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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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Last night's game should add more fuel to the fire re: yesterday's pitching vs. hitting debate.

Wow - if Bastardo hurried he could have made it back to the airport and got on the same flight that brought him into town.

Wow - if Bastardo hurried he could have made it back to the airport and got on the same flight that brought him into town.

“Trust me, if I had known this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have had the surgery,” Romero told Salisbury. “I never saw this coming. My arm is going fast and my hand is going slow. When I hang a pitch, they bang it.

Doesn't this signal that something is wrong with JC and it's time to DL him for the remainder of the year and look at other options. I know there isn't a ton of LHP awaiting to be called up and/or signed, but doesn't something have to be done?

While I admire JC for not being truthful and not giving the canned lines ("I just didn't have it today," "tip your cap to the hitters," etc.) something needs to be done. If he doesn't have confidence in himself, why should anyone else? He is basically admitting that he can't pitch effectively. What other motivation to move on do the Phillies need?

Why? How can people continue to misunderstand this debate? Kyle Kendrick, Bastardo, Baez, Herndon ... none of them would pitch meaningful innings in the playoffs. Those kinds of players don't show up. Last night had nothing to do with the debate except to show how regular season innings differ from playoffs innings.

....


Figgy would have won the Phils the game? Really? How many games have the Phils lost for having Herndon instead of Figgy. I'm going to guess 0. If the Phils fail to make the playoffs it won't be because of meaningless relief innings.

One thing that is evident is that the bullpens throughout baseball are full of guys like Romero, Baez, Contreras, etc...Last night was a case of Kendrick having his usual every third or fourth start shalacking, bad defense, and a bullpen tapped too early. The good sign was that the offense was cranking. I'm more worried about Polanco's elbow after that diving play and Rollins' Chevy Chase imitation at 2nd.

By the way -- great graphic, JW.

Belisario, Monasterios, Sherrill, Bastardo, Herndon, Baez. None of these guys have pitched well enough to be on a playoff roster or have meaningful innings if they do.

Broxton, Kou, Madson, Contreras, Durbin, Doc, Hamels, Oswalt, Dotel, Billingsley, Kershaw, Kuroda, Lilly. All of these guys either didn't pitch last night or allowed 0 R, would make a playoff roster on most playoff teams, and would pitch meaningful playoff innings.

HA! Amazing graphic. Glad that you're maintaining the levels of Photoshop dominance we've been able to enjoy the last several years, JW.

If Romero and Bastardo are the competition, Moyer shoud rehab as a LOOGY for 2011.
He could pitch in MLB somewhere until he is Social Security eligable.

Sophist: Figueroa has pitched quite well this year, if in limited appearances, and has definitely pitched well as a "long-man". He's clearly been better than Baez or Herndon this season.

Even if the difference between Figueroa and Baez/Herndon, over the course of a season, is only a half a win or a one win difference, that still matters. I don't get why people think the small moves don't matter. They do. We're in a desperate fight for a playoff spot. It's most likely going to come down to a couple games either way. The margin is tiny--thus, even the most seemingly marginal moves matter. If the Phillies are a worse team for having Baez instead of Figueroa, if we miss the playoffs by one game, that matters. Whether a big move or a small move, everything that makes you a worse team or a better team matters, when you're in a tight playoff race where one game literally might be the difference.

***David Herndon sailed through fifth only to fall apart in his second inning of work***

Something that feels like a recurring theme for him. He's simply not a multi-inning guy but UC continues to use him that way as he has no long-reliever.

it sounds like romero is saying that his old hand can't keep up with his remastered elbow.

Jack, the difference between Figgy and Baez/Herndon is well less than a win or a half win. By fangraphs, they've both been worth .4 WAR this year.

Does Figgy perform better than Herndon last night? Maybe. But if the Phils keep it close, do we see the Dodgers garbage time pen? The counterfactual game works both ways.

Herndon has basically been forced into a multiple inning role because the only time Charlie walks him out there is in mop up duty. We still have no idea how he fits as a major league reliever.

Sophist: Figgy has been worth 0.4 WAR. Baez has been worth -0.4.

If we miss the playoffs by a game, the decision to give Baez a guaranteed 2-year deal will look worse than it does now. The Phillies couldn't control all the injuries and some of the performances they've gotten, for sure. But they did choose to give Baez a 2-year deal, and they have chosen not to get rid of him even as he's been a terrible performer hurting the team, presumably because of that deal.

There are so many other factors, too. They like Herndon's arm enough to stash him on the 25-man roster for the entire season. The payoff may come over the next five years or so if he performs, or he could be a total waste of space the way Fabio Castro was. With Baez, I'm going to assume he'll eventually improve. With Figueroa, you know what you get.

Herndon is worth .4 WAR is what I meant when I said both. We don't know the Phils would replace Baez.

I'm not going to argue that the Baez deal was a good one, but the difference between Figgy and one of these guys isn't the difference between making the playoffs and not. Baez money could have been used to bring in a high leverage reliever, sure, but Figgy isn't that guy.

Classic Jack vs. Sophist debate on the margins here. I think you're both right, and I think generally this whole board agrees that it won't be to soon to see expanded rosters. Carrying deadweight in the pen, for a team that already lacks a closer, has just been painful from a fan perspective. I hope that whatever it is that JW says they see in his arm is right on. Because as a fan, I see nothing that projects him to a solid major league reliever, and I would have much preferred Scott Mathieson learning on the job this season.

Romero to the 15 day DL when Vic returns?

The way he is pitching lately, and his statements above seem to make that a possible move.

Rather see Baez gone, but it is not going to happen.

JW: I understand why Herndon is on the roster, and obviously if they've kept him this long, they certainly won't (and shouldn't) dump him now.

But that payoff over the next five years might come at the expense of a playoff spot this year, no? Everything else about this team screams "built to win now." It seems odd to sacrifice that here. Obviously, they think they can hold for the future with the 25th roster spot and it won't make a difference, and I get that, but as I've said before, the margin this season is tiny. A little performance upgrade here or there could be the difference. It all matters.

I definitely wouldn't dump him but how can he not have suffered some sort of minor injury yet? Push him down some stairs in the clubhouse or something.

Sophist the way you get to the playoffs as you well know is to win during the season. Last night's game was lost in good part as a result of very poor pitching choices on the part of UC.
As I pointed out in the earlier thread down 7 -4 going into the 7th is not the time to take a chance with someone you are "stashing for the future (JW)". The Phils had a day of rest someone other than Herndon and Baez wouldhave created a different dynamic for the Phils.

Also Billinsly has a valid point JC by his own comment is saying he is through and I don't understnad why he is not DLd Worley, mathieson etc. seem better choices if we want to win.

Where is the logic that if you paid out a player you must play him if he does not perfrom.

Is Dennis Cook available?

How about Paul Quantrill?

"With Baez, I'm going to assume he'll eventually improve."

I'm not.


Re: Herndon. Any young reliever has a certain amount of value to the team (cheap contract), but I'm not in favor of keeping a Rule 5 guy on the 25 man roster, in a weak bullpen, if he's not going to be setup/closer material.

Hey, Scott Eyre: Put down the remote, gas up the van and start throwing.

RK - It was the 6th inning, not the 7th.

I don't mean to be a downer here, but how much of the Phillies' recent winning ways was schedule-driven?

They played the D-Backs, Nats, Marlins and Mets. Not exactly a murderer's row. They did what they needed to do, especially considering their lineup right now, but we really do need to get healthy, and quick, to beat the better teams in the league (or we could just get dominant starting pitching).

We have 10 games left this month against the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. I'd feel a lot better in those games against real teams with as much of our full lineup as possible.

I wonder if they've called Dan Plesac yet...

Okay, all you statmongers. When was the last time the Phillies played a game that ended with the score 15 to 9? I can't ever remember a game with that score.

NEPP: right now, you could have a lottery for who would get to push JC down the stairs a la the Ceausescu firing squad. Maybe the team could raise some money for the ALS charity they support.

When was the last time you watched a home game in the 7th inning where half of the lower level seats were empty?

Can JC just shoot himself in the foot a la Vietnam?

Scheduling played a role in the recent run (well, the run over the last month), but the Phils do have a pretty soft schedule outside the teams you've pointed out, Jack.

10 games against Nats, Astros, Mets this month
22 against Brewers, Marlins, Mets, Nats next month

Not exactly murderer's row as you'd say. Phils are 22-13 against those teams this year. The Mets have the best record in the bunch and they're .500.

Jack,

The Phils just got done with a very soft portion of their schedule. And they took advantage of it.

I think this season could hinge on how the Phils play on their final west coast trip of the season. Those games in LA and SD, will be huge. And of course the head-to-heads with Atlanta and San Francisco will be huge as well. But that week trip to LA and SD I think will determine a LOT with the 2010 season.

Other then that, those games left with Houston, Milwaukee, New York, Florida and Washington have to be taken advantage of.

Sophist you are right in which case teh decisons are even more glaring miastakes. If you down at the end of the 5th 7-4 you are not out of the game. JW also pointed out "it felt like a loss". Why? Why does managament insist with sticking to players regardless of performance.

I understand that they sometimes turn around (Ibanez) but this wasnot thesituation to test two iffy performers or to stretch out one of them.

The Phils have a long storied legacy of sticking with players long-term based on one year of semi-success, or just because he is a "team guy". Their current GM was one of them.

The phillies stick with guys if they are paying them-- its as simple as that.

Jack - Is it often that teams put together long stretches of winning baseball against very strong opponents? Or is it that lousy opponents can be found on the wrong side of almost every winning streak?

Phils have won 19 of their last 29, and Jack's right that many came at the hands of some weak teams. But the 4-game sweep of the Reds is in there too as well as a 4-game sweep of the Rockies.

Those West games are key, as are all the game, but the Braves have tough games of their own. The Braves probably have a slightly easier schedule but not by much.

- While the Phils have 2 left against LA, Braves have 2 more against the Rockies.
- Phils have 4 against Houston while the Braves have 4 against the Cardinals
- Phils have 3 against MIL, while Braves have 3 against PIT
- Phils have 3 against SF and SD while the Braves have 3 against CHC and PIT

I was out last night, so I only heard the score on the radio listening to the Astros cough up a victory with two 9th inning homers given to the Braves by the Astro's "closer" Matt Lindstrom. I was thinking, "The Phils score nine runs and lose!!!???" This morning I looked at the boxscore and in particular the pitching block. It was Beerleaguer condensed. All the pitchers BLers think suck (KK, Baez, Herndon & Romero) all sucked to high heaven. Feelthy Bastardo, who has been the subject of BL fodder for a month, with BLers wondering why he hasn't been called up, showed again that he has problems on the MLB level. BL mainstays, Contreras and Durbin pitched fine.

Stock brokers have ratings for stocks recommending that their customers, buy, sell, or hold. For ballplayers, I have a sort of internal rating for each player. Prior to has night, I was indifferent regarding KK; I was neither a supporter or a detractor. Today, I officially change my position on KK. I now don't like him as part of the Phillies starting rotation. Send him to Piggyland. Get somebody else. He's had his cup of coffee and MLB success and a WFC ring. Let him go somewhere else. Trade him to Wade. Actually, Ed Wade feels good about the future of Houston's pitching rotation, so Rube, Jr. will need to look elsewhere to unload KK.

Tonight, we'll see if Roy O. can bring us back to the land of happiness.

Can JC just shoot himself in the foot a la Vietnam?
dlhunter-
Or he could start talking to the beat writers about how, post-surgery, his hand and arm just aren't right a few days before he is going to be DL'ed to build up some credibility.

The Braves are trying to win one last pennant for Cox and Chipper, I'm sure that's a motivating factor. But down the stretch if all our players are back there is no comparison between the teams, and we should take the East again.

RSB - Last time the Phils played a 15-9 game was in 1993 against the Rockies:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/COL/COL199305280.shtml

They won that one.

Quick, there's a Ryan Howard bashing thread on Fangraphs....

Obviously, winning streaks happen more against weak parts of the schedule than against strong parts, and as I said, the Phils did what they needed to do there.

My concern was more that the Phillies needed to play that well just get to back into the race, but that once the schedule turns to better teams, it's going to be tough to keep winning at that pace, and we're still 2.5 games behind the Braves. We're going to need some help from the Braves, especially considering that as Sophist points out, it looks like they have a slightly easier schedule down the stretch.

NEPP: Your obsession with Fangraphs is just weird.

Useless Phillies/Braves Trivia: What Phillies players hit back to back to back home runs off of Atlanta's Doyle Alexander on a Sunday afternoon game in August of 1987.....

Jack's jealous.

NEPP: Also, I just read that "bashing" of Howard. It wasn't bashing at all. It noted that his contact rate was up significantly (a good thing), but that he'd lost some power and walks this year (a bad thing). These things are all true. You can look them up. The author states that he thinks Howard will rebound in the two bad categories, though maybe not with quite as much power. That's hardly "bashing".

If you hate Fangraphs so much, why does every article I read over there contain multiple comments by you? Like I said, it's just weird.

If the "payoff" on David Herndon is that he'll give us a few years of Clay Condrey-like peformance, that payoff hardly seems worth the current cost. I do see why they like Herndon. He throws 94 MPH & can induce ground balls. He has the tools to be a decent pitcher. But you could say the same about many guys in the minors. Fact is, he's 25 & has never really dominated even in the minors. There's a reason he was left unprotected.

I understand sophist's point that many playoff-caliber teams have David Herndon types on their rosters. But here's the difference: those teams' David Herndons are disposable. The Phillies have 5 essential relievers in their bullpen & 2 who add absolutely nothing. Yet, we don't have anywhere to put either of those guys because one guy has a high salary & the other guy is a Rule 5 draftee. So, we're left with a complete lack of flexibility & no meaningful way to improve our bullpen. On a team with no closer &, now, a shaky LOOGY situation, I think it might be time for management to consider rearranging their priorities.

Phils don't need to play at a .656 win pct to catch the Braves at this point, so they don't need to keep up this pace. They need to win 3 more games than the Braves, a team that's slowed down over the end of the summer and lost their second best starting pitcher (and probably Chipper for some time).

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but I don't think the Braves will play .575 baseball from now until the end of the season.

****If you hate Fangraphs so much, why does every article I read over there contain multiple comments by you? Like I said, it's just weird. ****

I dont hate Fangraphs...I dont care for some of the posters there (same as here) but I dont hate the site. Its probably the best free baseball site in existence (other than B-R.com) They do a TON of great stuff there and its all free...unlike BA or BP.

i thought that fangraphs article was pretty fair. they even stated that he's one of the top 10 hitters in baseball. dave cameron OTOH would rank him around 150.

what's the latest on Polly? heard he's day to day...

Yep... another great thread from Fangraphs. Let's assume the worst about Howard and then demonstrate he's not worth his contract. Standard stuff for them when it comes to Ryan.

BAP - Yes, the Phils have one bad reliever too many but they also have Doc-Hamels-Oswalt, which is more than even most playoff teams. That's the reason I think they can get away with both of these guys. They can hide them.

fangraphs article seems fine to me. Howard usually enters August with slightly down power numbers and usually ends up with his usual numbers when the season ends. This year I don't think that will happen but that's because he sprained his ankle, not because he's declining. Howard's production this year is a big step forward, but that's part speculation.

Sophist: Maybe. They've certainly been hiding them up to this point. Maybe they can get away without having a reliable closer too. They've certainly done so up to this point. But they also need to make up 2.5 games on Atlanta, and all these little things add up. There may come a game in which the difference between Herndon/Baez and a semi-competent reliever ends up costing the Phillies the ball game. At the very least, it cost them a chance to get back in the ball game last night.

NEPP--

If Ryan Howard is so good, why didn't he have 7 RBIs last night to help the Phils to a 16-15 victory???

Fangraphs is right, he sucks...0 RBIs last night. He is just the worst.

Recent Baez appearances

Jul 9 - in 8th, Phils up 6-1. Phils win.
Jul 15 - in 7th, Phils down 11-2. Phils lose.
Jul 18 - in 8th, Phils down 11-4. Phils lose.
Jul 20 - in 6th, Phils down 3-0. Phils lose 7-1. This is Moyer's last game.
Jul 27 - in 7th, Phils up 7-5. Phils win.

Aug 5 - in 8th, Phils down 4-2. Phils win. Holds them scoreless, Phils tie in top 9th.
Aug 6 - in 9th, Phils up 7-2. Phils win. This is the Mets game where he was pulled with 2 outs for Romero/Lidge.
Aug 10 - in 7th, Phils down 11-5. Phils lose 15-9.

I see a bunch of recent garbage innings and one outing where he helped hold a 2 run deficit that later lead to a Phils win. In games where he's come in recently with the game within 3 runs, the Phils are 2-1.

Thanks, Sophist.

Joe Cowley: Milt Thompson, Juan Samuel, Mick Schmidt? I remember watching that game on TV. Schmidt definitely hit the last one.

Got two out of three: Thompson, Von Hayes and Schmidt....And almost a 4th, Chris James flied out deep to left. I was at the game. Alexander was traded after the season and so began the influx of Braves players that helped to build their coming dynasty...

For the record... we don't have to make up any games on the Braves to make the playoffs. We're currently tied in the loss column for the NL wild card. We need only lose fewer games than the other wild card teams the rest of the way to make the playoffs.

That said, I believe our path to the playoffs will be through the division.

I'm out of the loop (away from home), but as far as pitching v. hitting goes, it seems to me that Charlie often comments that he'd like more pitching, or that you can never have too much pitching - stuff like that. If a self-professed hitting guru comments frequently about pitching, I'd say that answers the question right there.

I would add, however, that we had plenty of games during that 2-month slump where our pitchers delivered but our hitters did not. So I think it's about pitching and just enough, timely hitting.

Maybe that's taking both sides, but I'm good at that.

And as far as the Braves go, some people have said all season that they can't sustain their winning pace; yet they remain in first place. They will be a threat to the end, and it may well be that the Phillies just miss the playoffs this year.

I suppose if that happens, we can take our pick - look to a few games of stellar pitching and nonexistent offense, look to blown saves, or look to games with offense but bad SP.

"Last night's game should add more fuel to the fire re: yesterday's pitching vs. hitting debate. "

Yes, the pitching was lousy for both teams and a zillion runs were scored. Exactly what you would expect.

Why do the Braves remain in first?

From late April to mid-July the Braves were 48-25 (.657), and on July 22nd they were 7 games up on the Phils. They're .500 in the 18 games since (13-13 in their last 26), and 2.5 up.

Maybe their offense gets hot again, but they're in first place right now because of what they did in the early summer.

OP - exactly. Kyle Kendrick is not a postseason starter nor were any of the Dodgers/Phils relievers (outside the ones, Durbin/Contreras/Dotel, who did their jobs). Last night was not a playoff game. It was your garden variety mid summer NL crapfest.

Missed the entire game yesterday -- does the boxscore reflect the the true sorry state of the pitching or were there bad breaks, bloop hits, etc?

I see Bastardo (who I have been championing) failed to deliver disappointingly -- uggh

The terrible lines by Baez (and JC to a lesser extent) don't faze me, I think we all have lowered our expectations to Death Valley lows for those two

People keep saying that, having kept Herndon up to this point, it would be foolish to jettison him just a few weeks before rosters expand. There is some truth to this point. But then these same people turn around and say that we should dump Baez, about whom the exact same argument could be made.

Like Herndon, Baez also has some future upside. In fact, he undoubtedly has MORE future upside than Herndon, since he has past major league success, whereas Herndon doesn't even have past AAA success. And, unlike Herndon, we're actually going to have to pay Baez $2.7M next year whether he pitches for us or not. Having kept him up to now, do we really want to eat his 2011 salary, when there's a chance he could turn things around & be decent for us next year?

Neither one of these guys belongs on the present roster. But if the Phillies were to dump one of them, the one they'd be more likely to later regret is Baez, not Herndon. In reality, of course, they'll dump neither.

In case anyone is trying to keep up with it, the Wachovia Center, formerly the First Union Center, formerly the Core States Center is now the Wells Fargo Center.

Nelson Figueroa doesn't have his name mentioned this much by his own wife. He is reaching "he who walks beyond the rows" level on here. i keep thinking there is some other Nelson Figueroa out there that I'm not aware of.

JW's post brought some sanity back to the discussions.

Also- we can talk about the longman stuff but why couldn't Bastardo have done the legwork last night if needed? They clearly went to him to get the lefties out in a big spot but it didn't work. I'd venture that had he been able to get Either and Loney out though he would've stayed in the game for another inning.

Another factor we keep ignoring too is that no pitcher was able to keep the other team off the board until the 9th inning. It's almost like it was a really hot night at CBP and the ball was flying around the atadium.

* stadium.

Also- JW that is my new favorite graphic used on the blog

limoguy, WFC. Where have I heard that before?

seattlephan, there are always lucky hits, bloop hits, etc. However, that does not account for the fact that no one was sharp on the mound, and some were just bad.

What I find interesting is the concept of when a manager gives up on a game. Not that bringing in Lucky Bastardo or Herndon is forfeiting since that's who Cholly has, but the game is far from over in the 4th inning. I guess they are stuck with who they have at this point.

Speaking of Braves declining offense:

Chipper Jones (sprained knee, ERD TBD)

Jason Heyward (inflamed knee, ERD 8/11)

"Uh oh, Chipper's down." That's what Chip Caray said after Jones' leaping throw caused an injury to his left knee. While the video doesn't show his landing, the combination of lateral movement before he landed and the way he was holding his knee suggests a strained collateral ligament. He was holding the left (lateral) side and with the lateral and slightly rotational force he had, it's a classic mechanism for an LCL sprain. (Actually, the most common mechanism is having someone hit the inside.) There's a chance it could be the MCL, but because Jones held the knee on the outside and because Jones says the outside aspect is where the swelling is focused, signs point to LCL. Jones is headed for an MRI on Thursday, with the delay in place to allow the swelling to reduce. Jones tore his ACL in 1994, so he knows this kind of injury and says it's not nearly as severe. Let's hope an injury isn't how Jones ends his career. The Braves are also a bit worried about the knee of Heyward. The rookie was scratched with soreness and inflammation in his knee just before Tuesday's game. While it's not considered anything more than a day-to-day problem, sore knees on a player who just celebrated his 21st birthday isn't the best long-term sign. It's pretty amazing that right now, I'm not sure that Heyward or Strasburg would be on my National League Rookie of the Year ballot.

And an Utley update:

Chase Utley (sprained thumb, ERD 8/31)

The Phillies are hoping that things go well with Utley's checkup today. He'll be seeing his hand surgeon and hopes to be cleared to start swinging a bat. That would keep him on track for a September 1 return, though Utley continues to insist he'll be back more quickly. The key here will be grip and as I told Jeff Erickson on Monday on his Sirius/XM show, the key to watch for is fine bat control. If Utley's grip and hand control isn't affected by the injury, he'll be able to make the normal adjustments to ball movement and not miss. It's a very difficult thing to read from a statistical standpoint since there's a lot of noise and range in SAM and K numbers. This requires watching Utley, noting his reactions and his ability to make adjustments. We should know more about him medically later today, but functionally? That's going to take at least another 10 days.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11724

Also doesn't look like we'll see Furcal this series.

TTI - The issue with Herndon has been that it has forced the Phils to make odd moves and there is a real strong possibility they will play with a 4-man bench for 3+ weeks in August all to accomodate him.

When was the last time an NL team went even more than a few days with just a 4-man bench?

furcal to the dl.

limoguy - wells fargo center (or WFC) is much easier to type than Wachovia. sometimes change is good.

Old Phan - When did Cholly 'forfeit' the game last night? He kept his starters in the full game after they scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th.

His bullpen just stunk. Can't fault Cholly at all if the only guy to remotely execute last night on the mound was Contreras.

MG- Polly & Chooch were removed early, but I agree Charlie didn't quit on last night's game. He tried to use his back up guys in the BP in a game that called for that tactic and they were not very good.
Nobody, including CM, was very surprised .
Disappointed yes, Surprised no.

There were two LHP relievers moved at the deadline:

- Ohman got moved to the O's from the Fish for Rick VanderHurk and some Cuban Sandwiches.

- J. Lopez got moved from the Pirates to the Giants for J. Martinez and Bowker. Basically some spare change.

Either one of these guys would have upgraded the Phils' pen and both were acquired for essentially spare parts and loose change.

What's really out there on the scrap heap? Could Scott Eyre get in baseball shape in less than 3 weeks? I get nauseous thinking about all the gutsy play of the fill-ins, and that the zillion dollar lineup (when healthy) and rotation could get derailed by a crappy bullpen.

Fangraphs has a very specific point of view on baseball, so I don't think you can read a lot into their commentary on Howard either way. It's objective based on statistics they've created and others they value highly. Howard had really put together a fine season before the sprain, but the statisticerozzi will always question the value of his contract extension, no matter what. And how can you not when you have to pay him a $10 million buyout of a $25 million salary in 2017, when he'll turn 37.

MG -- Beat me to it.

When somebody mentions WFC henceforth, we'll have to figure out which they mean through context.

Bubba - Didn't realize Chooch was removed from the game in the 5th due to double-switch and not injury.

Yeah maybe Cholly did give up the game a bit early. Still, I don't fault his for his pitching moves last night.

As a manager with a limited effective bullpen options, you should absolutely try to save them for when you have a marginal lead late.

From MLBTR:
The Phillies have acknowledged their need for a reliable left-handed reliever. We mentioned the recently recalled Antonio Bastardo and free agent Scott Eyre yesterday, but who else is out there?

If we exclude the Rockies as sellers, six potential left-handed relief trade candidates jump out: Mark Hendrickson (Orioles), Pedro Feliciano (Mets), Doug Slaten (Nationals), Brian Tallet (Blue Jays), Brian Fuentes (Angels), and Mike Gonzalez (Orioles). Gonzalez has been injured much of the season so we won't look at his numbers. The samples are otherwise tiny for the other five southpaws, but all have pitched well against lefties in 2010 (xFIPs below 4.00).

That buyout is absolutely atrocious. $10 million not to play? After all that he gets in the contract? Pretty much a deferred signing bonus from the looks of it.

Is Zagurski still pitching? Not saying he's the answer, but I'm just wondering.

FanGraphs though takes statistics too the extreme. It reminds me of working with guys who are in Finance. They sometimes 'can't see the forest through the trees' because they are so blinded and struck by the numbers.

sneed - Thanks for posting.

CJ - Zagurski is but he isn't the answer. I would rather see what Bastardo shows then a guy like Zagurski. Not even a guy I want to see on the roster with Sept. 1 callups.

Nobody we acquire is going to really transform the bullpen. Lidge is the biggest issue in the bullpen. Overall, we just have a terrible bullpen. Madson, Durbin and Contreras seem to be the only reliable pieces we have.

MG: That's correct. They are only commenting on what their methodology tells them, right or wrong. They aren't concerned with the nuances of the Howard deal, like the revenue a player like Howard can continue to generate even as his skills erode. But that's a whole different argument.

I think what the Fangraphs article points out is that Howard is actually more valuable as an extreme power hitter than a consistent line-drive hitter. But we knew that already from following this team night in and out, right?

"When somebody mentions WFC henceforth, we'll have to figure out which they mean through context."

The Wells Fargo Center should be abbreviated WFFC. Problem over.

@sneed -- the only guy who I have seen pitch much from the list you mention is Feliciano. While he has been getting dinged more this season, I seem to always remember him shutting down Utley and Howard fairly consistently. If the Mutts were to start a firesale, would love for Ruben to pick him up (provided the price was super, super low).

Does anyone else feel that what was Gillick's greatest strength (Scrapheap acquisitions) is Amaro's greatest weakness?

NEPP: I agree that Lidge is the primary problem in the pen. The closer situation has a domino effect on the bullpen. If the closer is shaky, it calls into question the entire strategy for the manager. If the closer is lights out for many years, the pen always seems to be better than it is (see: Yankees). Bullpens are virtually always made up of 2-3 plus arms, 2-3 average arms, and 1-2 fringe major league arms. The Phillies pen is no different. If we had 2008 Lidge, the notion that our pen was an albatross wouldn't hold water. But we don't, so it appears that our overall pen is worse than it is. If Lidge miraculously found his fastball command in September, our pen would actually begin to take solid shape, much like it did in 2008, only with Contreras replacing Romero in the trusty 7th inning role. In fact, the players are exactly the same still, other than the swap I just mentioned.

I like Fangraphs and I like several of the authors there. There's a few I can't stand, however. They have already had at least 3 articles that I can think of on the Howard contract. Now they're coming out with another.

Sure, the Howard contract was a bad move. I get it. I even agree with it. But there's plenty of terrible contracts in baseball where players are probably not going to live up to their contracts.

I haven't seen 4 articles in the last 3 months about anyone else's bad contracts.

Fangraphs would like to think of itself as largely unbiased, numbers driven commentary. Some of the articles are. Some of them aren't, however, and even the article selection tips you off that a few of the regular writers over there have axes to grind against certain individuals or organizations.

If Phils make the post-season neither Herndon or Baez should be on the roster. As mentioned Phils are stuck with both of them, hoping 'next year they'll be better'. The fact that both are absolutely worthless is a problem. One worthless guy is fine, Figueroa didn't pitch for like month during one span, but that second to last guy may be needed for an important inning or two once a week.
JC to the DL does not really help. Either Baez or Herndon need to get off the 25-man now. Bring up Zagurski for Romero and get another lefty in trade when sending Baez to the DL due to mental anguish over pitching terribly.
Not sure who pitches against a tough lefty but Bastardo & Durbin might be able to go more than one inning then Contrares, Madson, Lidge in any close games. Send down the worse of either Bastardo or Zagurski in a week.

seattlephan: I, and almost anyone here I assume, would jump at the shot to acquire Brian Fuentes for the stretch run.

MG: Your 12:38 post about Herndon doesn't really address my question, and it's a spurious argument at best about the situation at hand.

It isn't just a willingness to carry Herndon that led to this. The main problem is not Herndon. It's that Herndon AND Baez are struggling. However, that doesn't mean you start cutting ties with players. Additionally, I'm not sure I understand why they brought up Bastardo and sent Mayberry down. I thought initially that the Dodgers were more left-handed heavy but they are not. The decision has only a marginal stake in the fate of Herndon. It has everything to do with- for whatever reason- them thinking they needed another lefty in the pen for at least this series.

Furthermore, my post in this thread didn't mention Herndon at all. I was wondering why so many people think Nelson Figueroa is the answer or whether he would've made any real difference last night. No pitcher did well last night in that game. It's not like it was a problem specific to one player.

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