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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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More offensive woes. Not good

Rockies pull a win in the 9th and save the Phils arse.

11th game in their last 12, where the "potent" Phils offense scored 3 runs or less.

As LA so perfectly put it tonight, is bunting not allowed for this team? Are there egos too big to actually try and not swing for the fences for once?

Halladay has 1 sac bunt all year? Sorry, but part of the job as a NL pitcher is to be able to handle the bat. That is pathetic.

Look at those batting stats on this road trip for our big money starting 8. Inspiring stuff.

As for the loss today, I will blame Kendrick for it. He is so bad, that its obvious they were pressing knowing they had no chance of winning tomorrow. Damn you Kyle.

Ohh, well. At least in the NL, there is nobody worth a damn. So the Phils fit right in. Hopefully they just suck less then the other playoff "contenders".

We better keep an eye on the Rocks. They are coming strong....just like they always do late in the season.

Gonna repost with a minor fix.

Sometimes teams play poorly.

I'll remind our Beerleaguer faithful that a large percentage of them absolutely panicked mid-season. Many recommended blowing the team up. Many said the season was over if RAJ didn't do something to get a second-string middle infielder. The season was over unless Ibanez was replaced by Brown. The season was over unless Charlie SENT LIDGE DOWN TO THE MINORS and replaced him with Mathieson.

In fact, we were informed, the entire franchise was ruined because of the C___ Lee____ trade: the absolute worst in the history of baseball.

Of course griping about the game is in order after the team plays a real stinker - but the level of vitriol and panic about a team that's not far off the division lead and that is leading in the WC race with the best top of the rotation in baseball is just hilarious.

I mean, seriously, BLers are already panicking about next year!!!

The question I have after tonight...

Is how in the hell did the Phils batter Kuroda in the playoffs last year? I know, he was hurt late last year and was "rusty" in October. But still....

They literally have NEVER hit this guy anytime else. The Phils hit 1 ball remotely well tonight against him.

Real interesting POV that the Phillies need to realize that at this point in their season they have to seriously think in terms of playing smart small ball to accompany their fine pitching in order to string together wins and secure a playoff spot. If the power returns, they can abandon the scrap-it-out style but they def need to have a few players adjust their games to deal with reality of how to best win at this time.
Like reading a lot more on suggestions and strategies for the Phillies than all the talk here and on sports radio on whether Halladay should win the Cy Young award. I'll save that discussion until the regular season ends and we're hopefully playing post-season ball when you have the entire season records of the pitching contenders to make a judgment.

denny b - Especially if they get Francis and Cook back in a week to bolster their starting rotation.

Wow. That sucked even by Phillies standards. Charlie's Offense -- & make no mistake, it is Charlie "coaching" these hitters -- got shut out for the 11th time in '10, & dominated, once again, by an extremely medicore starting pitcher. No patience. No awareness of & adapting to how the opposing pitcher is setting everyone down. Just the usual Charlie BS: See Ball, Softly Pop, Fly or Strike Out Ball. Why was Milt fired, again? He sure as hell wasn't the mental black hole of a manager running the same order out there, night after night, either too stubborn or too stupid to try something different, or direct a new approach at the plate, after failure ... after failure ... after failure ... after failure ... after failure ...

phlipper - if ppl weren't panicking, you wouldn't have the opportunity to come by every night and impress everyone with your calm level-headed mature self. Just be grateful for the opportunity to be so awesome.

It's always Charlies fault, I am sure another manager could have had this team hitting they way they have hit in the paast that led to 3 division titles, two trips to the series, and a fucking parade......

It's one of those years, when 6 of your 8 regulars are having bad years, and the two guys who are hitting are polanco (singles hitter) and chooch a catcher who is having a career year, but is what he is an 8 hole hitter....

Sure it Charlies fault lets fire him right now, we will be so much better!

Flip,

This team's offense has been poor most of this year. We have seen this literally all year long.

Even when healthy, they haven't hit.

Their leadoff hitter is hitting under .250
Utley looks terrible and truthfully hasn't hit much of 2010. Howard looks like he should have stayed on the DL. Werth is 228th out of 228 with RISP in baseball. Ibanez looks again like he did most of this year (old and overmatched). Victorino is nowhere near his career norms.

We are what we are. We have really good starting pitching and a above average bullpen. The closer is still shaky. And the offense sucks most nights out.

And color me a bit concerned about Halladay the rest of the way. All of those pitches and innings might be mounting. He's no spring chicken. And he will be pitching in pressure games in September for the first time in his life. He still should be fine, but we shouldn't expect shutouts everytime out either.

@Denny....

I agree with everything you said.

There a flawed team, but they can still win this, the division is going to be tough, and I have felt that way for weeks, there best way is the wild card.

Look out for the Rockies, but the good thing is those 4 teams all play each other so hopefully they all play around 500 and then all we have to worry about is the Cardinals, who have just as many if not more flaws than this team.

Charlie plays hunches - some pan out, some backfire. Sometimes Charlie employs questionable strategy - usually it turns out ok, occasionally not. But he really keeps the team together and I doubt between the injuries and the below par seasons many of the regulars are having - without Charley the Phils wouldn't be in the playoff hunt.

Jim - Yeah I don't know how people are faulting Cholly for the offense's lack of production.

Who on the bench really deserves to start or might give them an offensive spark? Eliminates Schneider and Valdez. Maybe Francisco vs. LHP or Sweeney at 1B (as Cholly has done recently). Not many answers there.

As for the starters, you have 4 regulars (Polanco, Utley, Howard, and JRoll) who are probably playing at less than 100%.

Cholly can tinker here or there but not many readily available answers there.

@philliesdude

Thanks someone who doesn't jump to blame the manager everytime they lose...

My favorite team to do is listen to a losing teams postgame call in show on a sunday during football season after a loss....

It's always the coaches fault, the other team is never better, player never under perfrom.....in fans eyes its always the coaches/managers fault.....I love fans!

Phlipper forgot to mention the Phils were eliminated by Atlanta when they fell 6 games back and all 73 wins are undeserved. So all in all being 1.5 up on the WC ain't too bad.

Thought you were going to bed early, Jason! Bet you wish you had.

MG,

The only saving grace with the Rockies, is that there September/October schedule is brutal. Lots of Padres, Giants, Dodgers, Reds and Cardinals on there.

As for a manager making a difference, look at the Reds and what they have done lately with Jay Bruce leading off (for the first time all year). If Dusty Baker can put their RF in the #1 hole, then why can't our manager do that?

Why not try something different? Hitters still gotta hit, no matter where they are in the order. But I am tired of watching Rollins hit 1st and Werth hit in the middle of the order.

@Jim Agree totally w/ you Dude!

You could platoon Fransisco and Ibanez, but it's not like Benny is going to put up monster numbers, so it's not going to make much of a difference...

and sweeney is what he is, he can help, but he could NEVER EVER do what Howard will do, people forget he was carrying this team up until 2 or 3 games before his injury....I am confident he will hit before all is said and done, I am not sure about Rollins, Vic, Chase, they may muddle through the rest of this season.......that's not charlies fault, but I guess it's easy to blame the manager!

@Denny

It's a great idea, but Jimmy has to much power in this organization, they have tinkered with it before, and everytime they do he says "I am a lead off hitter" and after a couple games they put him back there.

I will say Charlie should try Werth at leadoff he has a high OBP.....and just sit Jimmy down and tell him how it's going to be.

But sadly I don't see it happening.

Who bats leadoff is actually to me much more important for an NL team than for an AL team. That position of course starts off the game but it follows the pitcher hitting as you go through the lineup and most times is following an out. Also more chances for RBIs as it is following a position that lays down a sacrifice if there is a man on base.

I for one, am not blaming Howard too much in this deal.

He was a stud most of this year, until he got hurt. He was having arguably his best season in several areas (not striking out as much, hanging in there against LH, BA). He could have been up there in the MVP voting.

But its obvious he came back way too early. Give him credit for wanting back in the lineup ASAP. But he looks pathetic up there. Way late on the fastball and nowhere close to hitting a breaking ball. And he literally cannot move playing 1B (which LA pointed out tonight).

I am more disappointed with Utley's year. He just hasn't looked right most of this year. Even when healthy, he seemed to be off. Not sure what has gone on with him, but his drop in production is startling. This used to be one of the best hitters in baseball. Not even close right now.

A manager can make a difference, but blaming them before looking at the whole situation is irresponsible....

This team has won alot of games playing this way the past 4 seasons, with the lineup the way it is....

One of Charlies strenghts has been sticking with these guys even when things are bad.....any move at this time would be a desperation move, he is playing his best guys, but unfortunatley most of them are having bad years, is it age, fatigue from the past 3 years, or just simply one of those years, who knows no one knows that not even those players.

@Denny

That's why I think Howard can still carry this team at somepoint here, but Utley, Jimmy, Shane..........I'm worried I don't see those guys doing much other that good games here or there.

@philliesdude

Having Werth at leadoff is a great idea, he could have one of those 12 pitch Ab's draw a walk and set the tone for the game....J-Roll isn't doing that EVER!

Plus Werth is historically bad with RISP, and isn't hitting HR's so moving him up top makes sense, that's where his best value is for the team.....he isn't performing like a middle of the lineup guy anyway, he is more like a leadoff hitter at this time!

@Jim Would be cool to try Werth leading off. They've been forced to use so many lineups this season, this is prob the time to try yet another one for a period of time. My unclear previous post was just trying to say that in the NL - not only does the leadoff have the responsibility of setting the table for the so-called meat of the order coming up, a good one also has to follow an almost certain out (or sacrifice) when the pitcher is hitting and has more chances for RBIs if any of the bottom of the order has gotten on. Jimmy used to be fairly good at that function even if he wasn't as high on OBP as a leadoff guy should have.

@PhilliesDude

Your at a critical point of the season, which goes without saying....J-Roll is killing this team.....eventhough the Sabermetricans will tell you it doesn't matter who hits where, I do think that is one area where the math is flawed, I think a leadoff hitter can set the tone for an entire game, we have seen Jimmy do it before, we just watched Bourne do it to us last week, and hell even Reyes used to be a pain in the ass, but at this point there getting nothing out of that spot, which I think causes a trickle down effect.....It doesn't hurt trying Werth at leadoff....hit Jimmy 5 against lefties, and hit Raul 5 against RHP......not saying it will change a thing, but at this point it has to be worth a try.

@Jim

No real argument against it here at this point. Werth trying! Don't know if Charlie feels the same way at this point. Kinda doubt it but who knows.

Enjoyed your comments tonight....signing off now....Cheers!

@Phillies

I think for somereason J-Roll holds to much power in this organization, and he bitches and moans when they move him out of that spot, so they never will.

Doing the same thing over & over when it has proven a failure is idiocy. It is absolutely w/in Charlie's purview to reorder the lineup &/or focus attention on having more intelligent ABs. With rare exception, this is one of the most ignorant, hack-happy teams I've ever seen. You've got a guy like Rollins at the top of the order, swinging at everything he sees. Then you've got a guy like Werth, who is very capable of working a pitcher, slotted in a position where he ought to be swinging more often. And what about Ibañez? He has sucked out loud batting 6th, w/ a wonderfully productive streak batting 3rd in between. Maybe, just maybe, that's not a coincidence.

The Phillies offense has been more abysmal than not since mid-May. And the few times the Phillies have managed to break out a little it has been because Charlie felt forced to tinker w/ the lineup due to injuries. Now that the "regulars" are back he appears unable to see past his Opening Day lineup. Sure, maybe Charlie makes a few changes & it doesn't change anything. Even so, I'd rather he do something different & still fail than witness the same failure(s), game after game. And if this group of players values winning as much as we've been led to believe they do, they certainly won't have any problem stepping outside of their comfort zones & batting in a different spot in the order.

@G-town.....

I do agree with changing the order especially putting Werth at the top is worth a shot at this point in time...

but this team failures are not his fault......it's the same players for the most part from the past 4 years, for somereson is it injury, fatigue, burned out, or just one of those years, there not hitting they haven't hit all year.....and that's not charlies fault....

These guys are using the same approach it has in the past, yes that leads to alot of bad AB's....in the past they hit enough homeruns to overcome this, for whatever reason they haven't adjusted to this....I tend to think pitchers have also made adjustments on the hitter, now they have to make the adjustments to what the pitchers are doing to them, which they haven't....

I do think Charlie can tinker, but I don't think the overall failures this year are his fault.....I hope he does tinker I think it could help, but I am afraid he won't.....he is loyal to these guys....it has led to alot of the success, having said that being loyal to J-Roll at the top of the order is killing this team...

I wouldn't have a problem hitting Raul 3 and Chase 6, your right he has had his best success hitting 3 this year...

Might as well put Werth at the leadoff spot.

Anaheim has Booby Abreu leading off... not that it is going much better for them.

It's not working with J-roll there, he honestly should have never been a leadoff hitter, but that isn't the point....

This team needs a spark somewhere, and maybe Werth's 12 pitch AB's at the top of the order to start a game could set a tone.

I'm sure Scoscia is doing that for the same reason I think they should put Werth up there, Anaheim is struggling offensivley so maybe by putting a high OBP and doubles hitter at the top of the order can provide a spark....

But I still don't see it happening, there to loyal to J-Roll, and he has always kicked and screamed everytime they move him around in the order.

If they only hit in a different order, the offense would come to life? I know people are desperate, but that ain't going to do it.
If a guy is going to strike out (and that applies to everyone) does it really matter where in the lineup he does it?
However, I do agree that a different approach at the plate would help, and I'm assuming there is some sort of game plan, but it's hard to tell what it is.

At this point, I can't imagine J-Roll would complain about being moved in the order. However, they might not be panicking the way the fans are. The team takes it day to day, and they may not be going insane after 1 loss following a sweep of a team with the best record in the NL.

@Old....

I'm not saying it is going to work, but isn't having a high OBP guy who isn't hitting like a middle of the order guy worth a shot?

They need to start looking the other way instead of trying to yank everything which leads to ground outs and pop up's

I'm only saying that about J-Roll, due to everyother time they have moved him, he has never reacted well, but I am one who has always thought he would be better as a 6 or 7 hole hitter.

I don't think I am in panic mode as a fan, I think this team is what it is, and they will have games like this....there not winning with offense this year, there going to have to do it with pitching and defense...

However, they are going to need to hit better than they are or they will find themselves on the outside looking in.

I knew tonight would be tough, for whatever reason Kuroda owns this team.

He has batted 3rd, 5th, and 6th in a few games. Unfortunately, the sample size is microscopic so it's hard to make a judgment. The one game he hit 5th he went 3-4 with 3 RBI. Batting 3rd and 6th he didn't fare too well.

Jim, true about Kuroda. I was hoping that Doc would neutralize it a bit, but it was not to be.

@Old

Yea it's hard to judge what his impact would be hitting down farther in the order with the small sample size...

I just think it is worth a try.....is it going to make a huge difference? probably not....the bottom line is that everyone has to hit.

I'm not expecting Jimmy to be 2007 Jimmy, I don't expect much from Shane or Chase either at this point, they have been below average offensive players all year and I expect them to be that for the rest of the year...

The guy that has to do it is Howard, he can be cold for a month and then carry this team for a month.....he is the best hope for the offense....

I don't care if they win with pitching and defense as long as they win i will be happy!

Doc wasn't sharp......but that's my favorite thing about him, for the most part when he doesn't have it he is able to battle through and keep the team in the game.....that's what makes him stand out as an elite pitcher.

Doc's bad performances are like most other pitcher's good ones.

It seems obvious that Ryno came back too soon. It isn't like he has forgotten how to hit. He is playing in some pain, and it's affecting his swing.

That's why he is a top 3 pitcher in the game at this point, most pitchers would have given up 5 or 6 and been out of there in the 5th tongith, but he gave them a chance...

I agree with your take in Howard, but I have confidence in him that he will snap out of this, he has done this before. I have less confidence in Chase, Jimmy, and Shane.......I've never seen Chase look this bad, and Jimmy and Shane have developed such bad habits at the plate, they always have had bad habits, but they seem worse than ever now.

Yea if KK gives us what Doc gave us tonight, we would be throwing a parade in his honor, and that was a bad performance by him...

Offensive problems as I see them.

1. The Phillies do not have a leadoff hitter on the roster. Jimmy's days as a table setter are several years behind him and Shane hasn't impressed in the role either. Considering the presence of Davey Lopes, the Phillies intimidate no one on the base paths.

2. There is a cowboy mentality on the team when it comes to playing hurt despite not being able to perform.

3. Ryan Howard numbers after sitting for a while are far less impressive than after he has played consistently for a few weeks. 22 World Series strikeouts, generally a slow start in April and when coming off of the DL. He'll settle in, but it won't happen overnight, and in the meantime he'll be a fairly easy out.

How I hate Rod Barajas. Let me count the ways.

"I think for somereason J-Roll holds to much power in this organization, and he bitches and moans when they move him out of that spot, so they never will."
This is one of the great philllies myths. When has Rollins ever refused to hit in a lower spot in the order? All he ever said on the matter was "It doesn't matter where you hit me, I'm the leadoff hitter in my mind." He has willingly hit in numerous spots in the lineup over the years from 7th to 3rd.Jimmy has done more as a leader and set a better tone/example of what winning is about and how to play the game as a team than St Utley or anyone else on the team. Sure Rollins has holes in his game, but what makes you think they are things he can unlearn or a result of stubborness? Speaking of Utley, I can't believe he refuses to move in the order! What players don't make the lineup and hit where they please?!

Rollins is 9th of 18 in the NL in OBP amongst players with 200 ABs in the leadoff position, ahead of such legends as Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn.

You look at slugging he drops to 12th.

I've often wanted a manager to shake up the lineup by putting them in order of OBP.

Our lineup would be:

Werth
Chooch
Utley
Ibanez
Polanco
Howard
Rollins
Victorino
Pitcher

Not surprised to see last night's result. Small sample size, but Kuroda has owned the Phils in his 3 career Regular Season starts against them prior to last night. You can see the results here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=kurodhi01&year=Career&t=p#PHI

The hightlights though include 6 hits allowed in 3 starts, with 5 BBs 17Ks, and an opponents avg of .100 with an OBP of .179

Ouch.

"lost the ability to score" implies that they once had it and for 2010, that would be a falsehood outside of the first week and a half of the season.


Our offense is simply middle of the pack this year for whatever reason. Our pitching is pretty good though.

I love how Halladay was "Terrible" because he went 7 and gave up 3. That's a win 75% of the time and that's him off his game. Best pitcher in baseball.

"the two guys who are hitting are polanco (singles hitter) ... "
That's Polanco with the 99 OPS+ prior to last night? Polanco has been a big improvement overall over Feliz, but PP is not an offensive force, just an average major leaguer at this point.

My reoccurring nightmare is that Rollins, Utley and Howard are on the downside, and due to wear and tear will not return to productivity seen in prior years until '11, if at all. It appears that the ensuing inability to score can really cause a pitcher to start pressing. How many Dodger hits came on pitches thrown by our ace who knew, almost intuitively, that he had to be perfect to outduel Kuroda?

As Bill Parcels said, "You are what your (BA?/ BA w/RISP?) record says you are." Changing the lineup on this team is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

If Charlie can't figure out how to get small ball back in gear -- a point that Sophist made earlier, however inadvertently, when he cited the production stats of lineup replacements during our run to 17 over .500 -- this team may spiral. Phil's hitters don't produce; our brilliant staff tries to get too fine; runs come more easily for the opposition; Phil's hitters don't produce; and on it goes.

When will these Phils realize they are no longer a gang of mashers? Earl Weaver has been quoted as saying: "Pitching don't win games; 3-run homers win games." Bullshit. A run scored is a run scored. With pitching like ours, we need to manufacture no less than 4 runs a game to make a run at the Braves. If changes don't happen starting tonight, October golf beckons.

Too bad there's no bye week in MLB.

I dont agree that all three players are on the decline, except for Jimmy. With Utley and Howard it's all between the ears, with Jimmy I think it's more physical. Rollins and Victorino are killing us just as much as Howard and Utley. The never get on base and have had brutal situational at-bats all season.

Whoever mentioned the Abreu experiment in LA, he has already been moved back down after doing 1 for 29 or something like that.

I really do think this is partially a Jimmy issue. I love his defense but I really think they need a real leadoff guy who is willing to get on with walks and hit a single with people on base. Perhaps it is time to let him walk. I don't pretend to know of any stud defensive SS who can leadoff and take over but perhaps they try to find one. I will also repeat this chestnut, get rid of Vic too.

Let's not forget that Utley was really not expected back until about now. It looks to me like he's still off his game offensively, and with this injury, he may not be right for the rest of the season. Same thing with Howard.

We're all hoping they will start to mash, or revert to their mean, or whatever, before the end of the season, but who knows? I do not think it's "between the ears", although they may be pressing some out of frustration at this point.

Bottom line, they are playing at well under 100%, and there is no place for players of this magnitude to hide while they mend without noticing the lack of production.

You need a Juan Pierre-esque leadoff hitter rather than Jimmy. As far as Victorino goes, he has a world of talent that is never utlized completely because he doesnt play the right way most of the time. How many weak pop-ups/fly balls do you need to see him hit on bad pitches?

heh heh heh

Utley needs to use center and left field more, period. Too bad if it saps his power numbers, such as they are anyhow. He's too good a hitter to have become such a dead pull machine. I see more of an consistent effort from Howard to use the whole field than Utley.

And Charlie M.: yeah, "that's our lineup", but you can tweak it some if guys like Utley are going to hit like Duane Kuiper for two weeks. Remember how well Ibanez performed near the top of the order? Drop Utley and put Raul third. Move Ruiz up some. Victorino can hit eighth, it's not going to get protested by the Players Association.

"Rockies pull a win in the 9th and save the Phils arse."

Pretty soon the Rockies will catch the Phillies though if things don't change.

You can call me Oliver Stone but, the Phillies team batting stats (BA,OBP,SLG,OPS) have gone from .261/.339/.417/.756 in April to .241/.308/.350/.658 in August. Take into consideration that they were cited by MLB for the "bullpen binocular" incident in mid-May. Coincidence? Just sayin'...

Game was too late for me to watch, but when I got up to go to the bathroom at 4am, I wasn't surprised to see 0 runs and 1 hit. Though, I was hoping those were the Dodgers' numbers...

Unless Howard gets hot, Phils will not have a 30 HR guy. And as of now Howard is their only 20 HR guy.

Can we call up Mathieson to plunk Barajas in his face/head/crotch? That'll make up for any losses this series.

I'm sick of hearing that lame opening day lineup argument also. Who cares if that's the original lineup that was planned before the season? It's September now and the only time this team ever showed any heart and momentum was when that lineup was 90% depleted.

By the way that no-hitter was over when that dope threw a beach ball onto the field. Kuroda was visibly thrown off by that and also by Werth taking extra time out of the box when he fouled a ball off of his foot. Too bad they couldnt do what a great team would and capitalize on it.

There are two moments in my mind where things took a clear and immediate slide south. Granted, injury bug is a big thing, but these two are notable.

1. Polanco getting hit on the elbow by the Braves. Phillies were looking like the best offense in history up until that point. We didn't even plunk one of their players in return. Slide begins.

2. Binocular incident. As JohnnyD said "just sayin'".

I refuse to believe the binocular thing. As I've said before, you can go back in the clubhouse and watch the game on tv and have the same affect as binoculars from the bullpen. The binoclulars don't help for the immediately forthcoming pitch.

look, we all love Uts, and for good reason. but...he is a complete and utter mess right now.

I'M SICK AND TIRED OF WATCHING HIM SWING AND IMMEDIATELY PUTTING HIS HEAD DOWN AS THE BALL SAILS HARMLESSLY TO AN OUTFIELDER. he's been doing this for years but it's happening so often now that his at bats are nearly unwatchable!

I can't help but consider they were stealing signs. What else can we blame for their offensive struggles?

I'll add my utter loathing and detestation of Barajas to the chorus.

Kind of a frustrating game in that the Dodgers did not hit a lot of balls hard. They seemed to find holes with a high percentage of routine grounders. Even Barajas' homer would have probably been a double that would have come to nothing if it had been a couple of inches shorter; it was not exactly an epic, highlight film, Stairsesque cannon shot.

Thought Halladay did a nice job of keeping things under control and giving the team a chance to win on a night when he was not quite as sharp as usual, and when many of the other team's grounders had eyes. I feel bad for him, but it's hard to bemoan the luck of the other team when a rookie pitcher (admittedly a pretty good one) lays a one hit shutout on your offense.

Gotta say, it seeems like forever since the team has laid one of those soul crushing 7-10 run routs on another team with everyone getting into the act. Don't get me wrong, I'm in there pulling for them and agonizing when they fail, but it feels really weird to see Utley and Howard come up to bat and have little hope that anything positive is going to happen. Last year even when they were slumping I always felt they were just one at bat away from turning it around and ruining a bunch of pitchers' days for the next several weeks. This year, right now, with the injuries, not so much.

The good news is that tonight is the last game scheduled to start after 735 ET this year!

I'm coming to the realization that our lineup has absolutely no dependable offense from day to day.

Unfortunately, I know that, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch as two former league MVPs, the former best 2nd baseman in baseball, and the 2nd best FA outfielder take mighty hacks and miss. And miss. And miss. And pop up. And fly out. And ground out.

What is supposed to be "entertainment" has become an exercise in frustration and futility.

"the former best 2nd baseman in baseball"

That hurts. Hadn't thought about that but it's true.

"I'm coming to the realization that our lineup has absolutely no dependable offense from day to day."

Heather, not true at all. You can depend on them to be horrible every night.

Also, is it just me, or does our team look like they're just not having fun out there?

Been watching the Rangers a lot this year, and even when they're slumping they still do little team things like "the antlers" (when they are speedy and get an infield hit). They do lots of other stupid signs like that...it's stupid, but you see the guys laughing and having a good time playing the game.

When was the last time you saw our guys actually look like they wanted to be on the field and were having a good time playing?

Half the team looks like they'd rather be anywhere else besides on the baseball field, and the other half looks like they're stoned. Honestly, that's just not fun to watch. Guess that's why I've really started to warm to Sweeney. The guy at least looks and talks like he literally couldn't think of any place he'd rather be.

found this on a fantasy blog i frequent:

"the Phillies are a mess right now. I haven’t seen a whole lineup slump this bad since NBC post-Friends."

it's funny 'cause it's true!

No doubt the Rocks will chase them down. This lineup is awful.

I wouldnt write the post script for Utley just yet, he's coming off an injury and refuses to stay out as long as he has to because he is driven like that. Cano is having a tremendous season but a healthy Utley next season will be right back where he belongs. He's still the 2nd best 2B in baseball, even with the year he's having and the injury.

I still say this team has gone stale. Mercifully, they have good starting pitching now, but as I've been saying since May (or earlier):

OLD AND STALE.

Outside of the first week against bad teams, the only extended stretch the team has performed well offensively was when there were new faces moving in and out of the lineup. They may be considered lesser players, and in fact they *were*, but you can't deny the effect it had on the team's ability to gel.

No Heather, it's not just you. I know this type of "soft" analysis is sometimes frowned on here at BL, but yeah, overall right now they seem like a pretty grim bunch, going through the motions. Werth showed some animation last night, but there were not a lot of happy faces out there. Meanwhile the Dodgers were laughing it up at least a couple of times that I saw.

Not sure, though, if "playing the game and having fun" and winning aren't a chicken and egg type thing. Winning breeds a lot of confidence, animation and happy faces. Although they are hanging in with the pennant race, they have to know they are are not right offensively and be wondering if it is going to turn around.

Cano was nearly the best 2B in baseball last season, but he is without question the best one this season.

No doubt about Cano, also no doubt that a healthy Utley all season would be challenging him overall. Utley was on fire before he got hurt and was well on the way to a big year.

Does this team ever score in the first inning? I have yet to see them bat when the inning lasted more the 5-6 minutes, if that...

Joe: I'm pretty sure if you take a look at Utley's stats vs. Cano's stats pre-injury, Cano still comes ahead the clear winner.

Heather: you can't really determine that since Utley is more of a streak hitter, whose slumps never last too long. Cano is definitely more consistent. Cano also operates within an offense that has never hit a funk this year as we have and cranks out 8-10 runs at least 3 times per week. That helps. Also the fact that he's in pinstripes doesnt hurt, put him in Cleveland or Toronto and he'd garner a lot less attention.

Does this team ever score in the first inning?

Another question is: Does this team ever get a hit in the first innings. Seems like a while since they've done that.

Joe Cowley:

Utley OPS in April: .981
Cano OPS in April: 1.201

Utley OPS in may: .845
Cano OPS in May: .890

Utley OPS line in June: .727
Cano OPS in June: .908

Cano was better offensively than Utley in every month pre-injury.

No Yankee since Babe Ruth is good at anything, no matter what the stats say. It's a Philadelphia birthright to believe so.

I would find it hard to believe that any rational person would think that Cano is not the best 2B in baseball this year. Is it even close? Am I forgetting someone? Cano is having a monster year.

R. Billingsley, I agree with you, and if Utley doesn't wake up from his funk (or whatever it is) he probably won't even be considered the best 2nd baseman in the league soon.

speaking of cano - did anyone see the HR's the he and texiera hit last nite at yankee stadium? they were line drives that never got more than 20 feet off the ground and would have been lineouts in any other stadium. now THAT'S a bandbox!

Is it impossible to argue that a healthy Utley would also be having a monster year?? I dont think it's that far fetched.

Thank God I fell asleep in the first inning last night. We bitch about everything around here but the one thing that is unforgiveable is to be boring. This team goes through stretches where they are absolutely unwatchable. It's only a matter of time until they get no hit. How many times have they gone into the fifth or sixth inning this year without a hit? B-O-R-I-N-G.

Utley's RFMI (return from major injury) numbers are significantly better than Cano's.

joe, as previously pointed out, chase was not having a "monster year" pre-injury. solid maybe, above average for a second baseman, yes. "monster", no!

Charlie refuses to make any changes to line up except for the fact that he tweeks it every once in a while by moving some guys through out the order. Tonight he NEEDS to bench some of these guys! I am sick of hearing his "motto" that guys need to keep swinging the bat to get out of their slumps, because it is not working! Tonight he needs to do something drastic, no more Mr. nice guy, light a fire under these zombies

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EST. 2005

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