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Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Repost (still leading BL in last posts on threads)

That was a pretty good game last night. I hate to agree with McCarver but, he was dead on that Lee should have been more careful with Renteria with the base open and Rowand on deck. Giving in on 2-0 = loss.

The more I watch him, the more I think Lincecum is my favorite pitcher to watch. I would have given him a chane to finish that game. Brian Wilson and his beard rub me the wrong way. Mockery. I thought he threw three straight hittable fastballs to Hamilton and he stared at the best two, and probably swung at the toughest pitch of the 3. It was the right move by Wilson to challenge him with a 2 run lead and he should have been patient before he got 2 strikes on him. But, that ball he stared at for strike 3 was way worse than the pitch that got Howard.

Think I'll start setting up the trains for the grandkids anyway today. Thanks for the reminder, JW.

Congrats to the Giants. They do remind me of the Phils back in '08. Probably not the best team on paper to win it but they wanted it the most and they had the stellar pitching to get the job done. The scary part is that Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez are still young and with the emergence of Baumgardner now make for deadly 4-man rotation going into next year. They get any sort of hitting in the off season they are the favorites to win the NL again next year, even with H2O having a full season together.

Congratulations to the Giants. Fatalotti put it best, I think: "It's not about being the "best" team. It's about winning the World Series, and the Giants have done that. That's all that matters. The "Best" team is a subjective descriptor. The WS winner is as objective as it comes."

Everything I feel like typing has pretty much been said. It has nothing to do with my Phillies fandom, but the Giants team did not seem deserving. Their rotation was solid (even though Lincecum and Sanchez were very human in the NLDS and NLCS), their offense is pathetic and they generally played poor defense throughout the playoffs. Not a complete recipe for success.

In addition, they are not a captivating/likable team. Other than Posey, I really can't think of a likable player on that team. Rowand? Freddy Sanchez? Perhaps? Guys like Wilson, Huff, Ross, Uribe, Jonathan Sanchez, Andres Torres drive me insane. Sure, all teams have a guy or two that is completely unlikable, but the Giants seem to have a roster-full.

I'm trying to look at it as objectively as possible -- but it was a bad World Series. The games (other than last night) were not that fun to watch, and weren't necessarily "good games". And there was nothing to root for/root against to make anything interesting. It was the first World Series in a long time, where I feel cheated. It was bad.

I just wrote a post about how I was not as broken up about Lopes leaving as most. In fact, I was very indifferent. I had this feeling that he got a lot more credit than he deserved and his contributions, while impressive, weren't of great importance because the Phillies didn't run much and their game wasn't tailored to speed.

But, as I usually do, I looked up stats to make sure I wouldn't stick my foot in my mouth. Had I posted my original post, I would have looked quite foolish. Lopes will definitely be missed. Their base stealing has improve greatly in quantity and percentage. The've had the best base stealing percentage in the league and the only NL teams with more SBs in a season since '07 are the Mets ('07 - '10), '08 Rockies and '10 Padres. Pretty impressive.

Watching the NLCS, my five year old daughter said "I wish the Freak was on my teams, so we could root for him."
The Giants played a scrappy postseason, always finding a way to win the close games, often a new guy coming forward with the heroics - to say nothing of their run on the Pads at the end of the season.
During the NLCS the Giants seemed charged up while the faces in the Phillies dugout - even during close games - looked glum.
I envy the Giants' fans because there is nothing like being the underdog and winning. Weridly, with all of the moves made by the FO, that underdog role is over for us. We've become a bit like the Yankees, expected to win.

"From the Phillies' perspective, it's affirmation that a good pitching staff, like the one the Phils will have next season, is as close to as you're going to get to a sure thing in the game of baseball."

Uh oh. Major jinx there. Cole Hamels's Tommy John surgery here we come!

In all seriousness the Giants deserve it, they were the best team. But the fact that they handled the Rangers with such ease just reinforces for me how close the Phils were to beating this Giants team, if just a couple of balls had bounced differently. The Phils could have won this WS, they were really close to getting there, and with the capricious nature of baseball, its really a shame to let that opportunity slip away, because you simply can't count on getting another shot no matter how good you think you'll be next season.

I'm dying to fnid some details on this Davey Lopes thing, but can not find any at all.

What was his salary this year? What were they offering next year? What was Lopes demanding?

To be fair, the Padres went belly up on August 26th, when their pitching finally started to falter, leading to a 10 game losing streak. From that point on, including the 10 game losing streak, the Padres went 14-22 to finish the season. The Giants finished the season 22-14, which is impressive, but had the Padres simply played .500 baseball over the final 36 games, the Giants likely don't make the playoffs.

The Giants didn't exactly make a "run on the Pads", so much as the Pads fell apart, and the Giants played good baseball, effectively capitalizing on some very auspicious circumstances.

This is not meant to denigrate the Giants, just to point out the vicissitudes of baseball. Sometimes you need to be good and you need to catch some breaks. Just the nature of the game.

Offseason = Begin RAJ Bold Moves. I think the Phillies have the opportunity to restructure the roster so that they can continue to be a threat to win a championship for the foreseeable future. I think the inconsistency with the offense will continue as the core gets another year older. But they can still win if they get timely hitting, solid defense, and great pitching from the starters and from the bullpen. I suspect that RAJ will take a close look at the Giants success this year and note that the Giants have four terrific starters and quality arms in the bullpen. The Phils need to get two or three of the best arms available. I don’t know who they are; I’ll leave that up to RAJ. I think Jayson Werth will not be back. The Phils now should go in another direction with the outfield. Go with Dom Brown in RF. Move Raul and his contract and pick up a LF that can hit for average, run a little bit, play solid defense, and strike out less. If Werth or Crawford signs to the Red Sox, maybe that makes Ellsbury available. (Maybe Raul can DH in Boston?) Think of the speed in the outfield with Victorino, Brown, and Ellsbury. RAJ has shown that he likes to make a bold move in the offseason and at the trade deadline. Just in the last twelve months he has made deals involving Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Polanco. I think we can expect more bold moves from RAJ this offseason too. It should be interesting.

T from Wmport-

I dont think this Giants team reminds me of the Phillies '08 team in anyway at all.

Phils made the post season in '07. Giants didnt make it last year.
Phils had a lot of semi-young position players that came up thru the organization. Giants have 1?
Phils pitching rotation was much different than what Giants marched out this year.

And Brad Lidge didn't celebrate the WS save with an homage to satan that resembled the WWE undertaker.

I think overall the Phillies were more of a likeable bunch. Who the hell, besides Giants fans wanted the Giants to win?

Except that each team had PtB I see no resemblance at all.

Phils must be kickin themselves a bit giving up big hits to a washed up veteran like Uribe. Ditto the Rangers and Renteria although the Giants' pitching really shined in the WS.

What is going to be interesting to see is how the Giants apporach this offseason with all of their pending veteran FA.

It is also interesting to hear the praise that Sabean is getting. He made some waiver wire pickups and marginal signings that he largely caught lightning in a bottle. Ross was a pure desperation signing with Torres injured. Largely the same on Burrell because LF production was so bad.

Let's look at his major moves & players who contributed this postseason:

Zito - Not even on the postseason roster.

Rowand - Some contributions in the NLCS but almost a nonfactor who only got 11 ABs and played in 7 G.

DeRosa - Injured and when he played a bust.

Renteria - Big hits in the WS and probably Renteria's biggest move that actually contributed this postseason.

Sabean does deserve some credit for moving Molina this season to free up the C spot for Posey. Also on signing Torres/Huff and rebuilding a bullpen with some savvy veteran signings that was among the worst in the NL 3 years ago.

WS winners are always a combo of good moves, savvy, and luck. I would say Sabean had a bit more luck than good moves/savvy.

The past few years have provided an interesting perspective.

The 162 game season grinds out most of the weaker teams, leaving (for the most part) the stronger ones in the playoffs. Certainly if you are an "elite" team like the Phils of 2010 you would have a significant edge going into the post season. But in the final analysis, more subjective factors such as who is hot at the right time, the health of the team, and simply "the way the ball bounces" can have a huge impact over the short life of the playoffs and world series.

These factors tend to even out over the course of the long season. Less so in the post season.

It was all academic with the failure to negotiate Renteria's at bat. The Giants were going to win this thing anyhow. It was inevitable.

Thanks a lot, Phillies.

Please do better next year.

NO sour grapes here. Good for the Giants, although they are not very likeable. They have that very contrived beard thing that Burrell wisely wanted no part of and they all talk about having no stars EXCEPT FOR THE BEST PLAYER AT THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITION!! Anyway, I hope people enjoy it but I'm not sure I would bet on the Giants winning it all next year. They still have a poor lineup that aside from Posey is in decline. Still they have pitching and that's the hard part. That said I don't know if I buy Bumgartner or Sanchez.

This year and especially this NLCS I hope all everyone learned or was reminded that the difference between winning and losing in baseball isn't much.

Also I hope that advocates of expanded playoffs realize that it will lead to more matchups like this in the World Series.

In the postseason, it's almost always the little guys that come up big 'cause they're the only ones that get a real shot at doing so. The generally good pitching can always neutralize or pitch around the star sluggers. It's when they pitch to the glove guys that they have a chance of getting burned the most.

Man, I dislike Cody Ross.

Sorry, but it can't be said enough.

I tend to agree with Phanatic's brother. This Giants team is vastly different from the '08 Phils. Other than neither played much small ball.

Also - Comparing Hamels, Myers, Blanton & Moyer to Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez & Bumgarner...Can one compare these rotations? The Giants pitching staff had the respect of baseball analysts. The Phillies rotation in '08 ended up pitching very well, but were not expected to.

Congrats to Pat Burrell. Is there any other position player in the history of baseball with more World Series rings (2) than career World Series hits (1)?

Even So Taguchi has 3 WS hits to go with his 2 rings!

MG, Sabean also deserves the credit for drafting and developing Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgardner. Yes, his offense is barely passable at best, but the farm talent in the Giants system is entirely his doing.

The Giants win proves one thing: Good pitching makes up for all deficiencies. Of course, it helps when the opposing team falls apart and you drop 20 runs on them in the first 2 games. But you look at the guys on the mound for the Giants, and if you're the other team, you've got to know that giving up 4 or 5 runs means you probably lose.

With that staff, the Giants will be competitive for a long time to come. The question is will they develop enough offense to stick around awhile? Rowand and Zito's contract hampers them a great deal, especially when both players aren't starts on the World Series roster.

Big difference to me was winning on the road. It just never has the same excitement. Also proves that homefield advantage can be overrated. Phils won without it but at home in '08 and the Giants won with it but on the road in 10.

I was going to vouch for the Phils filling the vacancy in the coaching staff with Larry Bowa, but it will almost certainly go to an African-American/Latino, since there are now no others. Which is fine.

Somebody asked why I don't like Linceum. I want to like Linceum. He's got a lot of bad-ass in him, which I do like. He just comes off as an arrogant punk, though. When he and Wilson were up at the podium with Chris Rose, the condescension was thicker than Candlestick Point fog. Get over yourselves and stop acting like you're too good to be interviewed on television.

2 rings for 1 hit = a pretty lucky guy! He did contribute to both his teams' arrivals in the WS, of course. But it's funny that he has two rings with only 1 hit. I'm sure there are plenty of players who got a ring with no hits at all...Even plenty who get rings without ever seeing the field, in fact. That's just the way it goes.

Well, considering how badly PtB did while with the Devil Rays, it's probably no surprise that he's stunk it up in the WS. Dude can't hit AL pitching.

Lee's greatest strength wound up being his undoing, as he refuses to give in and walk anyone, and of course paid for it by grooving one to 67 year old Edgar Renteria, some 4,000 days after he got his first WS winning hit against Cleveland. Angrier than the Phillies (who to me seemed pretty unfazed by being eliminated)have to be the Yanks, still wondering what they have to do to beat this guy.

Lou Gehrig
Yogi Berra
Joe Dimaggio
Edgar Renteria

Players with a world series winning hit in two different world series.

Something seesm out of place, can't point it out...

One guy is named after a cartoon bear?

The Giants are built for the post-season more than the regular season. Obviously, it's too early to make predictions for next year but the NL West is a deep division. The Rockies are always tough, the Padres seem to be an up-and-coming team (assuming they don't trade Gonzalez), and the Dodgers, though they had a bad year, are certainly capable of a bounce-back. The Giants' lineup, as presently constituted, has its share of problems. Their pitching should keep them in contention next year, but even a single injury to any of their starting pitchers would be devastating.

Many of us have been saying all year that the Giants would be scary in the playoffs because of their pitching. So there's certainly nothing flukey about this WS win. Nonetheless, absent significant lineup changes, I wouldn't bet on them to even get back to the playoffs next year. If they do manage to make it back, though, they will be just as scary again -- and for the same reason.

I think unless their lineup is signifinacntly bolstered the Giants will not sniff the WS next season, their pitching is excellent but beatable. They went on an unconscious run to finish out the season. The Phillies and Giants were 2 teams heading in reverse directions at the same time.

If the Giants make the playoffs next year, I bet they'll set a record for least returning players on a team with back to back playoff appearences.

There has been a hell of a lot of sour grapes since the end of the NLCS.

Look...I'm the first one to say that I expected things to turn out differently. I predicted the Phillies in 5 (and that was just to hedge my bets, as I expected them to sweep).

The better team won. The 2010 Giants > the 2010 Phillies. End of story.

You can discuss whether or not the roster has enough likable personalities, but to say they have a poor lineup...seriously? If their lineup is so poor, how is it that they defeated Cliff Lee twice when no one else could? How is it that they defeated H20? If their offense is so terrible, what is OUR offense like? How would our lineup have done if we had to face Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt and Cliff Lee?

Enough with the whining and complaining. This is part of the reason why the rest of the country looks at us as crass. Being sore losers isn't going to just makes our fanbase look childish and classless. You're embarrassing yourself.

Instead of obsessing over Pat Burell or whether or not we approve of Brian Wilson's beard or post game interviews, maybe we can discuss why our bats seem to fall asleep in the post season against any team we face except the Dodgers. Frankly, the Giants lineup in the 2010 World Series looked to be a lot more lively than ours in 2009 OR 2008 for that matter. To an objective fan of the game, the '08 series was dishwater dull - it was a question of whose offense is in the least damaging slump.

Better yet, let's discuss if Charlie Manuel can be trusted to put strategy over friendship and his "player's manager" personality. It seems to me that he's spent 2009 - 2010 with his priorities a bit out of whack: the self-esteem and ego of his "boys" come first and what's best for the team to win the game comes second.

While we're at it, we can discuss whether or not Jimmy Rollins can continue to be compared to his 2007 self and when we begin to reassess his career norms as far as production and injury are concerned. We could also discuss whether or not Howard and Utley have already hit their peak and begun to decline.

Frankly, I don't care what we talk about as long as it relates to the Phillies, because I'm seeing a lot of whiny crybabies moaning about beards and W.S. ratings and whether or not the World Champions are interesting enough as characters to have won a title..

jason: Yeah. It's actually kind of hard to make predictions about how the Giants will do next year because so much of their lineup will likely be gone & we have no idea who will replace them. One guy who probably won't be gone, and who is absolutely key to their 2011 fortunes, is Pablo Sandoval. He looked like an up and coming star in 2008 & 2009, but he was absolutely awful this year, on both offense & defense. If he can return to 2008/2009 form, it will give the Giants two very potent bats, plus a solid leadoff hitter in Torres. The rest of the lineup is in a state of flux but that would be a pretty good foundation to start with.

I think if the fan base had observed this team going down swinging, figuratively and literally, there would be far less whining and more cries of "we gave it our best shot", etc. You can't just paint with a broad brush that all fans are crying over being knocked out, I think it's the way they were knocked out, they went out with a whimper and not a bang.

Will: Please see every other thread regarding bats/rollins/utley etc.

****Something seesm out of place, can't point it out...

Renteria isn't a Yankee? That's the only thing I see there.

SF Riots last night.

Dragging people out of their car and beating them > Throwing snowballs at Santa

Here is a link ...

I'm sure national media is all over this story, let me check: Charlie Sheen divorcing, Dancing with the Stars results, man arrested on halloween for wearing mask....I dont see anything.....

So, Will Schweitzer digs Brian Wilson's beard, thinks Beerleaguers are classless whiners, and he thinks the Phillies are a team in deep decline with an incompetent manager riding a bunch of has-been vets to the bottom of the standings. Interesting.

"Dragging people out of their car and beating them"

Or as Californians call it: Monday night...

"Dragging Santa from sleigh and beating him">"Dragging people out of their cars and beating them"?

Hugh: spot on Clout parody. Kudos!

Giants personalities dont have the wherewithal to get 2 straight WS.
Lincecum will never be the same. Too many blunts this offsseason will see to that.

Other fact on Renteria in the World Series - besides game-winning hits in 1997 and 2010 - he also made the final out for the Cardinals against Keith Foulke and the Red Sox in 2004.

Other little known fact: He has Debbie Gibson on his I-Phone.

Other little known fact Renteria was the time-traveler in the Charlie Chaplin film.

Phanatic's Brother: Classic

Does anyone else believe that Lee's abrubt end to his postseason may make him more likely not to be pursued by Texas, or was he gone regardless?

"The Phillies and Giants were 2 teams heading in reverse directions at the same time."

The Phillies came into the NLCS on a 52-19 run over their last 71 games (postseason included). The Phillies had just shut out the NL's best offense in 2 out of 3 games in the NLDS and were absolutely surging coming into the NLCS. Sure their offense was a little stagnant in the NLDS (over a sample size of just 3 games), they had been scoring roughly 5.5 runs per game since August 30th.

The Giants, on the other hand, including the postseason, were on a run of 42-29 coming into the NLCS. A very good run, to be sure, but the Phillies run of 52-19 was just ridiculous.

These teams were two teams heading in the exact same direction, but only one team could win, and unforutnatley for Phillies fans, it was the Giants who prevailed.

And Schweitzer, the Giants won, and that's all that matters. Like I said earlier, it's about being the WS champion, it's not about being the "best" team, which is just an abstract creation by fans and sportswriters to categorize teams. The goal of the season is to get to and win the WS. The Giants did that.

But, all the points about their lineup are sufficient. The Phillies and Rangers both played poorly offensively for a sample size of 11 games. The Giants offense, played even more poorly in the NLCS than did the Phillies (as evidenced by the Phils outscoring them 20-19 in the NLCS), but played well in the WS. It happens. Bad offenses do have good stretches, and good offenses do have poor stretches. The Phillies were a feast or famine offense this year, to be sure, but they had an above average offense, and in the long run, a far superior offense to the Giants, and that's a fact that can't be controverted. Just look at the numbers. The Phils were second in the NL in runs scored. The Giants were something like 10th.

The Phillies pitching staff, over the long run, is a better staff than the Giants. Halladay>Lincecum, Hamels/Oswalt>Cain, Hamels/Oswalt>>>>Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner still has a lot of proving left to do, so I'd take Blanton right now. Who knows what Bumgarner will turn into after he's been around the league a couple times. Probably better than Blanton, but we don't know that now.

Anyhow, the Phillies are the better team, as evidenced by their better record over a 162 game season, where sample size illusions are normalized, but in the playoffs, as has been said, it's about the team that plays better in the series, and given a 5-7 game sample size, it really can turn into a crapshoot.

Your rant is misguided.

Who's rant? I dozed off at >>>>.....

Cowley, so glad you're here to add to the discussions.

Which direction would they take without you?


I tried to ask about Cliff Lee but hit the wall I guess.

The rant was directed at the complaining I've seen over the past 3 - 4 threads over nonsense. Seriously, we're critiquing beards and hair? Isn't that a bit beneath any self-respecting fan?

All that aside, sample sizes are irrelevant in the post season, as is regular season performance. They can be used to predict the outcome of a series, and on occasion, that prediction will be wrong.

The only regular season stat that can be used to indicate which is the better ballclub is wins and losses. Once the post season begins, that too is irrelevant, and the only measure that matters is post-season wins and losses. All of the rest are just details to evaluate the parts of a ballclub and cannot place a value on the sum of those parts.

Any way you slice it, in 2010, Giants > Phillies. Sad, but true.

As long as we're critiquing beards and hair, I hate Jayson Werth's (both beard and hair).

Will makes a great point.

I also read a week or two ago, much critiquing of uniforms and whether they were ugly or not.

I thought to myself, "And men say women are bad!"

Will Schweitzer, surely you have a better grasp of basically probability theory than that, right?

The Giants were certainly good enough to win the WS all along, and are deserving of their win.

But if we replayed, for example, the NLCS several thousands of times, the Phillies would win it more often than the Giants. The Phillies have better hitters and, at the least, a better top 3 than the Giants.

If you had to go into a playoff series right now, and you had to take players from the Giants or Phillies out of a vaccuum, who on the Giants would you choose over the Phillies?

Huff over Howard?
Sanchez over Utley?
Ross over Werth?
Lincecum over Halladay?
Sanchez over Oswalt?

I could see arguments for Torres, Posey, Burrell and maybe Uribe, but the rest, no way. Maybe Wilson over Lidge, but Lidge was actually pitching better over the final two months than Wilson, and Lidge has an out pitch (the slider) where Wilson just bullies people with fastballs, and eventually that may come back to bit him (see Broxton, Jonathan).

Look, the Giants are a good team, but the Phillies are a better team. It's not always the best team that wins, and being the best team isn't the goal of the season. Being the WS champs is. The Phils weren't the best team in 2008, but they were the WS champs, and that's all that matters.

Barry Bonds got a traffic ticket for talking on his cell phone while driving at the same time the Giants were celebrating thie rWorld Series victory.

"Huff over Howard?
Sanchez over Utley?
Ross over Werth?"

Right now, bottom of the 9th, runner on second, closer in. Now. Not June against Jason Marquis. You tell ME. You'd pick all the Phillies? Stop it.

"I think it's the way they were knocked out, they went out with a whimper and not a bang."

Is the only way to lose honorably to do so by scores of 13-10, or 8-5? But then the pitching would be whimpery-esque.

"Huff over Howard?"

For career, of course not. For 2010, yes. Hit better and fielded better. If you want to give Howard an edge in baserunning, well, give me some supporting evidence and I won't fight you. :)

Coming into the series, the Phils' clear edges were RF and 2B. If you want to give Ruiz a small edge for veteran catching juju, I'll give you that small edge but Posey's right there with the 2010 Carlos.

LF, CF were close; Sandoval/Uribe = Polanco/Rollins but Renteria/Uribe were a little better than Rollins/Polanco.
Lincecum = Halladay, Oswalt ~= Cain, Hamels>>Sanchez, Bumgardner>>Blanton. Back of the bullpen were close; depth in the BP might go to the Giants.

Slight edge to the Phils but a lot less than we collectively thought.

Maybe the fact that Lincecum got stronger as the season wore on and was even better in the WS than he was earlier in the playoffs should be proof that pot isn't as harmful as people think.

Never smoked the stuff, but if Lincecum became the spokesman for today's ballot proposition to legalize the stuff, who could argue against it? What would they say? It makes you fat and lazy and unable to perform? I think not.

Trying to argue that a team is better off ith Aubrey Huff over Ryan Howard is foolish. Huff may be a slightly better fielder, but 1st base is about the least important defensive position on the field. Howard's career stats dwarf Huff's. Huff had a nice year, but a team is far better with Howard at the cleanup spot than Huff.

Concerning STHS's specific situation above, I'd rather have Huff at the plate just because he strikes out less than Howard, but using a single specific situation as a way to judge who's a better player is ridiculous.

I can play that game too: Try this one on for size. Clear sacrfice bunt situatino: who would you rather have at the plate, Andrus or Tulowitzki?

I'd rather have Andrus, so that must mean that he's a better SS than Tulo. Stop it.

Seriously, the Phillies have better players with proven track records.

"surely you have a better grasp of basically probability theory than that, right?"

Were the Phillies the more "probable" winner? Yes.

Would I take any single position player or pitcher in the rotation of the Giants over their Phillies equivalent? Of course not. In fact, one of my arguments prior to the NLCS is that the Phillies were superior to the Giants at every position.

...but again, this is baseball, and the whole is not equal to the sum of its parts. The determination of who is the better team is decided over a best-of-seven series. The better team is the 2010 Giants. Probability data was insufficient to predicting the outcome.

I'd still take every position player and every pitcher on the rotation of the Phillies over their Giants equivalent if I were given a choice. They Phillies do have better players with a better track record for success, but they were not the better team in 2010.

"Trying to argue that a team is better off with Aubrey Huff over Ryan Howard is foolish.... Howard's career stats dwarf Huff's...a team is far better with Howard at the cleanup spot than Huff."

All true, and of course. But you denigrated the Giants by saying that the Phils players are just "better." And you said if you were going into a playoff series right now, the choices are obvious. I just disagree that in a short series it's that clear cut.

Which pitcher hits Sanchez next year? I'd guess Hollywood.

aksmith, you're joking, right?

I think that if we looked at things objectively, Lincecum is at least as good a pitcher as Doc Halladay. He tried a different delivery for one month and his ERA ballooned to over 7.00. Take that month out and he had another pretty amazing season. And he learned a new pitch in September (slider) that garnered a bunch of swings and misses in the post season.

In fact, Lincecum may be a little bit better pitcher than Doc.

I still think the Phillies' top three is slightly better than the Giants' top three. And we have yet to see how the Giants' pitchers hold up after the long post season. But the difference between the newly offensively challenged Phillies and the Giants is not much either way.

I like the Phillies' chances next season based on having the big three together for an entire season. And I think a healthy Polanco and hopefully healthier Rollins will help a lot.

ak: Looks like we finally agree on something ;-)

GBrettfan - Joking about what? Legalizing marijuana?

No, I'm not. We won't ever be a truly free country until the day marijuana is legalized. And other recreational drugs as well. Set aside the arguments about the substances themselves. The drug war has been the vehicle for just about every breach of our rights over the last 40 plus years. At least it was until the "war on terror" became the new battle cry of those who would limit rights.

Was that what I was supposed to be joking about? Or merely Lincecum being the spokesman.

BB - Don't we also agree that Justin DeFratus and Vance Worley are the two most likely Phillies minor leaguers to help the big league team next season? (Not counting Brown). Just to bring it back to baseball.

ak: Agreed on that as well, though DeFratus might be more of an end of season call up, so how much he contributes could be up in the air.

Fat: I think you're somewhat overrating the Phillies' hitters. I'll spare everyone a B00B analysis but here are the facts: despite the lofty reputation of the Phillies' hitters, and the lousy reputation of the Giants' hitters, the Giants end-of-the-season starting 8 was offensively better than our starting 8 at literally every position except 2nd base and RF. That's not BAP being negative; that's simply what their 2010 OPS+ say:

Posey: 129 Ruiz: 128
Huff: 138 Howard: 128
Sanchez: 98 Utley: 124
Renteria: 90 Rollins: 86
Uribe: 99 Polanco: 95
Ross: 93 Werth: 145
Torres: 119 Victorino: 102
Burrell: 119 (132 with SF) Ibanez: 112

Historically, of course Rollins, Howard, Vic, & Polanco have been better than the Giants' players at the same position. Next year? No one knows. But, for this year, the Giants' lineup, while lacking the number of big boppers that the Phillies have, was nonetheless better in 6 of 8 lineup spots. That is no small point in their favor.

BAP: Well said, and welcome back.

"Huff had a nice year, but a team is far better with Howard at the cleanup spot than Huff."

Not a banged-up Howard vs. a presumed healthy Huff. In Oct. 2010, Huff had a better chance of being the better player in a short series. That's all I'm talking about.

As far as the Giants go, get used to seeing them. The NL West is a terrible division and the Giants pitching is all young and getting better. They certainly have some work to do going into next season offensively but look at that division. The Padres lineup is awful except for Gonzalez and who pitches for them? Their run this year was a massive fluke. The Dodgers have some talent but not enough and no money to get more. Their whole situation is bad. The D-Backs are terrible up and down. Only the Rockies have any real possibilities.

Phillies average OPS+ in their starting 8 is 115. Giants average is 110. Considering that the Phillies lost players to the disabled list all season, thus meaning they had to refind their strokes multiple times throughout the season, I'd say the 5 point difference is significant.

Take Howard, for example. He missed 17 days in August. This obviously doesn't affect his OPS, just counting stats. But don't forget that when he returned, it took him nearly 10-15 games to find his stroke again and get back to hitting like he can. Give him back those games where he was striking out every other at bat, and his OPS+ is probalby somewher ein 130s.

The same exact thing can be said about Utley. It took almost as long as Howard to find his swing.

Also, Howard wasn't banged up during the NLCS, and actually bad a decent series. Better offensive series than Huff had. Only thing Howard didn't do during the NLCS was go deep, but he played half the games in San Francisco, and two of his games in CBP were spent facing nothing but lefties.

Howard>Huff during the NLCS.

Fat: It's sort of an article of faith on Beerleaguer that injuries were the sole reason why so many hitters in our lineup vastly underperformed career norms. But it's kind of hard to ignore that Rollins & Polanco had very similar numbers in 2009, when they WEREN'T injured. It's also kind of hard to ignore that Ibanez & Vic saw huge declines in their numbers even though Ibanez never spent a day on the DL, and Vic was on there for only a very short time. And it's hard to ignore that Utley was well off his career norms, & Howard was well off his normal homerun pace, on the day they went on the DL.

It's certainly possible, and even probable, that some of these guys' down seasons were injury-related. But it's also possible, and even probable, that some of them may have passed their peak years. Besides, since all of these guys, save for Vic, are on the wrong side of 30, how can we be confident that their injury issues will not recur? In short, I'm not really buying that everyone will be healthy next year & things will be fine. The Phillies' offense performed unsatisfactorily this year and I think it would be a mistake if the FO concludes that injuries were the sole explanation.

aksmith - Joking that with Lincecum as spokesman, no one could argue against legalizing marijuana.

When Rent-er-player hit that homer, I saw a perecitous drop in the stock futures relating to Clifton's financial future.

And I will worry about that too ( sure)

Numerous posters have said the Giants are a bad team, MG said they are one of the weakest in 25-30 years to win a WS, PhinBK says he can't believe the Phillies lost to such a terrible team etc. etc.

Which brings up an interesting question: How many games did the Giants win during the regular season? How strong was their division?

How many games did the Phillies win during the regular season? How strong was their division?

Outside of coming up with new and improved adjectives to describe how bad the offense is, BAP, do you have any actual ideas or suggestions on how it can be improved?

Plenty of ifs... If Raul had caught that ball in game 1. If Vic had caught that ball in game 6. If, if, if. We can (and most likely will) stew about the ifs for the next few months (or even years). I've found, however, that obsessing over what might have been causes too much angst and isn't worth it.

Maybe I shouldn't read Beerleaguer until spring training....

the early list of free agents - for 2011- looks like another winning Giants team in the making!

"Howard>Huff during the NLCS."

Yeah and Ross was better than Werth and Sanchez was better than Utley. So the Giants had a gigantic edge at 2B and RF coming in?

Howard got a fair number of hits but the ball was not jumping off his bat. He was not generating power. I don't see how you could say Howard was better than Huff coming in. He had 2 HRs in his last 19 games and went 9 games without one in the playoffs. And HRs are pretty much what Howard brings to the table. Howard was not himself.***

*** In no way am I blaming Howard for the series loss.

Clout, has a stat called Simple Rating System, which gauges run-differential and strength of schedule.

The Phillies, who won 97 games, had an SRS rating of 0.8. The Giants, who won 92 games, had an SRS rating of 0.6.

Here are how the divisions shake out:

NL East
Phillies: 0.8
Braves: 0.6
Marlins: 0.0
Mets: 0.0
Nationals: -0.5

Average: 0.18

NL West
Giants: 0.6
Padres: 0.4
Rockies: 0.3
Dodgers: -0.2
Diamondbacks: -0.7

Average: 0.08

According to this metric, it seems that the East is actually a stronger division than the West. This should be expected, though. The Padres were a one trick pony, and that trick faltered about mid-August. The Diamondbacks strike out in almost a third of their at bats, the Rockies are terrible away from Coors, and the Dodgers' starters rarely ever go past the 6th inning.

The NL East was a tougher division, with two teams either equal to or better than the Giants.

clout - Stand by that. Yes, the Giants have very good pitching. Is it as good next year - I wouldn't bet it on it largely because of their bullpen.

Wilson and Casilla had career years. Possibly ditto on Romo. They also got unbelieveable performances from R. Ramirez and Lopez down the stretch. Also got pretty serviceable years from veteran journeyman including Ray, Mota, and Affledt. All of the breaks came their way and don't that happen again next year. They have some younger arms that may be capable of filling the departures of a few veterans (namely Casilla) but we'll see.

Yes their lineup sucks. There is a reason that they finished in the bottom of most NL rankings and even after the ASB were a slightly below average offensive team. The only regulars who are young and back next year are Posey and Sandoval. That's it.

Huff is a FA. Ditto on Burrell and Uribe. Ross is arbitration eligible and likly a ~$6M player next year. Not sure if he is back. Also need to figure out if they want to pick up Renteria's option.

Giants already $76M and change committed with a number of arbitration eligibles who will likely get nice raises inclding J. Sanchez, Torres, Lopez, and Ross if he is still around. This isn't going to be a team making big splashes in the offseason. Maybe 1. They don't have the cash unless they are committed to dramatically increase their payroll to the $120M level. They have some positional prospects but enough to fill 2 OF spots and at 1B.

Let's not forget either the Giants have had to overpay veteran FA bats to come to SF because of the notion that it dampens their stats.

Giants will be competitive again next year as long as their young core of pitching remains healthy but I wouldn't be surprised if they miss the playoffs either.

Philly Fans = Whiny B!tches

Edmundo, when did I ever say that Howard was better than Huff coming in to the series?

Over a certain amount of games, especially when Howard's not going well, there are lots of first basemen in the game who ma be outperforming him over that time period. It's the only thing I could think of right now, and it doesn't regard a 1st baseman, but the point is still apropos.

Kelly Johnson was tearing it up earlier this season. He had 9 HRs in his first 21 games, and an OPS of 1.202. This was awesome production, but it was a statistical fluke, as he posted an OPS of .815 over the remaining 133 games, ending with an OPS of .865. These things happen. But after his first 21 games of the season, was there anyone out there who would've taken Johnson over Pedroia or Utley or Cano, even though he was outperforming them all? No way. You always go with the better player who's proven it over a career. Howard had a down year this year, no doubt, but it's not like Huff came into the NLCS on a tear. He posted an OPS of .834 in September, which is good, but not Earth shattering. On the other hand, Ryan Howard posted an OPS of .939 in September.

Huff is a good player, but he's not as good as Ryan Howard.

The Giants did seem like the 2008 Phils, if the 2008 Phils ran Feliz, Stairs, Bruntlett and other such players out to 7 of the 8 positions in the field.

Dark Horse prediction

ManRam will be a member of the 2011 Phils.

More likely:

Phils take go value shopping and Matt Diaz is brought in sometime in December after he is non-tendered.

Phils make a trade with the Nats for Josh Willigham because the Nats will go with a cheaper alternative in Morse and don't want to pay Willingham the ~$7M he will likely command as part of his last year of arbitration.

Mets reshaping continues:

"The Mets hired J.P. Ricciardi, according to a team press release. The Mets named Ricciardi special assistant to new GM Sandy Alderson. The former Blue Jays GM (2001-09) had been working as an analyst for ESPN.

Alderson, who worked with Ricciardi for more than a decade in Oakland, says the 51-year-old is “a superb talent evaluator” who will assist in all aspects of baseball operations."

2011 Phils Dark horse = Miguel Tejada

Cheese Ugle 2.0 = Not happy with the Mets bringing in the guy that gave Wells that contract...

Manny Ramirez, Miguel Tejada? Why not just hire Juan Samuel to play and coach 1st?

Iceman: I'm not in a position to know which players are tradeable & who can be gotten to replace them. Hence, I can offer no specifics. I CAN say that, short of acquiring Albert Pujols or Joey Votto, there is absolutely nothing the Phillies can do this off-season which would improve the offense more than simply a return to career norms by Utley & Howard. Nonetheless, I do think there needs to be some turnover to the starting 8 -- and I seriously doubt that the change from Werth to Brown (or Brown/Francisco) is going to be a short-term positive. That pretty much leaves LF, CF, shortstop, and 3rd base as your 4 positions where the Phillies could potentially look to upgrade.

Hopefully "No" on Ramirez, primarily because I never want to see the term "ManRam" again.

MG: I have no idea if he is on the trade market, or what it would take to get him, but I like your idea of Josh Willingham. As an offensive player, I've always sort of thought of him as Jayson Werth Light. He would be a downgrade but not the type of massive downgrade that I fear is coming. Of course, if we traded for Willingham, we'd almost have to trade Ibanez, since they both play LF (and poorly at that). Then you'd have to hope that Domonic Brown can significantly improve his right field defense during the off-season. To call him an adventure in the outfield is to put it charitably.

BAP - Defense limitations are the major issue with Willingham. I wouldn't mind seeing an Ibanez/Willingham platoon in LF and a Francisco/Brown platoon in RF but that's highly unlikely.

Whoever the Phils acquire will likely have to be able to play RF adequately at least. Willingham doesn't fit that bill. Neither does Manny but I could see Amaro weighing that against a notable offensive dropoff with Werth leaving.

Miguel Tejada is a bad defensive SS and 3B. He's never played a game at 2B in his career.

What, exactly, makes posters think he'd be a good "utility IF"? And please don't say his bat...he finished outside of the top 120 in SLG, OBP, and OPS.

Chris - Yeah I don't see Tejada being an option comes here. Phils just don't believe investing much in a middle utility infielder and I doubt it happens this year with the issues in the OF and bullpen.

Why is it that other teams can make the playoffs with rookies, but we can't "afford" to play a rookie because we are contenders?

And other teams are getting results out of guys who are 20-23, while we hold back on players till they are 27 so that we have control over them for their "peak" years.

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