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Sunday, October 17, 2010


Maybe the experts questioning Chooch can correct me here. I always thought the pitcher had the ability (and the right) to shake off a pitch called by the catcher. You know, in case he didn't feel like that was the best pitch to throw in that situation. When did that change?

The above quotes are good ones. Baseball is a game of adjustments, and when we needed to make them, we failed. Come October, it is also a game of mistakes. The team that makes them is the team that goes home. You could argue that the two starters made two mistakes each. The mistake the tipped the balance was courtesy of Ibanez. That made the difference.

And would it hurt to run a little? Werth had a great take out slide, which he shouldn't have needed.

Scott: Very good summary. Halladay and Lincecum pretty much cancelled each other out. Neither was dominant, both were above average. It was a very close game, as we expected, and it turned on one bad defensive play by our LF. It could easily have gone the other way had Pat Burrell been faced with the same play.

This is no time to play back on your heels, as the Phils did last night. And this is no time for Manuel to trot out his usual rigidity. If they win Game 1, maybe that lessens the urgency, maybe you run Ibanez out there against the lefty, you leave things alone. Instead, I believe he needs to set the tone for a change and run a different-looking lineup out there tonight:

1. Rollins
2. Polanco
3. Utley
4. Werth
5. Howard
6. Francisco
7. Victorino
8. Ruiz
9. Oswalt

I really don't think it makes a difference if you have Rollins or Victorino at the top or bottom of the lineup. Essentially, they're the same player. The only purpose it purports to serve is to "get Jimmy going" in a spot where he's more comfortable.

If he runs the same 1-8 out there against Sanchez as he did last night, to me Manuel is every bit as guilty of the same complacency as that lineup has demonstrated.

I'm glad I miss the threads for the most part this time of the year. It can get insufferable. Also, I'm glad to see that MG's pitch recognition is still as good as TMac's. Halladay threw no cutters in that second at bat to Ross. They were all fastballs with a two seam fastball being hit out by Ross.

The big moment of the night though was the Ibanez play in left. He needs to find the wall on that ball that Burrell hit and he didn't. He jumped when he probably didn't have to and booted an out into 2 additional runs when all was said and done.

It doesn't surprise me at all that Cody Ross was the killer last night. This series will hinge on a few moments like last night's did and we ended up on the shortend of the stick last night. If you expected the Phillies to walk over the Giants then you had blinders on. This was always going to be tough.

What a waste of a very hittable and walkable outing by Timmy, which cannot be expected all the time, or in his next start. I blame MG, and suspect that Kutztown Fan forgot the hat. ;) This team used to be so opportunistic. Last night, not only did they fail to create opportunities, but didn't take advantage of the ones that were right in front of their faces and waving and screaming at them.

Clout and TTI: So you're saying then that in a close 1-run game, one play here or there can be the difference and the game can go either way?

In other words, predicting an easy Phillies sweep was stupid and most of the posters on here were ridiculously over-confident before the series.

TTI: "If you expected the Phillies to walk over the Giants then you had blinders on. This was always going to be tough."

Absolutely, which is why it is so discouraging to see a winnable game get away.

I think that pitch to PtB was a slightly belated birthday present.

The other thing is that most fans have this idea that because the Phils have won these close playoff games in the past, that they're pre-destined to always win close playoff games.

They're not. Other teams win sometimes, the Phils come up short sometimes. That's baseball.

Jack: Absolutely- you see what the crazy posters do? They put you, clout, and I on the same team. Insanity.

JeffS: Exactly as well on your first sentence. The Phillies had a chance to win that game and didn't. Could hurt in the long run.

Hard to call Ibanez's play a "mistake". Burrell gave that ball a ride and exposed the limits of the guy's ability. If he made the catch, it would have been a terrific play. Halladay probably shouldn't have thrown that pitch. How many times do pitchers get squeezed by an ump on a low pitch, elevate the pitch a little to try and get the strike, and get hammered?

Close game, as expected. I'm sticking by my prediction for the series, and for tonight's game - 8-2 Phils win. Any Beerleaguers hanging out in the HOF club tonight, I'll be the guy with the black Phils cap with the new "P". Feel free to buy me a drink or throw me an elbow, as you deem fit.

I'm haunted by last night’s game and what appears to be a permanent decline in the offense troika we've run out there since 2006 and counted on to destroy opposing pitching -- Rollins, Utley and Howard. Utley gets hurt a lot, and seems to have lost his mojo. He looks ordinary.

The real grief arises from Rollins and Howard. Rollins does look like a guy on the downside. Sure, injuries take their toll, but that’s a core part of the problem. When he’s right, there are still issues. Unfortunately, his neutralizes his still quick bat by that !@#$ uppercut in his swing. I'm sure he feels strong enough to muscle every other hittable pitch into the seats, but that just ain't happenin'. Memo to Jimmy: Hit down on the ball and the ball will go far. Uppercut it and you'll hit a weak ground ball or lift it in the air. To the RF or SS.

I’m old enough to remember Mike Schmidt’s declaration that he kept his power numbers up in the later part of his career by focusing on hitting it hard with a level swing, and getting the feel he was hitting down on the ball. Schmidty is an avid golfer, and golfers know one thing: “…hit down on the ball, and the ball goes up”. If you try to lift a golf ball into the air with a convoluted swing, you’ll either miss it or skull the dang ball. Jimmy looks like a Sunday duffer, popping up his driver. Ugly.

Finally, Howard. Since when did he decide to become a gap hitter who’s obsessed with his BA? Memo to Howard: You’re paid to be a slugger! No gap hitter ever got $125mm. When Mitch Williams was on “Post Game Live” (ahh, those were the days!!) he resolutely declared he did not give a bleep about how many times Howard struck out. As long as the production was there – and that included HRs as well as RBIs – it did not matter how he made his outs. Maybe Howard’s just tired, or maybe he’s on the downside, too but that double to left center should have gone out, IMHO.

Here’s hoping that I’m wrong on all counts. However, if H2O starts to believe they need to be perfect with every pitch to make up for the absence of offensive production, walks will happen, runs will be scored and the Phils will collapse like a house of cards. Memo to Phils: Please prove me wrong!

Oh, and yeah, Rollins is killing the offense, not question. Just figured that went without saying and didn't need to be commented on.

Jayson Werth continues to be our best player, despite the criticism leveled at him throughout the season on BL.

Finally, there's one thing that a lot of people didn't comment on , but that appeared last night as a reason why the Giants have a very good chance in this series. They hit for power. They might not hit a lot, or walk a lot, or steal a lot, but they do hit for power. That's what wins in the playoffs--power hitting and power pitching. People who think "smallball" wins are idiots. You don't string together a lot of hits against pitchers like Lincecum and Halladay. You hope the hits you do get leave the park. You throw out good pitching and hit for power, and you got a chance. It's how we won a World Series.

I don't know that people who like "small ball" are idiots but, Jack's right insofar as your chances in last night's game. Not sure there was ever a time that Manuel even would have thought of bunting. Stealing, maybe. 2 homers off Lincecum is as good as you can hope for. For this team to win in this series, it needs to hit some homers and do some damage against SF's bullpen.

Hugh: It was a mistake. He did not need to jump. He did not need to hit the wall. The ball was quite catchable.

Raul Ibanez picked the worst possible time to channel his Inner-Pat Burrell out in left.

"I’m old enough to remember Mike Schmidt’s declaration that he kept his power numbers up in the later part of his career by focusing on hitting it hard with a level swing, and getting the feel he was hitting down on the ball. Schmidty is an avid golfer, and golfers know one thing: “…hit down on the ball, and the ball goes up”. If you try to lift a golf ball into the air with a convoluted swing, you’ll either miss it or skull the dang ball. Jimmy looks like a Sunday duffer, popping up his driver. Ugly."

Interesting, because this year Mike Schmidt was on the air during a TV broadcast and was highly critical and said the exact same thing.

The Ibanez non-catch waa a routine play for an average-plus outfielder. These things happen.
If Werth leaves after this season, we'd be lucky to land Cody Ross. He may have a frooty smile but the guy plays hard, can hit with power, runs bases well and plays good defense in all 3 outfield slots.



The season can't be over now.

It was over at the All-Star break.

Seriously, why even play the rest of the games?

They better not forfeit. I will be in San Francisco tomorrow night and hopefully will get lucky nabbing some tickets without mortgaging the future.

Howard is hanging out with Tony Siragusa right now. He should be watching film on Sanchez instead!

Seeing Howard at the Eagles game really pisses me off. And when he goes 0-4 w/ 4 Ks vs. Sanchez tonight, I'm gonna be even MORE pissed off.

How are Vic and JRoll the same player? Vic is more likely to put the ball on the ground or hit a line drive than fly out. All Jimmy does is fly out. He's always been like that except that one season in '07 where he magically got enough power to start sending 'em over the wall.

"I always thought the pitcher had the ability (and the right) to shake off a pitch called by the catcher. You know, in case he didn't feel like that was the best pitch to throw in that situation. "

Scott, exactly right. That's why the complaining about Chooch is way off base (pardon the pun). If Halladay didn't like the pitch call, he could have shaken it off but he didn't. Simply put, they were bad pitches.

Posted by: GTown_Dave

re: Ryno - reminds of a kid who fails a math test, then instead of preparing for the next exam, he spends the afternoon at the arcade.
what?.. that was me? ... oh ....

wonder if werth is watching the game at the local saloon?

People were pissed that Hamels was watching sports at a bar the day he pitched against the Reds. We all know how badly that turned out.

but hamels has been almost robotic in his success, where howard has been robotic in not delivering w/ risp & over all pitch selection.

" howard has been robotic in not delivering w/ risp"
Can you show some numbers to back up that claim? The numbers I'm looking at tell a slightly different story, unless you meant to type Werth instead of Howard.

If you care that Howard was at the Eagles game for part of the first half between 1 and 2 pm- you're a moron.

BP is probably around 5:30 and I'm sure he is only there until about the half and then he'll go over to CBP. They've watched game tape on Sanchez, and they've faced him this season. They know what he throws and what he is going to try and do.

someone please provide a list of acceptable activities 6 hours before game-time.

Rather obvious patterns? Nobody noticed that Lincecum had trouble hitting 90 on the radar gun, and very, very rarely through it, and COULD NOT CONTROL HIS FASTBALL?

It was like watching El Duque pitch backwards.

Just about to post a complaint about the offense when I got a totally unexpected phone call from a friend - he had an extra ticket to the game! Now that's luck!

Anyway, I've gone over the BL posts and comments and there is merit to almost all of them.

However, I keep coming back to the past 4 games - 9 earned runs by our offense. I saw nothing last night (or in the post season for that matter) in the Giants' play that indicates they will give up many unearned runs, if any.

The bats need to wake up in a big way or the series will likely continue to be a total, "anyone's game" coin flip from one game to the next. It's a shame because Lincecum seemed hittable last night, and because I truly think the Phils are the better team.

Go Phils!

Look, after three years of being in the spotlight the league knows how to pitch these guys. Age only adds to the problem.

Over the course of a 162 game season, the hitters will get theirs because the phillies lineup is indeed very talented. But when things get turned up a notch in the post season, and the Nationals, Marlins, and Mets pitching staffs are no longer available, production will be tougher to come by.

Howard, Rollins and company better learn some plate strategy or there are going to be a lot of disappointed phillies fans come next week.

"someone please provide a list of acceptable activities 6 hours before game-time."

For me? Napping. Just got done, in fact.

TTI - Where did I say Ross had a cutter in his 2nd AB. It was a sinker, fastball, and sinker. I was livid because it was foolish to start Ross with a sinker (even if on the outer half of the plate) and to continue to throw so many fastballs against a dead fastball hitter.

I would give a share of the blame to Chooch as well as to Halladay for the pitch selections. First of all, the catcher calls the game, and while the pitcher can shake off signs, pitch selection is collaborative. Halladay has said he puts faith in Ruiz and doesn't question his calls much. Also, Ruiz knows Burrell & Ross better than Halladay does.

Re: Ibanez non-catch. I think it would have been a good catch had he made it, meaning it was catchable but not easy. Maybe I'm wrong there and it was routine -and he did misplay it, that's true. I do think that when Burrell plays LF, he doesn't try for the tough catches, preferring to snag the ball off the wall or on the bounce. Guaranteeing a single, but also limiting the hit to a single and keeping existing baserunners from advancing as far, since he also has a strong arm. Raul doesn't play it safe like Pat, and sometimes it works - i.e., he catches the ball - but sometimes it doesn't. It took him a bit of time to pick that ball up, which was worse than playing it off the wall would have been. In my opinion.

Ryan Howard has 8 SOs in 15 ABs this postseason. (So much for hitting for avg. instead of for power - Right now he's doing neither. I know, I know, tough pitching and all.) Still hoping the "Get me to the plate, boys" version of Howard will show up. Already expressed my frustration with Shane and Jimmy. SF has great pitchers, and if (if) their pitching beats our hitting more than our pitching beats their hitting - (66 HRs since Aug? That's a lot more offensive ability than I thought they had) - well, then, obviously, we won't be going further.

But it was only game 1. I'm looking forward to the fight coming out in the Fightins'.

Oh, and I have to say, I was completely surprised to be quoted! :)

They keep showing the empty CBP on the Eagles game. Howard should definitely be out there alone, working on something.

As for small ball, what exactly did the Giants do in that department last night? Hit a couple homers and a double?

OK - being more specific -

Ryno looked incredibly ineffective after the early game double last night...

What has Howard done against Sanchez this year? - If he has done well, great - enjoy the Eagles,

Otherwise, Since a lot is riding on tonight's game, and they need production from Ryan, it would be better that he should be prepared... look at videos, make adjustments etc...

That's all I am saying....

EFF: The Giants did not play "smallball." They won because of power hitting. That's what wins in the playoffs. You'd think after the Phils slugged their way to the 2008 WS, fans here would not still buy into the myth of "smallball". Yet sadly, many still do.

It may be fun to blame Chooch for his pitch selection to Ross, but the pitches weren't good and as far as Halladay's familiarity with Ross, he went 0-3 in the perfect game, so I think Doc knows how to pitch to him. They were mistakes, that's it.

MG: You're right- I flipped the two pitches in your one post. Although- Halladay threw all fastballs in that 2nd at bat to Ross. So you're wrong either eay, just not in the way that I originally said you were.

Per Ken Rosenthal
#Phillies lineup: Utley, Polanco change places. Victorino, Utley, Polanco, Howard, Werth, Rollins, Ibanez, Ruiz, Oswalt

The season isn't just over, but the Phils are donating half their salaries to the Giants who are clearly better in every possible way.

Good thing BLs are not panicking, though.

I would like to see dirty tricks while we still got the Giants in town. I see a Godfather-like montage. Cody Ross getting fed a cheesesteak full of exlax mixed in the whiz....Matt Cain get locked in the giant heart at the Franklin Institute...Lincecum being given tainted weed somewhere in the Badlands...Aubrey Huff getting his hand glued to the Liberty Bell and of course, PTB getting arrested for a pile of old parking tickets and indecent exposure in Old City.

Not me, RG. I want to see the Phils prove how good they are and how they got the best record in the majors. I mean, if Chase fakes another HBP, ok, but I want the team to get fired up and show their mettle and their worth.

Although your scenarios are pretty darn funny, as I'm sure you intended. I think the loss took away my sense of humor, for me not to notice the funny right away. Must remember to enjoy the ride.

Oswalt will pitch well tonight. What an interesting guy he must be. Living in the same small town where he grew up, wanting a tractor in part to help his neighbors or to be the envy of them, opening a restaurant so the town residents had one closer than 40 miles away...A man of simple tastes, sounds like. And that impish smile as exhibited behind Dubee's back when the camera was on him for that in-game interview...And saying he has to try pretty hard to make Doc laugh but that it's fun. I like him. And I think he'll pitch well tonight.

From an article on entitled "Why the Phils will win Game 2" (of course, there's a link to an opposing article about why the Giants will win Game 2, but never mind that one):

(Regarding Sanchez v. Phillies) The Yankees' Phil Hughes featured similar career domination over the Rangers, and Texas touched him for seven runs on Saturday.

....Since the two right-handers teamed up at the end of July, Oswalt and Halladay have never both started Phillies losses in the same spin of the rotation. Furthermore, Oswalt twice followed Halladay's losses with strong wins of his own.

I love the unrealistic expectations some fans have of athletes. Because the Phils lost yesterday, some think the entire team should lock themselves in solitary confinement as punishment for what they did. Howard is not allowed to have fun of any kind 7 hours before game time because he can't hit Sanchez. Ridiculous.

Iceman: Yeah, I have no problem with Howard being at the Eagles game.

As you note, he can't hit Sanchez no matter what he does. So he might as well have some fun this afternoon.

Rollins in the 6 hole again.

UC is a fvcking idiot. He's hurt, he has no power, he's not hitting or running...DONT BAT HIM 6TH! It killed us last night, it killed the offense in the NLDS...he's not healthy. If we lose, blame UC for his idiotic lineups.


Okay, got that out. Still pissed about last night.

I can't believe Iceman thinks Ryan Howard should be neck deep in hookers and coke 30 min before gametime!! That's outrageous!

Charlie has sometimes said that the game is bigger than his heart, but then he sticks with a clearly ineffective Rollins, and his actions betray his words...

I agree, Rollins should be 8th. Like Valdez when he plays. As, perhaps he should be. How are Exxon's splits compared with Jimmy's? Maybe they could platoon.

But then, I've heard it said you shouldn't manage any differently in postseason than regular. Not sure what that means for us with as many injuries/lineups as we had this year.

I'd rather see Exxon play right now. At least he's healthy. He didnt hit LHPs well this year though.

Jimmy did though so MAYBE he wakes up tonight. Batting him 6th is terrible.

I wonder if Charlie has been using Baseball Musings lineup analysis tool. He's got Utley batting 2nd and Polanco 3rd.

Lineup analysis says your best hitters should be 2nd and 4th, your weakest 3rd and 8th. Your best non-HR hitting OB guys should bat 9th and 1st.

If Charlie would flip Ruiz and Oswalt, he'd have the perfect lineup per Baseball Musings.

****Lineup analysis says your best hitters should be 2nd and 4th****

That kinda goes against 100 years of baseball thinking that says your best hitter should bat 3rd.

If there was a link with the reasoning, I'd be interested in reading it.

The phillies offense has been sleepwalking through four playoff games and if someone raises concern its considered panic.

If they show me something I won't raise any concerns.

Oh and if there's a leadoff double, i'm not saying the next hitter should bunt, but advancing a runner is sound baseball. Whether you're Babe Ruth or Abe Nunez.

NEPP: There's a ton. Just do a Google search. In terms of "reasoning," there is none. They simply took the average OB, AVG and SLG from each lineup slot from thousands of lineups over many years and then ran game simulations to see what worked best. The difference between the best and worst possible lineups isn't huge so you're only talking 1 or 2 wins a year between the optimal lineup and one a couple spots less than optimal.

BTW, not sure what you mean about every team in baseball history batting their best player 3rd. It's more like 50-50 between 3rd and 4th.

PHinBK: Context is important. Does offense, as a rule, decline in the post-season? How many runs per game are scored in the LCS and World Series as compared to rpg during regular season?

PHinBK: "but advancing a runner is sound baseball."

And giving away outs is unsound baseball.

Not only did last night's game suck in terms of not hitting w/ RISP, but I was surrounded by drunken louts. At least nobody puked.

clout - and stranding RISP constantly is not sound baseball...either.

Posted by: rauls grandpa - what an awesome post!

phillinnyc: I agree. But better to make an out trying to drive in a run than to make an out on purpose. Obviously, I'm talking about position players here.

rollins in the 6th spot?

does UC needs a mental enema?

pardon my grammar..

back to Howard at the eagles game..

rumor has it, that he asked Michael Vick to play SS

Ok, everyone, here's the deal. When I get negative about the Phillies, they win. When I feel positive, they lose. I felt good about these games versus the Giants, so they went out and promptly lost Game 1. So here we go:

We could easily be swept here by the Giants.

Why? Game specific concerns:

1) Game 2: The Phillies have historically stunk against Sanchez. Oswalt could pitch a decent game and we could still end up losing 2-0 or 3-0.

2) In Game 3, Cole Hamels doesn't have good numbers at AT&T. Plus the pressure of being down 2-0 will get to him. Pencil him in for 5 ERs. You think our struggling offense will be able to overcome 5 ERs? Pshaw.

3) In Game 4, Blanton actually pitches well, but the Phils are unable to figure out Bumgardner (leftie the Phils haven't seen a lot of = futility for the Phils.) Plus the offense presses for dingerz and everyone whiffs. Pencil Bumgardner in for 9 Ks.

Giants sweep the Phils in 4.

Oh yeah, and here are my player specific concerns:

1) Jimmy Rollins doing his best Juan Castro impression at the plate.
2) How many years do you have to be in the big leagues not to be able to recognize breaking balls, Ryan Howard? He's just totally guessing and it shows.
3) Raul Ibanez = declining bat speed and epic fail.
4) have a great eye. You're not prohibited from taking a walk. In fact, since you can't hit for diddly-squat, that's what you should be looking to do. Every time.
5) Victorino....just go with the ball. Take what they give you. There's no shame in an opposite field single. You don't have to hit a dinger every time.

I don't know if this spew of negativity will do the trick, but if it doesn't, I can't help.

Vick can't hit the curve ball.

I don't have a problem with Ryan Howard going to the Eagles game per se. He just better show up and play well tonight.

Because if you're about to play one of the biggest games of your season, and you're out enjoying yourself that afternoon, that's fine. But what it tells me is that you are super prepared and you feel there is absolutely nothing else you could possibly do to make yourself any better.

So if Ryan plays like a superstar tonight, then obviously there was nothing else he could have possibly done. If he doesn't...well, yeah.

"rollins in the 6th spot?

does UC needs a mental enema?"

I made some sort of peace with UC at the end of the season. DO NOT expect him to make an ideal lineup. DO NOT expect him to make realistic decisions regarding veterans and their playing time. DO NOT expect him to use the ideal reliever in the middle/late innings.

If you expect him to do any of these things consistently, you'll just end up giving yourself an ulcer.

Heather's got guts, ya sure betcha!

Heather, your game scenarios are too plausible, now I'm back to hyperventilating, thank you very much!

We need BAP's negativity, too. It's a ritual.

a single by Werth in the 2nd inning get Howard home...

and single by Howard with men on 2Nd & 3rd, we have a 3-0 lead before a single homer has been hit.

Then - all other things being equal, HR & Pt B wise -


PHILS 6 - SF 0


I said it once, and I will say it again. Over the course of a long season, you have many games that come to define stretches of the season. In the beginning, there was the perfect game, towards the middle/end we were swept by the astros, post all-star break there was the absolute destruction of the Braves' lead, now the next chapter is to be written. The Phillies have a choice, they can block out the outside influences and accolades which go with being the bets team in abseball, or they can listen to the sycophants and go off of reputation. @ players right now who show this are Utley and Rollins. One seems content to go out 80% believing that past achievement equals future success, while the other is focusing in and playing solid baseball. So, with that said, on to game 2.

Vick can't hit the curve, but he can bake the poodle.

We're doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed, doomed.

There is no way we can possibly win this series anymore. Good luck against the Yanks, Rangers, Giants!

Seriously guys, get pumped and get loud for Game Two!

**Meant to say Yanks or Rangers

I think BAP is no longer with us. I had my money on losing him around Game 3. Didn't even make it to batting practice of Game 1. RIP.

BAP baked the big poodle?

I have never seen Doc have a meltdown ala Hamel's, so I was really surprised to see him totally lose it like that

However, simce he is human, ,maybe Ruiz or Dubee go to the mound give Halladay a sec to gain his composure before making the next pitch. In that situation , Ruiz/Dubee did not do their jobs.

More food for thought:

I heard on 1 of the talk shows that Timmyboy had a blister and ceased throwing the slider around the 4th inn, but according to this expert on the radio, the Phillies bench never picked up on that and the batters never made any adjustments...

"So if Ryan plays like a superstar tonight, then obviously there was nothing else he could have possibly done. If he doesn't...well, yeah."

The logic is airtight!

I was kind of wondering if b_a_p hadn't been posting since the playoffs began because he has been feeling a bit conflicted about who he should be rooting for in this series. ;)

Yo, new thread

Howard will come through. He always does. Unless he gets in his own way.
Remember this -->

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