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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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The real shame is that our manager isn't some sort of hitting guru. -Steve

(Re-posted from previous thread)

We must have misunderstood. Charlie's actually hitting the ragu. He loves hisself some pasta.

If I didn't know better I'd swear that was Steve Jeltz out there. Nah, the Jet would never be hitting third.

Nah, it's Desi Relaford. Check the numbers.

Just a note on Mathieson. He could probably have better stats if he were pitching the same way as he did last year - mostly using his fastball. But he's being asked to throw his splitter and change up in situations where he would have relied only on heat. His only chance to make it to the bigs is if he develops an effective second and third pitch so the next months will be his trial by fire.

Is Wilson Valdez hitting what he should be hitting as a full-time player?

If I had to guess, Grilli & Schwimer would also be called up before Mathieson. Mathieson is an also-ran at this point.

I have a feeling Mathieson is really low on the totem pole anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if he's removed from the 40-man in the near future.

As for the bats, I have never seen players look so old at the plate than I have in Rollins and Ibanez. Even with a good year I had Ibanez gone after this season. Now I'm wondering if he finishes it.

Just thinking out loud here, but when a player's power goes "POOF" due to age why do they still attempt to hit like they used to?

Can't the choke way up on the bat and try stroking singles like Polly does? Why would that not work?

"I have a feeling Mathieson is really low on the totem pole anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if he's removed from the 40-man in the near future."

I heard an interview with UC a week or so ago (before Contreras's injury) and they were talking about bullpen arms in the minors. UC mentioned Stutes, Schwimmer and even de Fratus, but did not mention Mathieson at all.

Rollins is an 8 hole hitter any more.

The only problem is, we have about four 8 hole hitters in our lineup these days.

Fine. Mathieson then can't reliably get hitters to swing & miss or chase his splittet enough. Grilli is likely in front of him on the depth chart anyways.

Eight walks in eight innings is the other issue. He's a non-prospect.

Why can't Ibanez at least experiment with trying out a slightly lighter bat? If I were 0 for 21 and hitting round .175, I'd try something that surely has been suggested.

Lake Nostradamus predicts that sometime in 2013, after the Phils have released Mathieson: The Phils will be in a tight game against some dog team like the gNats and strolling in from their pen will be Mathieson who will shut us down, lights out.

Re: Heather

I remember hearing that. Bottom line is those guys all have better stuff. Mathieson can throw some serious gas but doesn't have much in the way of secondary pitches. I just don't see him getting very far in this organization anymore.

Everyone has just got into a real funk pretty much at the same time including Howard. They will break out of it sooner than later. It doesn't help though they don't take bbs or have much power. One of the reasons I wanted to see Castillo make this roster is his legit chance to have a .350 OBP or higher. Good chance that it would be notably higher than Valdez.

Amaro seems to place a premium on guys who make contact and don't strike out as much vs. guys who walk more with more pop and ks.

***Why can't Ibanez at least experiment with trying out a slightly lighter bat? If I were 0 for 21 and hitting round .175, I'd try something that surely has been suggested.***

He'll be able to use aluminum bats next year when he's in his local softball league...that should help.

I just wish they'd let Mathieson go and he could go somewhere where they'd give him a legit shot.

He'll be a major league reliever one day, if his body holds up.

If Aumont has another strong month or so, don't be surprised if he isn't the next minor league reliever to get a call.

Per Fangraphs, Raul has been worth -1.0 WAR so far this year...and that's not counting last night's effort as it hasn't updated yet.

Looking at the Phillies, and around baseball, it's easy to suspect that some special sauces disappeared from the clubhouse buffet table a couple of years ago.

I just hope Chuckles keeps the same lineup going tonight. Its bound to work out soon.

Rollins and Howard might as well begin their bat at a count of 0-1. Both keep their bat on their shoulder and watch strike 1 in a large number of at bats.

This is particularly true of Howard. You only have to throw one halfway decent pitch to him to strike him out. He'll watch strike one and foul off the second or third offering.

When does Domonic Brown start a rehab assignment at Lehigh Valley?

This lineup though is full of guys who hit better in the 2nd half. Vic, Jroll, Ibanez, Ruiz, and Howard all fall into that group. It is hard to watch how Jroll has fallen though. Yeah he's in a slump too but he just can't turn on fastballs that often and you don't have to worry about him hitting an offspeed mistake out or even in the gap.

Not sure what has happened with Howard since he got plunked by Lannan on the 13th. Like some doppleganger replaced him who just hacks at everything. Just clueless right now at the plate. Unless a pitcher makes a mistake with a fastball down and out over the plate he isn't doing anything except some brutal hacking.

My nickname for this lineup is 'Hack Attack' because they don't too pitches and don't bbs while chasing a bunch of offspeed stuff.

Heather: Choking up would constitute a change in the manner in which the batter approaches his AB. So far as I can remember, Charlie don't play that. His idea of coaching is to allow the batter to swing away mindlessly whenever & however they choose. To my mind this is not so much coaching as the complete absence thereof, but then again he's the "guru" ...

Raul just needs to swing his way out of this funk.

Has anyone noticed the great amount of foul balls and checked swings Ryan Howard has in the last year? If there were a statistic for checked swings, there's a good bet that Howard would have led the league in that category last year.

"Why can't Ibanez at least experiment with trying out a slightly lighter bat? If I were 0 for 21 and hitting round .175, I'd try something that surely has been suggested."

It's probably some kind of macho thing.

Completely pointless personal story: My husband's wrists started hurting after he bowled. I suggested he switch to a lighter ball.

Man alive, you would have though I spit on the altar at church.

It certainly wasn't that he needed a lighter ball. It was because he wasn't stretching properly, because he was typing a lot at work, etc etc.

Besides, if he switched to a lighter ball, it wouldn't hit the pins right and his game would go downhill.

He finally ended up switching to a lighter ball a year later with very good results...but getting him to that point? Ugh.

Wait, it's not all Raul's fault? Get
the hell out of here. This is BL you know.

That is the utterly frustrating thing about Cholly. He will play ibanez almost everyday and continue to do so through may. It would make sense to given Mayberry starts vs lhp pitching in the interim. Maybe even give Gload a start in lf every now and then to keep his timing.

It is part of his dogma as a manager. The odd thing is that supposedly Cholly makes alot of gut calls but in reality he often sticks with conventional orthodoxy. Plays the matchup splits, let his veterans have the longest of leases, and let's his starters go deep into games. I am often surprised when cholly plays a hunch because he rarely does so even though he had this rep as being a manager who dies so.

Everyone supposedly like UC because he sticks with guys and has their back, but at what point does that turn other (productive) guys off?

If I was an ace pitcher, I'd get pretty pissed after a certain point if the manager kept on trotting out a negative WAR guy who never provided me run support and sucked on defense.

Ibanez does need to be in there though most of the time. Way too early to write him off completely. What I don't get is the weak argument that he needs to play every single day. So if he only starts 4-5 times a week his timing will be really affected vs 6-7 starts? I call bs on that. Does it also make sense to play a 39-year old Of every day? No.

Arizona is a huge home run park, so it's not surprising that Lee gave up a couple shots despite pitching well.

Of course, it would be nice for us to use the park and get a home run, but apparently that's too much to ask.

If Ibanez is still hitting below the Mendoza line in early June, it wouldn't shock me if he was released.

I'll tell you what really chaps my ass...why does Howard refuse to dunk one down the third base line when they play the shift? This especially makes no sense when they are down just a run...or in a tie game in extra innings. Not only would he get on base - probably second base - but it would eventually get them to stop playing the shift so drastically. I'm sick and tired of the resistance to change or try anything remotely creative under this regime. They are becoming difficult to watch.

For sure, the offensive doldrums are not all on Ibanez's shoulders but I think he has become the poster boy for them. When you're hitting .175, it's easy to jump to the front of the line in the search for culprits.

Also - last night I think Rollins was on second base with two out and Howard at the plate. Two years ago with a young right hander pitching, he probably would have been intentionally walked. Last night he was pitched to. And this with Ben Francisco hitting behind him!

Dukes: I think if it was so easy to hit the ball exactly where you want too when you felt like it, everybody would be batting over .500

He's technically hitting .179 so its not as bad as we thought (.175). He's also got a spectacular .499 OPS.

Interestingly though, he's batting .275 at home and .079 on the road.

When the roof is open at Chase Field, the ball carries extremely well. Schilling insisted it be always closed when he pitched for Arizona.
Mark Reynolds is going to miss Chase Field a lot.

NEPP: It would shock me. The Phillies kept Jenkins the whole damn year, & he never did anything for the team. At least Raul put in two good months before crapping out.

Jenkins at least batted .246 with a .694 OPS. That's far better than what Ibanez is giving us right now. I'd be shocked if Ibanez was doing that "well" in the near future.

What change to the lineup would help at this point besides A) Running Polly out there in a disguise every third AB, or B) Getting Polly to call Ghost Runner and go back to the plate every time he gets a hit?

Nobody is hitting. It doesn't matter what order you put them in.

Isn't it a coincidence that the precipitous decline in power numbers by key players over the past couple years has corresponded to the enforcement of the league's policy on illegal drug use?

"Dukes: I think if it was so easy to hit the ball exactly where you want too when you felt like it, everybody would be batting over .500"

It's exceptionally hard to hit for power to any field, but it's not exceptionally hard to just hit to one side or another. You could slide your hands apart and choke up (a la Ty Cobb). Howard (and most major leaguers) won't do that, but he definitely could.

One thing the Phils organization understands that most fans don't is patience, and that it's a long season. The fans look at a few games and start to panic and want to start changing every little detail, where the players and UC understand this is how baseball works. It's still April. Besides, as awful as they might look, they still have the best record in baseball, so whilst we have them under the microscope and get pissed at every swing of Ryno that doesn't end in a blast, every other team in the league is behind them.
RE: Raul, he's either going to play or get cut. They are not going to bench him.

NEPP: Good point RE: Jenkins. A .246 BA seems downright respectable in comparison to what we've been seeing. Also, I brought up Raul's Home/Road Splits before the trip began. I'm surprised more hasn't been made of it. Seems to me the Phillies would be even better served to forget platooning Ibañez w/ Mayberry on the basis of RHP/LHP, & simply bench him for Road trips.

Hitman: The majority of players who have been in trouble for PEDs are pitchers.

And a disproportionate amount of those are struggling middle relievers.

Dom Brown needs to get healthy and he needs to fulfill his promise fast...otherwise, our offense will be terrible this year.

Nobody is hitting. It doesn't matter what order you put them in.

That strikes me as a lame & lazy excuse for inaction. Sure, maybe Charlie shakes up the lineup & nothing changes ... but what could it possibly hurt to try?

Heather: Oh, he just has to hit like Ty Cobb? That should be easy enough. Can't believe he hasn't tried that.

Maybe baseball should just legalize the illegal substances. They get the power back in the game and probably reverse the recent declines in attendance. We eliminate a factor in discussion of HOF worthiness. And then on BL we can have long discussions on what PED a player should be using!

...the league’s batting average on balls in play is .297 — and the Phillies are right there near the middle, with a .294 BABIP for the year.

It just so happens that they had a lot of good luck in the early going and have had a lot of bad luck of late (h/t Carlos Gomez). That, theoretically, will even out eventually, and they’ll regress toward their true average — last year, it was .292 — on a more consistent basis...

But while the hits aren’t dropping for the Phillies, and far fewer balls are flying over the outfield walls, this year’s incarnation of the Phillies is actually hitting the ball well. Their line drive percentage is 19.7 percent, the fifth-best mark in the majors and up from 18.1 percent last year. Meanwhile their strikeout rate is exactly the same, and their walk rate is only down a tick.

Philled In

What does Mayberry have to do to get a chance. Sure,maybe he'll flop but how will we know if he doesn't get a chance to start for an extended perioid of time
Puzzling how the Phils are reluctant to give prospects a chance yet clog the roster with the likes of Herndon's and Mini marts.

I happen to agree that moving around the lineup order doesn't really matter.

Either the guys hit or they don't. Now, I think Charlie could make some changes to WHO he puts in the lineup, but moving the order around is pretty irrelevant.

I think Raul's rag arm was on full display last night too. There is little saving grace to playing the guy at all.

Watch, Brown will come back & he's the guy Charlie will choose to platoon ... w/ Francisco, not Ibañez.

Sometimes just rearranging the furniture gives a room a fresh feel.
Give the lineup a new order.

Jack- we agree there. I'd like to see Mayberry get a few consecutive starts in RF/LF just to see what he adds to the lineup. It's not like they can't afford to have Raul or Ben's bat in the lineup right now. At least Mayberry's got some pop in his bat.

GTown- if you want to spin it around as a way to critcize Cholly, that's fine. There's no point in arguing with you. At some point, you have to blame the players on the field for not performing. You're asking Cholly to rearrange a bunch of turds right now. Besides, who are you going to move up in the lineup to make a difference? Chooch, who is slump worse than Raul? Raul? Valdez?

It's at the point now where I look at the probable pitchers for the game, and hope that we're facing a lefty for the chance that Charlie will bench Ibanez and we'll get Mayberry in the lineup.

And Mayberry isn't even very good.

I would be stunned if Ibanez is hitting this badly or gets released in early June. He is a notoriously streaky player & the Phils will wait all summer for that streak to come. It doesn't mean he might get benched though for Brown at some point if his offense is this bad.

Phils have shown they will eat a contract during the offseason but the only guy the last few years they released early in the season was Castro.

"Heather: Oh, he just has to hit like Ty Cobb? That should be easy enou gh. Can't believe he hasn't tried that."

Wait, where did I say that Howard could easily turn into the second coming of Ty Cobb? Oh, I didn't.

I did say he could choke up and change his grip to control where his hits went at the expense of sacrificing his power.

Iceman: Once again, what does it hurt to try? If nothing changes the Phillies are no worse off than they are now. "It won't make an difference" is a lousy argument. This team gets hot as a group, & slumps horribly as a group. It's hardly out of the realm of possibility that changing things up a bit might -- might -- spark something positive.

Heather: Ryan Howard sacrificing power would be awful.

We can argue over whether Howard is worth his deal, a great player, overrated, whatever. But I think everyone would agree that Ryan Howard without power would be a terrible idea.

Francisco is out to an 'okay' start at .255/.318/.418 with 3 HRs but he quietly has been playing much better defense of late. He isn't remotely the issue.

Career minor leaguers like Mayberry aren't the answer; Rube needs to get on the phone to his good buddy Ed Wade and swap Blanton, Dom Brown, and Rizotti for Pence and Keppinger--and, if Houston has anything good in their pen, a relief arm. I'd throw in Rollins and Ibanez too, if I thought Houston or anyone else would take them. Pence in right, Mayberry can go back to the minors, Mini-Mart can crawl back down his Washington hole, Gload can play left, Exxon at short, Keppinger at 2nd till Utley comes back (then keep him as back-up for the amazing breakable man), Benny Fran as fourth outfielder instead of everyday starter, Orr a solid bench option. Stop dorking around and make it happen, Rube!

Howard without his power numbers (35+ HRs) is a pretty weak player because he doesn't hit for a high average nor BB enough anymore.

Oh, and bring Worley up from the minors to be the fifth starter.

"We can argue over whether Howard is worth his deal, a great player, overrated, whatever. But I think everyone would agree that Ryan Howard without power would be a terrible idea. "

I never suggested Howard do this all the time. However, a few well placed hits to the left side of the infield with the shift they play on Howard would be a good thing. Opposing teams would probably start not using the shift as much (or as extreme) if they know Howard has no problem punching a single to left.

I've seen A-Gonz go so far as to bunt for singles when the shift gets too ridiculous. Result? Not as pronounced a shift against A-Gonz.

Actually, if you add up the roster math, it's a little difficult to see how the Phillies could keep Ibanez if & when Brown comes up.

When Utley returns, Mini-Mart (hopefully) goes. Who's left? If you dump Orr, you're down to 1 backup at 2nd, SS & third -- a position in which I doubt they'd leave themselves. Mayberry is the only viable right-handed bench bat. I guess they could cut Gload & leave Ibanez as the key left-handed bench player. But who do you think is the better hitter right now: Gload or Ibanez?

Of course, all of this could very well sort itself out by way of injury, which is usually what happens. Or the Phillies could come up with some phantom injury and put Ibanez on the DL. Otherwise, if they want to call up Brown, they're either going to have to release Ibanez or, if he gets his numbers up somewhat (which he will), & they're willing to eat most of his salary, I could see their trading him.

BAP: Who on earth would trade for Ibanez? Not even Ed Wade is ridiculous enough to do that.

It isn't true that the Phils % BB is close either to last year. Last year they were at 8.9% (4th in the NL). This year it is 7.7% (11th in NL).

A % BB rate of 7.7% would have put them 15th in the NL last year ahead of only the lowly Pirates.

"[Francisco] isn't remotely the issue."

Well, we got a .921 OPS from his position last year & he's got the 11th highest OPS in the league among right fielders. So it's fair to say that he's a part of the problem. But he's still got the 4th highest OPS among our regulars, so he's most certainly not at the top of the list when it comes to our problems.

b_a_p: The Phillies will never eat that much salary, it's hard to imagine anyone willing to trade for him & besides which, Full No Trade Clause. Ibañez ain't goin' nowhere.

You watch, the Phillies will leave themselves short at the infield positions rather than release Raul. I'm sure the bench guys have options. They'll just be recalled if/when the likes of Rollins/Utley/Polanco get injured.

Brownout continues. Thought the Phils would have a real power drop (144 HRs) this season but they have only 16 HRs so far (t-11th in the NL). On a pace for just 110 HRs. That will definitely pick up as the weather warms at CBP but reaching 144 HRs might even be a bit of a reach at this point. Even last year they hit 166.

Explains in part why their ISO is at .116 (14th in NL) ahead of only the lowly Pirates and Padres.

re: minors offense

1 guy having a good start outside of the lumbering 1B JW mentions is Leandro Castro. He was a popular sleeper pick for this season and he's slugging .548 in his first 16 games, mostly in RF. As always with Phils corner OF - he's a toolsy one.

Good morning!

I went to the games Saturday and Sunday in San Diego. It was such a thrill to see Roy Halladay, and the Phils even scored a few runs, and Victorino's home run was such fun.

Furthermore, Petco Park has excellent nachos.

I am thinking the thing to do now is stop watching entriely to avoid a letdown. Quit while I'm ahead...

Padres can build an offense around the small ball concept because it is so damn hard to hit HRs there especially early in the season.

It is going to be very interesting to see how things play out this summer because even the Phils have great starting pitching they have pitchers who are very prone to giving up the long ball especially Hamels & Blanton.

shuld mention that Castro would do his prospect status wonders if he could handle CF. Apparently has the speed/range, but lacking the ability so far at age 22.

Did the Pittsburgh franchise officially change its team name yet? Are they now called the Lowly Pirates?

I don't think Orr has options & he's just the kind of guy some team would pick up if we tried to demote him.

To be tradeable, the Phillies would have to eat almost all his salary (all but $1 or $2M) &, obviously, he would have to show some signs of life. If he shows some signs of life, some team out there might well conclude that he's due for a second half bounce-back & could be a helpful part-time outfielder or DH. They'd probably even be right.

Jack: Nobody was talking about Howard consistently sacrificing power. We are talking about doing what a situation dictates every once in a while (i.e. - when they really need one run try and hit the ball down the 3rd base line). Howard's power is only equal to that of Victorino's of late anyway, so just get on base.

When an entire army is on the right side of the field, sneak in the back door and hit one down the line. If you fail you fail, but it can be done. I remember Thome doing that a couple of times.

nobody is trading for Ibanez unless we are taking back a lot of future salary, a Carlos Lee, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano kind of bad contract.

There's an easy fix to the Phils' offensive woes. It involves Rich Dubee and a pair of binoculars.

Pirates look competitive this year. Even 75 or 76 games this year for them would be a nice season in the right direction especially if some of their younger players keep progressing. Haven't won even 75 games since '03.

***Watch, Brown will come back & he's the guy Charlie will choose to platoon ... w/ Francisco, not Ibañez.***

I guarantee this is what happens. I have no question whatsoever of it.

Ok so Howard should be able to hit it down the left field line whenever he feels like it to beat the shift. So I guess all MLB players should be able to just hit it in the hole on either side of the infield as well when they feel like it. I wonder why they don't do that?

I haven't seen any of those smug postings comparing the "crappy Phils offense" to the "vaunted Braves offense" in a few days. Is our resident stat tracker on vacation?

Its a long seaseon and there will be lulls. This is one of those lulls. We're still in first place and we still have the best record in baseball. We'll be okay.

NEPP - Yeah. They are managing to hit even worse when they do get RISP. This isn't a good offensive team but it isn't nearly this bad either. Just everybody slumping simultaneously. It happens.

It is completely unrealistic to assume the Phils will get the kind of pitching they did in SD though especially at CBP this summer.

johnnysanz: exactly. If MLB hitters were as smart as us, they would hit the ball where the fielder isn't. Too bad they are too "macho" to do it.

Which would you rather have: great hitting (including power hitting) but mediocre starting pitching, or great starting pitching and mediocre hitting (with not a lot of power)?

On the one hand, good pitching beats good hitting, as the baseball axiom goes.

On the other hand, with the great hitting, you feel you always have a chance to come back.

I asked my son his opinion, and he opted for good hitting, for the reason that you can pitch a great game and still lose a lot of low-scoring games. Whereas with great hitting & power, you feel any game is winnable.

I can't decide, myself. I would greedily like to have both.

GBrett, I'll get back to you in November.

We've won a WS with the great hitting/mediocre pitching formula.

Time to see if we can do the same with the opposite approach.

For all of you who are seduced by the 12 Ks Lee had last night, and therefore say he pitched well, I must humbly disagree.

Giving up 2 HR in 7 IP is sh88tting the bed.

4 ER in 7 IP [5.14 ERA] is what you expect from a #4/5 starter, not a #2, and not a guy who's ostensibly a "co-ace".

Sure, they aren't/weren't hitting, but Lee did the team no favors.

He has not been what was advertized, and right now is the 4th best starter on the team, despite a contract which pays him like he's the best one.

I think that the difference between the Jenkins situation and Ibanez now, lies in the bearded wonder in D.C. He almost forced Gillick's hand there.

I don't see anyone in the position that Werth was in, pushing Ibanez out. Mayberry? Brown? Gonna take some more development to force RAJ to make that move.

One does have to wonder, however, how long an older athlete, whose glory days are clearly behind him, can tolerate playing as a shell of himself. Not saying he'll retire, but I'd be shocked if the topic hasn't come up around the Ibanez house recently.

"Just thinking out loud here, but when a player's power goes "POOF" due to age why do they still attempt to hit like they used to?

Can't the choke way up on the bat and try stroking singles like Polly does? Why would that not work?

Posted by: Heather"


Heather, what a novel concept: hitters making adjustments. :)

Seriously, though...Michael Jack made adjustments as he progressed into his 30's and bought himself a HOF ticket.

One would think JRoll could learn from that example.

awh - Lee didn't pitch well last night after striking out 12 and only walking 1 BB? He only gave up 5 hits and 4 LD including the 2 HRs.

He missed his spot on Young's HR and Young did a great job of hitting a mistake out.

I don't know what all the moaning is about.

Lee had a solid LG last night, which, as we know from reading the posts here, is far more important than wins or runs allowed.

***One would think JRoll could learn from that example.***

Though it should be noted that Michael Jack was the greatest player to ever play his position and one of the Top 10-20 players all time in all likelihood.

awh: I call BS. I've been on Beerleaguer awhile & I've seen you defend numerous Phillies pitchers who had games very much like Cliff Lee's -- that is, an otherwise well-pitched game in which he made a couple of bad pitches & paid for them. The only difference between those games & last night's game is that you spent all of yesterday explaining how runs allowed is the absolutely only thing that tells us how a pitcher pitched. So now you're trying to dig in your heels to emphasize your point. And you're making yourself look absurd in the process.

Charlie did a nice job of losing the game last night so the Phils bullpen didnt rack up their pitch count in the bottom of the 9th.

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