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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Agreed regarding Madson. The backend of our bullpen is starting to resemble its form of '08. Their August numbers:

Madson - 9.1 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 0 ER, 17 K
Lidge - 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB(!), 0 ER, 7 K, 6 SV

The Phils supposed weakness, isn't so weak anymore. If these two can keep this up, with Howard and Utley coming back, and H20 anchoring the rotation... watch out Braves.

It will be a cryin' shame if we don't make the playoffs this year. This team could blaze through the postseason.

Why am I not excited about leading the WC race by a game? It's because I want the Phils to have the best record in the NL and gain homefield advantage in the playoffs, that's why.

"Anyone know the Phils record for the 43 games that Utley missed?"

Pope, Utley got hurt June 28. Their record at the time was 40 - 34.

Madson looked great again last night. Seems to be reverting to his old "maybe be should close" form. At this rate, we will all forget about Jim kicking a chair (until he blows one, anyway). Absolutely filthy change up.

Fred, the Phils are 4 games behind the Pads(47) in the loss column, 2 games behind the Braves and tied with the Reds. The Cards are 1 behind.

Can 4 games in the loss column be made up? Sure.

Is it likely? I haven't looked at the Pads schedule the rest of the season, but the Phils have the opportunity to take care of their own business as far as the Braves are concerned with 6 games remeining with them.

Just a joy to watch this team. No homeruns? down 2-0? No problem...this team is starting to look like the team that makes the other team "feel" like if they make a mistake it will be costly...lots of pressure on the other teams is what this team has always been about.

Fred, I jsut looked at the Pads schedule.

The Phils have 3 games with them in SD at the 8/27 - 8/29. Any questions?

Also, the Pads have a 10 game home stand with COL(3), LAD(3) adn SFG(4),followed by a road trip to COL(3), STL(4) and LAD(3).

They host CIN at home for 3 games, and finish the season at SFG for 3 games.

So, they play mostly in the division the rest of the season, and have the two tough teams from the NL Cantral for 7 games, but that is mitigated somewhat by 11 games with CHC, MIL and ARI.

The place was buzzing in the 5th during the Ruiz walk, and the cheer was Oswalt's bunt was a roar.

Vic may be finding his form again. He had a run mid-April to mid-May where he hit .300 (40 hits, 5 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR). 11 multi-hit games in a stretch of 30. He's 7 for his last 13.

That said, I never liked the Rollins-Vic batting order.

awh - I'd bet that's the toughest schedule of any of the contending 6 unless the Giants have 10 against STL/CIN/PHI.

"..the home and away difference cannot be overstated."

Exactly why Chollie took the AS game so seriously. And why the Phils have to dominate the rest of the way (like they normally do this time of year), to finish with the best NL record.

Maybe it's just me reacting to Utley's return, but I think they looked more "swaggerish" last night. As well as they've played during the injury plagued weeks, they might truly feel like they can club anyone to death like so many soft baby seals.

Sophist, I was there last night as well.

The cheers for RoyO were great, and because everyone - the pitcher, the defense, the manager, everyone on the Phillies, and everyone in the ballpark - knew what he was trying to do.

And he STILL executed it perfectly.

It was a great AB.

I'll bet he never had a sacrifice bunt cheered like that before.

Welcome to sontention baseball in Philly, Roy.

Glad to have you!

Getting Polanco back was a great move, it"s been a while since the Phillies had someone in the lead for BA this late in the year.
Imagine if he was never traded away in the first place, all those mediocre third baseman we would have missed. God bless David Bell.

Sophist, the Rollins - Vic batting order is awfully successful when they hit and run.

Morning kudos:

To Placido Polanco, who's 4/5 night against the Giants has him sitting atop the NL batting leader with a .325 AVG.

Did you know:

that Raul Ibanez's OBP of .352 ranks him 27th in the NL?

I mean, they have about 44 games left. 17 are against the 6 playoff contenders. And then 12 against the Rockies/Dodgers, who are no pushovers.

In comparison the Braves have 10 against the 6 playoff contenders - although I guess you could say that the East is no pushover either (they're 15-15 against the non-Phillies East).

Phils have 11 against the 6. Phils and Braves schedules even out after this series against the Giants. Phils schedule may even be slightly easier.

Reds have 9 against the 6.

Cards have 14 against the 6.

Giants have 15 against the 6.

Both West teams have tough roads (they play each other 7 more times).

Also looks like the Reds have a substantially easier schedule than the Cardinals.

Reds: 3 against SF; 3 against SD; 21 against HOU/MIL/CHC; 13 against ARI/COL/LA; 3 against STL

Cards: 3 against SF; 4 against SD; 26 against HOU/MIL/CHC/WAS; 4 against COL; 4 against ATL; 3 against CIN.

I think that you have to count the Dodgers as pushovers at this point. They are playing terrible baseball.

Unfortunately for the Phils, the Nationals are never push overs against the Phils.

Great win last night. I think everyone (probably players included) was really looking forward to the end of the season when the playoff atmosphere kicks in. We're all probably a little spoiled at this point.

Very nice win tonight. Boy, seeing Utley out there was nice, playing without him in the lineup has been bizarre, as he is one of those rarre players who usually makes a positive statemnt/contribution even if he has an off night at the plate.

That being said, there was not a lot of discussion about his return. The long drive to center was nice, but he looked tentative/choppy on a couple of his other swings where he hit grounders to the right side of the infield. I didn't notice anything wrong with the swing, so my guess is that is a timing issue that will resolve as he gets back into the groove.

The Dodgers have good starting pitching, though, and a good back-end pen for all the recent troubles. That separates them from the Astros/Diamondbacks/Pirates pushovers. The Reds see them this weekend and are scheduled to face Padilla-Billingsley-Kershaw. I'm not sure we would all be guaranteeing 2/3 ahead of time in such a scenario (in fact, we just faced those three pitchers).

There's a difference between the West bottom-feeders and those in the East and Central.

The good news for the Pads/Giants is that almost everyone else is playing the Dodgers/Rockies in that last month+ as well. Reds have 7 against them; Cards have 4; Phils have 4; Braves have 3 (COL).

I've never thought much of Bob Ford as a columnist - always very obvious in his analysis - little insight.

Today's column is OK, though, as he salutes some of the players who contributed because of the injuries to the regulars.

He does, however, make one MOTO comment, suggesting that it's not time for the Phillies to let up just because they're getting Utley back and Howard back soon.

Ummm, Bob.....Duh!

Oswalt should hold a bunting clinic for the rest of the pitching staff. That was masterful last night.

Burrell was quoted as telling Utley before last night's that he needed 15 more minor league AB's to get sharp.
Since that would coincide with the end of the Giants series PtB may have been a little self serving in his advice.
Of course, he is still porbably about right- Uts should get into form in a couple of games.
His hustle was back already - good to see .

>Sophist, the Rollins - Vic batting order is
>awfully successful when they hit and run.

And is awfully distracting to pitchers for Chase and Ryno.

Although, Poloanco is the ultimate 2 hole hitter, just wish he had Vic's speed. No matter, our second cleanup hitter, chooch, will drive vic in.

I was listening on the radio while walking the dog last night when Shane got a double. LA was giving him credit for good baserunning to make it a double. So I thought I'd mention it to give him credit, too - given that we notice when he makes mistakes on the basepaths.

It's interesting to hear that Jimmy's average with RISP is .340 in spite of his low BA. Rather the opposite of Jayson Werth. Shane, too, hits well with RISP. I wonder why, with so many lineup configurations, Charlie has not tried Werth at leadoff and Jimmy at cleanup. - Or maybe he has, and I've simply forgotten.

Rollins power is just non-existent since his return from the DL, but he's at least started to hit for average and continuing to walk (.277/.358 in the last 22 games). He also has 6 SB in that time. .360 on base and 1 steal every 3/4 games. I'll take that from Rollins for the rest of the year.

I actually mean flipping Rollins-Werth - When healthy, Howard hits cleanup as he should.

Has anyone ever tried this before?

"Joe Blanton -- eats innings but pukes up runs."

Brett - My guess is that the RISP this season is an anomaly. It might even itself out a bit in a month or so. But I have wondered about Werth as a lead-off hitter. He's a lot better at seeing pitches (both in terms of early count patience and in terms of fouling stuff off) than just about anyone else in the line-up.

Madson has rebounded nicely. So nicely that he should have full confidence of the fans again. He's striking out a ton of batters. We need the current Madson to keep pitching this way to make October magic happen again.

Polly is amazing. His knack for making contact makes him a dangerous hitter. The power is missing, but eff it, the batting average is awesome!

With Cain on the mound tonight, I'm hoping Gload is healthy enough to play 1st.

FYI - according to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are in serious talks with the Braves regarding a trade of Derek Lee.

Lee to Braves?

Polanco's ISO is right in line with career numbers (between .100 and .110).

Has Lee been placed on waivers?

I just finished reading last night's game thread comments and it was pure BL, with despair and negativity early followed by elation, interspersed throughout with predictions, second guessing and managerial suggestions. That's what makes BL so great.

Now we're analyzing the schedules of all the contenders. Having channeled Cholly, I now can communicate with my gut for wisdom. My gut remains unconvinced that the sanitary Pads and the Reds are for real. My gut foresees collapses for those two teams. My head tells me that Atlanta also should collapse, but my gut disagrees. My gut tends to share the BL sense of negativity with regard to NL East opponents willingness to lose in order to benefit the Phillies.

It is refreshing to see a guy who can actually bunt on this pitching staff (other htan Moyer). But, I thought Oswalt was being a little too cute early in that at bat, squaring after the pitcher started his delivery. It nearly burned him when he popped hte first pitch foul. With a guy who throws soft and loopy like Zito, I thought he should have been a little more deliberate in his approach, especially since the one he got down wasn't pushed toward third. Until he did that, I assumed he was trying to get 3B to hold his ground a little bit but, they wanted him to commit to the bunt so it seemed a bit counterproductive.

On Werth batting lead off, at least he's patient enough at batting to look for walks. JRoll does not like walking.

But at least Oswalt made the bunt. How many times have we seen other pitchers fail in that situation?

Lake Fred- dat soond like dat N'awleens voodoo talk.

I thought the way Oswalt walked out of the dugout and approached the on deck circle appeared a bit awkward. It seemed as if he was a little quick getting out to the spot before the previous batter had vacated the area. He needs to work on that a little bit.

Vic is .438/.471/.625 with 3 RBI, 3 R, 3 SB since his return. He is a necessary cog in this wheel, as much as many would like to deny it.

Bullpen is still the Achilles Heel of this team just as it was last year. Just as last year though, once August rolled around this team's starting pitching really asserted itself.

Easy to cover up a weakness when you when don't have to use it often or its weakest components more than 1/week.

My guess is he cleared. Don't think any teams want to get stuck with the remainder of his salary this year and most contending teams are set at 1B.

I agree - I'm picking nits. He made a nice bunt, albeit with no margin for error (2 strikes). Still, all praise must be tempered with criticism. I've been a fan too long to give in on that.

BB- This caused me great vexation, as well. How this rube, Rube, could trade for a pitcher with a losing record and an awkward approach to the plate (let alone at the plate) is beyond me. Babe Ruth used to be a pitcher, did you know that? Didn't stop him from putting in a serviceable major league career at bat (all the same, he was no Cliff Lee).

Not to mention that the Braves one upped us at the deadline by getting a pitcher who was so good at hitting, he become an outfielder! Plus this Oswalt guy CLEARLY cribbed the first name of our half-assed-Cliff Lee-consolation-prize ace. An awkward walking plagiarist loser. Who wants that?

Bastards, the lot of them.

If the Braves get Lee, that's a pretty good pickup. Any above-average offensive player provides a strong marginal gain for them at this point.

According to BP, what are the odds that Cholly ever bats in the leadoff position? Considering where they have placed the Phils playoff chances over time during the season, my hunch would be somewhere between slim and F-all.

Any improvement over Glaus is a gain for them. Glaus has been atrocious.

But, MG, Lee is not above average this year. 94 OPS+ at 1B is way below average. Only thing is that he's having an Ibanez-like second half: .314/.359/.542 in the last 29 games.

This would be a solid pick-up for them. An upgrade from Glaus, for sure, and possibly a big upgrade.

Oh, sorry, that was Jack with the Derrek Lee post, not MG.

The Lee-to-Atlanta thing makes little sense to me. What are they going to do, platoon him with Glaus? Glaus can no longer play 3B, so this seems kind of strange to me. Lee has been very underwhelming this year, too. But, as Sophist points out, he has been hot of late. Perhaps the Braves are willing to take a $3.4M gamble that he stays that way. If he cools off, he'll at least provide solid D at 1B.

Glaus has been terrible, RB. He'd be benched and Lee would be the everyday 1B (they are both RHB anyway). Glaus has a .715 OPS (.212 BA) over the last 74 games; a .572 OPS (.173 BA) over the last 51 games.

Lee has been underwhelming but he's better defensively and will be better than Glaus offensively, possibly much better.

Another stat: Lee is a .237/.338/.388 career hitter at Turner field.

Gbrettfan... I too wanted to give kudos to Shane for smart baserunning last night on the double.

Then he had his post game interview with Sarge. Sarge says something along the lines of "So you saw that Fontenot wasn't covering the bag and went for it?" Shane says, "No. I just hit it and thought, I'm gonna try to get to second."

Don't get me wrong, I still love that he got there. I just wish he had lied to Sarge and pretended he saw Fontenot not covering.

Also, does anyone else like Vic's fake-outs when trying to gage a steal attempt? He gets almost to full speed and decides to cut it off. It's pretty funny. Wheels thought he had tripped.

Sophist, I just checked the mlbtr site and they don't list Lee as having cleared waivers.

If that's the case the Phils can block the deal. If they do and the Cubs just want to clear the salary, they can let the Phils have him....I think.

Or, does Lee have the right to veto the "trade" as a 5-10 player?

Here are the rules for August trades:

Here's my answer:

"•Teams don't have to trade players who are claimed. They can hand the player and his salary over for nothing."

So, if the Phils were to claim Lee, the Cubs could let him go just for salary relief. If that happened, I guess Mike Sweeney would be the guy to go.

awh - Lee can veto any trade. He already vetoed one to the Angels. The Phils are fairly risk averse, so I don't think they'd block anyway (if he hasn't already cleared waivers). Lee would probably veto a trade to the Phils since he'd have nowhere to play. But someone else could try to block him.

MG: While I agree the bullpen is still the weakest area on this team, I wouldn't call it the Achilles Heel. Madson and Lidge have been pitching great. Durbin is solid. After that it gets sketchy, but with our starting pitchers going 7 most nights, it really doesn't matter. As long as those three continue to pitch great, our weakness isn't all that weak.

Sophist, how valid are Lee's hitting stats at Turner field since in those AB he was facing Braves pitching?

Is there any statistical way to "normalize" that?

It's 232 AB at Turner Field.

awh, I'm not sure. He's a .252/.348/.467 (433 AB) career hitter against the Braves, so his numbers against Braves pitching in Florida and Chicago must be strong.

Something like 201 AB, .270/.380/.557, against the Braves away from Turner.

Could be nothing, but he has hit Braves pitching.

Sophist, see above.

Apparently, if the Cubbies are content to dump salary, they can just let the Phils take him.

I think last night was the 98th consecutive sellout at the Zen. I'll also bet it was one of the highest rated games on TV this season. (For a discussion of the Phils TV audience, see the Verducci article at

I know the Phils are conservative, but if it comes to blocking Lee>>ATL, they might just consider it.

I would if I were the FO.

Sophist, based on that, maybe turner does give him some trouble.

Yes, the Cubs can just hand Lee over but not without Lee's permission, awh. Players with NTC or 10/5 rights can force a revocation of waivers. So there's two barriers to a blocking team's risk: the Cubs and Lee.

pRed - Especially with Utley and Howard returning, the bullpen is far and away the weakest part of this team.

Cholly has no confidence to pitch Baez/Herndon unless they are down at least 4 or 5 late in a game, Contreras has been less & less effective, Romero is a question mark each time out, and Lidge has gotten by lately with basically only a slider. That leaves Durbin and Madson as your only solid options.

See if not having an off-day for 3 weeks exposes it a bit.

To me, the difference between the bullpen this year and last has been Durbin. Like in 2008, Durbin's the key to the pen's success.

Go back to last year - he never quite had his good stuff, battling injury and probably some overwork from '08. This year he's been the rock (albeit with one injury) in a bullpen that's changed quite a bit over the season. He can do practically anything, from a crucial late-innings situation to a two-inning swing job. Highly underrated and unbelievably crucial.

Getting Lee:

Smacks of a desperation move. Yeah he is an upgrade over a fading Glaus but strikes me as a 'grasping at straws' approach for a team that is fairly desperate to find some offensive.

Better hope that Prado hits at the same rate he did before he went down the stretch.

awh - It's not my money and the FO surely has more info than we do, but if Lee has yet to clear waivers, the Phils should block the Braves. Would Lee come to Philly? He'd be a bench bat here. Not sure he'd like that.

He's "only" owed $3.4M for the rest of the year, but it's not a move I see the Phils making.

Victorino is a decent hitter, but his reputation for not having his head in the game was earned honestly. His lack of baseball intelligence has been demonstrated more frequently than any other player of the past several years. The strongest evidence for this has tended to be on the bases, but he has had his share of mental lapses at the plate as well. When he bears down, he is as capable as anyone on the team of putting together a great at-bat. Sometimes you see it when he's leading off in a crucial part of a ballgame. Otherwise he just hacks away without much of a plan.

If the choice is between letting ATL have him or risking taking on (what $13 MM?) Lee's salary for no appreciable gain, what do you honestly think the Phils FO will do? Lee will pass through Phils' waivers without much more than a raised eyebrow.

We'll still take the Braves.

IIRC, Lee "poops his pants" when called upon to respond in the clutch in high pressure situations. He seems to do well when they are many games out.
I don't know if anybody has discussed this but, the talk around the campfire last night was whether you would sign Burrell next year when Werth leaves to have a decent righty?
I assume you won't be able to move Raul and he would be a giant paycheck for the bench, but if you could, would you bring him back?

MG, how many times will be see Herndon/Baez in the next 40 games? And in how many meaningful situations? Baez has pitched in 16 of the team's last 52 games (and the vast majority of those were before Oswalt's acquisition).

The pen is the weakest part of a very strong team, but with their top-3 the pen's weaknesses will be hidden over the final run. Outside Lidge, of course.

gramps - no

Also, the waiver trade rules listed on mlbtr are slightly unclear.

If the Phils and Braves were both to make a claim on Lee, it's clear that the Cubs "have two days to deal claimed players, but they can only negotiate a trade with one team."

However, if they can't work out a deal with the Phils, are they then allowed to work out a deal with the Braves, or is their only option to "hand the player and his salary over for nothing."

Lee is an FA after this season. Does he project as a Type A or B?

If a Type B, the Cubs might be foolish to let him go as they could get draft picks, but I'd say that, based on his salary, there's 100% ceratinty that Lee would accept arbitration, so they wouldn't get any picks anyway.

gramps - Lee's Career OPS is Low, Medium and High Leverage situations is fairly stable. .851, .879, .871

Andy, this is the last year of Lee's deal. He has a bit over $3M left.

Pretty much ANY trade made in August is a desperation move. What on earth was Mike Sweeney?

Lee is having a very Ibanez-like year. Both guys are older. Both are coming off one of their best seasons. Both were horrible in the first half, have played better of late, but have overall numbers well below what you'd expect. As with Ibanez, there's no way to know whether we're witnessing the effects of aging or whether a reversion to norms is in order. If it's the latter, the Braves will be making an excellent acquisition.

Yo, new thread

awh - No, they don't get a second shot with the second to claim team. That would defeat the purpose of blocking a player.

Lee projects as a type B.

Um.. I lied, no new thread. Saw a twitter link from Jason, and thought he was linking a new thread.

I revoke my right to say, "Yo, new thread" for 24 hours.

awh - My understanding: If Phils make a claim the Cubs can only make a deal with the Phils (since ATL is higher in the standings). Remember: they are waiving him. To trade him he must pass completely through the waivers - which he would not be doing if the Phils did not withdraw their claim. So if the Phils claim him, ATL cannot have him. But CHC might say: "Okay. He's yours, then."

Sophist: Exactly my point. All teams have crappy pitchers at the bottom of their bullpen they only pull out when the game is out of reach. The important thing is that you have a strong closer and set-up man. If Lidge keeps his current form (admittedly a big "if"), the Phils have that.

At this point, with the addition of Oswalt, the return of Utley and Howard, and Lidge regaining his form, this team is stacked from top-to-bottom with no discernible weakness. I would be shocked if they didn't win the NL East.

Right, Andy, and then Lee can say "No" if he wants to.

I have a feeling he passed through waivers though. It hasn't been brought up in any of the articles I've seen. I big oversight in any case, but a bigger one if he hasn't.

Sophist, you have a point, but the FO has this question/calcualtion to answer as well:

Would blocking Lee and taking on the rest of his salary for the season "keep" the Braves from winning the division?

If the answer is "Yes" then maybe they'll block Lee.

I think he'd probably veto a move here anyway, but he'd sure be nice to have a a bench bat and a 1B/DH in the postseason.

Derrek Lee has already passed waivers. There's NO way a deal could be consummated by tomorrow, as is being reported, if he hasn't already passed waivers. Waivers takes 72-hours to complete.

So Lee passed waivers and the Cubs are free to work out a deal with any team. And Derrek Lee is free to block a trade to any team, but it's reported that he won't block a trade to Atlanta because they're a likely playoff team.

The Braves are apparently going to absorb most or all of the remaining salary and the Cubs are going to get a couple of middling prospects... i.e. Some Dudes.

I'm just guessing the waiver issue isn't relevant. If a trade is actually "imminent" he's either cleared or the Braves were the only team that claimed him.

CJ, that sounds right.

Hmmm...Some Dudes. I hear that guy is decent...better hitter than Mike Costanzo and a better pitcher than J. D. Durbin.

Lee may have cleared waivers before Chipper got hurt.

That would explain other teams failing to "block" him from going anywhere.

Sophist & Red - Either of you have real confidence in Lidge or Romero? Me neither.

Even with their strong starting pitching, you are going to need 5-6 relievers fairly regularly over the next 3 weeks without an off-day.

MG: Romero - no, Lidge - I'm getting there.

Sure you will. But you only use them in a game that is already well out of reach. Surely the Phils won't be in only close games for the next 3 weeks?

MG, I mentioned Lidge. Everyone realizes he's the team's most glaring weakness. Lidge-Durbin-Contreras-Madson-Romero. That's who we'll see in big spots for the rest of the way.

So we're just talking about Romero-Lidge, really. I don't have "real confidence" in Romero, but he's still held LHB to .193/.313/.263 this year and looked better in his last appearance.

I don't doubt that Lidge-Romero are the team's biggest weaknesses (of the things that will actually have some meaningful effect on the Phils final run here), but just how big of an effect will they have?

I've been posting on this theme for quite awhile now, but one thing our bullpen does really need is another LOOGY. Bastardo has struggled when given the chance. And Romero is even wilder than usual this year & he has been getting lit up lately. Another lefty arm would be of immense help.

Just FYI, here's a link to the average ratings and viewership for TV and radio for all MLB teams:

The only two teams that average more viewing housholds are the Yankees and Mets.

Conlin is right: The Zen is not only a money pit ($7.25 now for a beer, $3.75 for a hotdog [thank goodness Monk's is reopening!]), but they are probably making a ton of money from TV ad revenues.

IMHO, they could well afford Lee if they are able to block him.

And last night was another example of how Lidge as closer may shield him from tougher innings. There is no doubt that Madson threw the toughest inning last night, and the Phils offense in the 8th kept Lidge out of the game.

"I've been posting on this theme for quite awhile now, but one thing our bullpen does really need is another LOOGY."

bap, according to MLBTR Brian Tallet cleared waivers.

LHB have a .490 OPS against him - .143 .205 .286 .490 - though lifetime it's
.243 .329 .400.

bap, George sherril is also available, assuming the Phils want to take on his salary.

Here are his splits:

RHB: .433 .506 .687

LHB: .185 .286 .296

and as long as he doesn't have to face Raul Ibanez in the playoff he should be OK. :)

Now, whether or not the BP should be characterized as an Achilles' Heel or not (for what it's worth, Achilles' Heel was only comparatively weak), it is clear that Baez and Herndon should not be on a playoff roster.

Last year the Phils carried 12 pitchers into the postseason. This year, 10 seem to be locks (Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt as starters, with Kendrick and Blanton joining Madson, Durbin, Lidge, Romero, and Contreras to the bullpen).

I had thought that Bastardo would be on the playoff roster, but the club doesn't seem comfortable with him as a loogy. Which makes me wonder: are we completely certain that Jaime Moyer is out of the picture for the remainder of the year? His season as a starter is surely over, but I wonder if he's a possibility as a bullpen piece.

The reasons I ask are these: We know that Charlie will not use Baez or Herndon in the playoffs. We know that the team shopped for bullpen arms at the deadline, and is likely still shopping. We know that Jaime Moyer has indicated that he doesn't see his career as over, and we know that he performed well out of the bullpen last year (he performed well as a starter this year, too). Is his return for a playoff run out of the question?

In case we all need something to worry about, Chooch took a couple of hard shots to the mask last night. With his recent DL stint for concussion, I wonder if the Phils sit him for a game tonight.
By the way, whenever Wheels says "boink" after a catcher or umpire gets hit hard I want to throw something, anything at his head and see if still feels like being cutesy about it. He is way too old for cutsey.

SIERA comparison

Madson: 2.10 (28.7 IP) .... Wagner: 1.87 (51.7 IP)
Contreras: 3.02 (40 IP) .... Saito: 2.37 (46 IP)
Lidge: 3.24 (27.3 IP) .... ..... Venters: 3.01 (60.7 IP)
Durbin: 3.81 (50 IP) .... .... O'Flaherty: 3.56 (31.3 IP)*
Romero: 5.54 (25.3 IP) .... .... Moylan: 3.92 (48 IP)

Braves pen is taken as a strength but it's not *that* much better than the Phils when you look at their top 4 arms. Phils need Romero to turn things around (although he's been outpitching his SIERA for his whole career); Braves need to keep this up despite their age and mounting IP.

* on DL

optimuspun, yes (probably).

BTW, has Moyer gone home (FLA) to rehab? I haven't seen him in the dugout along with Utley and Howard.

They showed Moyer in the dugout last night.

Sophist: That's sort of the irony in the whole "closer" setup. As if on auto-pilot, today's managers use their best reliever to pitch the 9th, even in situations where a lesser reliever would probably be fine (like with a 3-run lead). Yet, with a 1-run lead & the other team threatening in the 6th through 8th innings, the manager keeps his best reliever on the bench, saving him for the 9th inning situation that may never arise or may not be that difficult once it does arise.

In the Phillies' case, this arrangement often works to their advantage, since their closer may only be their 3rd or 4th best reliever. But, for most teams, it's totally stupid.

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EST. 2005

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