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Saturday, September 18, 2010


MLB Network showing stats on their highlight show that Oswalt has better numbers in his first 8 Phils starts than C____ L__ did. L__ gave up 16 ER in 15 innings in his 5th, 6th and 7th starts as a Phil.

BP Postseason odds go up 2 percent to 97.7.

Real talk.

This team is SCARY good right now. Veteran leadership and experience mixed with elite talent both pitching and hitting. Add to that one of the best managers and clubhouses in the league with a pitcher named Roy with whom we'd all like to go to the zoo with. Its no wonder we are making our competition look silly. Watch out Bravos, here come the red death squad. And jason werths facial hair

I will confess, right here, up front on BL that I was a total chump because I was (gulp, here goes), lukewarm on the Oswalt acquisition at the time.

Also will comment that this is literally as happy as I can remember to have been proved completely, utterly wrong.

"This team is SCARY good right now"

Just think how good this team would be if the manager and general manager weren't "morons."

I wasn't lukewarm at all on Oswalt. I've always known he was a stud and used to fantasize what it would be like if he were paired with Hamels on the Phils.

Little did I know that the FO would "one up" me in that regard and bring him in to go alongside Hamels AND Halladay.

Let's not get overly confident, boy sand girls.

Remember 1964?

What Phillies fan in 1964 ever thought they would or COULD lose a 6-1/2 game lead with only 12 games to play?

They're up 3 with 14 games to play. A couple of dikers, dunkers and bad bounces and they could go 1-5 vs. the Bravos. What then?

Enjoy, but until they've clinched the division....thay haven't.

The Phils are relentlessly methodical

Something I've noticed that statistics have confirmed - the Phillies are almost unbeatable at home on Friday night. 13-1 this season, with the only loss coming in April to the Mets.

One more home Friday night game left, against the Mets next week.

I'd feel a lot better about the "inevitability" of our 2010 NL East title with a reliable LH in the bullpen. Regardless, I'm not sure if this is a traceable stat, but has any team won more games in a given season with this number of player on the DL (“player-days” on DL)?

phlipper writes: 'Just think how good this team would be if the manager and general manager weren't "morons."'

I laughed out loud, and will hold this as the first entry in today's "high point of the thread" competition.

I'm at a Starbucks and the barista looks like Jayson Werth. Should I flee?

And they're running away with the best record in the N.L.

We had heard in Houston that Oswalt's performance in Houston was poor because he was suffering back problems. When the Phillies acquired Oswalt, I had the feeling that they were also acquiring his back problems, too. Who would have ever thought that he'd outpitch a younger Cliff Lee? I didn't. I am pleasantly surprised.

There's way too much euphoria here. In reality, the Phillies are one two-game losing streak away from proclamations like, "Even if they are somehow lucky enough to hold on and win the division, they'll inevitably be swept out in the first round of the playoffs."

Predicting your future posts, huh BAP?

I hope Malcolm didn't just black cat the Phils for next Friday night's game.

If the Mets win the game just before it, however, the Phils are a mortal lock next Friday. Mets just can't win two straight this year.

Also, I agree that we should be thrilled with the team right now but be sober minded about the reality of the fact that the book only closes once the games have all been played. Somehow, with Oswalt, I fell a lot better about it, however.

"There's way too much euphoria here"

I agree. We're 3 games up, not 13. I think some people seem to have assumed we're about to cruise directly in as the #1 seed in the playoffs....which is understandable, but isn't that what the Mets fans did in 2007? How did that work out for them?

'Just think how good this team would be if the manager and general manager weren't "morons."'

The team would be better if we had Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman.

Just because we don't have Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel doesn't mean I don't think we can do better. Peace out.

" but isn't that what the Mets fans did in 2007? "

Bad analogy, Heather.

They were rooting for the Mets. No comparison in terms of the skills of the players nor their "makeup."

Can't have that unbridled optimism, can we?

"I'm at a Starbucks and the barista looks like Jayson Werth. Should I flee?"

If there are CIBP (Customer's in Buying Position) I think you're safe.

There is heightened optimism as well there should be. The lineup, 1-5, is correct. Werth is reacting to pitches and notjumping/guessing. Blanton stopped tipping pitches. Once the Phils face playoff teams, ie other good teams, they will only be as good as the bullpen. At this point it is anyone's guess how well or poorly the bullpen will perform.

JW's ability to spur up awesome retro type images infused with the latest stats or prevelant mood of his blog's comment section has been completley removed in turn for mindless recaps video that loop on TV every 30 minutes.

Truly disappointing.

My main concern is Phils making/positioning for the playoffs. However, I just noticed that Rockies/Jiminez won last night, although he gave up 4 in 6.1 innings. Should be an interesting Cy Young vote. Also Rockies look like they could either overtake their division or take the WC. Either way should be entertaining.

There were CIBP, so my Starbucks experience was safe.

I predict that the Rockies don't make the playoffs.

Maybe Jayson would hit better with RISP if he wasn't moonlighting at Starbucks.

Maybe that's where he and Jen Utley meetup on off-days when he's not out partying with Vic at UFC fights and concerts.

There, I got all the basic Jayson Werth complaints packaged into one post.

Maybe I'm just taking the bait too easily, here, but where is the actual evidence for holding that this team has underachieved (with the manager to blame) or is understocked (with the GM to blame)?

How can a team that is in the process of achieving what was expected of it be underachieving?

How can the most talented and complete team in baseball be understocked?

This is a joke, right? I'm being suckered?

" but isn't that what the Mets fans did in 2007?"

You can't compare the 2007 Mets to the 2010 Phillies.

When do the references to 1964 end? I thought that was killed in 1980 or 83 or 93 or 07 or 08 or 09.
In any case, there are no parallels to be drawn between '64 and '10.

"Hey, don't take that cruise! Look at what happened to the Titanic!"
"Mr. President, you can't go to the theater. Look what happened to Lincoln!"

And for the record, I like Joe Maddon as a manager. But until we have a good way of quantifying managerial contributions to a team's record, the notion that he is superior to CM is, frankly, baseless.

I can only assume that Heather's having a little fun with the board this morning. The same person who argued vehemently that the failures of the 2007 Mets were not predictive, and that the playoff odds (in June!) warranted thinking of it as a long shot that the Phils would make the postseason, is now arguing that because of what happened in 2007, which should realize that anything can happen in the season's final two weeks.

opti: i have no problem with people trying to temper some of optimism here, it is only a 3 game lead over a team they play 6 more times.

And stating that the phils were longshots to make the postseason wasn't that bad of a statement of June - it was Heather's notion that the Phils would be wise to start dumping salaries and trading away stars that is why she got such a negative response - rightfully so.

Perfect analogy by Old Phan. People used the '07 Mets comparison last year, too, when the Phils went on a losing streak. This is a team filled with champions that now has a pitching staff stocked with 3 aces. There is absolutely no comparison. None.

ThePhaithful: Good post. - I don't have a problem with tempering optimism, either. A lot can happen when you have 6 games against a team 3 behind you.

That said, it seems that standards of evidence sure do swing wildly around here. How is it that playoff likelihoods, in which we should have vastly more confidence now than we had in June, all of the sudden warrant skepticism because of anomalous events from three years ago? How is it that WAR and VORP are optimal to measure players' value, and yet for managers, we're supposed to rely on common wisdom and whether or not said managers don designer eyewear?

Someone on the earlier thread asked about Wilson Valdez's contract status. As a 6-year minor league vet he becomes a free agent if the Phillies don't offer him a contract for 2011.

Given that he's the best utility infielder the Phillies have had since the early years of Tomas Perez (2001-03) I'd be very surpirsed if they don't offer him a contract.

optimus: WAR is a perfectly valid way to compare players if you believe that Ben Zobrist was the second best player in MLB last season (behind only Pujols) and that Ryan Howard isn't nearly as good as Ryan Ludwick.

Or, to put it another way:

Managers eyewear > WAR

clout: agreed, Valdez will almost certainly get a guaranteed contract from a team next year if the Phillies don't first.

JRoll/Utley/Polanco injuries all in the same season will likely be the best thing (financially at least) that has ever happened to him.

Best record in baseball within reach (2.5 games back). Would be a nice feather in Charlie's cap.

Well Heatherm you are scarily consistent. You absolutely never miss a chance to be Debbie Downer, even when there's no reason for it.

What I learned by looking at 2010 WAR stats:

Andres Torres is a better player than Joe Mauer, Jason Heyward, & Prince Fielder.

Brett Gardner is the 21st best player in baseball.

Michael Bourn and Ichiro Suzuki are equals.

Placido Polanco and Ryan Braun are equals.

Marco Scutaro, Jeff Keppinger, Juan Uribe, and Kevin Kuzmanoff are all better than Ryan Howard.

Jerry Manuel has consistently underperformed his eyewear during his tenure as Mets manager.

BTW, I don't want to get a rep on here of hating advanced metrics like WAR and UZR. I don't. They are quite useful when examined in an appropriate manner (i.e. UZR over 3 or more seasons, as suggested by Tom Tango of TheBook, which invented UZR). It's just that some folks tend to use them in an inappropriate manner (i.e. to prove Ryan Ludwick is a better player than Ryan Howard). Even the old-fashioned stats like BA and FA can be used in a wrong manner to draw false conlusions.

"Managers eyewear > WAR"
I agree with this, so..

Joe Maddon>Jerry Manuel>Ryan Howard

I don't think anyone would question that WAR is a flawed stat. That's particularly considering there are at least 2 or 3 different WAR statistics out there. Different people have developed different formulas for the statistic.

I learned from Fangraphs that Josh Hamilton has a WAR of 8.0, which leads the AL. I also learned from that Josh Hamilton has a WAR of 6.0, which is 5th in the AL.

Very recently, baseball-reference has been offering an offense-only version of WAR. I prefer their version, if only because they come across as more open to criticism than Fangraphs.

CJ: They're both fine players, but I've always felt that Josh Hamilton is a much better player than Josh Hamilton.

Given that:

A) Managers value can be predicted by their eyeware
B) Charlie Manuel has an NL best record of 258-167 after the All-Star break in his six seasons with the Phillies, plus 3 playoff appearances, 2 pennants, and a WFC

How is it that he doesn't, at the minimum, wear amazing Bootsy Collins-eque sunglasses during day games?

That's why the EAR (Eyewear Above Replacement, brought to you by Lenscrafters) is a flawed stat.

Joe Maddon? Seriously. Look I like the guy but let's not get carried away here. He took the Rays to the World Series one year. The year prior they were 30 games under .500. The year after the World Series they were 6 games over .500. This year they are well over the .500 mark again.

So in the past 4 seasons he has had 2 great seasons. One good season, and one terrible season. And that's leaving out 2006 where they were 40 games under .500.

i know Heather hates Charlie, but she is just getting to be a parody at this point.

Heather just wants us to know that Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. are better than Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya. That's as far as she's willing to go.

She also wants to make sure we know that since the Mets collapsed when 7 up with 17 to play that the Phils are full capable of blowing a 3 game lead with 14 to play.

Wow... lots of Mets references there... and lots of talking down the Phils. Like the kind of stuff I'd read on Metsblog...

Cholly's record in the 2nd half:

2005: 45-30 (.589)
2006: 45-30 (.589)
2007: 45-29 (.608)
2008: 40-26 (.606)
2009: 45-31 (.592)
2010: 40-21 (.656)

Expected Pyg. W-L

2005: -1
2006: -1
2007: +2
2008: -1
2009: +1
2010: +2

Gene Mauch has the most wins in Phils' managerial history with 646 (646-684 .486 in 9 years from 1960-68) and Danny Ozark is 2nd with 594 (594-510 .538 in 7 years from 1973-79).

Cholly is 534-424 (.557 in 5+ years) and my bet passes Mauch sometime in May 2012 with the most wins by a Phils' manager.

"Cholly's record in the 2nd half:

2005: 45-30 (.589)
2006: 45-30 (.589)
2007: 45-29 (.608)
2008: 40-26 (.606)
2009: 45-31 (.592)
2010: 40-21 (.656)"

That is remarkably consistent performance for a moron.

Anyone know what our magic number is to clinch a playoff spot?

Got in this discussion last night at dinner but Cholly's managerial job in 2007 was more impressive than in 2010. This team just has vastly superior pitching in 2010 and a more talented overall roster.

In 2007, the Phils had nearly as many injuries and were a team that looked like they were going to be in a long, disappointing season in May with Cholly getting fired sometime in June.

Instead, Phils went on the winning streak in mid-May, Cholly kept this job, and this run really started for the Phils.

I may think Cholly makes some real head scratching decisions at times especially with his pitching staff but I will say again what I will said in June - he is the right guy at the right time for this team.

Maybe in another 2 years he won't be when they are a team with older core players with less overall talent. He might no longer be able to motivate them.

My bet though is that Cholly get another 2-year extension after this year and retires from MLB after the '13 season.

Best throw-away line last night from the 'The Town' (which I recommend as a flashy action movie) was when they are ripping off the money box office at Fenway Park after a 4-game weekend series with the Yanks:

Jem (who is played by Renner): "No one has ripped off the Red Sox like this since Jack Clark."

It was a classic line from an action movie that maybe about 10 people in the movie audience got and understood.

If there was a comparable for the Phils, I would use Danny Tartabull but Adam Eaton would be a pretty good recent reference.

I actually think player polling/surveys would be a good way to measure managerial competence. My guess is that aggregated player opinion would correlate best actual quality, much better than WL records, for instance.

Let me add a rider to that comment: I do think, over the long-haul, WL records are good measures of managerial competence. There are complicating factors, though, as managers who do bad jobs, or who are perceived to do bad jobs, rarely coach long enough to establish a sample size that you could say tracks their performances. Which means that it's not so much WL record that matters, but games managed that would be the real indicator.

In either case, I think Charlie's coached and won enough games to qualify him as one of the game's best managers. My hunch is that player surveys, which I still think would be the best indicator, would support that claim.

Look- the Phillies could blow it like the Mets did but there are some very different situations at work here. For one, Jose Reyes fell off a cliff at the end of that season. Victorino is as hot as he's been all year.

Also, we are going to trot out Hamels, Oswalt, and Halladay for like 9 starts yet. I find it hard to fathom that we would squander that many opportunities.

Still don't completely understand the Wilson Valdez contract situation.
If the Phillies offer him a major league contract, do his rights then belong to them because he signed a minor league contract with them or can he shop around and see if another major league club will give him more money? Does he have to accept whatever salary the Phillies offer him on a major league league contract because they now own his rights unless they don't tender a contract to him whereupon he becomes a free agent as a 6 year minor leaguer?

TTI - Exactly. People are terrible estimators of actual levels of risk. The '07 Mets collapse was historical. It almost never happens.

PhilliesDude: Wilson Valdez is a free agent at the end of the season. The Phils retain absolutely no rights to him whatsoever.

MG - do postseason wins count in those overrall win totals? curious about when charlie gets close if they will count his postseason wins...if so it will happen earlier.

MG: It's something many do on here. They treat one situation to the next as if they are exactly similar ignoring all the factors surrounding the situations. I don't know if it is blissful or willfull ignorance.


There's a reason you hear about the 64 Phils and the 07 Mets and NO ONE in between or since.

It's because it takes some historic incompetence by the team in the lead coupled by a very hot team on the chase.

Now 3 games with 14 to play isn't too much to overcome, particularly with 6 head-to-head games remaining, but that's not all the Phils have on their side.

They're also 4 1/2 up on the wild card with 14 games to play with no head-to-head games remaining.

For the Phils to miss the playoffs entirely, it would take some really bad play from the Phils and some very good play from either the Padres or the Rockies (who are a full 5 1/2 games behind).

If the Phils go just 4-10 the rest of the way, which would be pretty bad, the Padres would have to go 9-6 to tie and 10-5 to pass us... while the Rockies would have to go 10-5 to tie and 11-4 to tie us.

You can see why confidence is fairly high.

Dukes - No they don't.

philliesdude: The only thing the Phillies have on Valdez is that they can make him an offer before free agency starts - just like any team can to their current players who are free agents next year.

The Rays are doing something right, because they score at a pretty good clip without doing very much hitting. They're near the top as a team in many measures of situational hitting.

I wonder if there's any truth to the rumor that Maddon's "eyeglasses" are actually Dugout Binoculars...

Is this the same heather who told us back before the all-star break that she couldn't get her hopes up because the Phils chances of making the playoffs were only 15%? As if it were an absolute? Shouldn't you now be getting your hopes up based on your earlier stress on playoff odds?

Hey Heather (since you like poker analogies) if I flop trip Aces to my opponents trip Jacks should I not be excited?

i don't think this was mentioned but i just have to say this statistic made my week. regarding the 2010 campain of one Pedro feliz

"Take a bow, Pedro Feliz(notes). You are the 2010 Prince of Awful. FanGraphs says your teams – yes, St. Louis actually wanted you after Houston gave up – have lost $8 million in value simply by writing your name on the lineup card 122 times. Baseball-Reference says you are minus-2.5 WAR, which makes you among the five worst players this decade. Ramon Santiago(notes) in 2003 and Wes Helms(notes) in 2004 are well within reach, and to get to the minus-3 of ’08 Jeff Francouer will take some work. Never shall you touch the historic 2009 of Brian Giles(notes), during which he managed to accumulate minus-3.9 WAR in 61 games.

While ’09 Giles is like a reverse Ruth, you, Pedro, are still in esteemed company. Baseball-Reference calculates its WAR back to 1901, and of the tens of thousands of player seasons available, the 2010 version of Pedro Feliz ranks as the 49th worst hitter of all time."

feel free to re-read the phrase "49th worst hitter OF ALL TIME." Its nice not having that black hole in the lineup.

Thanks guys for clearing up my Valdez and minor league contract confusion!

Yea, having Pedro Feliz really hurt the Phillies.

The '64 Phils hadn't been pennant winners since '50. The '07 Mets hadn't made the playoffs in how long? The 2010 Phils have gone 3 straight playoff appearances. The starting pitching is stronger than ever. The offense is doing what it does best and the optimism needs to be tempered? No bloody way! This is why we follow our team. To see them win and be in a commanding position like this with fvck all to play. No-ones gonna spoil the fun. These Fightin's know what to do to get there and they are doing it. Start spinning out when the lead is gone. For now with a 3 game lead, rejoice and enjoy it. This is what its all about.

powderblue: Excellent post re: Feliz value, but you'll have a super hard sell here since he has been the most defended and protected player in the history of Beerleaguer.

optimus: Good post on managerial value. Obviously W-L doesn't tell the story because the manager can't win much with bad players.

I wish sophist were around because I'd ask him run a measure of managerial value based on Pythagorean W-L differential with actual W-L for Charlie. I realize Pythagorean is heavily impacted by luck as well as managerial decisions, but it might be a rough way to see if a team consistently wins more games than it ought to under certain managers.

Just for fun I looked up a 5-year stretch of Gene Mauch, who was considered one of the best managers of his era. Here's how his teams fared vs. Pythagorean in the 5-years 1962-1966:

1962: +6
1963: -2
1964: +4
1965: +6
1966: even

I always thought Mauch got more out of bad and mediocre teams than any manager I've seen.

"If the Phils go just 4-10 the rest of the way, which would be pretty bad, the Padres would have to go 9-6 to tie and 10-5 to pass us... while the Rockies would have to go 10-5 to tie and 11-4 to tie us."

I could see the Rockies going 10-5, easily - But I'm thinking the Padres won't be going 9-6. And unless the SP starts underperforming (not likely on Roy, Roy, Cole days), BP can't hold things for them (ok this does seem more likely if our BP had to hold 4 innings consistently), and offense freezes up again (hopefully not, and it doesn't seem very likely)...We have every reason to hope and anticipate that the Phils will do better than 4-10 from here on out!

That said, it is still too early to count our chickens. I'll feel pretty confident, however, after we play the Braves at home - assuming we play well - next week.

"That is remarkably consistent performance for a moron."

Ha ha ha!!

They are definitely in a great spot but Kendrick tonight and Blanton tomorrow means the offense has to continue to click.

Lakewood took the lead in the fifth inning, 4-2 on a Sebastian Valle three run homerun.

It's a long way from the majors, but the Lakewood team is a whole lot like the major league team when it comes to pressure situations.

No one could ever accuse me of being a Pedro Feliz fan, but a guy who had four seasons of 20+ homeruns and four seasons of 80+ RBIs is the 49th worst hitter of all time? Give me a break.

Clearly these rankings are excessively punishing Feliz for being absolutely putrid at both the beginning & end of his career. During his 5 or 6 prime years in between, he was merely a bad offensive 3rd baseman. He certainly wasn't bad in any kind of historical sense.

Feliz neither gets on base or hits for power at an acceptable rate, especially for a 3b. It's not surprising that at a time I'm baseball when those are the two most important things a hitter can do, he's considered an awful offensive player.

And his power outage seemed to coincide quite well with the end of the steroid era...

Yo, new thread.

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