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Monday, September 13, 2010


Chooch now hittin' .300


Will Schweitzer: "I firmly believe that the loss of Figgy as an option has cost this team 2 - 3 games already."

What a enormously stupid statement.

You're hard-pressed to find 2 or 3 games total in which a long man would have been needed since Figueroa's last appearance with the Phils... let alone 2 or 3 games in which his appearance would have kept the game close enough for the Phils to come back and win.

Just a stupid, stupid statement.

Is this the team? Is the Phillies we've been waiting all season for (actually, maybe even more than we were expecting)?

Great top of the rotation pitching, replete with 3 aces.

Good, steady work from the #4 pitcher.

An offense that is starting to put runs on the board, at a good pace.

Howard in September form.

Utley getting his power back.

A couple of reliable pitchers in the back of the bullpen.

A steady, reliable glove for a backup IF position.

Solid/great defense from 6 of our 8 defenders, and good enough defense from Ibanez (Howard is still up and down).

A good bench bat from the left and the right side.

A young up-and-coming rookie on the bench, with good speed, who can pop one, and a rocket arm.

Oh, and we just got two games where there was a CGSO and a blowout, meaning that Madson, Lidge and Durbing get another night off.

This is a team that could probably win 36 of 51 games, or something ridiculous like that.

Oh wait...

Fatalotti: Well... we do lack a long man or we'd win 39 of 51.

CJ, Nelson Figueroa is one of the better long men in the game right now. Take a gander at his stats on Fangraphs.

Whether or not his presence may or may not have cost the team 1 game, 2 games, or whatever, getting rid of him for absolutely nothing was stupid. 70 innings pitched with a 3.34 ERA? Yeah, we certainly couldn't have used him....

This is the team Fat. Ain't it grand.

Heather: And as I pointed out, Herndon had a 3.54 ERA in his last 40.2 IP going into tonight. The idea that Figueroa is worth 2-3 wins over Herndon in the time he's been gone is laughably stupid. It's incredibly stupid. Hyperbole does not become Figgy fans.

Fat, just DO NOT tempt the baseball gods or karma or whatever. Pride goeth before a fall and all that!

For your penance, repeat 5 times: "This team sucks!"

Maybe that will stave off whatever bad juju you have unleashed with your overwhelming positivity.

Heather: And, FYI... Figueroa isn't a long man right now. He's a starter. His last 32.2 IP (6 starts) have all been as a starter.

"Heather: And as I pointed out, Herndon had a 3.54 ERA in his last 40.2 IP going into tonight. The idea that Figueroa is worth 2-CJ, some folks use hyperbole to drive home a point. It doesn't particularly bother me as long as I understand the message they're trying to send. But fine, since it seems to bug you, try this on for size: getting rid of Figgy for nothing was stupid, and he has outperformed at least 3 members of our bullpen (off the top of my head.) Maybe more.

"Heather: And, FYI... Figueroa isn't a long man right now. He's a starter. His last 32.2 IP (6 starts) have all been as a starter."

So shouldn't that increase his value rather than decrease it? ::puzzled::

The Phillies over their past 51 games have a winning percentage of 71%.

I'm just wondering how high that number would have to before we stop with the bemoaning the loss of Nelson Figueroa.

Give me a break. Nelson Figueroa isn't going to win us a WS, and his absence here isn't going to lose us a WS.

"The Phillies over their past 51 games have a winning percentage of 71%.

I'm just wondering how high that number would have to before we stop with the bemoaning the loss of Nelson Figueroa.

Give me a break. Nelson Figueroa isn't going to win us a WS, and his absence here isn't going to lose us a WS. "

It was a bad move. Full stop. Just because the chances of it costing us a World Series are minimal does not mean it was not a stupid move.

FWIW, what were the chances of signing Wilson Valdez to a minor league deal actually affecting our season in any significant way?

I'm trying to wrap around my head what is a better thing for this team, the fact that Joe Blanton has been great and keeps pitching great since the All Star Break (except for 1st inning issues) or the fact that the offense is alive and showing the balance that was intented to when the season started, and J-Roll hasn't been doing anything even more of a reason he should hit 6 or 7 the rest of the season when he comes back....

I agree with Heather getting rid of Figueroa was a bad move, he could have really helped them earlier when they were having issues in the pen.....and yes he is better than Herndon......not sure if it would have given us 2 or 3 more wins, and I doubt it would help down the stretch or in the playoffs unless he is ambidextrous and can start throwing from the left side...

Yea, Heather, it was a bad move. The Phillies make bad moves.

If you're going to bitch about a perceived bad move over and over again, at least bitch about Cliff Lee. He was significant. Nelson Figueroa has been a nobody for years, and the Phillies didn't want to keep him around. Big deal. It's time for people to get over it. It was time to get over it about 3 seconds after the deal happened. Now it's just sad.


The Phils take a 1-game lead into Miami for a three game series against the Marlins.

Joe Blanton looks to continue his looong climb to respectibility against Florida lefthander Andrew Miller, who the Phils tagged for 7 earned runs in 4 innings.

Miller's splits include a .545 opposing batting average against left-anded hitters.

Looks like another night of beer-league softball between the Phils and the Fish.

Top 1st:

Andrew Miller couldn't locate a breaking ball to save his life last week.

It looks like Miller practiced, or something, because his off-speed pitches key a 1-2-3 inning tonight.

Bottom 1st: 0-0

Joe Blanton gets off to a strong start, retiring Emilio Bonifacio and even the Great Logan Morrison on grounders.

Hanley Ramirez strokes a routine line-drive to left. It should be the third out, but falls in for a hit becuase Raul Ibanez is playing somehwere in suburban Jacksonville.

Dan Uggla draws a walk to make things interesting, but Blanton locks Gaby Sanchez with a filthy curve to end the inning.

Top 2nd: 0-0

While Jayson Werth scored plenty on South Beach during the Phils last visit to Miami, he was scoreless on the baseball diamond going 3-for-15 with 7 strikeouts.

Looks like Werth layed off the nightclubs this time around, as he strokes his first ever hit against Miller over the right-field fence.

Two batters later, Wilson Valdez bats as Chris Wheeler and Tom McCarthy sing his praises

Visit my site to check out the rest!

Call me crazy, but I'm not shedding any tears over losing a 36-year-old pitcher with a 4.76 career xFIP (i.e. replacement level) for nothing.

Wasn't fig a numbers thing more than anything else, knowing they wanted to keep Herndon all year?

If I wasn't terrified of every reliever in our bullpen except for Madson in a close game, I would go ahead and proclaim the Phils the WS favorites the way they're playing right now.

We have every piece you could want--great starting pitching, great lineup, good defense, veteran players, an experienced manager. Except we have a glaring hole in the back-end of our bullpen. The idea of Brad Lidge in a 1-run playoff game in October haunts me.


not scared of Lidge, scared if they have to face a tough lefty ie. McCann, Heyward, Gonzalez(both) and Votto in a tight game....not having a vialbe option to get a lefty out...

Jack, Lidge isn't Rivera, but I don't know what more you could want from him since August 1st. He is a boneheaded balk play away from being basically perfect. Yeah, he's not the best closer in the league, but just last year, we saw two bona fide, "lights out", elite closers completely fall apart at the seams in the postseason, (Huston Street and Jonathan Broxton), not to mention that Brian Fuentes coughed up a huge blown save, as did Papelbohn.

The two best closers in the postseaosn last year were Rivera and Lidge, and Lidge was a quarter of a millimeter away from striking out Johnny Damon and giving the game back to the Phillies offense.

Again, he's not perfect, but I'm ok with Lidge in the back of the bullpen with Madson setting him up.

The Phillies are in as good a shape as any team heading into the playoffs (should we get there, of course).

I would rather have Lidge than Papelboner.....he has been a mess this year, just throwing that out there.

If you look at NL playoff contender's closers I would say Heath Bell and Billy Wags are right now the top 2, but I think I would take Lidge over Wilson or Street or Cordero at this point in time....

In the AL you have Riveria, who looked awful on Saturday, Soriano, Capps, and Feliz.....Capps and Feliz are having great years, but neither have ever pitched pressure baseball, so I would say Lidge is in the middle of the pack of all playoff closers right now and that is could be worse!

Jim: Yeah, the lefty is an issue too. Like I said, I'm scared of virtually the whole bullpen (minus Madson).

Fatalotti: You're right that Lidge has generally been fine recently. He still terrifies me going into the playoffs. That just is what it is. The rest of the team seems in great shape--but my guess is not a whole lot of fans are totally comfortable with the bullpen heading into the playoffs.

REALLY? You're talking about Nelson Friggen' Figueroa after a game like that?


At the time of the decision, I thought Figueroa had slightly more value than Herndon because of his versatility. I also thought the choice between the 2 was pretty close & not likely to make much difference either way. In hindsight, the choice probably wasn't as close as I thought & it was an error to let Figueroa go. That said, the idea that the loss of a fringe major leaguer has cost us 2-3 games is completely zany. 2-3 full games in baseball terms is a huge amount. I doubt the loss of Chase Utley for 2 months cost us 3 games.

JW, if you're reading this, it's great to see you make a post-game post. Nothing I love more than reading your thoughts after a game. Should be a fun stretch run here.

I have always felt it was a dumb move to keep Herndon on the roster this year, being that he is a guy that MAY be a middle guy in your pen down the road, especially for a team as good as the Phils, and Figueroa probably could have been a little more reliable at times....but I really don't think it has cost them and it won't effect what will happen the rest of the way.

The 1 and only game where I remember thinking that things might have been different if we had Figueroa was the 15-9 loss to the Dodgers, where KK lasted just 3.1 innings & Bastardo, Herndon & Baez came in & allowed a combined 7 runs.

If we had Figueroa, maybe he would have come in & given us 3 or 4 solid innings, in which case we wouldn't have needed to use Baez, Bastardo or Herndon (who wouldn't have even been on the team).

But saying that things might have been different is a far cry from declaring that his absence cost us the game. We obviously have no idea how Figueroa would have done if he had been available to pitch that day. And, if he had done well, the Dodgers would almost certainly have gone to their better relievers like Kuo & Broxton, rather than permitting us to feast on the likes of Carlos Monasterios & George Sherrill. So, while I do recall thinking that the game might have played out differently if we had Fig, it's pretty far-fetched to make the case that, if only we had Fig, we would have won a game which we ended up losing by 6 runs.

Not to mention that if you view it as a Figgy vs. Herndon decision, obviously the Phils FO was playing for the long term. If Herndon can develop a bit in the minors next year (which was not an option this year), the whole discussion will be moot.

So, even if you could somehow make an argument that letting go of Figgy cost us 3 wins (and I struggle to see exactly HOW you could make such an argument...), let's see how Herndon pans out down the line before we know the whole story.

So, how about those Phils, huh?


that's a great example I was trying to think of one without looking it up either.

Either way I think RAJ has made other moves that are worse than this to complain about, but right now those moves aren't effecting this team, those discussions are good for the offseason when were stuck with Ibanez for another year, and we don't have the money to bring Werth back, he has made moves I have had a problem with, but all of them may end up working out for him in the end

If you want to talk about a move that cost us 3 games, the obvious would be Cliff Lee......sure everyone would rather have Oswalt right now, but not having either for the first 4 months of the season had to cost us 2-3 games, not Figgy over Herndon.

I never got the Herndon thing even if he pans out to be a decent pen guy, maybe like a Durbin I think you can find those guys everyyear and should be able to develope them in your own system, you shouldn't have to keep a roster spot for him, unless your the Pirates.....I never understood it, but at the same time it probably hasn't cost them all that much......and to me it was more of a financial move than anything else, just like the Cliff Lee thing was..

Jack: I'm with you regarding Lidge (and everyone else not named Madson). His results have been good recently, but he still scares me. As soon as a team realizes he throws nothing but sliders, they will tee off on one he throws for a strike. Plus he still can't hold runners on.

What will they do against a tough lefty? Will Ed Wade lend us J.A. Happ for a couple of months if we promise to give him back before Spring Training?

What the hell is with these Going Pigeon undergrad creative writing posts every night? I'm kinda creeped out...

Bitching about Figgy at this point in the season is symptomatic of using checkers logic instead of chess logic. Stop thinking so short term and look at the larger picture.

Yes, Figueroa would have been a *marginally* better choice to keep this season. But if your season hinges on if Nelson Figueroa or David Herndon, you've MUCH LARGER PROBLEMS then who your long man in the pen is.

Herndon hasn't been great. He's been at best a push this season. But treading water in the majors when everyone and their mother's can agree you need at least one more season in the minors is a good sign. A very good sign in my opinion.

Teams overpay for relievers more than any other position. The Phillies brass is clearly taking steps to develop a young, cheap, controllable corps of relievers in Herndon, Bastardo, Mathieson, De Fratus, et al.

Which is brilliant, because every dollar they save on relief pitching they have shown a willingness to spend on ace level arms and all-star level position players.

I can't agree that a big market team should ever use a roster spot for a marginal relief pitcher who may or may not ever make an impact, that seems like something the Royals or Pirates would do....

Now having said that I don't find it that big of a deal, if you want to bitch about Amaro, bring up Ibanez contract, or bringing Moyer back after 2008, both moves had ramifications on why they probably ultimatley traded Cliff Lee, or the fact that he never addressed the left handed reliever situation, or didn't explore bringing Brett Myers back as the 5th starter and settled for Moyer and then finally Kendrick after trading Happ for Oswalt....the Herndon-Fig thing is very minimal, but I do think it was a mistake, and I also think it was a cheap way for them to fill out there roster, because of some of the afformentioned moves, and they felt/hoped they would be fine and they could hide him there all year and send him to the minors in 2011, and I highly doubt we will ever see him again after this year other than spring training....

***I can't agree that a big market team should ever use a roster spot for a marginal relief pitcher who may or may not ever make an impact...***

That this could just as easily describe Figueroa OR Herndon is exactly my point. With the exception of Mo Rivera, what reliever isn't a gamble each and every season? Both choices for the Phils were equally risky, albeit for different reasons. But only one of them had a long term upside. Which is why Herndon was the better choice.

Pining for Figgy is a product of late season hindsight while viewing an early season move.

My point isn't about Figgy eventhough i would rather have him than Herdon, who I find worthless...

My point is that 25th roster spot being held by a rule 5 guy is acting like a small market team, despite the payroll the Phillies still pinch pennies from time to time, (Cliff Lee) that spot could have been used for an arm that could have helped the team at somepoint this season, like maybe a lefty that can get people out....

Jayson Werth 3 for last 8 with RISP, maybe he can actually get a clutch hit for his from time to time here!!!

The comment I made about Figgy takes the following into consideration:

- leads blown by the Phillies bullpen.
- the overuse of 2 - 4 relief pitchers in a single game to cover the number of innings that Figgy covers alone.
- the mileage on bullpen arms; relief pitchers who were unavailable for "game 2" because they were used in "game 1", which wouldn't be necessary.

Would he have outperformed Herndon, Baez, Mathieson, Zagurski and Romero in the second half? Would his presence have allowed Baez more time to work through his struggles in Allentown (as Myers did)? Would he have given us a chance to win in games that Kendrick gets shelled and goes less than five innings? I submit that he would, particularly in light of his performance in Houston without the benefit of a gold glove candidate at nearly every position.

When it comes to a veteran reliever who can go 4+ innings and spot start, it's foolish not to look at the trickle down effect that his presence creates.

CJ is welcome to post the word "stupid" three times in a post, but that doesn't change the fact that the Phillies are unable to replace or replicate the role that Figgy filled.


All great points, you took much more into consideration than I have in that debate.....he could have been very valuable to this team, unlike Herndon who has been a mop up guy and a guy that after spring training next year I doubt we will ever see in a Phillies uniform on a regualr basis ever again, he may be called up in an injury situation but that's it...

I still think Herndon was a finacially motivated move from the beginning, hidden as a guy they think could be a Chad Durbin like guy in the future.

The Phillies are playing .700+ ball and leading the National League in wins, and we're discussing whether it was a good move to keep Dave Herndon and release Nelson Figueroa.

Well, heck, I guess we have to talk about something. Thank God it's not C__ L__.

For the record, I think Figgy is outperforming his career norms right now, and that performance was completely unpredictable. Figueroa was never anything but a stopgap move while Ryan Madson recovered from near-terminal immaturity. He has no future with the organization, and it made no sense to keep him.

Oh... and while Blanton and Happ healed slowly in the background.

HOORAY for hindsight! Is the Figgy thing over? Can everyone put there "Reason and Logic" hats back on?

Why is every argument on here so damned specious. Just because an argument looks and sounds good does not in fact validate it!

Will. You assume too much.

1. You assume that if Figgy were on the Phils he would in fact be pitching as good as he is.

2. You assume that if Figgy was on the team that the bullpen would be or would have been used differently.

3. You assume that Figgy would be exactly as effective in different situations against different pitchers on different teams as he is right now.

4. You assume that when Figgy would be brought into a game in a situation where another bullpen arm had failed in the past that he would not have failed in exactly the same way or have done worse.

4b. You then also assume that having brought figgy into that game that even if he had pitched to a hold (say in the example given above) that all other events in the game would have taken place in exactly the same way and simply happend around the new factor(Figgy).

4c. Ok now it's a touch crazy. Assuming this!!! You must also then assume that the times when Figgy was brought in would have had a domino effect which would have lead to other bullpen arms being used slightly differently in the past. This might then have put those arms in situations where they may not have succeeded by having shifted the time-lines and lineups they would have faced later in the games!!!! In other words even if he succeeded he may have set up the rest of the bullpen to fail (baseball's a funny game..inches and all).

5. You assume he wouldn't have taken a line drive off his head at some point and be out anyway (granted this one is just for fun but still give it a 1% weight)

I mean I guess if you assume all of that then I find no fault with your reasoning.

4c. should read "would 'NOT' have had a domino effect"

"If you want to talk about a move that cost us 3 games, the obvious would be Cliff Lee......"

Jim, it's not so obvious to me. Lee was out the first month of the season, and yes, he came back and pitched really well, but based on what he's done this year - his recent implosion, the recent injury troubles - you'll have a tough time convincing me that Lee would have made a 3 game difference.

How about this:

Losing JA Happ for 3 months of the season could have cost them 3 games. They basically lost him for 15 starts.

The young man is 5 - 2 with a 3.08 ERA/1.152 WHIP for the Astros.

While there is no "guarantee" that Happ would have pitched that well with the Phillies, and most of us view him as a #4 or 5, eventually, since the beginning of 2009 he's put up these kind of numbers:

35 GS, 18 - 6, 234 IP, 1.244 WHIP, and a 2.88 ERA.

Now, I realize sample sizes matter, and that pitchers can have great streaks for a season or during the course of a season, but he's now done this over stretches of 2 seasons with a trip to the DL in-between.

Is it getting to the point where maybe, just maybe, the continued excellence we see from Happ is not a fluke?

Lee? Schmee.

I could argue that losing Happ for 3 months cost them as many games as not having C____ L__.

"As soon as a team realizes he throws nothing but sliders, they will tee off on one he throws for a strike."

Ummm, J.R. King, do you even watch the games? Lidge has been pitching that way for over a month.

With the advance acoutiing that they do, how long do you think it takes MLB teams to figure out a guy is pitching differently, and for that word to get around the league?

I've posted this before, but there are many pitchers in MLB history who have had productive seasons using one primary pitch.

The best example is Mo Rivera. He throws that cutter the vast majority of the time. But guess what? It's such a good pitch that hitters can't do much with it anyway.

Another example is Turk Wendell. He was very productive for 3 - 4 years and he threw almost nothing but sliders.

The key to Lidge is that when his mechanics are sound his release point for his fastball and slider are the same. So, the slider looks like a fastball before it dives out of the zone. That's what generates all the swings and misses. He only gets in trouble with it when he hangs the pitch.

Proof of what I say?: Remember the strikeout of Wes Helms in the last FL series? He was looking slider all the way (2 strike count), and Lidge threw a fastball that didn't dive out of the zone. Result?: Strike 3 at the knees.

Oh, wait...didn't you say he's throwing "nothing but sliders"?

Don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

BP Postseason odds go up 5.6 percent, I guess cause another game's off the schedule and the Rockies lost. Braves odds go up only 3 percent or so.

Phils at 86.6, Braves at 83.3.

going pigeon's website is super weird.

and not interesting weird. just weird.

One game that Figgy may have helped us win was August 10. We were down 7-1 after 4, and the Dodgers kept chipping away to and scored 8 more runs. The Phillies meanwhile kept scoring themselves but we ended up losing 15-9.

Two nights later, the Phils came back from being down 9-2 in the 8th in the 'Hex Kid' game.

Getting rid of Figgy was definitely shortsighted, but this is the only game I can think of that he may have even had a chance to help us win. I think 3 extra wins is exaggerating a lot.

The more I think about it, the more I too wish we had kept Figueroa. With the extra three or so games Figgy would've won for us, we could be sitting pretty in mid September with the best record in the national league, instead of just...


Lincoln, LOL!

Well, there's still hope that Rube locks Figgy up on a 3 year, $24 million deal in the off-season.

Assuming Ed Wade doesn't beat him to it.

Note: Completely aware that it was Gillick that signed Eaton.

I certainly hope not, Nepp, but for the pennies that we were paying him compared to Baez, he was worth keeping around for the rest of 2010.

I'm not trying to play the "I told you so" card, but this isn't hindsight on my part. I beat this drum on BL the day he was released.

(unfortunately, at the time, I allowed my frustration with Lidge to get the better of me, which overshadowed my valid point that the 2010 Phillies are a better team with Figgy than without him).

"One game that Figgy may have helped us win was August 10. We were down 7-1 after 4"

How about July 20th.;_ylt=AqUSTuMxgeK6_1efg_P24eK4u7YF?gid=300720124

Moyer left the game after an inning. The bullpen coughed up 7 runs in 8 innings pitched by Carpenter, Baez, Herndon, Contreras and Madson.

Do the Phillies win this game if Figgy was available to work 3 - 5 innings? Probably not...BUT the next night, Blanton pitched into the 8th inning and gave up 5 runs.

Does he go this long into the game if the entire pen wasn't worked the night before?

I'll grant you, this is all hypothetical, but I don't think it can be argued that having a veteran long reliever who has performed over expectations in a Phillies uniform while being paid the league minimum is a bad thing.

In 2010, both during and after his stint in Philadelphia, he has outperformed several Phillies relievers who have been given much more rope.

I'm not complaining. I get it. We're in first and this seems petty, but I stand by my statement.

How in the world did an awesome game by Blanton, Chase, Chooch, etc. turn into a discussion about Nelson Friggin'Roa?

Let's enjoy this ride and talk about crap in December.

BTW...after tonight, the Braves go on the ROAD for 9 straight. Our boys come home for 9 straight. It's time to step on their throats.

Tomorrow's topic: Life without Geoff Geary

****How in the world did an awesome game by Blanton, Chase, Chooch, etc. turn into a discussion about Nelson Friggin'Roa? ****

Because there's nothing to really complain about.

Blanton did well
Utley and Howard hit
Werth hit with RISP
Chooch went nuts
The bullpen was bareable.
We're sick of talking about Abreu and C__ L__

All that leaves is Nelson Figueroa.

"Tomorrow's topic: Life without Geoff Geary"

Not much makes me actually laugh out loud, but this did. :)

I'm off the soap box.

At least there's no discussion about KK.

Without knowing their respective UZR/150s for 2010, I cant really comment on Figgy or KK.

NEPP, actually, the impetus for the elongated Figgy/Herndon discussion was probably because Herndon gave up 3 runs, and made the game nail-bitingly close at 11-4.

Oh, the horror!!

By the way, in a move of blatant schadenfreude, I was remarking to a co-worker this morning that there may not be three franchises in baseball (Pirates notwithstanding) that are more screwed up than the Mets, Marlins and Nationals.

The Nationals just lost their golden ticket and their entire fanbase's excitement when Strasburg came up lame.

The Marlins' best player is a malcontent with no baseball IQ, they can't get more than 100 fans to come to home games, and Josh Johnson, their only real bright spot, is injured for the rest of the season, and can't even so much as make a final bid at the Cy Young.

The Mets are...welll...the Mets.

The Braves, for as good a season as they're having, are about to lose their manager of nearly 2 decades, but they are not really screwed up. They'll be good next year.

The Phillies are, by far, the most functional team in this division, with the brightest immediate future.

Good to be a Phillies fan right now.


Part 1:

How about if all the whiners make a list of current Phillies who should NOT be on the team next season?

Please include sound reasoning which should be statistically justifyable.

Part 2:

Whiners should designate which players they would bring in to replace the current Phillies who they feel should not be on the 2011 roster.

Thank you in advance.

Speaking of lame fans, 26K show up for Sabathia vs. Price in Tampa Bay last night which ends up being a late season classic.

So, uh, discussing which moves the Phils should have/should not have made is no longer relevant.

We should all just post positive comments. The Phils did everything right. And even if they did something that COULD be wrong, it was of such insignificance that we should ignore it.


Debating Figueroa? Wow. Things must be going well because there isn't much to complain about.

Yeah he definitely has been better this year and probably would have helped the Phils on a couple of more occasions than Herndon who really is a classic swing man. Pushing him for 2 IP is his limit.

Phils are better off with Herndon in the long-term but I still don't understand why people think he will be some kind of valuable back-end reliever. He is mop-guy who gives you modest results ala Condrey. He's principal value is that the Phils generally know what they have with him and he is very cheap. Instead of having to pay overpay for a veteran to post mediocre results at $1-$2M, they have a guy who can do it next year at $400k.

There seems to be this notion that the Phils can use 3-4 internal, home-grown relievers to fill out most of their pen next year besides Lidge and Madson (and Baez).

A pen of Lidge, Madson, Baez?, Herndon, and internal solutions such as Bastardo, Mathieson, etc would be pretty mediocre from the outset and my bet is pretty lousy as they have some inevitable injuries.

There seems to be this mispalced notion that 'replacement player' value of MLB relievers is easy to come by and relievers at AAA can fill in with decent results at the MLB level. Reality is they can't and they are AAA pitchers for one reason or another.

The only reason I got into the Figgy discussion is because a poster (I think it was Will Schweitzer) claimed getting rid of Figgy was wrong and it might have cost the team 2-3 games.

Instead of agreeing with the basic point (getting rid of Figgy in the manner they did was likely a bad decision) BL faithful latched onto the second part and roasted the guy, then turned around claiming getting rid of Figueroa was completely insignificant.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle but getting anyone to that middle ground seems like a hopeless task...the dialogue has almost become a parody of itself.

Joe Cowley, true, true.

Suppose there was a late season matchup of Hudson/Halladay at the Zen? How hard would it be to get tix for that game?

Oh, wait....that actually might happen.

Heather - Your probably right. It might have cost them a game or so and Figueroa has clearly outpitched Herndon this year.

Rays have a hard time drawing for a couple of reasons. Miami is a big enough metro area to support a baseball team. Never quite understood though why they put one in TB-St. Petersburg area.

Most people who move to the area are transplants with previous sports ties, football (high school/college) is king in Florida and all other sports take a distant 2nd, smaller metro area than most MLB cities, and not alot of large corporations in the area to purchase expensive tickets.

The last 2 series in DC and Atlanta will basically be Philles home games. I watched one game 2 weeks ago from Seattle where the mariners pitcher had a no hitter mid-way through the 7th inning. When he gave up the first hit and it was broken up, there wasnt even a round of applause let alone a standing ovation. I think they showed one fan clapping and the guy next to him picking his nose. The Phillies are definitely lucky to play in a town that appreciates good baseball.

MG: Another reason for the poor attendance may be that Dick Vitale is a season ticket holder. I know that would chase me away regardless.

Heather, I doubt anyone thinks that the Figgy/Herndon argument is without legitimacy.

The tenor, though, is that the Phillies are 36-15 over their last 51, they have three ace studs at the top of the rotation (2 of whom are pitching their best baseball over their careers, possibly), an offense that is finally vivified, Howard and Utley both seem to have their power back.

We've overtaken first place, and held it since last Tuesday. We are in great shape to make the playoffs.

There are 17 games remaining.

October is right around the corner.

The Phillies just whallopped the Marlins, on the road, into submission, and have now won 15 of their last 18 road games, and are on the verge of taking yet another series (would be 12 of their last 13).

We have the best record in the National League, the ability to set our rotation to get all three of our aces in ALL 6 games against the team immediately behind us in the division.

Carlos Ruiz is having the best season of his career.

Ibanez may or may not be washed up, but still hit a figgin mammoth homerun two games ago.

Jayson Werth got a hit with a RISP.

Shane Victorino has been raking form the left side of the plate lately, and has been running with regularity once on the bases.


But sure, let's talk about Nelson Figueroa, since we're obviously without any other talking points.

Will: Did you really just post a yahoo sports boxscore?

That pretty much ruins any argument you might have had.

Cowley - The Phils have been to 2 straight WS, 3 playoffs, and are poised to return this year again as the favorite in the NL.

There are plenty of times in the past 20 years or so where I remember that the Phils were a complete after thought after Labor Day. Hell, there were plenty of times at the Vet where I got tickets for literally a $1 or $2 and the actual attendance was notably below that announced attendance of 13-15k.

Bad economy and bad team late in a season do you think people will come out? Nah.

MG: I was working at the Vet in the late 80s and early 90s, and trust me this time of year was not fun. But in most cities when the team is lousy and then finds success, the fans never come all the way back in force. Philly had a fan base waiting for ownership to step up and make the moves to win and when they did they packed the house. And actually even in the worst years (and there were plenty in the past 20 years) the Vet still drew at or near 2 million per season. Not too shabby considering the slop we had out there most of the time.

I wish the Phils had kept Figgy just to avoid the current discussion.

And I wish JW would ban Gideon Pigeon. I hate when someone plugs their own website on another blog. I find it pushy and distasteful.

For some reason the new blog post now shows below the left hand blog roll ... thought the site wasn't working for a moment.

I'm on Firefox

Last night's mediocre performance aside, I like David Herndon, and I think he can be a pretty valuable piece down the road. I think some people forget this was his first year above AA baseball. That's got to be a bit nerve-wracking, especially considering he had to spend the entire year here due to FO moves/bullpen ineffectiveness. I think there's alot there for Dubee to work with; he doesn't walk many, his stuff translates into ground balls when effective, and he's (somewhat) able to pitch multiple innings. Nothing about his stats stand out to me, sure, but after reading every one of them, I'm again forced to remember he was forced into a long-man/mop-up role for multiple innings on more than one occasion, against hitters that he has never seen before.

He was particularly effective against the Giants, FWIW, this year, saw 14 of their batters, 1 BB, 1 hit, K'd 4. Small sample size, but a potential playoff contender nonetheless.

Tampa: Also home to the NY Yankees Single A team, and they play at George Steinbrenner Field. I believe the Yanks also have some Mgmt based there or something like that. Getting off a plane in Tampa's airport, you can find just as much Yankee paraphernalia as Tampa Rays.

"I still don't understand why people think he will be some kind of valuable back-end reliever."

MG, who exactly, said that? I don't recall anyone here making that claim.

BTW, I think you should apply for a job with the Phillies as your scouting ability is obviaously superior to anyone they have in their baseball operation.

You're just sooooo knowledgable.

Regarding things that are actually relevant, awh is exactly right about Lidge and how effective his slider is. It's not like hitters don't know it's coming at this point- he's just been locating so well that they can know it's coming and STILL can't hit it.

People have been harping on the velocity of his fastball way too much. He's actually 'blown away' two hitters in his past few appearances (that I can remember) with a 91 MPH fastball because hitters no longer expect it. He's actually pitching backwards at some points now- using his slider to set up his fastball. It's been really fun to watch how he's finally realized his limitations and learned how to pitch effectively in an entirely different way over the past few weeks (the balk disaster aside). While I'm not 2008-confident in Lidge going forward, I'm not 2009-horrified either. I think he'll be an effective piece to the BP (assuming he's healthy) going forward.

I tried to watch some of the Rays/Yankees' game last night, but he cowbells chased me away.

I'm full of complaints today; I guess I'm a true Phillie fan.

Watching the Yankess game made me more appreciative of our manager, Girardi is an absolute moron.

Heather, it's nothing more than pure speculation for someone to say that NOT having a certain player COST the team "fill-in-the-number" games.

My post above about Happ was nothing more than that as well.

If Happ had been healthy all season, pitching as well as he has in HOU (for argument's sake let's say he was 13 - 7 right now with a 3.08 ERA), would the Phils even have felt the need to trade for Oswalt? Who the heck knows?

It's all speculation. Opinion? Yes, but still just based on pure speculation....with much assumption included, as Rex pointed out in a post above.

Let's see, a blowout win over a division rival, holding first place for a week in a tight-as-can-be division race, pitching looks great, and the team is poised for a deep playoff run yet again.

Of course, there's nothing better for certain BLers to do than bitch about who should be the 12th man in the BP.

Can you ever actually enjoy a Phils' victory?

awh - My bet is 'No' is Happ had been healthy and effective because they already had their 1-2 matchup guys set with Halladay and Hamels.

Ugh, the cowbells. They are reason enough to wish for a team other than the Rays to make it to the WS.

Weitzel is right that Chooch has made a pretty strong case this year as the team's MVP although I would give it to Halladay who has been the only real constant thing this team has had all year.

You know, if we still had Juan Castro, then Cholly could have pinch hit for Valdez in that 4-3 loss to the Mets the other night. And, with Sweeney on 2nd, the pinch hitter would probably have gotten a hit to tie the game & the Mets would have been so demoralized about blowing a 4-0 deficit that we would obviously have won in extra innings.

This is just one example, of course. There were several other close games where we could have used Juan Castro as a pinch hitter and he probably would have hit a game-winning homerun. I'm surprised Amaro has gotten off so easily for letting him go, as it has cost us at least 3-4 games.

"all three of our aces"

Fatalotti, good post, but I wanted to emphasize the quote above.

Think about that for a minute...

Three Aces.

One, when was the last time any MLB team has been able to say that? And, two, how many MLB teams have ever been able to say it?

not to mention that the Phillies haven't had many more than 3 true aces in their history before this year.

BAP - what could've been. We'd have the greatest Phillies team ever with Juan Castro...wait...

****One, when was the last time any MLB team has been able to say that? And, two, how many MLB teams have ever been able to say it?****

The Braves for most of the 1990s...

I don't think we haven't had a single true ace since Schilling.

Hamels was unhittable in the 2008 post season, but I think that 2010 is the first regular season where he has begun to fulfill his promise.

Having three for 2010 and 2011 is unprecedented in Philadelphia. These are the good old days.

I just read (quickly) an article about the Yankees pitching and how only Sabathia has had success against the Rays. It went on about the Yankees' starters, and all I could think was damn... We are SOOOO fortunate to have our starters. How many Yankee fans covet our starting rotation?

Clarification: BEFORE 2010, I don't think we've had a single true ace since Schilling.

Lest anyone think that my appreciation for Figgy has rendered me completely without sense. :)

Hell, the 1997 Braves had a team ERA+ of 131. The lowest ERA+ of their Top 4 was John Smoltz with a paltry 138.

NEPP, yes, the Braves in the 90's, and the Orioles in the early 70's (Palmer, McNally, Cuellar).

But how often has it happened?

Hamels, despite his Verducci Effect 2009, is a legit #1.

Halladay was the Jays #1, and has been one of the top 5 pitchers in MLB.

Oswalt was the Astros #1, and, IMHO, has been one of the top 10 pitchers in MLB.

Truly wonderful!

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