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Sunday, April 24, 2011

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Looks like bud black doesn't know how to look up howards 2010 OPS vs LHP - over .820

Wheels has a special rug with bunny ears attached for Easter

The recent discussion about the Phil's current offensive woes and what they might portend for the season is provoking me to one of my rare rambling Beerleaguer posts—and thank your for the opportunity. It often seems to me that one reason I love baseball so much is that it emulates real life more closely than other sports. A prominent feature here is the persistent need to deal with immediate failure with resilience and grace. Ryno's big hit last night is a perfect snapshot of this—following four consecutive K's with a game winning shot.

For me, being a baseball fan presents some of the same challenges that it does for the player. I agonize over each GIDP or pop fly with runners in scoring position to the point where I sometimes have to turn off the game (or in my case shut down the computer) only to crank it back up again a few minutes later. It sometimes takes an act of will, but baseball requires us to look at the big picture, to remember the long haul. The game is nine innings long, the season persists until October. I know the Phils offense is aging and prone to inexplicable top to bottom batting slumps, but the last few games of futility is no more representative of what every game will be like than was the offensive explosion at the beginning of the season something we could expect to last forever. I really do know there will be stretches of offensive brilliance in the season to come and that Ryno will have bunches of games where his bat smolders. Perhaps there won't be quite as many as in seasons past, but there is that pitching staff to make up for the changes…

What I have seen over recent years is that somehow this team very often finds a way to win in spite of the failures of the moment. For now, this allows the fan in me to do a lot more hoping than fearing (although it is baseball and the fearing never entirely goes away). Of course, a collapse in September or October may find me huddled in the corner unable to watch some other team in the World Series, but let's not think about that right now.

Its this simple. While their pitching has been very good over their last 12 games, their offense has been woeful. They have been outscored on a runs/game basis (2.8 vs 2.9) and should consider them quite fortunate to be 8-4.

I'm sorry the Wade LeBlanc spot start has me thinking trap game. Though a dominant Halladay should erase that thought.

Actually MG, the Phillies have scored 36 runs in their last 12 games. Their opposition has only scored 35 runs.

If you take out the 9-0 shellacking they took at the hands of the Brewers in Halladay's last start, the Phillies have outscored their opponents 36-26. It's no wonder they've won 8 of those 11 games. No good fortune involved: just good pitching helping a team win games.

Scotch Man:

I was thinking the same thing. Let's hope we're wrong.

Is sports cruel enough to have the Flyers and Sixers elimninated on the SAME day?? Has that ever happened before to anyone's knowledge?

I know I'll be called out as a naysayer, but I can't help but think the 14-6 record is a bit more lucky than good. They're going to need these wins against dead-ass teams like San Diego, because May looks like a different animal altogether, and this ongoing habit of not scoring four runs or less a game isn't going to hold up as routinely against the likes of FLA, ATL, STL, COL, TEX, CIN - these will be consecutive series beginning 5/6.

double negative there...omit 'not' before 'the ongoing habit of...scoring four runs or less'

RSB, their offensive slump of last year was FAR worse than this one, and they still won 97 games. Just watch the games, enjoy the starting pitching, eagerly anticipate a healthy return of Utley, and hope this team, which has proven it can win over the last 4 seasons, does what it takes to get into the playoffs. Once there, starting pitching is generally the name of the game, and we have it in droves.

It's getting more difficult for me to think that Utley's knee will ever be able to handle his style of play for an extended period of time.

Oh, and during their offensive slump of last year, they went 3-9 over a similar 12 game stretch. This year, we have gone 8-4. This team is built much better to withstand a lackluster offense. I'm quite certain that the offense will play better (though won't be world-beaters).

Fat - The offensive lull they had last year late in May-early June wasn't that much different. This team isn't hitting a lick right now.

There starting pitching is much better with Lee & Oswalt but how is the bullpen or bench much better than last year around this time?

MG, they were shutout for 3 straight games last year during that offensive lull. That has yet to happen during this slump.

I never said the bench or bullpen were much better, but at least in the bullpen, we've replaced a slumping Brad Lidge with Batardo, who is performing very well so far.

I'd say the bench is better, but the bullpen is a wash, and the offense may be a wash, or slightly worse, but the starting pitching is MUCH better.

Thus, we are 14-6, and I don't consider it lucky.

RSB- I see your point with the upcoming schedule but honestly none of those teams strike fear into me (which says something about the NL in general, with the exception of TX of course).

And about your point about their record being lucky- Aren't they beating teams they should beat? I agree the schedule has been soft but good teams take advantage of that, right?

And I hope everyone enjoys Doc today, I feel another dominate start on the horizon.

Their expected W-L according to Pyg Thm is 13-7. Yeah I do consider that they have been fortunate to be win 8 of their last 12 given their offense. Normally I would expect 5 or 6 wins.

Even after their lackluster series vs. Brewers, it was pretty easy to see them winning of 8-9 or their next 12 vs @SD, @AZ, NYM, and DC. They have won 3 already and I bet they end up with 6 more over that stretch.

RSB is right. You always have a much better idea of how a team looks by Memorial Day and this will be no exception especially as the Phils have to face Texas for 3. They catch a break though in having the Rangers come to CBP though.

I feel compelled to point out, again, that for all the fretting about the offensive woes, they are still in the top third in runs scored in the NL (and better than anyone else in the division).

Only if you think that the beginning of the year was more anomalous than the most recent stretch should you be looking for falling chunks of sky.

My guess is that somewhere in between is probably where their offense will wind up long-term, and that they will wind up in the top third of the league in runs scored by the end of the year.

I think that the disproportionate worry is a result of two factors.

The first is that Phillies fans just ain't happy unless they're miserable. This comes from a long conditioning period where, if you weren't happy when miserable then you just weren't happy.

The second is because, obviously, because of a relative decline in the Phils' offense (relative to the Phils of previous years more than relative to the rest of the league).

Ok, I get that. But why would people be more concerned about that relative decline as compared to the astonishing improvement in starting pitching?

Doc, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton

vs.

Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, KK.

Are you kidding?

To answer my own question about why fans are more concerned about a smaller decline in offense than cheered by the larger improvement in pitching?

See only happy when miserable.

I was about to post that someone like Phlipper or TTI or Iceman was going to come in to this conversation firing, because there's been way too many "negative" posts in a row. And of course he beat me to it.

Also, Phlipper: The beginning of the season WAS more anomalous than this. The offensive "explosion" was built on a lot of singles being strung together. That is simply unsustainable. A sustainable offense is built on a combination of hitting for average, walks, and power. The Phillies right now do one of those three above-average. Until they start drawing walks and/or hitting for power, the offense will be more similar to what we've seen the last two weeks than the first week.

That will likely come with outside improvements to the lineup (Utley, Brown, a trade). I trust the team to do this, which is why I'm not TOO concerned long-term about the offense. If Utley and Brown return, and Amaro makes a trade, the Phils' offense will be just fine.

Now that we're going to discuss the wins being more lucky than good, anyone want to figure out the amount of Undeserved Wins (UW) we've had so far? By my count there are about 10. They have to get a bit more lucky, though, if they want to touch last year's total of 90 UW.

And there's Iceman.

That was predictable.

I am happy to be a Phils fan, believe me. The pitching is awesome. It never ceases to astound me that they have become what the Braves used to be. But I have watched the games, and it strikes me that the 14-6 record is not representative of what this team is, or how it's played. Maybe it's quibbling, but I think it's fairer to look at them as a 12-8 team, which is still terrific in April. I just see somewhat of a letdown ahead, is all.

Seriously though, with the offense, it just comes down to this. They're 24th in extra-base hits, and 22nd in walks.

If they can improve those two things, the offense will get back on track.

If they're expecting to string together singles like they did the first week, that will not happen consistently.

Good thing that MLB didn't adopt MG and RSB's "Undeserved Wins" stat to determine who gets into the playoffs, huh?

Jack: I like Dom Brown as much as anyone, but you've repeatedly declared that there's no chance he won't be ready, what he did last fall is meaningless, what he did in winter ball is meaningless, what he did in ST is meaningless, there's no possibility that he won't go north with the team...etc. etc.

Do you not feel even the slightest twinge that he may need more seasoning?

Clout: Yeah, he might.

Which is why I would give him some time in AAA on his rehab. If he's struggling there, I wouldn't bring him up. If he's hitting there, though, and if Raul and BenFran still suck, then he gets brought up.

Seem pretty simple?

Jack- it's ironic you'd call anything anyone says 'predictable.' You're like the Chatty Cathy doll of BL.

Jack: That's the first time you've ever accepted that as a possibility. Good job.

Glad to see so many here don't believe the Phillies can sustain their .700 pace. I can't understand why people can't see that the Phils are destined to win 113 games.

oh yeah, that's right, this is Beerleaguer - if I can't transpose it to a specific stat, it's not real.

The schedule hasn't been the most formidable this month. Against the strongest competition to date, Florida & Milwaukee, they went 2-3, with both of the victories being extremely narrow ones. I didn't say 'undeserved'. You can't look at any one game and say, oh, that was just a lucky win. This is a general assessment. (I know, it's not really possible to wrap your heads around that concept, so it must therefore be useless. I'll just say it for you, so you don't have to bother.) I'm saying more that maybe they've been lucky to be facing more of the Padres and Astros and Mets of the world, who are almost as or even more offensively challenged, while they're going 14-6, rather than the Giants, Rockies, and Reds.


Greys fan- Your writing dribbles like a leaky condom

RSB: Ah, so it's "Lucky Wins," not "Undeserved Wins." Thanx for the clarificstion.

Polly has been off to an excellent start. Ibanez, after being OK initially, has been absolutely horrible as of late.

My guess is that we've seen at Beerleaguer 100x? more negative comments about Raul than positive comments about Polly?

Has the impact of Polly been less beneficial to the team than the negative impact of Ibanez's performance?


A thought experiment:

Imagine that the Phils had two top minor league callups playing instead of the real Raul and Polly:

The callups are Raul Polanco and Placido Ibanez:

They both have identical stats:

.277/.345/.374/719 with 1.5 HRs and 13 RBI.

(A slash line created by averaging the Avg, OPS, etc., of Polly and Raul - not precise as I didn't add their individual stats and then calculate).

Now imagine replacing the real Raul and Polly with their fake minor league call-ups.

With two players producing at that level, would the Phils record likely be better than it is now, worse, or just about the same?

If your answer is just about the same or perhaps worse, then why do we see 100x? as many negative comments about Raul than positive comments about Polly?

One obvious explanation is that it seems relatively easy to get better production out of Ibanez's position - sit him for Mayberry against some LHP. But if Charlie were to do that, how much, really, would that increase the Phils overall offensive production?

@ RSB: Why not throw the Braves into your analysis? They were picked by *some* people to win the NL East, and by most of them to be a high percentage wild-card team.

If you do, the Phils are playing .500 ball against good teams. If I understand the conventional wisdom, doing that while beating up on lesser clubs is a pretty solid strategy to win the division.

But perhaps winning the division doesn't make a team any good. Could be luck. Over 162 games.

Phlipper: Your post has thoroughly confused me and I have no idea what you're trying to say.

Congrats.

Jack - so you think that the team's start offensively was more anomalous than their recent stretch of pathetic offense.

Ok - I probably agree; but the point is where is the team likely to perform offensively relative to the rest of the league? Comparing them to previous teams might give us all angina, but it isn't really that pertinent to the question of whether they're going to get to the WS, what kind of record they'll have.

If they end up in the top third, a notable drop from last year when they finished 2nd in runs scored - I'll take it.

I still don't believe that Dom Brown will ever start in RF for the Phillies. I don't have stats to back it up, just a gut feeling. I just think he will never be quite ready for prime time, especially not on a contender which makes it to the playoffs every year. And as long as UC is cool with running Ibanez out there, there will not be many opportunities for Mayberry to start either.

Phlipper: If the lineup stays the way it is now, they will NOT finish in the top 3rd.

If they add Utley and maybe Brown and someone in a trade? Then yes, I agree they could finish in the top 3rd, which would be more than sufficient to win the division (which most of us think they will).

The point is, Jack - I don't think there is a logical explanation for why we see 100x? more negative posts about Raul than positive posts about Polly.

The reason is the emotional tendency of Phillies fans to fret.

If you had replaced both Raul and Polly with players that produced stats that were the average of what they've produced so far this year - balancing out the negative impact of Raul and the positive impact of Polly, the affect on team's record would, IMO, be negligible.

So why is there so much more worry about Raul than feel-goodness about Polly?

RSB sees "somewhat of a letdown" from .700 baseball. Any ideas on Powerball, RSB? I could use a little help.

Phlipper: You answered your own question--

"One obvious explanation is that it seems relatively easy to get better production out of Ibanez's position - sit him for Mayberry against some LHP."

And also, yeah, it's simply more interesting to talk about bad things than good things. Why? Because bad things you get to debate what you would do instead, what could be better, etc. Good things? You just say they were good. What else is there to say?

Doom and gloomers out in full force on Beerleaguer. It must suck having the best record in baseball.

"Phlipper: If the lineup stays the way it is now, they will NOT finish in the top 3rd."

Ok. So, you're on record. So let's pull out the calculators at the end of the season. We'll take where they wind up offensively relative to the rest of the league, and account for the differential impact of whatever contributions are made by Brown and/or Utley over the players they're replacing.

But I think that you are overestimating the offensive capabilities of the rest of the league - and overly focused on the decline relative to Phillies offense of the past.

Today's lineup has Mayberry Jr. in LF and Mini Mart at 2B.

Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, J Roll SS, Howard 1B, Francisco RF, Mayberry LF, Ruiz C, Martinez 2B, Halladay P

Phlipper, ever had a flat tire?

Were you reluctant to change it because the other tires had been so good?


Taking a quick glance at the standings, I noticed that the Phils are 14-6 and are tied with the best record in the ML. Is this not good enough?

Mick O: "Phlipper, ever had a flat tire? Were you reluctant to change it because the other tires had been so good?"

Congrats to Mick O for giving us the dumbest analogy of the season so far. Which says something because Beerleaguers are famous for stupid analogies!

Old Phan: The Phils don't *really* have the best record in baseball. Any offensive explosion early in the season doesn't count because it was a fluke. And any game against a bad team doesn't count. The Phils are actually only 2-4 this season.

Mick-

Ever owned a BMW?

If you did, did you sit around and whine because it wasn't a Maserati?

It's like people here don't understand this team will have it's success based on its great pitching and its timely hitting.

A question:

I have a droid phone, and an app that allows me to listen to radio stations, but when I try to listen to 1210, it gives me tapes of older talk radio rather than the game.

Any suggestions for other stations that broadcast the game or other apps (that aren't too expensive - I hate paying for apps) that pick up baseball broadcasts?

Jack - Wow, if they replace 1/3 of the lineup, they "could be" in the top third in the NL - really hedging your bets. I assume, then, they'll finish dead last with the Pads and the Pirates if they only get Utley back and keep the rest of the lineup the same?

Rollins and Ibanez will likely finish wiht numbers in the fair to middling range, hopefully better. Most teams have similar crap. Phils major issue is they have a big hole in the top half of the lineup. Utley fills that hole if he can get healthy enough to play. If not, they need to find someone or the struggle to fill out a lineup card will continue with the same slop. Sit Polanco and you have Orr hitting 2d? Ugly.

Complain to MLB, Phlipper; they WANT you to pay to hear.
MLB is intent on monetizing its franchise.
GameDay works on iPhone -- probably on Droid too?

"RSB sees "somewhat of a letdown" from .700 baseball. Any ideas on Powerball, RSB? I could use a little help."

Classic.

This place would be awfully boring if the majority of posters focused on praising the top performers on the team. It is the nature of baseball conversation to talk more about those things that are not working / in need of improvement. That's why you get multiples of posts about Raold and not Polanco; Blanton vs. Halladay, etc.

Some of these posters sound like they would rather be 4 - 11 like we were in 07 (and spend all season trying to run down the Mets)than be 14 - 6 in first place(holding 6 in the loss column) over the vaunted Atlanta Braves, who according to many of the "experts' are the favorites to win the NL East. If the pitching stays healthy and the team starts to hit at all, the Phillies will run away with the NL East.

All I need to do to feel better about Ibanez hitting sub-.200 is look at Black's lineup last night - SD's Nos. 5 through 8, occupying the corner positions of the OF and IF, hitting .145, .194, .104 and .172.

Philipper unfortunately your best bet is MLB at bat 2011. It's $14.99, but it lets you listen to any game you want to listen to. You get the choice of listening to the home or away broadcast.

I'm just a bit tired of hearing "They've been outscored on a per game basis," knowing full well that one of those games, and the main contributing factor, was the 9 - 0 Halladay/Kendrick/et all fiasco. What is the "per game" run production if you take that one out?

Joe -

if the team was 6-14 rather than 14-6, there would be a lot more to talk about and Beerleaguer would be much less boring.

That being said, about the only thing worse than trying nto salvage the fourth game of a series against Halladay would be to have to do that when the Phils offense was performing at least league average.

I feel for SDP today. But not TOO much.

I like the Mayberry and MiniMart starts. Looking for a major Offensive outbreak. Like, um, 5 runs maybe.

"I'm just a bit tired of hearing "They've been outscored on a per game basis," knowing full well that one of those games, and the main contributing factor, was the 9 - 0 Halladay/Kendrick/et all fiasco. What is the "per game" run production if you take that one out?

Posted by: Andy | Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 01:17 PM"

Actually MG, the Phillies have scored 36 runs in their last 12 games. Their opposition has only scored 35 runs.

If you take out the 9-0 shellacking they took at the hands of the Brewers in Halladay's last start, the Phillies have outscored their opponents 36-26. It's no wonder they've won 8 of those 11 games. No good fortune involved: just good pitching helping a team win games.


Posted by: Fatalotti | Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Got back from San Diego last night. A couple of things:

1. Oswalt is awesome. He didn't have his good command and was still dominant.
2. Hamels is awesome. Even when he briefly got in trouble, there was no doubt he would escape.
3. RyHow was swinging at fastballs all of the first game, but they weren't throwing any. I've rarely seen a good hitter so out of whack . . . . except for
4. Ibanez. Holy shnikees. I've never seen a bat so slow and a hitter so cooked. When he got around on Aroldis Chapman in the playoffs I figured he'd be good to go this season. But he seems to have aged 10 years over the offseason. If he's healthy, he needs to retire.
5. Polanco is a wonder. The guy just hits the ball wherever it's pitched.
6. If Rollins is healthy, he needs to start bunting a whole lot. His offensive contribution may now be limited to dinks and dunks and dribblers.
7. Orr looks like a valuable part time contributor.
8. When will Mayberry be the starter in left? Don't know if he can succeed on a regular basis, but I think he can top .200 and he has an arm in the outfield and a little pop.

That is all. Btw, San Diego is a nice place to see games. Very fan friendly. And they have basically no fan base of their own. About a quarter of the place was Phillies fans.

Phlipper: If I have a BMW and it has a flat tire, I recognize that I have a great car with a flat tire. And then I fix the flat.

I don't say: This is an $80,000 car! Why would I worry about a flat tire? The rest of the car is amazing! How could anyone be so negative about this situation?

It's not whining that I don't have a Maserati. It's trying to make the great car I have the best it can be.

*waves to CJ who is already pounding the kb at this point*

Josh Johnson vs. Ubaldo Jimenez. Shouldn't that game be on MLB Network instead of what ever craply top plays program they are showing now? Come on Bud!

"My guess is that we've seen at Beerleaguer 100x? more negative comments about Raul than positive comments about Polly?"

I wouldn't fret about it. When Polanco comes crashing back to his mediocre norms of 2009-2010, he will substantially close the gap on Ibanez when it comes to negative Beerleaguer commentary.

When Polanco comes crashing back to his mediocre norms of 2009-2010,


b_a_p, always the glass is half empty guy.

Yo, new thread

"When Polanco comes crashing back to his mediocre norms of 2009-2010, he will substantially close the gap on Ibanez when it comes to negative Beerleaguer commentary."

Last year wasn't normal because he had the elbow problem almost the whole year.


Heather- go fetch me a beer, woman

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