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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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All that without Abraham Nunez in the lineup? What a team.

Couldn't agree more.

I agree. After all, good pitching beats good hitting only if it's your team's good pitching that beats the other team's hitting while your team's hitting beats the other team's pitching.

But how are we supposed to get the bats hot by sitting for a week? (I realize the Giants are in much the same boat.)

REpost:

Don't know if this has any value, but SF won the season series vs Cincy 4-3 in some pretty high scoring games. Seems SFs pen wasn't able to keep in check the high octane Reds O.

Carlos Ruiz had a fine season by anyone's standards.

Howard and Utley's seasons both have to be considered disappointments even considering the time they missed. Both put up career lows in slugging percentage. Almost all of Howard's value, and much of Utley's, come from their power--a low output there is going to make their season a disappointment.

If the Phillies bats can perform up to half of their potential, we'll score enough runs to win in 5.

We just no-hit and shut out the best offensive team in the National League. Now, we're facing an average offensive team whose home games are in a pitcher's park, who are relying on Pat The Bat as one of their primary run producers.

You'll pardon me if I'm not at all frightened of this series.

So, Jack, in essence, when JW writes "Ryan Howard and Chase Utley missed gobs of time and barely left a mark," you're actually taking the opposing view point and stating that they did, indeed, leave a mark - a giant skidmark in the underwear that is the Phils lineup?

Pat the Bat has come up with some big hits and homeruns for them since they claimed him. Guillen, if he's on the roster, is a particularly tough out for the Phils. Cody Ransom is an improvement over what they had before. Aubrey Huff is hitting. And they've sat the slumping Panda.

This is not that pathetic offensive team they were before. Far from it.

I see this as the worst possible matchup the Phils could have gotten. There are certain teams that are simply a bad matchup. Play a 162 game season and it's no question. The Phils are the class of the league and possibly all of baseball. But play the Mets, Pirates or Astros and that superiority goes out the window. The Giants are obviously better than those three teams, AND they are a bad matchup because their hitting can hit our pitching and their pitching can shut down our hitting.

I agree that this should be the match up of the playoffs. Won't get a better one even in the WS. Too bad it's happening now instead of for the world championship.

WP: Ha no, not quite.

I am saying that he's right if what he's saying is their seasons were disappointments. They quite obviously were.

Outside of Volquez, the Reds got pretty good pitching during the series too. Really, where do you draw the line? When is it "The pitching was awesome" vs. "The offense went to sleep?" Seems like a good pitcher can always shutdown an offense no matter how good it is or how hot it's been.

I forget which Phillies player said it, but he was absolutely right that the Reds are going to be a good team for the next few years. Cueto also is an ace in the making (like Volquez). Next year Cueto, Volquez, Wood, and Homer Bailey are going to be a very, very formidable rotation.

Add a dynamic young offense to that with Votto, Philips, Stubbs, and Bruce at the core, and you've got a tough young team for the next 3 years. The Cardinals are going to have their hands full.

I understand that during the time they played their slugging was down. On the other hand being injured on and off certainly puts a cramp in your focus, consistency.. whatever you want to call it. Not to mention that no star athlete really "HEALS" on the DL they just get to a point where the pain is bearable enough to play through and they won't re-injure themselves.

I think any of the potential World Series match-ups are great match-ups. And I think the ALCs will be a really exciting series.

Eh, Pat has produced admirably since the trade, but he can anyone say they'd rather have Pat at the plate in a situation where the game is on the line over ANY starter in the Phillies lineup?

Seriously, when Pat was a Phillie, even during one of his notorious streaks, would we ever say that he's a threat to Halladay, Oswalt or Hamels, and a bigger threat at the plate than Howard, Utley, J-Roll, et al?

The sky is not falling. We're fine.

aksmith, when did the Giants grab Cody Ransom, and why weren't we notified? Is this all we had to give up for Cody Ross?

(kidding, I'm sure you realize...)

"This is not that pathetic offensive team they were before. Far from it."

I've said similar things in the past, but actually, if you check the Giants' offensive splits month-to-month, they're really flat. September was probably their worst offensive month. Basically they were alright in April, awful in May, alright in the summer months (scored a lot of runs in July but they didn't actually hit any better that month), and then awful in September again.

Actually, Pat is one of the few clutch players in the Giants lineup.

just announced, sanchez is going game 2, cain in game 3

"The chances of repeating a no-hitter, five-hitter and receiving a gift-wrapped game like they did in Game 2 are unlikely, and the Giants’ rotation is of a higher caliber than the Reds."

And the Giants lineup is of significantly lower caliber than the Reds. Sure, a no-hitter ain't gonna happen... but dominating performances from H2O? Book it. We're dealing with paper tigers. This offense won't need to excel, they'll just need to perform.

And by "this lineup," I mean the Phils lineup.

All this press about their ability to hit is sure to get the Phils' backs up. I expect them to hurt the Giants significantly.

st, that is NOT good news for the Phils.

If I were in the prediction game, I would predict Charlie counters with Cole in Game 3 and Oswalt in Game 3.

Everything that has been said...EVERYTHING...can be said to a greater extent about the Giants.

Their offense should have a harder time hitting our pitching than our offense hitting their pitching.

We have home field advantage. We have been to back to back World Series. This team wants to get back to another World Series. They want to win it again. Halladay will pitch until his arm falls off if it helps this team win a World Series. Cole Hamels isn't messing around this year; you saw his celebration after he clinched the NLDS. This team wants to win again, and I suspect that the Giants are going to get the Phillies at their absolute best.

The Giants have a tall order in front of them. They are standing in the path of history, and should they prevail, I will tip my cap to them.

But if I'm a Giants fan right now, I'm more than a little worried. This Phillies team knows how to win in October, and I believe we're going to see more of that next week.

Other than that, sit back and enjoy a good series between two really good teams.

awh, Cole was likely already going to pitch game 2. Oswalt's recent numbers at AT&T Park are good. Hamels is on fire right now, so you want to get him in there earlier.

This could backfire on the Giants. If Doc and Hamels should win their starts, Cain going against the Phillies may not be able to stop the bleeding.

Let's be clear here...

The Phils have a superior rotation.
The Phils have a superior defense.
The Phils have a superior offense.
The Phils have homefield advantage.
The Phils were a better team this year.
The Phils were a better team in the NLDS.

Just wanted to point that out as we, once again, look for ways to present the Giants as the most formidable opponent of all time... while exaggerating the Phils' flaws.

no manuel on his xm radio show today said the rotation is staying the same with blanton as the #4

Pitching Sanchez in Game 2 was the right move for the Giants. You try and neutralize our lefty power in CBP with Sanchez, and then hope that the park in San Fran helps Cain keep Utley and Howard in the yard.

Absolutely the right move for them.

The counterargument to that is that Sanchez is a walks machine, and in a hostile environment like CBP in the playoffs, that could be a fatal flaw. If he gets flustered after a leadoff double, say, and then issues a couple walks because he can't find his command, he's got bases loaded and no outs. Dangerous situation for the pitcher who led the league in walks. Also, he's not known to go deep into games, so I'd think you'd rather play reliever roulette at home then on the road.

Just some musings. I don't think it's a bad move, per se, but I can see it backfiring given Sanchez's control issues, and general inability to go deep into games.

i agree. it COULD be a bad move. it's really impossible to predict. the one thing he does do is walk guys

Fat: That's all true, and a good counter-argument.

However (here's my counter-counter-argument)--if he's going to go short in a game, wouldn't you rather him do it on a day before an off day than the first of 3 straight games? If you burn through your bullpen in Game 2, everyone has a day off the next day. If you do it in Game 3, those guys have to pitch the next two consecutive days, and you got a rookie going the next day who's also unlikely to go deep into a game.

Actually the Giants team UZR is much better than the Phils, indicating that they might have the edge in defense.

http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&stats=fld&lg=all&type=1&season=2010&month=0

Look at the state of each club right now.

Right now, the Giants are hitting and Pitching. They are a "Hot" team and therefore dangerous in a short series.

Right now, our boys are Pitching but not hitting so much. We're getting it done, but we're not Hot by any definition. We need the bats to get heated up. Unfortunately, Rollins and Polanco are playing hurt and likely won't give us much. The other 6 have to turn the burners on full. But if they don't. We're the ones that could get swept by a bunch of 1-2 or 0-1 type losses.

Sanchez also had a lower road ERA this year than home ERA (despite playing in a pitchers park). Though he did have a higher walk rate on the road.

I think, to me, the park issue is the most relevant. The most dangerous thing about the Phillies is still Utley and Howard, and more specifically, their power. It's much more important to neutralize that in CBP than in San Fran. Cain would get lit up in CBP--you throw Cain in San Fran and hope the big park swallows the fly balls.

"Right now, the Giants are hitting and Pitching."

SF scored 11 runs in 4 games against the Braves. I wouldn't exactly say they're hitting is "hot".

Wait, the Giants are hitting, Shane? Weren't those really close games?

The Giants at hitting? They almost got no-hit by Derek Lowe and barely beat a crippled Braves team.

Include me in the "Phils have the advantage in every facet" crowd.

Heather: I'm not sure single season team UZR is the best way to make that argument. Just sayin'.

Maybe the Reds were equal, or perhaps a little better, defensively than the Phils this year. The Giants, are not.

mlb network crew taking 5 of the 8 regulars for the giants over the phillies. exceptions were utley, vic and werth

Where's clout to yell at Heather for using one year's worth of UZR data?

Pat Burrell has a positive UZR this year, Heather. His career numbers are obviously negative. The Phillies have the better defensive players at nearly every position, based on career UZR numbers.

Defense by position, using career UZR/150:

1B: Howard, -2.6/Huff, -3.0
2B: Utley, 13.7/Sanchez, 5.1
SS: Rollins, 5.3/Uribe, 3.4/Renteria, 0.2
3B: Polanco, 10.7/Fontenot, -11.0/Uribe, 4.5/Sandoval, -0.5
LF: Ibanez, -2.3/Burrell, -6.4
CF: Victorino, 3.7/Torres, 11.7
RF: Werth, 10.4/Ross, 2.0

I don't know what they use to rate catchers, but I know that Posey, while getting better, is not known for his defense, and Ruiz is. Ruiz blocks balls better than Posey, form what I've gathered. (Anyone have figures on this?)

The only position the Giants have an advantage at is CF, but Vic's no slouch in CF himself.

All in all, we are the vastly superior defensive club, as proven over years of data.

While Huff had a better year than Howard this year, even I would choose Howard over Huff to have hitting cleanup and playing 1st base in a playoff series 10 times out of 10.

Heather - the Giants will have a close to 300 pound Pablo Sandoval at 3B, a "should be a utility IF" Juan Uribe at SS, a "should be a DH" Aubrey Huff at 1B, and an OF that consists of Pat the Bat in LF, and Jose Guillen in RF, with a career UZR/150 in RF of -4.2.

Any argument that tries to claim the Giants are a better fielding team than the Phils is ludicrous, regardless of what the single season UZR numbers say.

For older guys, I'm not sure that career numbers for guys are the best way to evaluate either. To use an extreme example, Vlad Guerrero's career UZR in right field has little bearing on how he would play the position right now.

Also, single season UZR seems to me that it would contain a lot of "noise" when it came to a specific player, but some of that noise would cancel out when you considered the team as a whole. There would be random fluctuations, but these fluctuations would even out a little more over the entire team.

The Giants first run of the series was unearned by an error by Omar Infante. They scored 10 runs in the next three games, and I don't even want to look at how many of those were handed to them by Brooks Conrad. As bad as the Reds defense was in the Philly series, Brooks Conrad along was worse.

The Giants offense was pretty pathetic in that Braves series, the lone exception being the homerun by Pat Burrell.

Color me not concerned by the Giants offense, or the Giants defense. If the Giants win this series, they are going to have to outpitch H2O, plain and simple.

jose guillen won't be on the roster. he hasn't been with the team since game 2 of the nlds. ross is their RF

Chris, you make a great point, but I am not sure that "my eyes say the Giants defense sucks" is valid, when, as a Phillies fan, that is what I want to believe. (In other words, I believe it is entirely possible I am biased.)

So I check the numbers which tell me the Giants are better....which I am being told are wrong, by fellow Philly fans...who, in the interest of fairness, I have to consider whether they might be biased (albeit unintentionally) as well.

Is there any unbiased commentary (national commentators) claiming the Phils defense is much better? I would feel far more reassured if someone could come up with something.

Huff over Howard?

Uribe over Rollins?

Panda over Polanco?

I could even make an argument that Ruiz should be ranked over Posey.

Not sure what they were on when they made those choices...

I think the Giants are not as good defensively as their single-season UZR suggests. However, they aren't terrible.

A guy like Juan Uribe might seem like he couldn't be a good defender, but he's actually pretty decent at SS. Sanchez is fine at 2B, Torres is very good in CF, and Posey is pretty good defensively, at least at throwing out runners (37% is very, very good). I haven't seen enough of him to judge how he is at blocking balls and the other aspects of defense.

I judge defense primarily up the middle and, after that, 3B and RF--those guys make or break your team in the field. Sandoval is sketchy at 3rd, but Fontenot was a very good defensive 2B, so (like Polanco), I'll give him the benefit of the doubt at 3B. Ross is good in RF too.

Are the Giants better than the Phils defensively? No, I don't think so. Are they still pretty good? Yeah, I'd venture to say so.

I wonder how they give the Giants the edge? They'd take Buster over Chooch, but perhaps they're forgetting it's Choochtober. Not many other clear choices for the Giants.

It's tough to give the Giants a clear advantage in more than maybe 3 of the 8 positions. Where's the b00b method of comparisons when you need it!

Heather - as someone who uses advanced metrics pretty regularly, you of all people should know that EVERYONE acknowledges that 1 season UZR numbers are pretty much useless. The normal numbers I've heard is that you need 3 seasons worth of UZR data to judge.

Based on that knowledge, just look at the UZR stats Fatalotti posted and tell me that the objective data indicates the Giants have a better defense.

The Phils are a better pitching team, a better hitting team, and a better fielding team, with home field advantage AND a huge edge in post-season experience. I'll take the Phils in 5.

The Giants are like the Phils in a lot of ways, just worse at everything.

Alright, Heather, so the numbers would get worse for older guys like Uribe and Renteria.

The only guys on the Phillies where that argument might mean something are Polanco and Ibanez. Polanco posted an 11.3 UZ/150 this year, right in line with his career numbers.

Ibanez posted a -8.4 UZ/150 this year, but a 5.0 last year, so both numbers are probably outliers. Ibanez has had wild swings in his UZR/150 every year since 2004 (13.0, 3.5, -0.3, -23.0, -7.2, 5.0, -8.4), so there's no reason to think he's playin worse now than he has at any other point in his career.

The Phillies are the better defensive ballclub.

"The Phillies are the better defensive ballclub."

Fatalotti, see above. I mean, I want to believe you, but you're a Philly fan too. You might be unintentionally biased.

Any examples of good national commentators saying the Phils are clearly better defensively? Peter Gammons? I dunno, can't find anything and the little I do find is skewed the Giant's way.

I've got a feeling that Ryno is going to have a great NLCS.

Heather, if I were uninetionally biased, I would have just given you trite lines, like "Vic is a 2 time gold glover" or "Jayson Werth has a monster arm" or "Burrell sucks in LF, are you kidding?".

I gave you numbers. Cold hard data.

What else do you want me to do to shed my biases? Scientific method, buddy. That's what it does. Sheds biases.

Listen, Burrell and Ibanez are both awful defenders, so who cares who's better, right? The same with Huff and Howard.

I posted, without trying to color it, that Torres has better defensive numbers in CF, so I'll give you that one. Other positions, though, there's not even a case to be made.

Polanco is a far superior defender to anything that the Giants put out there. Utley is probably the best defensive second baseman in baseball. Rollins is better than the 2 SS's the Giants use. Now, he is injured, so that may be a wash, but if he is unable to perform this series, Valdez has a career UZR/150 of 8.9, so again, we come out on top.

Werth just destroys Ross in RF.

If these numbers don't do anything mitigate your fears about how our defense stacks up against the Giants, then either you don't trust UZR/150 over several years of data points, or you are just looking for a reason to be worried about something.

Either way, nothing I say is going to change your view.

"Any examples of good national commentators saying the Phils are clearly better defensively? Peter Gammons? I dunno, can't find anything and the little I do find is skewed the Giant's way."

I wish I had read this before posting my last response.

If Peter Gammons or Buster Olney or Jerry Crasnick had come out and said that the Giants are the better ballclub, does this mean more to you than the figures posted above? If they are just going by their opinions, do you need to be told that perceptions can be skewed, and incorrect?

If every national baseball commentator came out and belittled the Giants defense, and praised, effusively, the Phillies defense, but their appraisal was controverted by the data, I'd decry the national media's appraisal, and throw it away as garbae.

But that's not the case. The Phillies haven't won two straight pennants and 4 NL East titles, and been in 3 straight NLCS's without being a good defensive ballclub.

I thought you'd know that by now, but I guess some people will look for any reason to worry.

You guys realize that measuring who is better, one way versus the other, is in no way relevant, right? It's not like the defenses line up and play each other at defense. You don't just line up categories (offense, pitching, defense) and whoever has the most checkmarks wins the series.

The point is that both teams are good defensively. Over 7 games, who knows--maybe one team makes a bunch of errors. The Reds did, and they were still a good defensive team. But neither team should expect much help from the other teams' defense. That's the takeaway. Not which team is "better".

If we're going to guess the outcome of this series based on who has the better fielding team, on paper, have at it.

After seeing the Reds, by all accounts one of the best fielding teams in baseball, put up E after E, I'll go ahead and disregard the conversation entirely.

Olney said on the BS Report with Bill Simmons specifically that the Giants will lose the series because their defense is atrocious.

Does that satisfy your arbitrary criteria, Heather?

WP: It's useful to analyze the teams. Both teams are good defensively. Does that mean something crazy can't happen? No, see the Reds. But I wouldn't count on it.

Well, if Olney said the Giant's defense is atrocious, then as long as we don't strike out 108 times in a row, we'll win the series.

sweet!

If Olney said that the Giant's defense is atrocious, then that means that someone else said it first, since he hasn't uttered a legitimate original and thought provoking statement in his life.

So, there's two sources, at least....

Since the Giants are so great defensively, the Phillies should probably employ the strategy of hitting 'em where they ain't. Somebody get Greg Gross on the horn.

In other news, haven't seen it yet, but according to the Petros and Money show, Sports Illustrated went with that creepy college football agent on their new cover instead of Doc throwing the 2nd no-hitter in postseason history. Nice call, SI!

I guess we can't use SI to weigh in on the "Greater performance in Game 1 of their respective NLDS - Hallady or Lincecum?" argument.

Wusses.

I think this is a relevant question that Heather implied: Is total team UZR more trustworthy over a single season than individual UZR? Isn't that kind of like looking at 8 seasons worth of UZR?

Has that been answered?

According to Google:

"Halladay NLDS" = 757000 results
"Lincecum NLDS" = 322000 results

The cloud has spoken. Apparently Doc's performance was 235% better than Tim's.

Larry Bowa - “They (the Giants) have a good fielding percentage, but it’s very deceiving,” he said of the Giants’ league-best .988 mark. “They have no range. They’ll catch it when you hit it to them, but they’re not a great defensive team."

http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/phillies-beat-yankees-in-ticket-price/

I spent 25 bucks on my ticket to Game 6 in 1980 and that was from a scalper.

Listen to Olney on Bill Simmon's 10/11 podcast.

Everytime Simmons attempts to give the Giants one compliment he quickly interupts "no, no way, the Giants have no chance."

he cited their defense as a reason why they couldn't play a 7 game series perfectly, which is the only way they have a chance.

Yes, Mick, that was the point I was getting at, and you actually phrased it much better than I could.

Also thanks for the Buster Olney tidbits.

People on here continue to pick Phils in 5 or 6 because of home field advantage. Giants have home field in 5 games, and 6 games is a wash.

Goody: I see what you're saying, and I appreciate that, but that's sort of disingenuous.

If you think the Phillies can't lose at home, but the Giants can, then homefield matters even before Game 7. If the Phils just steal 1 in SF, and don't lose any at home, then the order of the games matters, and it will be over in 6.

Actually, I'm an idiot.

You raise a good point. If having homefield is a dispositive factor for you, then yes, you can only pick the Phils in 7.

If what you're saying is that the Phillies have a STRONGER home-field advantage relatively than the Giants, then that's a different point.

Jack: I don't think it matters, because the Phils are a good road team. I wouldn't be surprised if they won 2 or 3 in SF.
The WS is another matter. If we make it, our bench guy only has to match up with their high priced DH 3 games instead of 4.

I believe that the Phillies line-up has a stronger at-home comfort level on the West Coast then the Giants players have on the East Coast, especially in Philadelphia.

"The Braves actually outscored the Giants 8-7 in earned runs, but allowed four unearned runs to score, and that was the difference in the series."

7 earned runs over 4 games is not an offense one should be worried about.

Jack: By the way, I like your use of the word dispositive. One of my favorite lines of one of my favorite movies is Rex Harrison in "The Yellow Rolls-Royce." "It displeases me."

Some of you are talking about defense. Here's Larry Bowa's viewpoint (and a link to the piece, because there's more):

Bowa thinks the Phils need to try to manufacture some runs, and he believes it can be done against the Giants’ defense.

“They have a good fielding percentage, but it’s very deceiving,” he said of the Giants’ league-best .988 mark. “They have no range. They’ll catch it when you hit it to them, but they’re not a great defensive team.

“You have to create some things against them. You can’t wait for five-hit innings because they’re pitching is too good. Steal some bags. Hit and run. Put the ball in play. Try to take advantage of their lack of range. Make them make plays.

“That’s why I think it’s important that Jimmy [Rollins] play to his capability in this series. You need to create havoc against the Giants.”

http://www.csnphilly.com/10/13/10/bSalisburyb-Bowa-Picks-Phils-in-Long-Tig/landing_insider_salisbury.html?blockID=330872&feedID=704

Rollins "capability" at this point is nil. He's still injured. His speed home to first is about that of Ibanez at this point. No idea how it is from first to second. And the one time he could have first to thirded against the Reds, he planted himself at second and sprouted roots.

Rollins' glove? No idea if this has affected his range or ability to plant and throw at this point, but he sure doesn't look as fluid in the field as he normally does.

If the Phillies are counting on Rollins to be disruptive, it is going to have to be with his bat. He could never bunt, so that's not a question. And now it's likely he can't or won't steal.

Any other suggestions? Maybe cowbells would be disruptive to the Giant fielders.

You can only hope that Jimmy is saving the last blow-out for the winning moment.

Um, aksmith, we do have three other guys on the team that are very adept at stealing bases, in case you forgot.

After reading some of your posts, I wonder why you're even going to watch this series.

You seem certain, almost beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Phillies can't win this series.

So why even be bothered?

Jimmy's going to have had anothe 5 days to heal up, as well. I expect to come out looking better than he did against the Reds.

aksmith: We need a hot looking ball girl down the left feld line.

I don't think aksmith is defeatist in general about the Phillies.

Just expressing disbelief that Rollins can be disruptive enough on the basepaths to make something out of nothing.

Honestly, I'm not really feeling it either. Either Jimmy will produce with the bat or he won't, but I don't see him legging out an infield single, stealing second, going to third on a deep fly ball, etc. He's just not healthy right now.

Vic is adept at stealing bases. Utley and Werth rarely run anymore. Maybe it's been mostly situational, and while both are fast, they haven't been prodigious base stealers.

Maybe they'll try to ramp it up. I would certainly suggest that Utley steal during this series. Howard has been less than his usual playoff self. So there's really no reason to stay at first. If they then walk Howard, that's probably a good situation lately.

And yeah, I'm going to watch the games. And I do think the Phillies have a 50-50 chance of winning the series. I simply don't see the slam dunk most people here think they're going to witness. I'd be thrilled if the Phils won in 5 games. Absolutely thrilled. But I foresee a seven game, knockdown dragout series during which two top notch pitching staffs will keep the games very close.

And Goody, I concur. A hot ballgirl down the line in left field would make a lot of things better.

I can't believe so many of us continue to feed these negative-Nancy trolls. They post this outrageous "Phils suck" stuff or "Giants rule" stuff just to garner attention. Lame, but typical.

Don't feed the trolls.

But it's only Wednesday.

Chase Utley has been successful in 50 of his last 54 stolen base attempts, including a streak of 23 straight. When he wants to steal a base, he makes it 93% of the time. Pretty prodigious, if you ask me.

Jayson Werth has been successful in 56 of his last 63 stolen base attempts, a rate of 89%. Pretty damn good.

Shane Victorino has been successful in 132 of his 161 stolen base attempts, a rate of 82%. Pretty good, once again.

Even if Rollins isn't running, this team has the tools to do some running on the basepaths. A healthy Rollins would make them all the more dangerous, absolutely, but they are not handcuffed without him.

Fats, I don't think you're really making your point. Prodigious is not efficient. It is "a lot." It can also be efficient. But someone who steals 21 out of 23 bases in a season is a great base stealer, but not a prodigious one.

Neither Werth nor Utley attempt enough steals to be considered prodigious and they never have. The guys who fit that mold on the team are Vic and Rollins. And with Rollins injured, the other guys will have to try and pick up the slack.

Vince Coleman and Ricky Henderson were prodigious base stealers. But they also got caught a lot. The Phillies rarely are willing to make that tradeoff.

Someone told me Wednesday was troll day. Was I misinformed?

These off days are killing me. And I have the distinct impression they are killing major league baseball. There is a veritably baseball blackout on the sports channels other than MLB Network. It's Brett Farve . . . I mean, Football, all day every day.

A lot fewer off days would be smart. But when was the last time Buddy Boy was called smart?

oops, "veritable."

Yeah, the structuring of the NLDS is just plain stupid. And, 1 off day in between the NLDS/ALDS and the NLCS/ALCS is more than sufficient.

The season ended October 3rd. The ALCS won't start until October 15th. What the hell do you need 12 days to decide 5 game series? Baseball is played all summer as an everyday sport, but in the postseason, it becomes a 5 games in 12 days sport?

I don't get it either.

I agree!

Although if a Game 5 had been needed, it was to have been played tonight. So the NLCS could not have begun before tomorrow at the earliest, and that would have been with 0 days off.

Yeah, but as much as the 8 day schedule was to our advantage, I still don't like the idea. Do a travel day between cities if you must, and then one off day before the championship series.

If they did it that way, Hamels would have closed out the NLDS on Saturday, and the NLCS would be starting tomorrow.

I could be on board with that, couldn't you?

Not that this would ever happen, but considering they schedule "if necessary" games, they could do the reverse and start the CS based on "not necessary" and alter the schedule that way.

How about a discussion about the Phillies coaching staff vs. the Giants coaching staff. Who has a better one?

Do you mean dispensing with the 8-day format choice?

Yes.

You almost have to invent a reason to give the Giants any chance at all at winning this series.

They present probably the least amount of threat of any club that the Phillies have faced in the post season since 2008.

The national media is welcome to artificially inflate their chances, as they did with Cincinnati before they were embarrassed. The reality of the situation is that the Phillies have the post-season pedigree at the plate and the three of the six most dominant starters in the 2010 post season.

Prediction: The Giants will score a combined 5 runs or less off of Halliday, Oswalt and Hamels. Philadelphia decimates The Freak whose youth and post season inexperience (along with Howard's bat) will cause him to fall to the pressure of post season baseball in Philadelphia.

They have a chance to get to Blanton, but only because Blanton hasn't pitched since the last week of the regular season.

Seriously, I'm not about to pretend that San Francisco is a realistic threat. They're not. Not at all.

The 8-day is a choice granted to the team with the best record in the majors, right? It gives the advantage of being able to use 3 pitchers.

I think I like OP's idea better, of moving the start time of the LCS based on when the DS both end.

"They present probably the least amount of threat of any club that the Phillies have faced in the post season since 2008."

This is very untrue. They present a lesser threat than the Yankees or Dodgers, in my view (either version), and a bigger threat than the Brewers, Reds, or Rockies. Never before have we faced a rotation this good in the postseason, though I grant that they're a worse overall team than the Yankees or Dodgers were.

I want to preface this by saying, I like statistics, and am a product of the statistical revolution. Having said that, I can only ignore my baseball instincts for so long before being forced to point out that this Giants team is LED BY A ROOKIE CATCHER. Now, last time the Phillies played a team whose offense was sparked by a rookie, they dispatched that team in a series with a cliff-hanger finale...

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