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Monday, August 16, 2010

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This year was really different from '07 when Utley went down for several reasons but most importantly the pitching even with some of its warts is much better. You actually have a number of starters who can give you 7+ IP.

In '07, you didn't have that and wound up seeing alot more of Herndon/Baez/Bastardo types in the middle frames which didn't lead to good results.

It is also important to note that year since '07 this team has made multiple moves at the trading deadline/after the trading deadline to acquire significant pieces that really fueled their 2nd half bursts.

This year it has been Oswalt/Sweeney.

3 home & 3 away against the Braves in the last two weeks of the season should prove to be an interesting finish. I think Ryan "Get me to the plate,boys"Howard type of drama might be in our future again this year.

Often forgotten amid the other injuries is Moyer, who was having a pretty good year. None of us needs reminding he's come up big in some very important games the last few years. Is he with the team at all? I don't see him on the bench like Utley and Howard have been.

I want to go on record here reminding the good posters of this site that on the day Utley went down I said the Phillies would still win the division. . . yes, that in fact does make me a better person than you.

relax there jbird...still 2 games out of first and the braves have a cake walk of a schedule remaining.

Amazing that despite the injuries... and that horrible early summer swoon... we've still got the best record we've had at this point in the last 4 years.

While I think Jbird is a little over the top, I disagree with anyone having a cakewalk of a schedule. Everyone still has to play with an urgency and desperation to make the playoffs. At this point, I think it makes it tough to play against lesser talented teams. If you lose to these teams, who are playing loose(one of my favorite nonsensical terms ever coined), the pressure mounts and mounts until you fall apart. Just saying..."I’ve been there many times and this all feels very normal to me, very much like what a pennant race should be. My players are feeling it, too – and this will be a good experience for them. When we sip a little champagne later on, it’ll be a little sweeter."

CJ: Uhhhh... except for last year when we had 2 more wins?

p. Red: I actually mistyped, I meant to put apart from last year... My typing got ahead of my thinking.

My larger point is that last year we were completely healthy... amazingly so... but this year we've been hampered by injuries to just about everyone (only Werth has a chance to start 150 games for us)... but we're still that close to last year... and still better than 2007 or 2008.

I love this team...as much as we all whine and live and die with every game, its still a hell of a ride.

should be a hell of a finish. this likely comes down to the final series of the year. i'm nervous just thinking about it...

Its possible that we could continue to surge and simply jog by the Braves by mid-Sept making those final 6 games a formality. I just dont buy that they'll continue to play well down the stretch.

Don't forget - the Braves have some pressure on them, too. They don't want to choke. They want to win for Cox, they have an injured Chipper. So it won't be a cake walk for them, either.

My blood pressure and sanity hope the Phils are up at least 5 games when they play the Braves in September. I know that won't happen, but I can still hope.

Guarded optimism is my motto. It helps ease the pain the next morning after losing games like the one they lost against Dickey this past weekend.
Phils are winning but they arent destroying any teams like I want them to.

Can't wait to get Utley and Howard back and see what this offense can do along with the Big 3 in the starting rotation.

I almost guarantee a shutout in the first game back with Utley AND Howard.

Before Jbird gets hurt by patting himself on the back, I might like to know just what exactly defines a 'good poster'?

I think the team has a little more 'edge' than they did earlier in the season. They can feel the playoff races heating and for a team that has been there a few times before, maybe that is all it takes to get them firing on all cylinders.

we are incredibly tough up the middle - let's not loose sight of what an incredible team we have - let's embrace them!

Mr Mack, I do think I actually tweaked my rotator cuff.

Mr. Mack- it's a figure of speech, like saying "I want to remind all the good citizens of this town."

Hanson v Billingsley tonight. Wonder how many runs we'll see.

Hanson has been only slightly better on the road this year (3.81 xFIP vs. 4.20 xFIP / 3.00 ERA vs. 4.04 ERA).

Same is true for Billingley. 2.96 ERA vs 4.61 ERA -- difference smaller in xFIP: 3.98 xFIP vs. 4.10 xFIP. His peripherals are pretty much identical across venues. Hopefully the skew continues anyway.

LOL. Watch that rotator Jbird. They take a while to heal.

Any word on whether Howard will be sent on a rehab assignment, or if he'll just be activated when he's ready?

CJ: Gotcha. I agree with you, what this team has been able to do, playing with only half-a-deck for much of the year, is pretty remarkable. Hats off to Charlie and Ruben.

Once Chase and Ryan come back, this team needs to really turn on the jets and start becoming the juggernaut we all expected them to be earlier this season.

Winning 18 of 23 isn't "turning the Jets on"?

p. Red: hopefully it's the juggernaut we saw at the beginning of the season when they looked like easily the best team in baseball, before Tim Wakefield screwed them up.

I think Moyer wears a Red Sox cap and sports a fake Werth beard while sitting in the centerfield bleachers with a pair of specially designed binoculars with wireless communications to the dugout during all home and away Phillies games. That's why you don't see him sitting in the dugout or bullpen.

It might be a tall order expecting both Howard & Utley to jump right into the line up and suffer no ill effects, especially at the plate. It may be wise to keep our expectations to a minimum, even though they can ill afford to continue with the patch work line up they've been running out there. Realistically speaking, run scoring may be difficult until their timing is back. Look at JRoll. He still is struggling with his timing.

Besides, with Raul cooling off rather quickley, someone needs to pick up the slack. Chooch can only do so much from the 7 hole.

Mr. Mack: did you just question The Chooch?

Honestly, this offense doesn't have to be a juggernaut down the stretch, but the injection of Utley and Howard's power, coupled with the grade A pitching we'll be getting from our top 3 and the "hit" starts from Kendrick (when he's on, he usually gives us 6+ and 2 ER or less), we should be in good shape. Ruiz will get moved back down to 8 in the order, where he excels at turning the lineup over and may get opportunites to knock Vic/Werth/Ibanez in. Madson has been a stud for the last 1.5 months and Lidge, though still not an elite closer, has been serviceable. Add to all this that our bench players have gotten lots of time, and are therefore as sharp as they're going to be, so we should continue to get production from them. Really, all we have to survive down the stretch is Blanton, but let's hope he finds a second (or first) wind and pitches like a 4 ERA pitcher the remainder of the season.

All in all, with Utley coming back with his superior defense/offense to Valdez and with Howard's power and presense in the middle of the lineup, we WILL be a better team. And THIS Phillies team has proven in the past that they have what it takes to win down the stretch and get into the postseason. THIS Braves team has not proven that they can do that. They may do it, but until they do and so long as the Phillies are within contention of the division title, the Braves have a lot to prove. Also, we are leading the WC, so as of today, we control our own destiny.

Optimism runs eternal on this off-day.

We haven't yet lost consecutive games in August, so that certainly helps keep spirits up. And the last time we lost 2 in a row it was the last two days of July following an 8 game winning streak (the 2nd loss was the Zimmerman jack off of Lidge).

This team came out of the All-Star break and lost 3 of 4 to both Chicago and St. Louis. The Colorado series loomed and I truly believe that even a split there would have lead to a trade of Jayson Werth. Instead, we get the sweep, and the rest, as they say, is history.

It begins!

24 games in 23 days.

Me thinks that Manuel should stick with the following batting order until chase is good again:

Rollins
Victo
Polly
Big Piece
Beardo
Chase
Ibanez/BennyFrank
Chooch
Pitcher


Oh and K-Rod tore a ligament in his hand per Matt Gelb and drs are recommending surgery LOVE THE MUTS

Not a lot of discussion about it, but the Phils have busted slot on a bunch of draft picks today. Scott Frazier still not signed, though.

@CJ -- wins today's unintentionally dirty post of the day: "(the 2nd loss was the Zimmerman jack off of Lidge)."

Wonder if it is K-Rod's chest thumping hand, or his non-chest thumping hand...

steve: When Utley and Howard are healthy, the lineup, without fail, will be:

Rollins
Polanco
Utley
Howard
Werth
Ibanez/Francisco
Victorino
Ruiz
Pitcher

Period. End of discussion.

Thanks HammRadio... I can tell you that it certainly left the Nats satisfied... and the Phils ashamed.

K-Rod's injury came when he beat up his girlfriend's dad... who got beat up because he told K-Rod to stop acting like a little girl.

Ah... life as a Mets fan.

Mets are on the hook for $11.5M next season... and we have to hope that next year he finishes at least 55 games for New York because that will make his $17.5M option for 2012 vest automatically!

Braves have already won more games at home this year than last year

10: 41-16
09: 40-41

Teams should be better at home, but I don't really know what else to make of their home record.

Home: 4.9 R/G, 3.3 RA/G
Away: 4.3 R/G, 4.1 RA/G

I dont think Valdez defense is lesser than Utley its Utley offense we need. Valdez has been great out there just Utley every once in a while makes a spectacular play. So it gives the appearance he is a better defender. Valdez actually has the stronger arm.

Ugh, here we go again.

Valdez has a great arm, that's true. Comparison ends there.

no he's not a better defender because utley positions himself better than most second basemen. valdez uses his arm to compensate for a lack of range and positioning. utley is always in the right place. gives him a better chance to make a play.

bacardipr05, Utley is the superior baseball player IN. EVERY, RESPECT. Except hitting into double plays. Though if Utley put his mind to it....

You can't use your arm to compensate for balls you can't reach (that go into the OF). And his arm isn't so markedly better than Utley's to overcome the difference. Besides, we're just talking arm strength here. Utley has more ability to make more difficult throws.

Also, Utley and Rollins have an almost impeccable rapport as a double team combination. Rollins has said recently that he has trouble receiving Valdez because of his arm strenght (this is to be expected as Valdez is a natural shortstop, where a stronger arm is a necessity). This rapport can't be over-evaluated. Even if there were a marked difference in arm strength between Utley and Valdez, it is irrelevant to who is a better second basemen, since there is no throw that Utley can't make as a second basemen. If we were talking about who would be better suited as SS, Valdez, of course. But Utley is just simply a far superior player overall, and that's why he's a 5 time AS starter and why Valdez is a AAA lifer. This is said with all due respect to Valdez for his contributions this year.

Sophist -- I just read your post (last thread) quoting Martin Amis, and then a reference to Christopher Hitchens (may God be with him). Yikes, Vanity Fair on Beerleaguer?

Anyway, any thoughts on how well Utley, then Howard might contribute? Any thoughts on a heroic run towards a 100-win season?

"...Christopher Hitchens (may God be with him)"

This made me laugh out loud. Having read and listened to enough Hitchens, it would have made him grimace.

Heyman tweeting that Mets are looking to void K-Rod's contract which, you may recall from early in this thread, pays him $11.5M next season and has an option for $17.5M in 2010 with a $3.5M buyout.

If Mets try to void... this could get *really* ugly. If, of course, a story about a guy tearing a ligment while being up the grandfather of his children in the stadium can get any uglier.

Let's Go Mets!

The Phils elo-adjusted W/L record average peaked on May 22nd at 94.9. It reached a low on July 22 at 84.1 and gone up to 91.7 in less than a month since. That's the 18-5 run. Phils would probably need another one to increase their chances of winning 100 games to anything realistic. They'd be 84-56 -- that's still a 97 win pace for the season.

Odds of going 34-11 the rest of the way? Not very high but non-zero. But who cares about 100 wins? Phils are in second place!

no he's not a better defender because utley positions himself better than most second basemen. valdez uses his arm to compensate for a lack of range and positioning. utley is always in the right place. gives him a better chance to make a play.

You can't use your arm to compensate for balls you can't reach (that go into the OF). And his arm isn't so markedly better than Utley's to overcome the difference. Besides, we're just talking arm strength here. Utley has more ability to make more difficult throws.


So which one is it? Does he use his arm to compensate of a perceived lack of range or doesnt position himself?

Of course Rollins and Utley are better rapport in making double plays they have worked together for how many years? Rollins isnt use to an arm like Valdez he been catching throws from Dobber an Bruntlett and a more precise but weaker arm Utley...

"a reference to Christopher Hitchens (may God be with him)."

He would feel differently (but I'm sure that was your point)

Fatalotti -- The author of God Is Not Great has esophageal cancer. He's in for the greatest challenge of his life. Something about "There are no atheists in foxholes...". But I really digress.

I'm just thinking, how quickly can Utley, then Ryan Howard contribute? They will be an integral part of this Sisyphus-like pursuit of the mighty, mighty 1st place Braves.

bacardipr05: It's not one or the other... one of the functions of Valdez's lesser range is that he isn't as adept at positioning himself as Utley is.

No one is saying Valdez is a bad defender, but almost every defensive metric in baseball puts Chase Utley at, or near, the top of the list in all of baseball.

Valdez has done an admirable job filling in, but he's not really a better defensive player than Utley.

Right on, Phan! We need a game tonight...

bacardi - what do you mean which one is it? Valdez has a strong arm that makes up to some degree Utley's superior positioning/range. But it doesn't come anywhere close to overcoming the difference. 2B arm strength is just not that important.

There are few outs that Valdez makes with his arm that Utley does not make (because Utley positions himself so that a strong throw isn't necessary or because a stronger throw than Utley's is very rarely necessary). There are many, many outs Utley makes, because of his positioning and better ability to make higher degree of difficulty throws, that Valdez can simply not make. His arm strength won't help him throw out runners if he can't range to the ball, and his arm strength doesn't make him more accurate on tricky plays.

K Rod done for season with torn thumb ligament. You just can't make this stuff up.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/08/16/mets-say-closer-k-rod-has-torn-thumb-ligament/

guess i should have read the thread... back to the whiskey now.

Heyman says the basis for voiding the contract would be that the injury occurred during an "off the field" incident. Not sure teams have a lot of success voiding contracts.

@Sophist, well about 30 feet "off the field".

I miss Cliff Lee was watching some of his season highlights on mlb network 10 minutes ago. I have chosen not to follow anything he does this year bc it is too depressing :'(

Bruce Ruffin, I'm well aware of Hitchen's current predicament. I've also read God is not Great and watched many of Hitchens' videos. Not only is he an atheist, but he outspokenly hates the very concept of the monotheistic God. Therefore, if he were to hear "may God be with him", he would probably be slightly offended by it. He would want no help from God, even if he did exist. That's why I laughed.

As far as being a second basemen, Utley>Valdez by leaps and bounds in every category. And it's not even close.

1-0 Dodgers after the top of the 1st. Hanson threw 23 pitches in the top half.

Also steve, Cliff Lee is pitching tonight against the Rays. Just wanted to let you know.

Are Braves tickets incredibly expensive? There sure are a lot of empty ones.

shipsass, Braves fans are not, shall we say, the best baseball fans in MLB.

IIRC, one year they failed to sell out playoff games.

On K.O. Rod:

Well, it looks like he KO'd himslef as well.

It's incredibly difficult to void a contract, and if his surgery is successful and the prognosis a good one, they probably would have an extremely difficult time voiding 2011, despite the fact that the injury isn't "baseball related". He will, after all, be able to fulfill the contract in 2011.

However, I think they might have an easier time voiding the rest of 2010, or at least putting him on the restricted list so they don't have to pay him the rest of the season. He got hurt in a non-baseball realted activity - and here's the key point - that WAS NOT an accident (as in auto or taxi).

OTOH, since they let him pitch after he was reinstated, they're going to have a difficult time "proving" that the injury didn't occur while he was pitching.

Kind of makes them look foolish, IMHO.

Wait, do people think Christopher Hitchens will turn to god because he has a disease that he openly admits to making himself a candidate for?

Fatalotti:

I suppose off-days are the ideal format for totally off-topic ruminations, so I would like to mention if one has paid attention to Hitch lately one notices he has gone soft on Deists, and has also said people praying for him doesn't bother him one bit. Doesn't make him feel any better, either, but there you go: No grimacing at the prospect.

Don Carmen, I've seen most of the Anderson Cooper interview, and Hitchens doesn't seem to me to have changed. The average religious person has never angered him, it's been the extremists. But he says something particularly striking when asked about the possibility of him engaging in a "deathbed" conversion; he calls the prospect "pathetic" and that if he ever were to do it, it would only happen in a state of dementia or while under the influence of a particularly powerful drug. So while he may not be angered (and I probably shouldn't have used the word offended) by the phrase "may God be with him", he definitively still thinks the prospect of reaching out to God to be with him is ridiculous and pathetic. Again, this is why I laughed.

BL went from the Food Network discussions to theism in all forms. I dare Cerrone to provide a blog half as entertaining on off-days. And they say we threw snowballs at Santa? Compared to BL, Mets fans are shallow and pedantic (don't really think this of all of their fans of course, but I was itching to use that phrase).

Based on his reaction to religious extremists, the God he does not believe in probably likes Hitchens even more.

and dare Cerrone this:
words arranged aesthetic'ly.
(no poems on Met's Blog)

Enough with Hitchens and religion.

Let's bash KORod and the Mets. :)

Ishmael - I would not use pedantic to refer to Met's fans, since it implies some intellectual ability. Save the term for someone smug and arrogant, who puts down others arguments by misquoting them, misrepresenting them, and resorting to stubborn denial of his own short-comings.

We have no one like that on this board of course.

What do people think of his disdain for the term "fighting cancer"? I kind of like it. But if other people want to say it that's fine with me. I think if I had cancer I would handle in the same manner.

Damn, the Rays got to Lee.

awh - Bashing the Mets, at this point, is not even like shooting fish in a barrel. It's more like stapling them to a plank and taking a sledgehammer to it. Satisfying, I suppose, but too easy. And too messy.

This Dodgers lead over the Braves, by the way, far too tenuous for my liking.

Fatalotti - agreed there.

Andy, true. However, after having been subjected to Mets' fans at the Vet and the Zen the last dozen years, I do take some evil pleasure in seeing things go wrong for that franchise.

I know, I know....I shouldn't, but it's pretty easy to dislike that team and their fans.

To be honest, having been to Citi Field twice this year, I found most Mets fans to be pretty polite and courteous. Honestly, I felt like I was treated better there than a Mets fan would have been in Philadelphia.

off-day, off-topic post here ... according to phuture phillies, we've signed three high-upside high schoolers on draft deadline signing day (2 pitchers, 1 of) with the possibility of getting one more high school pitcher signed.

http://phuturephillies.com/2010/08/16/signing-deadline-day-preview/#more-7492

Key quote from article:

"The Phillies currently line up Hamels in the No. 3 spot, where he breathes easier. Just don’t be fooled by his 7-9 record; it’s an illusion. Baseball Prospectus calculates Hamels would be a 14-game winner if he were getting league-average run support (Hamels has given up 57 runs, but the Phillies have scored only 56 for him)."


56 runs? That's it? That means the opposing pitchers' ERAs are LOWER than Cole's when he pitches against them.

awh - For my own reasons I am in the same situation.

I understand he hurt his hand not by actually hitting his father-in-law, but when he was racing through the door on his way out of the bedroom when his father-in-law woke up.

From that article linked to by awh, "Every starter except Jayson Werth has been on the DL, 16 players in all."

If I'm not mistaken, Ibanez hasn't touched the DL, right? Also, suddenly all pundits have been saying without equivocation that the Cliff Lee trade was "big mistake", but they never offer any reasons for why this is. I for one feel that if the Lee trade was the only way we could've gotten Oswalt this year (who can affect 2 pennant races as opposed to Lee's one), than I don't think trading Lee was a mistake at all. It just seems very cliche now for "experts" to automatically dub the Lee trade by the Phillies as a no-brainer mistake, and not feel compelled to justify such a statement.

I really hope that WHEN Charlie makes up his playoff rotation Cole is 2nd not 3rd. Right now he is better than Oswalt.

Fatalotti, not that I really care, but isn't Hitchens really saying that the prospects of HIM reaching out on his deathbed was pathetic? That is, to spend a life denying the existence of God, only to recant at the last possible moment when the consequences - or lack thereof - were imminent, would not look upon him favorably. I have to say, regardless of my opinion on the matter, I respect his desire to remain steadfast in what will obviously be a very tempting time to hedge his bets.

seattlephan
I wanted one more hitter out of the mix. They had a bunch of HS guys that will be drafted again. I was hoping for either Zeutenhorst or, even more, Tomscha, who was the long-shot dark-horse, 50th pick who is creaming the ball like crazy in Iowa HS.

Oh well.

I'm not sure that Hamels is our 3 (though the distinction is probably trivial). In a playoff series, I'd go Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt. I think Hamels has earned the right to be the 2 in a playoff series, you break up the righties ( not sure how important that is). IF we get to the WS, I'd want Hamels getting that 2nd home start, because I remember how dominant Hamels was at home in the 2008 playoffs. But I don't think either configuration would be bad.

Yeah, F-lotti. There's the no out triple.

The Dodgers, simply, stink this year.

In all honestly I feel that the difference between Phils fans and Mets fans is predominately geographical.

That said, most of the best rivalries are between brothers. Pathological as it may be, schadenfreude is all the sweeter when you can see yourself in your opponent's eyes.

Damn, Eli Manning just got destroyed. Bleeding perfusely out of his forehead. Baron Von Hayes, I felt like the tenor of his statement was that the act of headging your bets and making a deathbed conversion was pathetic...not just his doing it but anyone doing it.

Here's a good question: I agree wholeheartedly that the Phillies have the best 1-2-3 in the NL (maybe in MLB), but do the Cardinals have the best 1-2? In other words, Wainwright/Carpenter better than Halladay/Hamels or Halladay/Oswalt?

Andy, I can't be too angry at Billingsley. He's probably going to go 7 innings of 1 run ball. That Dodgers offense with Loney, Kemp, Ethier and Podsednik at the top needs to do a better job against Tommy Hanson.

Andy -- still about 3hrs to get them signed. I'm hopeful we get either Frazier or 2 of the other lesser draftees done

Chase is a combined 2-6 today in the Clearwater doubleheader (1 rbi, 1 run, single, triple) DH'ing 2nd game which is on-going

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