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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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When we fell to 7 games back and 48-46 overall, I distinctly remember a majority of the talk being "What should we do at the deadline?" If we're over 10 games out (something that seemed like a distinct possibility) the consensus was "play for 2011, make some small moves and hope guys get healthy but don't sell the farm for short term solutions". Then we started winning, then we got Oswalt.

The Moyer game was my favorite moment of the season as it was just amazing to watch a man his age pitch that well. Doc's Perfect Game was one of those where I was afraid to move, change the channel for fear of jinxing it.

Its been a great season.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/shutdowns-meltdowns-and-making-the-playoffs/

According to this article, the Phillies are second to last in the league in "metldowns", which is basically when the team's bullpen blows a lead in a game. (I think it's something closer to a decrease in the winning percentage, or some jazz like that).

Anyhow, the Phillies aren't in the top 5 of "shutdowns", but that is probably because of all the complete games we've had this year (Doc with 9, Moyer with 2, KK with 1, Hamels with 1, Oswalt with 1).

We do have the first best "shutdown" to "meltdown" ratio in the league, though, and that tells me that our pen is pretty good, and primed and ready for the playoffs.

One of the most memorable games of the season to me, for one reason or another, is the come back win against the Giants. With Lincecum on his game, our chances looked slim. But, for whatever reason, he got yanked a bit early. Velez dropped that fly ball, and Werth's two-out three-run double sent it into extras, where we would inevitably win.

I think Lincecum was a pitch count victim...or an "overconfidence in one's closer over a great starter" syndrome by Bochy.

Terrible decision by him to pull Timmy. We had nothing against him that day.

Not sure how Halladay pitching a 2 hit shut out to clinch the division classifies as "boring".

For me the low point came on Labor Day when this guy named Adalberto Mendez (yes, I had to look his name up) threw 6 innings of 1 hit ball. The Phillies had faced plenty of adversity this season but nothing made them look more unworthy than that.

The high point came later that night in Game 2 when Roy Oswalt put a stop to the madness and the offense woke up and sent Anibal Sanchez to the showers quick.

I also really enjoyed the powder blue game against the Brew Crew where Jamie Moyer pitched in a uniform that only he could wear. That game was a blast.

Hamels strking out 13 Marlins. Oswalt's 7-1 record as a Phillie. Mike Sweeney's hugs. The resurgence of Lidge and Madson. The three game sweep against Atlanta. No, it hasn't always been pretty but it's been a ride.

Best win of the year was the Ruiz walkoff against Broxton. It was after that night, that I completely jumped back on board thinking this team was 100% going back to the playoffs.

Other favorite memories of 2010:

-The Halladay perfecto in Florida

-Oswalt playing LF against Houston

-The wild makeup game win in Colorado

-Kendrick outpitching Pettitte (who was like 9-1 at the time) and the Phils winning 2 out of 3 in New York

-Cody Ransom's HR to tie up the game in the 9th inning against Cincy.

-The Hamels/Lidge domination in Game 1 of the final home series against Atlanta (which basically cemented the East crown). Both pitchers were at their absolute best that night.

Obviously the back end of our pen is plenty good, and they will pitch the bulk of relief innings this postseason. Blanton may contribute too. (Actually, what to do with Blanton, given the way he's pitched of late, is an interesting question.) However, aside from Madson and Lidge it does get pretty dicey. Most teams we'll face have more than two reliable relievers.

I like to post this clip from time to time...

http://www.tindeck.com/listen/kbpy

"Pure, unbridled joy" is a great way of describing '07, especially juxtaposed with last night's business-like celebration on the field and in the stands. At the game in 2007 Mike Sweeney-esque hugs outnumbered pretzel vendors on Pattison; last night fist pumps and high fives were the order of the day. Quietly this team has changed the psyche of Philadelphia sports fans- from guys waiting for their team to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory to suffering defeats knowing that it’s just a matter of time. Sure, there’s the day to day doubt and pain which is passed from generation to generation of Philly sports fan. But we’re now quietly confident that the team will turn it around in the middle of the slumps we all live through. The swagger that the boys gave us four Septembers ago wears as easily as the Fightin’s hats on our heads.

Personally, my biggest regret last night is that I didn’t think to sing “High Hopes.” I suspect the guys upstairs understood.

Does anybody know how to search the archives at Fangraphs? I think looking at the charts one more time for the comebacks against Cincy and LA would be fitting for this thread ...

The Moyer complete game was my favorite moment. The Doc perfect game was an historic moment that can't be overstated, but, for one, I didn't see the whole thing, as I was flipping back and forth between that and game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The Moyer complete game, 2 hit, shutout was very special to witness. The second inning, in particular, was really neat. Moyer starts off the inning giving up the only real no-doubt-about-it hit of the night on the first pitch of the inning.

The very next pitch is grounded to Placido Polanco, who starts a 5-4-3 double play. At this moment, I'm thinking to myself, "Am I going to witness a three pitching inning?"

Now, I have to state that I think three pitch innings are one of the coolest phenomena in baseball, for the reason that they should never happen. If you are the third hitter in an inning, and the pitcher has gotten the first two guys on two pitches, you had better be taking on the first pitch of the inning. But, on this night, the Braves weren't quite that smart.

The third pitch of the inning, Moyer dropped a Bugs Bunny change up on the outside corner to a right handed hitter. Teh righty obviously tried to pull it, and grounded it meekly to Placido Polanco yet again.

Three pitch inning complete, and there was Moyer, 2 innings in the books, and he had all of 11....eleven....pitches!!

From there on out, Moyer dispatched of the Braves more easily than I think I've ever seen a pitcher put down a lineup. There was one hard hit ball, that I remember, after that second inning, and it was a shot to the right field gap by Martin Prado, but because Moyer was working at such a fever pace that night, the fielders were on their toes. Victorino took care of that ball easily, and, besides one of those 100 hoppers later in the game, Moyer completely dismantled the Braves lineup, without mercy or remorse.

It was a thing of beauty to watch, as Moyer struck out 5, walked none, and induced weakly hit ground balls and shallow pop-ups and can-of-corn fly balls. The Braves look bewildered every time they walked back towards the dugout.

Truly a pleasure to behold, and it couldn't have happened to a better person and player.

Great season so far. Never lost faith. The team still knows it has work to do. I was in attendance for the Red's series and Moyer's two hitter. Both of which will not soon be forgotten.

After the Astros series, I remember posting here that this is the point in the last three years when these guys would dig down and turn it around. I wouln't have really predicted it, but we shouldn't have been surprised. They never quit. If there's a way, they'll find it. These guys are winners, plain and simple. Now, they're 11 postseason wins from being forever known as one of the great teams in the history of the National League and I think they absolutely know that.

Ah, okay, here we go:

July 9th, 2010: Phillies 9, Reds 7, and

August 12th, 2010: Phillies 10, Dodgers 9.

Real purty pictures.

My favorite game of the year was the Sunday, Sept 19 game against the Nats. Even though they were down 3 in the ninth, I knew the Phils wouldn't go quietly. Sure enough, they score 4 without recording an out to win and keep the winning streak alive heading into the series with the Braves.

The other playoff-bound teams seem to be floundering a bit right now. And isn't it interesting how Colorado's offense has dwindled since Humidor-gate.

My only regret for this season is that the Phillies won't get to face Jonathan Broxton in the playoffs.

...

Oh well.

Thanks, Fatalotti, appreciated, as you see I figured out how to track it down, though appreciated looking at the goodphight posts (not, you know, that I would ever read that, um, other website).

suffrg, here's some more fangraphs fun, as Bill Baer over at Crashburn Alley put together all the fangraphs for each Jonathan Broxton meltdown against the Phillies over the years:

http://crashburnalley.com/2010/08/13/broxton-cocktail/

Oh, and I read ALL the Phillies' blogs, haha, but BL is my favorite for commentary.

High & Low Points of the season for me:

- High Point: Finally getting a chance to see Halladay pitch in person vs. Brewers on Labor Day weekend. It wasn't one of his best outings though as he gave up 4 solo HRs and struggled with his command almost all night. His teammates though rallied though a couple of times including the bottom of the 7th wiht some good situational hitting to scrap out 2 runs. Madson/Lidge in a sign of things to come in August sealed the deal 5-4.

- Low Point: Attending the 13-10 loss to the Twins on June 13th @ CBP. Phils were up 9-4 going into the 9th inning vs. Twins. Contreras/Lidge completely melted down to let the Twins tie the game to force extra innings.

Low points included most fans streaming out as soon as the Twins scored in the top of the 10th to go up 1 run and cheering Thome's HR. One of the worst Phils' games I have attended in years.

Fatalotti, heh, that's fun to look at, too.

MG, yeah, we'll avoid posting the fangraph for that Twins game ...

Sounds like we're getting a mite spoiled. I can't agree that the division championship is ho-hum, one-small-step stuff, especially considering how dire this team's playoff hopes appeared two months earlier.

You often have to be just as fortunate as good to go deep into the post-season. Teams hit the skids at various intervals through the course of a season. Remember the week they couldn't beat the Astros? That could just as easily be next week. Or what if you run into a previously mediocre team like the '06 Cardinals or '07 Rockies that happens to get red-hot at precisely the right time. Even though sometimes (as in '09) the best teams make it to the World Series, fluky things can, and will happen in October. Yet no one can possibly attribute the outcome of a full season's play to a fluke.

Winning over a 162 game schedule is an accomplishment every bit as significant as winning a post-season championship. To me, one isn't any lesser an achievement than the other. The post-season is a different animal, based on short series. For a team to prove they're the best for six solid months, that counts for more than most people (and players) tend to acknowledge.

Thanks, chstk. I was sitting in right field for that game. I can still see Werth's homer, arching at the perfect moment. Beautiful.

High point was being at the Dodger comeback. Low points---was at the taser game as well as puke-gate.

The Moyer 2 hitter was probably second best. Was great to see him last night even if it was in the locker room celebrating. I hope he's our next pitching coach, can't let a guy like him out of pinstripes.

Halladay in 2010:

ERA+: 2nd (behind an injured Johnson)
WAR: 1st
Wins: 1st
WHIP: 2nd
ERA: 3rd (.02 behind Wainwright who will likely miss his final start due to an "injury")
Win-Loss %: 2nd
BB/9: 1st
SO/BB: 1st
IP: 1st
SO: 2nd
CG: 1st
SHO: 1st
Batters Faced: 1st


If he doesn't win the Cy Young, it will be a travesty.

It doesn't even feel like Moyer pitched for us this year? But sure enough, 111 innings. The first half was like a different season

Trivia--who was the last Phillie to win the Cy?

NEPP: Not only did Doc punch our postseason ticket last night, but he put an exclamation point on his Cy Young season.

"It doesn't even feel like Moyer pitched for us this year? But sure enough, 111 innings. The first half was like a different season"

it does, doesn't it? And Moyer was an important part of keeping the team afloat in that first half... he pitched much better than his final numbers would seem to indicate.

****Trivia--who was the last Phillie to win the Cy? ****

Bedrosian?

Correct, in the juiced-ball year of 1987 with 40 saves. I believe he barely beat out Sutcliffe whi may have won 18 or 19 games. No 20 game winners that season and long balls set a new record.

From May 7th to July 2nd, Moyer was 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts. 8 of those 11 starts were QS.

Mid April Rotation:

Halladay
Hamels
Moyer
Kendrick
Figueroa*

Current Rotation:

Halladay
Hamels
Oswalt
Blanton
Kendrick

*Figgy started that brief period between Happ's injury and Blanton's return from the DL. Only got 1 start but that was a scary moment to think that our bottom 3 was Kendrick, Moyer, Figgy.

MG: I was at the same game. I was siting long the 3rd base seats 10 rows up and just could feel the wind blowing out. It was hell of a game to watch. Saw so many bombs that night out to left field.

Low point for me was the July 7 loss to Atlanta. We had just lost 3 of 4 in Pittsburgh, and we were in 3rd place and falling further back in the division. After splitting the first two games, Jamie Moyer had a lead but gave up 6 runs and we wound up losing the game and the series. After this game, we won 4 straight vs Cincinnati going into the break, which gave me hope for the second half.

High point was the comeback vs LA and Broxton, featuring the hex kid. We had been playing well for a couple weeks but it was this game, with this huge comeback, where I knew the team finally had its Mojo back.

That game was a division and Cy Young clincher all at once.

jason.tp - don't forget it also clinched homefield as well.

Ruiz only has 27 doubles but it seems like he hit 100. Clearly the team MVP.

I'll go back to the season's turning point. It was July 22nd.

The Phils were 48-46 and had lost 6 of their last 7 coming out of the All-Star break. We were in St. Louis and Cole Hamels pitched an absolute gem! 8 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K. He faced the minimum through 7 innings, erasing a hit on a DP. No Cardinal reached 2nd base.

And yet? The Phils provided nothing with the bats against Wainwright and the bullpen.

Phils turned to Madson for a perfect 9th, and Romero and Durbin for a perfect 10th.

In the 11th, Placido Polanco, of all people, hit his first HR in 37 games and the last one he's hit this year. Phils tacked on an insurance run and Lidge closed it down in the bottom of the 11th (walked the lead off hitter who promptly stole 2nd, of course).

Had the Phils lost that game, it's hard to say what may have happened. They took momentum from that win and swept Colorado and Arizona and went from being 7 back to being just 2.5 back on the day we dealt for Roy Oswalt.

Great discussion, I really enjoy the spotlight being put on our forgotten man- Young Jamie.
I don't know where or even if he will pitch next year but I would love to see him as a lefty reliever for the Phillies.
I wonder if he would make that transition or if his choice would be to be a starter or retire.
Either way , he has a chance to get a WFC ring as a keepsake.

It seems most of the post season teams (AL especially) are having their injury issues now, whereas we got our out of the way by the ASB.Hamilton, Mauer, Longoria to name a few. On the Yanks alone Swisher, Tex, Petitte have all been hurt or playing hurt. And with all the teams battling for the Wild Card in the NL they'll be beating the crap out of one another this week. All good signs for the Phils.

I agree with RSB & ScotchMan. Clinching the division last night was hardly ho-hum! First off, it was a great outing by Halladay and - bonus! - our offense. Secondly, as RSB says, it's quite an accomplishment to survive a long season and come out on top - when in spite of being the favorites at the start of the season, we had slumped for quite a period of time, facing injuries and offensive skids.

I also did not find the celebration to be contrived. True, the "unbridled joy" of '07 was not replicated, but I don't think the happiness was less real last night.

I remember feeling low before the ASB, then when the Phils won just prior (v. Reds, right?), I felt a renewed sense of hope. So when, after the ASB, they proceeded to lose a few series again, I remember that hope was crushed to teeny-tiny size and despair of ever climbing out of the rut for good loomed large. And that Astros series was just pathetic, although I don't remember how close it occurred to the string of losing series post-ASB.

Thanks for reminding me of Moyer's pitching, everyone. It DOES seem like another season! I think his performance against the Yankees was tops for me this season.

And don't worry, High Hopes was sung in all its glory by all of us Phillies fans attending the game at Nationals Park. Would have been nicer to clinch at the Bank but for all of us DC residents, it was a greatly appreciated gift for us down here at Citizens Bank South.

The high point for me was last week after they swept the Braves. I went to the 2nd game - Halladay's start - and enjoyed it immensely.

After that sweep we knew they were going to win the division - or at least knew it would take a complete collapse for them to lose it. That's not likely with H20 fronting the rotation.

Now they get to rest starters somewhat, rest Polly's elbow, rest Howie's ankle, let Jimmy slowly work his way back with no pressure on him (i.e. he doesn't have to turn on the jets and blow his hammy again), get Gload, Brown, Sweeney, Dobbs and Francisco some needed AB to try to sharpen them for the postseason, get some work for the front end of the bullpen (Baez, Herndon)try to get Romero "right", give the back end enough work so they stay sharp, and ultimately...

make some very tough decisions as to who is on the postseason roster.


Gee, all that to do in only 5 games.

It seems to me that Charlie, Pete and Rich (with RAJ input) have a lot on their plate even though they've clinched the division and homefield.

For me, its the two late comebacks (from 7-1 on July 9 and 7-4 on Sept 19) and the 2-hitter by Jamie. The one game I was able to get to this year, was Jamie's game against Cleveland. It was so humid out, but he made the kids on the Indians look like, well, kids.

The low points were when we cheered Thome and Burrell when they came back to the Cit, and they both promptly hit moon shots. There's a reason why we should never cheer for guy not playing for the home team...and those two instances prove my point!

I liked the fact that Doc glared out at the pitcher after being thrown at last night in the 8th. I know we have a group of tough players who often take a hit and just like to brush it off and sprint to first, but I miss the good old days when players stared down the pitcher and hoped he had something to say. I would bet if he had said something to Doc last night he would have charged the mound, although it would have been the dumbest thing he could do in the long run. It would have been awesome and downright scary at the same time.

Joe, Doc was rightfully pissed, but the ump handles it (and maybe overreacted) by issuing a warning.

To me, it looked like the ball slipped out of the guys hand, but then again, these guys are pros and probably can make it look like an "accident".

I agree the wet weather definitely played a role, just nice to see some emotion. Doc is probably the fiercest competitor I have ever seen on the mound, he's the Pete Rose of pitchers. Schilling was a close second.

I'm sure I'm repeating some of these as it took me a little while to write these up (doing my best going pigeon impression).

High points:
The following were my two favorite games of the year, mainly because I was at the ballpark for them..

1. Sunday May 2nd vs Mets. We had been at the Friday game and witnessed Kendrick getting smoked to a 9-1 L. After that lose I was kind of dreading watching Santana vs Moyer. As it happened, We were running late to the Sunday night game, and just as we pulled into the lot during the top of the first inning. Over the radio, we hear David Wright send out a three run homer. This instantly brought back the memories of Moyer's last home game. 5-1 lose to the fish, which we sat in 45 degree weather with 20 mph winds. With that fresh in my mind, I turned to my wife offhandidly, "Christ, I wonder if it's even worth witnessing the rest of this." So glad she didn't take me up on that offer because in the fourth we'd witness Moyer working a hard earned walk to load the bases. The next at bat Victorino blasts a grand slam making Santa look like Sabathia circa 08. The phillies would score nine runs in that inning and go on to win the game 11-5.

2. Tuesday, August 24th vs Astros. It's weird that a phillies lose would end up being the game in which I had the most fun at. I think after watching sixteen innings of baseball can kind of make you a bit loopey. Apart from the outcome, this game was just a lot of fun to be at. I think our location in the stadium also helped. When Rollins hit the game tying home run in the bottom of the ninth we were behind home plate and could see it all the way. Then on howard's check swing we were just behind left field foul pole to clearly see it was a check swing and witness hurricane howard going off on Scott Barry. Then we were able to snag seats in left field to watch Oswalt. Oh, and it was also Chooch bobble head night. Even though I'm not huge on bobble heads, it's still pretty cool (and sits at my work desk).

Low Point:

Wednesday, July 7 vs The Braves. I should mention that it was 96 degrees out (I think it felt closer to 101 with the humidity). Going into the sixth the phillies were up 3-1 with Moyer on the mound. Moyer was able to get the first batter out, but next gave up a homer to cut the lead to 3-2. Next a single and then a double. At this point you can clearly see that with the heat, Moyer is gassed and doesn't have anything left, yet he's left in to face three more batters (the heart of the order mind you). Walk, three run double, two run homer. It was one of those nights were it seemed like Charlie missed the obvious move to yank Moyer, and try to keep the lead. Phillies would end up losing 7-5 and go six games back.

So, if Jimmy plays all this week and goes something like 1-23 in the 5 games, what do you do going into the post-season?


Does Valdez get consideration to start at SS at that point?

I cant see Charlie not starting him at SS, but hearing Jimmy this season and watching his body language, I also dont think he'd raise a stink if Valdez got to start. I have a feeling Jimmy will want to do what has to be done to win, and he respects Valdez and Charlie too much to create a problem. The issue is whether Charlie's penchant for being overly loyal at times will creat a problem.

Nepp- Valdez starts only if Jimmy is hurt.

(Disclaimer- CM will fool you every now and then.)

I just wonder if he's actually healthy or not. If he's clearly laboring at 70% or 80%, it could be an issue.

Game was awesome last night, I don't think a single Phils fan left early. I didn't get to read through the game thread, but I imagine, like most fans there, the top of the 9th was excruciating. I think the Nats were doing it on purpose to get Doc out. The rain wasn't too much of an issue, and we were right behind the Phils dugout. Maybe he was doing it to the crowd, but I yelled "way to go Doc" and he tipped his cap, which will translate to my eventual grandchildren that we had dinner together as he regaled me with tales of baseball.

For my two cents, the Moyer game was magical, I was in attendance with my father, who I haven't seen a ballgame with in 5 years. The point that stood out to me most though was Moyer's AB, fouling pitches off left and right ala Myers v. Sabathia. The low point was probably the Astros, bounces went their way, calls went their way, great pitching performances by both Cole and Doc went their way. That was a cringe-filled series. And all of those cringes are for naught, after last night.

**** I didn't get to read through the game thread, but I imagine, like most fans there, the top of the 9th was excruciating.****

Pretty much. There was a point where I suggested that we should lend Halladay to the Nats to finish the inning and then let him stay on the mound so he could end the game in the bottom half.

Another high point was the Padres sweep in San Diego. It was an absolute warning shot to the rest of the NL that the Beast in the East had awakened again, and was on its way to make it's annual run. It also derailed at least for a time the dream season for the Padres, who could have been enjoying an early clinching as we did if it wasn't for us.

I didn't think the guy was throwing at Doc. It was a curve ball anyway. It's much easier to send a message with a fastball. I don't blame Halladay for giving him a look though. In the heat of the moment I think that's a natural reaction. The guy is all business all the time. He has looked in control virtually every minute that he's been on the hill for the entire season. Even on the few occasions where he hasn't been on his game. Anybody else notice how fast he was working the last three innings? Like a distance runner going into his kick, completely burying the competition. Fun to watch. I'd guess that most would agree with this statement; I knew we were getting a terrific pitcher when we landed Halladay, but damn. The guy is truly great. He more than lived up to my expectations. And they were very lofty.

The best line Halladay ever gave in a post game conference was after he threw his perfecto that night in Florida. The media asked him at what point did his teammates start to stay away from him and not talk to him. His response was "about 3:00 this afternoon...."

For me, the best part of the year was the performance of players who were simply not expected to perform well at all.

You'd think Wilson Valdez tops that list, a perennial minor leaguer who was not even selected to the team roster at the start of the year, and had to step up to start more games than Jimmy Rollins, playing two positions. His hitting was adequate -- barely -- but his fielding was consistent and solid, and we were all deeply relieved to say goodbye to Juan Castro after Valdez made it clear that the Phil's defense would remain solid even without Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley.

But I'm giving top honors to Kyle Kendrick, who, if you recall, lost a contest for fifth starter to Jamie Moyer during spring training, only to be handed the position back after JA Happ came up gimpy. We don't remember just how amazingly sound he was (about half the time.) Eight innings of 1-run ball against the Braves on April 20 (the Phils lost the game 4-3 when Contreras blew the 9th.) Seven innings of shut-out ball against the Cards on May 5. Seven innings of 1-run ball against the Braves on June 2 (Phils lost, 2-1). Seven innings of 1-run ball against the YANKEES for God's sake, on June 17. It wasn't every game, but it was enough games to keep the Phils in the hunt through a long, dark stretch disfavor from the baseball gods.

And we need to keep Jamie Moyer in mind as well. He started out the year horribly, giving up 5 runs every time he started, but by the middle of the season, when the chips were down, Moyer was regularly performing wonders. A number of people properly recall his 2-hit shutout of the Braves back in May, but do you recall his complete game against the Padres in June, holding them to 2 runs? And then, for a stretch in June, he was unbeatable: 8 innings, 2 runs against the Yankees; 8 innings, 1 run against the Indians; 7 innings, 2 runs against Toronto.

If these guys hadn't stepped up and performed above their norms, the Phils would have been a lot more than 7 games back in July, and we'd probably be sweating a catch-up run at the Wild Card about now.

These are, indeed, the best of times for a Phillies fan. Four straight division titles - no mean feat - and possibly the best team in baseball this season.

Still, the crapshoot (playoffs) looms.

Regardless of what happens, I'm still very pleased with how the season unfolded, and very proud of this team, especially their ability to overcome injuries and DL trips...

to both 75% of their starting position players...

and 60% of their rotation...

and the back end of the bullpen.


I'm also proud of the front office (look out for the haters), as they made the necessary moves to keep this team competitive and superior. They called up Brown, brought in Sweeney, made the right decision with Valdez/Castro (though that wasn't THAT hard), and ultimately...they made the decision that put the Phillies in a position of having the best playoff bound rotation (on paper) of any team in baseball by trading for Oswalt.

Also, in a move that was widely criticized both here and in the local press - and may turn out to be THE most important decision anyone with the Phillies made - Charlie stuck with Brad lidge despite a midseason meltdown. Lidge righted himself, Madson came back, and the Phillies look pretty solid there right now.

A lot of things had to go right for the Phillies to make up the late July gap, but Lidge returning to his '08 form the last two months may have settled the pitching staff down and allowed them all to realx and focus on their own jobs. The importance of that surely can be overstated, but it was IMHO one of the most important developments that helped them come back and win the division.

Besides Doc's perfect game, and being in the stands for the September 19th comeback, the high point for me was sweeping the Reds, with 3 out of 4 wins coming on walk-offs. Doesn't get more thrilling than that.

I think we need to give Amaro and Manuel a world of credit for this season. All kinds of injuries, half the lineup down, yet neither the front office nor the manager panicked. Not once. No trigger pulls on an insane trade, no moves just to "do something," they keep the ship even keeled and made a great trade that right now seems to be benefiting both teams.

Oh, yeah, I have one more word on the subject of pleasant surprises:


CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!!!!!!

An aside: Did others hear about Longoria and Price verbalizing disappointment with the sparse attendance of fans?

Here's one article about it, which does not mention Price. Others do.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5625055&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

This page has links to editorials expressing opinions on whether it was right or wrong of Longoria to make the comments. I also read on mlb.com's article about it that O's manager says there may not be tons of fans, but they are vocal.

Whatever Doc was going through recently seems to be over. He was his dominant self last night and I think sent a big message to would be playoff opponents.

Bob Carpenter and Ray Knight couldn't say enough good things about him.

NEPP - Ha! I figured as much, but that's good. My boss isn't even a huge baseball fan, and he turned to me and said "the 9th is the end, why did they wait so long to score so many runs in a row?" Needless to say, I didn't laugh at his lack of knowledge, as he's my boss.

Valdez has 87 starts and has appeared in 107 games overall...pretty good for a guy that was AAA filler.

Low point of the season was definitely from May 22-May 27, wherein the Phillies scored a grand total of 3 runs over 5 games, including nearly being no-hit by Daisuke Matsuzaka (the batter who broke up that no-no bid: Juan Castro), then being completely stymied by Tim Wakefield. In that game, there were 3 meaningless runs scored late in the game by the Phillies, as the Red Sox were up 8-0, and just looking to get the hell out of town.

If nearly being no-hit, and then completely decimated by a knuckleballers doesn't get you going, then you were luck. The fun was only starting. The Phils would then go to New York, to Citi Field, and proceed to get shutout three straight games by the hated Mets, and at the time, the Mets were still in contention, and playing very well.

All told, the Phils suffered their worst losing streak of the season of 5 games, and thus began a terrible month of offensive ineptitude. But those five games were just absolutely dreadful. Being shutout in 4 out of 5 games, and scoring meanginless funs in an otherwise blowout by the Red Sox...

Talk about your low points of the season.

In turning to the Braves game late last night, I honestly thought the game was being played in Florida. It was only when I didnt see the K-Mart Men's Room backdrop that I knew they were at Turner field. It was extra innings at that point and if 5,500 people were in the place it would be a stretch. There were more Phils fans sitting in the dark in DC an hour after our game ended. So much for the swan song for Cox, I thought the MLB commercial says "fans adore him"...?

**** I thought the MLB commercial says "fans adore him"...?****

I thought it said "Fan adores him"...odd.

NEPP, Valdez has played himself into a MLB contract next season - and deservedly so. Not only is he a very competent SS, but he can play 2B and #B as well.

If it's dry tonight I wonder if Charlie will start Valdez, JRoll, Dobbs and Gload in the IF, and gove Utley, Polly and Howie the night off?

Of course, if you remember that midseason article about Utley, he'll be very reluctant to sit. Remember what Charlie said about him?:

"You try telling Chase to take a day off and he has this look like you just killed his mother."

The low point, to me, was when they came out of the All Star break and promptly lost 6 of their first 7 games. Not only did that put them 7 games behind the Braves, but it erased all good will from their 4-game sweep of the Reds to end the first half. It also put a serious damper on our hopes of a second half run, prompting all sorts of talk that we'd be trade deadline sellers.

The high point had to be Halladay's perfect game, Moyer's shutout, the crazy 12-11 win in Coors Field, and last week's 1-0 against the Braves, which effectively clinched the division title.

See no reason for Chase to sit. He seems pretty fresh right now after having missed all that time with his thumb.

Winning the division or making the playoffs (really MLB is the one pro sport in the US where you can really say that) is no small accomplishment but this isn't something the '93 division NL East title either.

With the acquisitions they made this offseason and during the season, not making the playoffs would have to be considered a fairly big disappointment.

Break out one of my favorite lines from Henry IV, 'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.'

I don't expect the Phils to win the WS at this point but not getting back at this point would be a real disappointment for several reasons.

philwynk, "Eight innings of 1-run ball against the Braves on April 20 (the Phils lost the game 4-3 when Contreras blew the 9th.) "

Actually, KK went 8 innings of shutout ball, then Madson,in the ninth, yielded a walk to Chipper Jones, and Glaus promptly hit a 2 run jack (after getting humiliated all day by KK, grounding into 2 inning ending double plays), and then gave up the tying HR to Heyward.

Contreras gave up the walk off HR to Nate McClouth in the 10th inning, but after that 9th inning barrage, I'd have been surprised if the Braves didn't win that game.

Also, I love the Moyer praise as much as anyone, but let's not forget that before that game against the Yankees (which was an absolute gem), he and Blanton had both just gotten brutalized to the tune of 18 ER over 5 IP by the Red Sox. Moyer gave up 9 ER in just 1 IP worth of work that game. That was certainly a scary moment for the Phils, since it had been a while since they had just been humiliated like that.

I'm just glad the Phillies started stealing signs again in late July.

"I don't expect the Phils to win the WS at this point "

Why not? Who would you favor over them?

Fatalotti, I "hope" the Phils will win the WS again, but I don't "expect" it either.

The playoffs are a crapshoot and too much can happen in a short series to take anything for granted and for anyone to "expect" something.

Still, if your point is that the Phillies are in good shape to make another run at winning it all, then I agree.

I think MG does too, thought I'll let him tupe for himself.

Another high point was hearing Sarge interview players and call them by their last name: Good game Werth! how did you manage such a good game tonight, Moyer?

Scary stat: KK has made 30 starts this year for us...and will obviously get at least 1 more this week.

He gives us 3 starters that made at least 30+ starts.

kuvasz, I've heard the Phils also have a special humidor where they keep balls that they use just for the opposing team. :)

Fat - Because I expect their AL opponent will be better any they will likely face in the NL playoffs.

MG - not bad, although personally, his son had the better quote.

I see a quick exit by the Yankees this season and a permanent exit for Girardi, destination Wrigley.

MG: Just because they're better than the Reds, Braves, Giants or Padres... doesn't mean they're better than us.

Looks like most of AL teams have some question marks moving into the playoffs... question marks bigger than what the Phils have.

And no one can match Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt... or even come close at this point.

Ishmael - I like Henry V better than Henry IV but always preferred the non-historical stuff a bit more including Othello and Merchant of Venice.

You really think they'd fire Girardi one year after winning a WS in his first season?


I just dont see it...not with Steinbrenner gone and Billy Martin unavailable for a 78th Managerial stint.

Even if they're swept in the ALDS, I fully expect Girardi back in 2011.

NEPP, the Phillies, at various times this season, had 3 of their top 5 SP on the DL.

Moyer - season (last half)
Happ - 3 months
Blanton - 1 month

KK has been a valuable replacement, and will have a shot at the rotation next season.

Blanton, despite his DL stint, has still made 27 starts and pitched 167.2 innings (6.19 IP.start), and Moyer, as has been mentioned, still logged 111 IP on the season.

Blanton, in his last 19 starts, has logged a 4.03 ERA (pretty good for a #4 - below lg avg), and averaged 6-1/3 IP. The team is 14 - 5 in those starts, after being 2 - 6 in his first 8 starts.

No chance the Yanks fire Girardi and really no reason unless he did something criminal or incredibly foolish.

MG, you're entitled to that opinion, I just don't know how you can make the case that the any team in the AL is unequivocally better than the Phillies.

We have the best starting playoff rotation of any of the playoff teams (AL teams included). Hamels won a WS against an AL team, so he can obviously pitch against the AL in the playoffs, Halladay played in Toronto against the AL East his whole career, and I'm not worred about Oswalt in the WS either. Good pitching is good pitching, and we have 3 exceptionally good starters.

I just don't that there's another team that matches us with depth and has fewer weakness than the Phils.

If you're thinking that the Yanks are easily better than us, consider that they have CC (matched by Doc), a recently injured and older Pettite, who recently got tagged in a very bad outing, and then who else?

Burnett? Vazquez? Hughes? Also, Rivera has been human lately, and they have no one else in their bullpen to match Ryan Madson. We are better than the Yanks.

The Rays rotation isn't even close to as good as ours. Yes, they have Price, but we have Doc. Hamels/Oswalt are far better than any other 2 pitchers they have, and their bullpen is nothing to shudder over. Their offense, while explosive, has been as inconsistent as susceptible to poor outing as ours, if not moreso. I think we are favorites over the Rays.

The Rangers won't even make it out of the first round, and beyond Cliff Lee (who has been shaky lately) don't have the horses to match ours, and if Hamilton is out, or still trying to find his timing in the playoffs, they are considerably less dangerous than the Phils.

The Twins are a good team, but Morneau may not be back, they don't have as good of frontline pitching as we do, and Mauer has been battling some injuries.

I just don't see how we aren't favorites over any AL team we face in the playoffs (should we make it there).

Let me know if you think I'm wrong. I just think the Phillies are strong on all fronts (starting pitching, back end of the bullpen, defense, offense), whereas the other playoff teams have obvious holes/flaws in certain areas. Not to say these teams aren't great, and they certainly can beat the Phils, but I wouldn't bet on it.

No one's talking about Amaro's assertion that they were in serious talks with Seattle to get Cliff Lee back in July?

Everyone would rather have seen that than Oswalt at the time, but it sure looks like they made the better move.

One of my favorite moments this season was Jimmy's slide, vs Padres.

The BL repartee during the neverending top of the 9th last night was another high-point.

***Ishmael - I like Henry V better than Henry IV but always preferred the non-historical stuff a bit more including Othello and Merchant of Venice. ***

My favorite Shakespeare one-liner is from Hamlet...

"Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, I will be brief." -Polonius.

Its funnier if you know the play and the character as Polonius is the most notoriously long-winded SOB on earth.

'You really think they'd fire Girardi one year after winning a WS in his first season?'

No I see him leaving voluntarily no matter what.

****No I see him leaving voluntarily no matter what. ****

Is his contract up?

If not, is he really being hammered that much or is the opportunity to Manage his other old club (Cubs) that tempting?

Lo point -
J Werth cursing out the dad fan for stealing his foul ball.

Hi point - Happy Raul found his groove. Or at least his lost bag of PEDs.

Fata - I do think the Phils will be favored not only in the NL but to win the whole thing.

Just think the Rays/Yanks are both better than any team the Phils will face in the NL playoffs including the Giants, Reds, or Braves/Padres.

MG, I take responsibility for that Twins game. I was there with a friend. Told him before the game that since it was a 4:10 start, we would probably be in the shade most of the game. I was wrong and about the 6th inning he started bustin' my chops about it. The score was 9-4 at the time and I jokingly said "Dont worry we'll be in the shade in the 10th,"

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EST. 2005

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