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Friday, April 15, 2011

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http://crashburnalley.com/2011/04/15/another-head-scratcher-from-charlie/

Great piece. Still don't understand why managers are so stubborn, and must pitch pitchers in their specific innings. Bringing in Madson, a reliever who is at least 10 times as good as Danys Baez, made a LOT of sense in the 7th inning with the bases loaded, especially since Madson can pitch to both lefties and righties due to his changeup.(.613 OPS against lefties last year)

Remove the "Deals" & add an "s" to "Blow" & JW could've used the same header last year.

Brewers played bad defense to let Werth beat them in the 10th.

Oswalt getting injured in baserunning makes me pause long enough to reconsider my view of the DH for a moment.

That kinda got me too. Plus, Madson has hardly worked lately! Give him 2 inning for crying out loud!

Baez name has legally be changed to Baez Sucks. Full name- Baez F*cking Sucks.

Yeah that Baez jersey should be arriving any day now.

Zolecki (via Twitter): Oswalt said he had back spasms. Said it's unrelated to previous back problems. Said he hopes to make next start. "I think I'll make it." But Oswalt really won't know until he throws he throws in the bullpen in two days. Stay tuned ...

That's good news.

Most people had Oswalt in the "which of the four starters will get hurt first" pool, right?

JW, is that jersey ever going to arrive, or will it remain mysteriously on transit all season? ;)

In transit.

Time to visit damnyouautocorrect.com

I'll repeat my response to Fatty from before. Don't overthink this leverage thing...Bastardo should have been in there sooner, but Madson is a stretch. We act like we can just pop and drop these guys like it's a video game.

BvH: Here's the thing. If your best pitchers aren't good enough to pitch outside of very narrowly defined roles, well ... how good are they, then?

Not saying that. I'm totally a proponent of the high leverage thing...I just mean looking at the situation...we burned through three pitchers kind of quickly, there wasn't a ton of time for Madson to get warmed up for that inning. If you do that to guys repeatedly, lots of times you're getting pitchers up and warming them up only to sit them back down. Cholly would have to have started warming up Madson with a guy on first in the 7th inning.

I don't buy the assigned roles thing at all, but you can't predict every single meltdown, and you can't swap these guys out in an instant.

Sure Baez sucks. We knew that years before he came to Philly. With today being the first blown save of the year we just gotta say........F*ck it!

Few points:

- Baez is still better than Herndon. Its kind of the 'tallest midget' category but still.

- Gload banged his knee and was removed from the game. I wonder how long he is 'day-to-day.'

- Cholly's reasoning in the post-game comments on why he left in Baez was that he preferred Baez vs. Dobbs compared to Helms vs. Bastardo. Cholly got a bit flabbergasted & chippy about it. I still would have rather seen Bastardo there.

- Bill Baer has a point about Madson coming in there during the 8th but Baez would still have had to pitch the night unless he thinks Madson could have gone 1 2/3. Madson hasn't gone at least 1 2/3 during the regular season since Sept. '09.

Sit Oswalt for 5 starts, and go$$damint, determine if KK or Worley is the answer as the #5. Maybe KY Joe gets humped up (or tradable? please?) as the #4 and stops digging that hole. If one of the youngsters shows Blanton how easy it is to complete the 6th inning without your club buried, that’s progress.

Phils' vaunted offense watch: 5 straight games of 4 runs or less.

And, honestly, I'm not sure I have a problem with Cholly trying Baez early in the year like this in high leverage situations. I don't have any confidence in him either, but he's on the d8mn team, and we can't hide him in low leverage situations all year. We always say it, you never know with bullpens, guys catch lightning in a bottle some years.

That being said, it is the better move to bring in Bastardo for Dobbs. Also, if Cholly gives Baez too many more chances I'll be annoyed.

I still find it ironic that when Dobbs was playing for the Phils, people went ballistic when Cholly brought Dobbs in to pinch hit. Now he's the greatest hitter in the history of the game. I'm no Baez fan, but it was one bad pitch. It just as easily could have been a DP. Oh, well.

cut fastball - That makes no sense on several points. Its like the yahoos who will call for the Phils to release Baez after tonight.

So they can call up who exactly? Baez is going to have some outing where he is a dog and can't throw strikes. You can say the same for Romero & Bastardo. Even Herndon so far this year.

A dumb, avoidable loss for all the reasons cited, plus Romero not letting Morison's ball go through to the Orr.

Howard, Francisco and Ibanez are 9 for 67 in the last 7 games (.134), with 4 XBH; not a lot of margin for poor decision-making and soft relievers.

Yuniesky Betancourt is now hitting .205/.250/.273, and his throwing error tonight basically cost them the game on defense.

When the Brewers made the Grienke trade, they would've been better off not getting Yuni at all. He's simply the worst SS in the league, and probably most of AAA as well. If they had even a close to average player at SS, they'd be right up there with Cincinnati in that division.

It's rare that one player kills your team's chances. But Betancourt might fall into that category.

The only thing that mattered tonight was that Oswalt tweaked his back.

Vic's back-handed grab to rob Sanchez of a hit was the #1 Web Gem tonight.

MG -- We need a healthy Oswalt, no? Later in the season? Let his back calm down.

In the meantime, why not use some downtime for Oswalt as a stepping off point for how well KK or Worley pitches with their job on the line? Anything to get Blanton out of his proverbial "funk".

Plenty of complaints for fans of all teams. A sucky game for us tonight but we still have it good.

cut - If he only needs to miss a start or two, why use KK or Worley instead of Oswalt for 3 or 4 starts?

Chirping about Cholly's decision there is a little annoying considering they're 9-3 coming in, playing at home and 100 percent rested. It's not like he's handing the ball to Scott Mathieson. Baez is a veteran of 9 years and is part of the bullpen. Not every bullpen inning can be "low leverage."

A question and an opinion came to mind after watching this game.

Question: What was CM thinking, bringing in the two least reliable bullpen arms in a 1-run game when the entire pen is rested? Baez should never ever be seen in a close game. If you are saving Madson and Contreras for the 8-9th, then you still have Kendrick, Herndon, and Bastardo. The 7th inning rally by Florida was so predictable you could almost call out the result of each AB before it happened.

Opinion: If Utley is out for such an extended period, or if he comes back at less than 100%, then the team needs to acquire a bat, a power bat. JRoll batting 3rd is ridiculous. Brown is not the answer, at least not this season. It would make sense to look for a good-hitting 3B and let Polanco go to 2B, putting Orr/Valdez/Martinez on the bench where they belong.

This small-ball thing is fine, but you can rely on Rollins and Victorino to uppercut anytime there are baserunners, and Francisco has warning track power, so small ball only gets you so far when baserunners don't get moved along. Whose the RBI man besides Howard? Why would any team pitch to Howard right now?

Team needs a power bat.


JW, thanks for making some sense here.

No talk at all about Rollins and his inability to move the runners from 1st and 2nd to 2nd and 3rd with no outs. He popped up the 3-1 pitch foul and then popped up the 3-2 pitch to center field. Two balls in the air back to back like that is not a mistake, it's a pattern...a pattern that says his swing sucks. Bunt the ball in that situation if you can't the runners over. Howard came up next and hit the ball hard and it would have scored a run if the runners had moved. Rollins as the 3 hole hitter is going to drive me crazier than Rollins leading off and I didn't think that was possible.

Rollins also gets an honorable mention for my CRUSHER OF DREAMS AWARD tonight, for failing at least to move Vic and Polanco over in the 5th, when he came up with 2 on and no outs. After working hitter counts of 2-1, then 3-1, he flied out softly to LF on 3-2. Howard's L9 produced nothing. Ibanez knocked in one run with a hit, but if those runners had been moved, maybe they get 2 runs that inning, instead of 1.

Old phan, what am I chopped liver?

BvH, not at all!

I still want to know when Greg Dobbs became a threat, especially on BL.

Dukes - no question, that was a terrible at bat by Rollins. Just didn't get into the header with the other bigger stuff.

JW: The reason Charlie's decision is so frustrating is that he insists on playing the match-ups (as he did w/ Romero to begin the 7th) right up until it might actually matter (as w/ Baez w/ back-to-back LHB coming up), at which point he brings in the correct reliever for the situation (LHP Bastardo) only after it's too late. Tonight is not an isolated incident.

Also, I'd argue that Baez is no more trustworthy than a AAA guy at this point. So what if he's a "veteran"? His overall numbers as a Phillie are abysmal, & he has earned a great degree of mistrust. At the very least Charlie could have gone to a better option in a high leverage situation, & more quickly w/ every single reliever having had at least days rest.

In summary, it's not so much this one loss as it is a repeated failure to learn from past mistakes which rubs myself, & most likely more than a few other fans, the wrong way.

Was Charlie confused because all the players were wearing 42? Maybe, due to cognitive overload from being insanely angry at Bastardo, he somehow got it in his mind that he had already yanked Baez for Bastardo, looked out on the field and saw a bunch of players he couldn't tell apart from the numbers on their backs (with no names, to boot!), and didn't discover that Baez was still in there until Dobbs connected with the killshot. That's a helluva lot more plausible than that he thought Baez was the guy to go with there, right?

I mean: insanely angry at Baez

Is Dobbs destined to be this year's Barajas?

Caution is the word with Oswalt. The bullpen failure and Rollins' failure to move runners with no outs is frustrating, but that stuff is predictable and is oing to happen. But Oswalt's long term health is huge and is the issue of the night for me.

Due to its strength we have a little more margin for error with the rotation, in theory anyway I guess. But having these guys hammering away, night after night, is relentless and suffocating to the opposition. If the rotation is healthy, no team can play the Phils and have a reasonable expectation of winning any given series.

Take care of yourself, Roy. Hope to see you back soon.

If your gonna second guess you have pick at everything. If Oswalt laid down a proper bunt he gets thrown out with a jog. Not much hussle no injury. Goes back out and pitches the 7th. Because he is Roy and not Baez he doesn't give up a run. We are always right after the fact. We win.

Berkman with another 2 HR already tonight. He is going nuts this week.

Looks like it's gonna be a lovely evening tomorrow:

NWS Forecast For 04-16-2011

I don't see the second-guessing as somehow tied up with the idea that the Phils should win every game. Plus, the Oswalt bunt is a totally different issue. Cholly's job is to (sorry for the Reid-ism) put his players in the best position possible to win the game. The players have to execute and even with the best effort, players won't always come through. That just can't be controlled. Sometimes you take a reasonable risk and it blows up in your face, too. But you can't afford to consistently beat yourself or stack the cards against yourself by making bad decisions when it comes to the things you can control. Not platooning Ibanez is one of those things. Leaving Baez in tonight is another. Using Mayberry instead of Gload against a RHP a few nights ago is yet another. Those are all decisions that scream out to be second-guessed, as they look to be really, really bad percentage plays. A pitcher laying down a crappy bunt, Ibanez triple-hopping a throw to the plate from deep shortstop, JRoll showing questionable judgment in his AB in the 9th, and Pete "Is my head as large as Polly's?" Orr swinging at the first pitch in the top of the 9th are things that might merit (varying degrees of) criticism, but that's not second-guessing.

I don't think Cholly is an idiot at all and many of his decisions/gambles reveal that he has a fantastic read on what his players can do. However, one of the most agonizing things for me as a fan of this team is when Cholly trusts the gut in a reckless way.

Maybe Bastardo gets tagged tonight if he's brought in a batter earlier or maybe the Phils find some other way to lose the game by being outplayed by (or less lucky than, since this is baseball) the Fish. I'm fine with those kinds of losses, although they don't feel all that good, either. I just go out of my mind, though, when Cholly does things that needlessly up the level of difficulty for the team I root for.

I join with Harold Reynolds in second guessing the Brewers. They brought Braun in practically to the infield with the winning run in the person of Jayson Werth standing on 3rd base, but the 3rd baseman wasn't anywhere near 3rd to hold him on. Werth was practically to home plate by the time Fielder picked up the ball.

And the only reason Werth was on in the first place was a throwing error that allowed him to reach not just 1st but 2nd. He stole 3rd.

As for the Phillies, I don't usually second-guess Charlie, but I really didn't understand the matchups thing - when is it on, when is it not - either. If all had ended well, I guess I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist about it. But Baez inspires almost no confidence. Lidge may be scary but I really feel that the times he's been shaky have coincided with the times he's not been healthy, and that when he is healthy, he's been pretty reliable. For me, Baez is just plain scary all the time with no good explanation other than he just can't seem to do the job consistently.

I agree with those of you who say that losses will happen, and that the worst takeaway from the night is Oswalt's injury. Hopefully it won't be of long duration.

"Cholly's reasoning in the post-game comments on why he left in Baez was that he preferred Baez vs. Dobbs compared to Helms vs. Bastardo."

If this were a word problem, I'd give Cholly partial credit for setting up his answer the right way. People keep talking as though the matchup was going to be Bastardo against Dobbs. But there is no way that would have happened. It would have been Bastardo against Helms & Cholly was right to figure accordingly.

But after setting up the problem correctly, I'm afraid Cholly flubbed the answer. Bastardo against Helms is a better matchup for the Phillies than a totally wild Baez against Dobbs. Of course, Cholly could also have done the unthinkable & brought in his elite setup man, who has pitched only 3 innings all year including none in the last 5 days. But the idea of an 8th inning guy pitching in the 7th, I realize, is pretty radical.

Baseball teams lose games all the time sometimes there isn't any great meaning behind it. Not every loss exposes a fatal flaw. This game was winnable but Roy got hurt and middle inning guys couldn't get middle inning outs. If this was a playoff game maybe Madson comes in earlier. By then Charlie will know who he trusts and who he doesn't. This is how you find out. Let's get em tomorrow!

b_a_p: Exactly. With the entire bullpen well-rested, Charlie had the option to bring in a better reliever to face whomever the Marlins sent to the plate.

It's incredible. He'll get 2 guys up in the 'pen when the Phillies have a big lead & there's no need for it, & he'll dawdle in a high leverage situation w/ a stiff like Baez on the mound.

I think Oswalt said his back was bothering him already in the 5th, but after he ran down the basepath in the 6th, it felt tighter. He said "I could have maybe pitched the 7th, but I didn't want to get in trouble, leave a mess that someone would have to clean up."

I rather like the realistic attitude here.

G-Town: "Dawdle" is definitely the operative word.

Whenever a reliever walks the first batter, it's almost always gonna be bad. A starter can be wild at the start, but he'll be in there long enough that he has a chance to get himself righted. A reliever has to right himself immediately & it usually doesn't happen -- especially since most relievers ended up in the bullpen because their command was erratic to begin with.

If any Phillies reliever other than Madson or Contreras is in the game, and he walks the first batter, it's time to get the bullpen up immediately. Or better yet, if any Phillies reliever other than Madson or Contreras is in the game, another reliever should already be warming up. That way, you can call him into the game as soon as said reliever gets done walking the first batter.

BAP- what a great way to build confidence in your relievers. If you want to go that route, have someone warming up for Blanton every single inning during the game. They can all rotate.

Iceman: I'm all for it.

I'd argue it's up to the players to prove to the manager that they can work their way out of a jam. Baez has been a member of the bullpen for over a year now, & hasn't come even remotely close to showing he's capable of doing so. I find the notion of continuing to allow him to hurt the team because he's a veteran, or in the supposed interest of "building confidence", patently ridiculous.

Didn't see the game tonight, but is it true that Orr and Vic swung at the first pitch against Nunez in the 9th? If you are Vic, why not try and let Mayberry steal 2nd? I am sure Nunez's move is non-existant.

Nunez can walk the ballpark, if you'll let him. There is no need to swing early against a guy like that. Gotta be smarter then that in that situation.

Baez and Romero aren't going to get it done every night out. We should all realize that. As long as they are both getting beat on hits and not wildness, I can take that.

Obviously still very early on, but the 2 best stories in the minors so far are Phillipe Aumont and Joe Savery. Aumont has been literally unhittable at Reading and was dominating in ST action as well. Savery is hitting close to .600 in his return to the field and is getting used to 1B again.

Those are two guys to root for as the season progresses. Aumont for his talent and big league potential and Savery just for the storyline itself. 2 reclamation projects gone well, so far.

G-Town: You say that now, because you're frustrated that Baez lost us tonight's game. But you must remember the bigger picture. Leaving Baez in to face a lefty may have cost us one game, but it also built Baez's confidence by telling him that his manager trusts him in important situations. Buoyed by this new-found confidence, Baez will proceed to finish the season with a 55-inning scoreless streak. And it will all be because of tonight's events.

So if tomorrows game is rained out will Charlie skip Blanton's start and go with the Doctor?

denny b.: Orr got himself out on a single pitch, but I believe Vic saw two. He's a veteran, you know.

b_a_p: You are truly a Bringer of Light, & now that I've seen it I have no doubt your prognostication will come to be. Hell, I might just go ahead & order a Baez jersey for myself .. right after I finish up my Drexel LeBow MBA, of course.

mojophilly: Not if there's a DH on Sunday. At least I presume that's a possibility, as the Marlins are off on Mon. & the Phillies are only going as far as Milwaukee.

I didn't see the game. From what I read, I agree that having Madson ready earlier could have made a difference and, that it was something to be contemplated given the low workload he's had so far. But, Manuel is neither nimble nor creative in his planning (with the notable exception of using Mayberry against a righty due to the wind). On balance, I tend to favor him sticking with his plan, i.e., Madson is pitching the 8th and, if leading Contreras the 9th; play for matchups in the 7th or earlier. I also agree with Manuel's implication that, despite his relatively hot start, I don't fear Dobbs.

I just hope Oswalt is ready to go in five days. If it rains today (sunny here on the beach in Florida, suckers), I'd be tempted to skip Blanton tomorrow but, not move him back and I'd think an extra day might help the situation with Oswalt. I don't want to see Blanton pitch in Milwaukee, no matter what. Prefer the DH tomorrow.

Yo, new thread

George S: totally agree - need to pursue a true #3 hitter if Utz is out awhile longer. Not a knock on JRoll - he's doing the best he can at 5'7" in the 3 hole. In the meantime, if/when UC starts platooning Mayberry in LF, does it make any sense to give RFD a shot hitting 3rd? (He might see some hittable pitches ahead of Ryno).

They're often not real exciting, and after a good WOD all you want to do is lay on the ground, but they just might be the most important part of your workout. Don't rush out.

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