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Friday, August 20, 2010

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Call me crazy, but if the Phillies make the playoffs as the WC team, I wouldn't be that upset by it. With our starting pitching, I think the home/road split can be neutralized. The hardest series this team has played in the postseason the last couple years have been road series (TB, NYY and Dodgers last year). They are 2-1 in those series, and with a better Hamels like he is this year and a better Lidge (at least I think), who knows how far they take that NYY series. Their home series from the last two postseasons (Dodgers in '08, Brewers in '08 and Rockies last year) weren't against the tougher teams. They showed that they can play with the best of the best, even if they didn't have homefield. That said, I still want them to win the division, though i recognize how tough that will be.


The good news is that SF and St. Louis face off this weekend. I'd like to see SF take 2 out of 3. That would put both at 55 losses and if we can at least win the series against the Nats, we'd have 53 losses. Two or 3 losses up with 39 left would put us in pretty good position for the wild card.

I know, I know... we should only focus on the division. You can think that way, I'll continue to keep my eye on the fallback plan as the Braves continue to show some uncanny fortune.

Hopefully they'll play this game on paper and the mismatch will not be jinxed.

CJ: 2 or 3 up with 39 to play would definitely be a very good place to be.

Of course, the Braves have to be thinking the same thing about the division.

(modified repost) And this Braves/Cubs game is why I believe the only real guarantee for the division this year will be a 100 win season. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the Phil’s will win the NL East, I’d have beer money.

Problem is, the Brave come up with efforts – time after time – just like today. And the Phils can’t buy a big inning for Cole Hamels. Did I say Wanger looks like a rodent? I thought I did, just checking.

Something tells me if things don't change, we may not be caring much about the last 6 with the Braves. They just have that look. Regardless, we need a very long winning streak to run these rats down, and starting soon (like tonight!).

Obviously, the best thing we can do is just win games. If we win games, we'll have a safe WC lead, and then if we can beat the Braves the last two weeks and steal the division, all the better.

Although I would much prefer a division win, I will take the wild card. This team is built to win in the playoffs. I suspect once they get there, they would roll into the World Series. Just have to get in.

What a colossal slip -- Wagner, that is...

Hey, division champion, schmavision champion.

The Phillies will have the home field advantage in the WFC. That's where it really counts.

Every win we get is only due to some horrible failure by our opponents


Exactly right, cj.

When the Phillies win, it's because they're lucky or because Charlie made a mistake but got away with it, or because the other team sucks.

When the Phillies lose, it's never because the other team plays well - it's always because the Phillies suck or because Charlie effed up.

Phlipper, for once we are in total agreement. In all three road series the Phillies have had in the playoffs the last 3 years, they've won game 1, thus grabbing back homefield right away. They'll be trotting out Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt or Halladay/Oswalt/Hamels for the first three of every series. When I see those names, I just don't think of where they're being played. i think: Advantage Phillies. Also, if we get the WC, we'll probably end up playing San Diego, and I know they have good pitching, but I just don't see them beating the Phillies in their first year in the playoffs. After that, we're either playing the Reds or Braves (most likely Braves), and I like Roy halladay pitching three times against the Braves, given that he's owned them this year. Anyways, I'm way ahead of myself...

Bruce: I'm not sure what's sacred about 100 games. You can win 100 games & still lose the division. I remember in 1993 when the Giants won 103 games & still finished a game behind Atlanta for the NL West. And there were no wild cards back then.

Neither the Phillies nor Braves is going to win 100 games. Chances are pretty good that 93 to 96 wins will win the division. I don't think we need any particular target. We just have to keep winning series. And, it goes without saying (although I just said it), that the 6 games with the Braves will be critical. If we win 4 of those 6, we will have made up the 2 game deficit in the loss column.

Gillies apparently isn't the only one with Phillie connections to have drug problems today. Ronny Paulino has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a PED.

Phils and Braves are on a collision course for the NLCS. Phils will beat the Padres (Padres are the Phils of '07) and Braves will beat the Reds.

---

I don't bet on baseball. But Halladay is
-360 tonight over the Nats. Every other game is in the 100s. The next highest is -180. I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty damn good.

the cubs won like 108 games two years ago and got swept by the dodgers in the 1st round. Means Squat.

Bobby0, it means you should probably bet some relatively small amount that the Nats will win. Odds are they will lose and you will lose your money, but if they win...oh boy, you'll be in the money.

Bobby D - "I don't bet on baseball. But Halladay is -360 tonight over the Nats. Every other game is in the 100s. The next highest is -180. I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty damn good."

Call Pete Rose. He can explain it to you...

bap -- For some inexplicable reason, I thought 100 wins was a stone cold mortal lock this year. Then Jimmie got hurt, and the Braves caught fire and the rest is history.

Sure, everyone can cite the 116-win Cubs (1906 dead ball era) or those monsters of 2001, the 116-win Seattle Mariners.

Neither one really got a ring, which is all that matters. However, if the Phils get to 100 wins, they are almost a lock to take at least 4 or 5 of the remaining 6 from the Braves. That’s sounds like a division title to me, but who knows? At this point, I’m being an uber-fan.

When people talk about the Braves or anyone's luck, the pythag. win loss isn't necessarily relevant. One aspect of the Braves season is that they've had pitchers outperform their peripherals (allowed fewer runs their peripherals would indicate). That sort of luck won't be reflected in their RS/RA.

Even considering their pythag, though, it ignores the reason I'd be surprised to see them significantly outplay .500 without help from weak opponents. I've said it many times, but when they went 34-14 over the summer (*the* reason why they're so many over .500 right now) they were scoring 5 runs per game. That offensive production has been non-existent: Glaus and Heyward were a big part of it, as was Infante and his bloated BAbip.

If they find that offense again, then sure they'll win more than I thought. I just don't think they will.

But again, it's 40 games so anything could happen.

Now I know why Jack was so high on Tyson Gillies.

Is everyone really thinking taking 4 of 6 from the Braves is exceedingly likely? I'm thinking a split would be good.

The Braves have played so well at home, seem to be playing with that extra motivation of winning one for Bobby Cox, and have been clutch in the last inning....Not that the Phillies are doormats. I like the fight & the confidence of this team, I like that all hands will finally be on deck, and I like our 1-2-3 starters. And I like the way they play down the stretch.

I would love Werth and Howard to be mashing by then. (Werth might consider hypnotizing-induced amnesia to forget his trouble with RISP.) And Brad Lidge will be key.

Again

48 games (April 30-June 20): 34-14, 5.49 RS/G (3.67 RA/G)
all other 74 games: 38-37, 4.00 RS/G (3.67 RA/G)

Identical pitching, very different offenses.

Sure, anything can happen in 40 games. Maybe the Braves can win a whole lot of close ones against weak teams. But their season pythag record is based partly on a season of offense who's best days are behind them.

The Braves have already won 22 games this year in their final at bat (including 6 in extra innings)... with 40 games remaining.

I keep hearing the comparisons to the 2008 Phils who showed great resilience and comeback ability.

So, how many last-at-bat wins did the Phils have that entire season? Just 17, with 6 in extra innings, 7 in the 9th and 4 in the 8th.

Back in 2007, the Phils made a *crazy* comeback to win the division. Last at-bat wins? Just 18 with a whopping 11 in extra innings.

So I'll say it. Braves have been abnormally lucky this year. It's possible it will hold out through the season, but I still think the Phils win the East by 2 or 3 games.

What's the old adage? Everybody wins 60 games, everybody loses 60 games, it's what you do with the other forty or so that matter?

Phils aren't going to win 100 games. Good thing is neither will the Braves.

How many games are the Braves going to win in their last AB or the 9th inning? Good grief.

GBfan - 4 of 6 yes. Anymore than that so too much.

CJ - What you're overlooking is that like the Phils with Rollins, Utley, Chooch, Howard, etc., the Braves are loaded with good hitters and offense. Guys like Brooks Conrad and Rick Ankiel. Or high OBP guys like Alex Gonzalez. Or power threats like Martin Prado. Teams loaded with power and offense can put up crooked numbers quickly and make comebacks.

I mean, two Brooks Conrad GS walk-offs and a Rick Ankiel triple.

The Braves had 5 runs on 5 hits today. I'm so disgusted with that team.

GBrettfan, I think taking 4 of 6 will be difficult, but I don't see any reason to think the Phils can't do it. We have a better offense, equal defenses (maybe better), better starting pitching (remember, if all shakes out correctly, the Braves will see Halladay twice, Hamels twice and Oswalt twice), and I think we have the best single reliever out of both bullpens in Ryan Madson. Why is it crazy to think that the Phillies have a good chance to take 4 of 6?

sophist: "But again, it's 40 games so anything could happen."

This is the most significant and true thing you've posted this week.

To bap/Sophist -- I listen to much too much WIP while I work. They have a daytime shtick where the producer punches up a canned "...shut the bleep up!" to clueless or worse callers.

I promise to do the same, re: 100 wins. 40 games is a long, long time, and much can happen. Sophist -- I made a clumsy allusion to the "phthag record" in a post a few days ago. It does seem odd that the Braves are 22 over .500. Nice analysis.

Maybe I should start a tax-free charity "Hits For Hamels":

Won't you give, today? Your Phillies ball club is counting on you to stop this needless tragedy, and save this fine young man's season. Send in any extra 3 run homers you might have just as soon as you can, and you'll receive this handsome travel mug. Act now, and the first 10 callers will receive an annual subscription to ESPN, The Magazine...

"Why is it crazy to think that the Phillies have a good chance to take 4 of 6?"

It's not.

And yea, the Braves are seriously annoying.

clout - yep. But still, if I had to make a prediction about how many runs they'd score I wouldn't use the season's data which includes 2+ months of Glaus with a .950 OPS (.570 since) as well as 2+ months of Heyward with an .867 OPS (.682 since); Hinske with a .935 OPS (.600 since); or Conrad with a .808 OPS (.517 since); or a team that included Chipper (gone).

But maybe some other guys get hot, or some of these guys get hot again. Or maybe their schedule just stinks so bad it'll be like playing AAA teams (although they've won a ton of close games lately, and for all his struggles Marmol is not an AAA pitcher).

Clout: That joke was so two threads ago.

I may be in the minority with this, but the WC is just fine by me. With this team finally getting healthy, and the rotation stacked for the playoffs, I wouldn't be concerned at all with the "tougher road" the WC presents. I'd like their chances against any team anyway.

Yeah, Bruce in those 48 games they outscored their opponents 263 to 176 (87 runs). Their season RD is 108, so their RD in the other 75 games (outside that Apr 30 - June 20 stretch) is 21. Again, that's with the same run prevention.

Oh, I don't think it's a crazy idea at all, just that so many of us seem to think it's probable. Unusually optimistic for BL. The Phillies are certainly capable of 4 of 6, and even of sweeping (How sweet would that be), but I agree with Fatalotti that it's likely to be a challenge. I just hope Brad Lidge holds steady.

On second thought, it's not unusually optimistic to say 4 of 6. Perhaps I've just grown used to hearing some voices of pessimism crop up, which is not the case with respect to these upcoming Braves series.

I also frequently think that this team plays better when the pressure is on, or when they are chasing, so there is that in their favor as well. Go Phils!

Is Gload still hurting? Or is there another reason why Sweeney would be playing? Thoughts?

This would be an annoying night to be BAbip'd to death.

I just want to say, I hate Nyjer Morgan.

I bloop shot and now you're standing on third with no outs. Congrats.

Phils range from -320 to -360. They won't be favored this much the rest of the year.

Quite honestly, I'm not particularly fixated on the division title. Yes, I'd like to win it. But it wouldn't even guarantee us home field advantage in the NLDS, let alone the NLCS. If we win the WC and have to play an extra game per series on the road, it's just not that big of a deal. All I ask is a spot in the playoffs. If we can get that spot, I like our 3 starters against anyone's.

Unfortunately for all the fans in CBP, Halladay has been missing. I don't think he's getting squeezed.

CJ - "So I'll say it. Braves have been abnormally lucky this year."

I think that their BP is so good it has allowed them to hang around in games that they may otherwise would have lost. Similar to the 2008 Phils with their dominating BP. The unfortunate fact is that the Braves win out over the Phils in that one category, and it has been the difference thus far this season between leading the East Division & being a close second.

Fatalotti - Not by much.

Fatalotti: That walk to Dunn may have been semi-intentional.

Halladay isn't getting squeezed. He is just off this inning.

Well, that one wasn't semi-intentional -- although that ball 3 sure looked close to strike 3.

2 walks in one inning. Have we seen that from Halladay all year?

Not squeezed, but he isn't missing by much if you go by gameday. Some of those could have gone the other way, but they were mostly off the plate.

Great start. Roy must've caught whatever Cole had last night.

Nothing to it.

That second called strike he got on Bernadina was about as close to the zone as all those close balls.

But Doc is awesome, so who really cares?

Is it me, or does Halladay look a little ill?

That's why he's the best F@#KING pitcher in baseball!!!!

Or maybe it was the 22 pitch inning that made him look a little under the weather.

Amazing to watch Halladay repeatedly either get unscathed through an inning or really limit the damage.

How many innings this year has he allowed multiple runs? Without a HR?

Actually, that inning might well be a template for the whole series. If you don't let Dunn & Zimmerman beat you, there aren't too many hitters in this lineup who can.

Nothing like working a count Jimmy. Let's be sure not to tire this guy out.

BAP - only reason the Phils lost their last season series to the Nats was because they let those two beat them.

Marquis is a really good pitcher Wheels?

Addendum to my last post: Willingham can beat you too. But, for some reason, he's not in the lineup tonight.

Marquis's made 2 starts since coming back. He's allowed 7 runs in the 1st and 2nd inning of those two starts (4 in first, 3 in second).

BAP - Willingham is done for the season most likely. Meniscus damage.

Sophist: Didn't know that. That makes the Nats' lineup considerably less potent.

Whatever control issues Halladay had, Marquis has them in spades.

WC or division really doesn't matter as long as 6 and Chase are happy and healthy. If either of them is still hurting or not back in their groove we are done.

Chase with some weak at bats lately.

The Phillies are batting for a guy named Charles Dickens this inning. If they don't score, that Dickens residence is going to be one Bleak House tonight.

This is a guy that Ibanez should be able to hammer.

Raul's numbers against the Nationals make it look like he's been on the Phillies for 6 years.

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games..

Wow. Pudge moved his glove 3 feet to catch that, and he got a called strike on a close low pitch.

Nice AB Raul. Catch a pitch he could have hit with a 5-iron.

Dickens - Guaranteed to cure your insomnia or your money back. . .

That was error on JRoll.

That's a bad throw from Rollins but, if Howard were playing 1st, it would have been an out.

BAP - Yeah. Howard has gotten much better at picking balls like that over the past few years.

BL is not updating very frequently tonight. Annoying.

Nats have a bunch of bloopers tonight.

Roy looks pretty good tonight, bloop hits notwithstanding.

I know that Roy Halladay is amazing, and that some of these hits have been Texas leaguers, but it's amazing how reticent TMac and Wheels are to give the Nationals any credit. They are making contact, making Doc work and getting hits. TMac at the inning break wouldn't just say "two hits", but "two bloop hits".

He said "bloop hits" because that's what they were. Seems fair.

Why do they always have to look completely hapless for the first 4 innings or so?

Desmond had a good AB. Dunn looped the first pitch into center.

They had men on 2 and 3 in the first. Pretty hapless since then.

Considering Marquis came into the game w/ an ERA of 14.33 & a WHIP of 2.449, the Phillies are probably lucky they're not getting no-hit.

I understand they're bloops, but at the same time, you're told from little league that it's good to make contact, because you just might hit it where they ain't. Well that's what they're doing tonight...making contact, and they're getting hits out of it, and I am willing to give credit where it is due.

Bloop hits still count.

I'll take that.

This rally started almost the second after I said they looked hapless. I'll take full credit for the reverse Beerleaguer Jinx.

vic is popping out way too much this season...

Utley hasn't looked quite right since coming back, but you saw his value that inning when he worked a 2-out walk from a 1-2 count, then came around to score their first run. I doubt Wilson Valdez could have done that.

Fatalotti - were I on TV, even a local telecast, I'd give the Nats credit for making Doc work.

Sad Holiday and Dibble are easier to lisen to then Wheels,tmac et all. At least you don't have to hear what every player is doing on every pitch and why.

Yeah, telling you why players are doing stuff is really stupid. Uh, no it's not.

And does it seem to anyone that the Nats are hitting a lot of balls right off the ground tonight? Halladay is throwing two strike pitches on the plate and they're stroking them. Not always getting hits, but a few have fallen in. It's kind of impressive.

Dunn could have had it, but it was a lousy throw.

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