.

Hey NEPP~

As far as ESPN goes, don't forget Tiger also. You're right they've been a joke for sometime now. Also, great fake report on the Myers trade.

Seriously now. If Rube would have kept him, he'd have been a decent arm for the back of the rotation or the 'pen. And finally, releasing Castro is admitting the mistake they made when they signed him. Which I hated from the moment they did it.


Iceman/TTI: I can't speak for other posters. But I believed NEPP's story (for about a millisecond) because I'm a bit on the gullible side & the tone of his post made it sound true. Before I even had time to wonder whether it was a gag, I had already read another post which exposed it as a gag.

As for Amaro-bashing . . . yeah, a lot of it is over-the-top, contrived, & hypocritical. The Baez, Schneider & Blanton contracts, for example, were widely praised at the time they were made; now they're held up as shining examples of Amaro's idiocy.

Believe it or not, I don't share the widely-held Beerleaguer view that Amaro is a bumbling idiot. If you line up the rosters of the 2008 and 2010 Phillies, you basically see the same cast of characters, except that Myers, Feliz, & Burrell have been replaced with Halladay, Polanco & Ibanez. The only other difference between the 2 teams is that the 2010 team has had a rash of injuries & 8 to 10 of its previous mainstays have badly underperformed as compared to 2008 (Vic, Rollins, Blanton, Madson, Utley, Hamels, Dobbs, Lidge). Even the most prescient GM in the world could not have foreseen that scenario.

Nonnetheless, Amaro has also made a few questionable moves & it's more than fair to criticize him for those. It's also cathartic. The next time the Phillies are in the midst of a heinous loss (in other words, tonight), you should try it. It really does make you feel better.

Amaro sucks.

Good call, bap. I feel better already.

I spun my top (which I use as my totem), and it's still spinning now. So, clearly we're in the 2nd or 3rd layer of a bad dream, so we can all relax. We'll wake up and all will be right with the world.

Oh crap, it just toppled...

BAP: The Blanton deal was praised before everyone realized that it was the final dollars left in the Phils budget. Every move since has had to be deficit neutral (including requiring the Blue Jays to send cash with Halladay). This fiscal position has cost the team prospects and a former Cy Young winner.

I was fine with the Blanton deal, until I got more information.

Howard is the player of the week. Nice.

Funny, I haven't seen much criticism of his contract extension since he got hot. :)

Just to play devil's advocate, here, which I know is like sticking my head into the mouth of a wild lion -- for those, clamoring to unload Werth, to allow the Phils to bring up Brown (who by all accounts would be some sort of a spark, I hope), what do you suppose we do to account for the then EXTREME left-handedness of the lineup? Utilize Francisco more over Ibanez (which is happening anyway, and is not exactly an extreme improvement)?

I'm right there with you, I cannot wait until the day Beerleaguer's server is overloaded because JW announced that Brown has been called up, however, I can't get my brain around how best to structure this lineup. We all know that Cholly loves to play the matchups (which is why, coupled with Ibanez now regressing to the "washed up" portion of his career Cholly is fine with Ben Fran getting some more time).

This lineup would be extremely hard pressed to deliver against lefthanders, even if Brown were to somehow come up and become a world beater.

So, the talk about Werth for pitching scares me a bit. Just sayin'.

Werth isn't hitting lefties this year anyway. At least not for any sort of power.

Rollins right side is his natural side of the plate.

Vic is much better against lefties so far this year.

Utley isn't playing, but he's fine against lefties.

Howard seems to be a little better against lefties this year.

Chooch is a righty. Benny Fran is a righty. Polanco is a righty. Valdez is a righty.

I don't see the lefthandedness being a problem anymore. And Dom Brown appears to hit lefties in AA and AAA just fine.

I don't think it's an issue any longer.

8 more games. Unless things go poorly, I do not see the Phillies as "sellers". They'll still be close enough to the WC to have an outside chance at it.

JR: Not sure what you're talking about. It was never a secret that the Phillies had budgeted $140M for opening day payroll. And, if I recall correctly, the 3-year deal to Blanton came AFTER the Halldaday trade. What came before the Halladay/Lee trades was the decision to tender Blanton a one-year contract, rather than non-tendering him & having him become a FA. When we thereafter traded Lee, some Amaro critics wondered why we didn't just non-tender Blanton if we needed to save $8M. But, of course, at the time of the Blanton tender, we didn't yet know that we were going to get Halladay.

A more valid criticism is that, once they knew they were getting Halladay, it seems like Amaro & the FO were rather too quick to resign themselves to the idea that Blanton couldn't be traded and, hence, Lee had to go. They should have just traded for Halladay & then taken their time to figure out how to shave $8M off the payroll. To this day, I don't understand what the urgency was to trim $8M off the payroll that very same day. Just because you have a $148M payroll in mid-December does not mean you can't trim it to $140M by opening day. It is literally inconceivable to me that, with a 1-year, $8M contract, no team would have taken Blanton in a trade.

I agree with aksmith that enough of this lineup can hit left handers that the removal of Jayson Werth is not cause for me to say OMG WE'RE SCREWED AGAINST LEFTIES!

We got Rollins, Vic, Chooch, Ben Fran, Polanco, and Valdez who would be in the lineup against lefties batting right handed. That's 2/3 of the lineup right now.

"8 more games. Unless things go poorly, I do not see the Phillies as "sellers". They'll still be close enough to the WC to have an outside chance at it."

I guess it depends whether your definition of seller is "absolutely no way we can go to the playoffs" or "statistically unlikely we go to the playoffs".

There aren't many teams in baseball that play at a consistently high level for many years in a row. The phillies got 2+ years of an unreasonably healthy team that featured a strong core of guys in their prime who all performed well, particularly in the clutch. Amaro kept the framework of a good team, and added a Halladay, which was a fairly good plan. Bullpens effectiveness changes year to year and this team was due for injuries and regression (Ibanez, Werth, Lidge). Maybe some people forgot what it is like to be a baseball fan, before the days of 2007

Before the (late September) days of 2007.

We'd be miserable most of the time in midseason most years even since we got respectable again.

It would be such a shame to trade Werth now, with his value so low. I mean, after two months of offensive futility and defensive mediocrity, how much is anybody going to offer for him? Feels like at this point the value of the chance of Werth heating up again plus the draft picks when he leaves via free agency is much greater than the value of whoever they could get in a trade for him at this moment, given his struggles.

The Truth - that would be true if they hadn't already played through longterm injuries to Utley and Rollins during the last few years prior to this one. And indeed, Utley played most of a year on a bad hip that was in need of surgery aside from breaking a finger and missing a month.

This team has had injuries, but it's not like it hasn't happened before. They won a world series with Bruntlett playing SS for about a month, didn't they?

And Rube didn't keep the framwork of a good team and add a Halladay. He subtracted a Lee from a good team and added a Halladay. Pretty much a wash, while stripping the minor league teams of a few good prospects.

"Nonetheless, Amaro has also made a few questionable moves & it's more than fair to criticize him for those. It's also cathartic."

RAJ is getting paid to be "on point" for the wrath of fans not only as GM, but also as a stand-in for the virtually invisible ownership. He's not a dope, but he is a solid company man.

bap- In judging Amaro, what others though of his moves at the time they were made is of no relevance. The question was whether he was right or wrong. He was wrong about Blanton and Ibanez. He is too inclined to overpay and to give contracts which are too long. He is too prone to sign older players. He underestimated the severity of the bullpen situation and he signed some bad bench players. Those shortcomings taken together do not account for the Phils' nonperformance, but they do contribute. Apart from the injuries,the team has two guys who bat high in the order and don't get on base. Victorino and Rollins have been killing the team. Rollins numbers over the past two seasons ( roughly 900 ABs) are in the .240-.250 range. In a word, pathetic. Victorino's numbers this year are just as bad. At a minimum, he needs to be platooned with, say, Dom Brown. Ibanez and Rollins both are approaching the end of their careers and Vic needs to be dealt in the off season. That said, Amaro needs to turn his attention to a weak rotation which has two excellent pitchers and three #5 SPs. A transformation is in order.And please do not re-sign Moyer. The only advantage of failing to make the playoffs is that the dummies will stop answering each criticism of this team by telling us about the Phils PAST accomplishments.

BAP: You say we all knew they had a $140M budget, but we didn't REALLY know the Phils financial situation. We are never given hard numbers and Ruben has repeatedly said they would expand the budget, but only for the right player. Fans didn't realize how hard that $140M cap was until the Phils started making moves that made little baseball sense to fit under it.

(Sending additional young talent to Toronto in order to get cash in the deal was particularly stupid given the Phils' attendance and cable numbers.)

Now that we've seen the moves they were "forced" to make, I think we can re-evaluate tendering and signing Blanton.

By the way, I agree that Kentucky Joe (with a 1 year, $8M contract) could have been traded. He's an 8 million dollar pitcher with an 8 million dollar contact. A lot of teams would have traded a player-to-be-named-later for him.

As for the urgency: I think you and I both know the urgency was so that fans didn't get used to the idea of the Halladay-Lee-Hamels triple threat.

@timr -- i'm not sure you have an idea what Werth's trade value. I highly doubt his recent struggles affects his trade value at all. Most GMs aren't quite the reactionaries that fans who comment on blogs are.

"I think you and I both know the urgency was so that fans didn't get used to the idea of the Halladay-Lee-Hamels triple threat."

Alas, I think there's a whole lot of truth to that. As p*ssed off as fans are, I think the Phillies calculated that they would have been even more p*ssed off to see Lee walk away for nothing, after fans had become accustomed to seeing Halladay, Lee & Hamels at the top of the rotation.

Rollins-Polanco-Ibanez-Howard-Werth-Vic-Ruiz-Valdez-Kendrick

OBP/OPS vs. RHP

Rollins: .322/.730
Polanco: .360/.813
Ibanez: .353/.770
Howard: .389/.967
Werth: .351/.888
Vic: .297/.701
Ruiz: .362/.682
Valdez: .307/.754

Vic has been terrible against RHP this year.

Against a righty, might it not make more sense to put Dobbs at third and Polanco at second? Of course, I don't have the "gut."

@bap -- but if the Phillies had another World Series title, do you think they would be THAT pissed?

After the All-Star break I would have changed it up. Maybe go Lee-Halladay-Hamels.

For some reason they don't want Polanco playing second against RHP (or at all). Maybe they don't want fans to get used to the couple extra hits they might get on nights with a Dobbs/Ransom platoon.

You wouldn't want Dobbs to homer like he did last night. Not when we have Wilson Valdez!

Another mystery for the ages, I guess.

sophist, charlie was pretty clear about keping Polly @ 3B. Do you reallly xpect him to go back on his word?

awh - No, just wondering why he considers it so important to begin with. Does anyone disagree, from an offensive standpoint, that the best lineup for the Phils at this point is one with both Polanco and Dobbs/Ransom and not Valdez? Given Valdez weak bat, it's common sense to wonder why he was so clear about his preference.

Yeah, it's pretty clear that our best lineup against a righty is with Polanco at 2nd and Dobbs at 3rd.

Charlie is insistent on not using it, which is odd because I believe he already did use it a couple of times earlier in the season to give Utley a day off.

"@bap -- but if the Phillies had another World Series title, do you think they would be THAT pissed?"

Yeah, we'd still be THAT p*ssed. We'd be saying that lots of teams have won two world championships in 3 years, but Rube traded away a chance to be one of the all-time dynasties.

Sophist: Normally, I'm fine with Charlie doing things a little differently to keep guys in routines. However, we need to win games, and desperately. I don't see much justification for not putting your best team on the field right now.

Only justification would be that this is their best team from a defensive standpoint. Given how they've hit lately, seems to me the downgrade in defense would be worth the upgrade on offense.

Jack, agreed. They're hitting .233/.296/.398 as a team since Utley went down. I guess a lot of that is Werth/Rollins/Vic, but they need whatever offense they can find.

Love that Ryan Howard!

Howard loves st louis

BAP - I agree, especially given that a bigger part of the reason for the down numbers isn't the loss of Utley but the lack of performance from other regulars.

Werth is just lost with RISP.

That ball was perfect for him to drive and he just missed it.

MLB.tv camera is much much better than ESPN's.

Werthless.

At least Vic can hit with RISP.

Feels like a win!

Big hit by Shane, definitely needed more than 1 out of this inning.

Werth is inside his own head right now and is in a funk. That at bat was a perfect example of what he has been doing lately.

He gets a 1-1 fastball right down the middle of the plate and takes it. He does a good job of fouling off two cutters and then pops out on a fastball that wasn't as hittable but was on the inner half of the plate. He is working himself backward with the pitcher. He just needs to go in there for a few at bats and just sit dead red on some fastballs and try to drive stuff.

Nice job by Vic to pick him up there though.

Vic with a two out hit, with two runners in scoring postion. We haven't seen that in a while.

Werth

career: .266/.361/.471
career w RISP: .264/.387/.443

Which makes his current slump with RISP so damn puzzling.

Great top of the first for the Phillies. 3 runs, a couple hits with 2 outs, and working the pitcher for 31 pitches.

Couldn't have asked for a better start. Now Kendrick has to go out and work a quick first to keep that vibe rolling.

NEPP - well he isn't hitting at all recently, so it's not just RISP. And even if it were, it's just a sample size thing.

Yeah I know...stupid sample sizes.

Nice job by Victorino picking up Werth. I imagine Werth spends alot of time laying awake at night thinking about pitches like strike 2. It seems every single at bat, he lets the best pitch he gets go sailing by. I'm hoping a little early hitting gets contagious and he puts a decent swing on a pitch tonight. He's gotta pull out of it at some point. 21 games since his last homer?

Werth's just locking up with men on. He had a very hittable inside fastball and he's just popped it up.

We all know he's better than that.

For some reason I feel like our pitchers never pitch well when we actually give them run support.

Like if the Phils didn't score any runs, Kendrick would put together one of his good starts. But now that the Phillies have scored, I'm pretty confident Kendrick will get shelled.

Looks like KK is dead set on giving them right back.

NEPP: Pretty much. it's a bit of a trend though with his at bats. He is working against himself with men in scoring position. Like I said- he's inside his own head.

This is exactly what Kendrick needed to not do.

Yup, he's definitely inside his own head.

Give KK credit for getting himself out of his own mess there.

Kendrick with a nice job getting out of early trouble. Pujols 2d and 3d w/ nobody out? I'll take 1 run and out of it.

Just as he was beginning to show signs of life . . .

Philippe Aumont: 2.2 IP, 3 runs, 5 walks

At least Ramirez has looked good.

LaRussa bunched the lefties at the top of the order with Pujols in the middle. Nice work by Kendrick there (esp. against Pujols), but he was lucky on that Rasmus play.

Where's Holliday?

Ramirez may very well be the better pitcher out of that trade.

The Cards look a bit roidy out there. I'm not blaming McGwire. I'm looking at Larussa. Does he lose hall of fame votes for his steroid fuled success?

Bad luck and good luck there.

I know I'm beating a dead horse here on Beerleaguer, but why do we have a low OBP leadoff hitter who is also reluctant to run on the basepaths? Does not seem like the optimal configuration.

If Kendrick's command doesn't improve in a hurry, this 3-1 lead isn't going to last very long.

Damnit KK...settle down already.

Kendrick walking people = recipe for disaster.

enough with the free passes.

Throw a strike please.

As long as he keeps with the ground balls, he'll get away with walking people (at least, if you think quality start is getting away with it). Of course, with all the walks, he'll be one line drive or HR every few innings from getting hammered.

Without looking, it seems like he has 4 walks and 5 ground outs.

Kendrick has faced 10 batters and thrown 1 first-pitch strike -- to Pujols. I'd give him one more inning to straighten out his control &, if he doesn't, you've got to get him out of there because he has zero chance of success if he can't throw strikes.

Please bench Ibanez for stopping like that.

That's a line drive in the box score.

Werth with a bomb....

Nepp - the pitcher caught the ball so he stopped and then he dropped it so he then took off,

Is anyone surprised?

Werth gets caught napping there.

Jayson frakkin Werthless.

I'm sure Werth was reminded to expect the snap throw. Guy does it every time there's an obvious running situation

Is anyone surprised?

Like Jayson Werth, this game got off to a great start and is rapidly trending downward.

Werth trying for MVP, I see.

Is there an echo in the room?

LaRussa is the biggest roid enabler in baseball!

KK is throwing strikes to Pujols. He may have a death wish, but you gotta love the chutzpah. If only he'd do the same to every other hitter.

I'm not too high on Jayson Werth right now.

Kendrick looked a lot better that inning. Seems to be throwing more strikes now.

It just really pains me to watch this team continue to make an inordinate amount of dumb mistakes.

No excuse for getting picked off there. None.

There seem to be an inordinate amount of mistakes made by the same bunch of guys who have not characteristically made these types of mistakes in the past.

It's very frustrating to watch.

LA had a great stat. Cholly is 29-17 vs. the "smartest man in baseball".

What is KK isn't trying to throw strikes to Pujols? God knows I wouldn't, especially with no one on.

Did anyone let Victorino know that he gets a new count this inning? Didn't need to swing at the first pitch, just because he saw a couple last inning.

When I watch the games Chooch always looks like an all-star, but not when I look at the box-score. Is there a stat for that?

The definition of "seeing eye" single there.

Tuned in late to tonight's game. It's comforting to see Jayson Werth hasn't let a new series in a new city on a new day interfere w/ his excruciatingly shameful play.

When you walk the pitcher, you deserve a nine bounce RBI ground ball.

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