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Saturday, April 23, 2011

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The sad part is that the average fan will still only remember his first start when they're calling him soft.

On pure stuff, he's probably the #2 pitcher on the staff.

To take a break from griping about the offense, let's talk facial hair. I like the goatee look for Hamels. Raul, I'm not sure yet. Did anyone notice that Halladay shaved his beard?

Cole was great tonight. He was squeezed by that walk in the 2nd and then gave up that double down the line. He did a great job getting out of that inning unscathed. From there, he was on top of his game, hardly getting into trouble the rest of the way. And he saved our bullpen. That means we'll have all our bullets (save perhaps Madson) tomorrow for the Blanton start.

How long till our pen looks like this?

Conteras
Madson
Bastardo
Stutes
Ammount
JC or Zag
Lidge or Baez or somebody else

When Hamels can locate his and primarily goes fastball/changeup like he did tonight, you see a pretty unhittable pitcher who used that exact same recipe to win postseason accolades and carry the team to the '08 WS. Yeah his curveball is a bit better and he has the cutter but his changeup is still his bread & butter. I wish he would remember that on some nights where he throws too many cutters.

CJ: Unfortunately, most of those bullpen bullets are more like BBs.

One of the Pads announcers on the radio said, "We hear about the other guys on the staff, but Cole is unbelieeeeeeevably good"
Yes, he is.

pb: I doubt Aumont has much of a chance of making the majors this season.

Vance Worley could be a bullpen option if needed. And Stutes did well in spring training, but hard to say how successful he'd be in the regular season.

Cj- bullets? More like bean bags. Need Joe to get into the 7th tomorrow and ideally give them 7.

After seeing Hamels pitch like that tonight and Oswalt last night, I still wonder how this team would look if Amaro had gone after an OF bat and a power arm our of the bullpen instead of signing Lee.

NEPP: If we're comparing each guy at his absolute best, I still have Hamels 3rd (behind Lee but ahead of Oswalt).

No mention of IbaƱez in the Game Wrap. I wonder if anyone noticed he went 0-4, dropping to .197 on the season?

Finally, Tony LaRussa outsmarted Mother Nature this evening. And you thought he was insufferable before ...

Something tells me that Stutes may get his chance soon. Wouldn't shock me if they send Herndon back to AAA after this road trip is finished.

MG: No question that Hamels best pitch is his changeup... but according to pitch data, Hamels' 2nd best pitch so far this year is his cutter, not his fastball (that was before tonight's game).

Going into tonight's game, he was throwing his cutter 20% of the time, compared to 14% last year. Most of that increased percentage comes from his curveball, which is down from 8% to 4%.

What did LaRussa do?

Hamels cutter is a pretty good pitch when used correctly (to bust RHBs in)

His curveball is also a good change of pace and its gotten to the point where its a bit more than just a show me pitch.

He's a far better and more complete pitcher than he was in 2008.

I can only imagine how much whining there'd be about the offense if the Phils didn't have the fifth most runs in the NL.

Batista only threw 6 pitches before they halted the game? I guess give LaRussa credit, but that's on the umps for ever letting the game start in the first place.

When is Florida going to remember that they are not supposed to be any good?

Spitz: It will come. I pointed out earlier that this is the 3rd out of 4 years the Marlins have had a good April. They've never finished within 6 games of the division crown in the last 3.

Its usually around mid may to early June that the Fish start to realize that.

With Herndon warming up tonight in the 8th, that tells me he is ahead of Baez in the Cholly bullpen pecking order.

For whatever strange reason, they seem to think Herndon is going to turn into Larry Anderson.

I'd take Stutes and Mathieson over him right now. Stutes because of his bulldog mentality and Mathieson because of his ability to strike somebody out (and because it would be nice to have more then 1 guy in the pen that can break 95 MPH). If you can let Herndon take his lumps learning the majors, you can do it with those guys too can't you?

The other thing is how much longer can they keep Martinez on the roster? We basically have a 4 man bench on a team that looks to be offensively challenged. Martinez has literally no role. He can't hit. He has no power. Since Cholly doesn't believe in pinch-running anyone, he's useless as a baserunner. And he can't be sent down to AAA.

This team is going to play a TON of close games. And that spot that Martinez is taking up right now is going to be important (or could be) throughout the season. With Mayberry likely going to play more and more in LF, you need more then Mini Mart on the pine as your RH bench stick. The Mets just dumped their Rule 5 pick (and the Mets are going nowhere). The Phils should do the same.

Mathieson is walking as many as he's K'ing in LV...

Heidi says the beard has to go. I'll let Lake Fred take it from there.

I know a lot is said on here about taking pitches, but tonites offense, Howard, saw the least, 8 in 4 AB.

krukker: Actually, the Reds might wanna call shenanigans on St. Louis. At this point in the season it's up to the home team whether to start a game or not. The umps aren't in charge until it actually begins. Kind of a dirty trick.

One of Martinez or Orr needs to go. Belliard should get called up. He can play 3B or 2B in a pinch. He has proven major league success and should be a decent pinch hitting option even against righties.

I'd keep Orr over Mini-Mart as Martinez is pretty much worthless with a healthy Utley. Valdez does every single thing that Mini-Mart can do other than PR and we dont need to be 3 deep at SS.

Orr has at least shown he can hit on occasion so you have to keep him over Martinez. Most Rule 5 guys dont stick...its not a problem to send him back. Hell, the Nats might not even take him back anyway.

More superb pitching! Cole was awesome. Bloody offense. Scored more runs than the opposition again. Although it is lousy it has been good enough.

Hamels pitched a gem. Until he pitches a dud, the goatee has to stay.

I understand Heidi's point of view, but she's gotta learn to respect the streak.

Brad Lidge quote about Contreras in Jayson Stark's column yesterday made me laugh:

"I'll tell you what," Lidge said. "No one knows how old he is, but it doesn't matter. Whatever age he is, he's in his prime right now."

Definitely keep Orr on the roster. Correct me if im wrong but he has decent speed. Aumount is not ready yet he needs more innings under his belt. I think its time to start looking at Rauuulll! I believe once Lidge an Baez is gone we can do more as far as bullpen. I thought the plan was to give Herndon some MLB experience then put him in the minors so he can refine some of his stuff.

I think all 5 pitchers should rock a beard - or even the whole team.

From Ryan Lawrence:

Although Rollins is struggling (0 HR, .250), he's not even least effective, 3-hole hitting, SS in NLE: Hanley Ramirez (0HR, .207).

The griping about the offense is legitimate, and it always has been for the most part.

What's also legitimate: pointing out how miserable of a person you have to be to continue to harp on it day after day after day when we're being treated as fans to the type of pitching we see almost every night.

I didn't even care when the Phils were up last night. Once they got 2 runs I just wanted to watch Cole pitch, and he was at his best last night. And he is our fourth starter.

I understand it's been years since the offense has been only league-average, but do you really want to go back to the days when you'd have to count on the Phils to score 7 runs and pray Adam Eaton could go 5 innings giving up only 4 runs? Since '93, watching the Phils pitch was a chore. Now we are absolutely spoiled, and all most of you are worried about is tar and feathering Raul Ibanez.

I know the griping will continue, but I hope off of BL you guys are actually enjoying watching this.

If Contreras can throw 1000 innings as a starter and then convert to an Ace Relief Pitcher all after age 39 why can't Ibanez continue his streaky ways and fire off a couple 6 week torrid streaks in his last year with Phillies?

Iceman, great, and lucid, post.

Iceman, thanks for the post, but I just don't agree.

If, at the beginning of the season - and in the face of the cockeyed optimists that predicted the offense would be in the top quintile in the NL - one wisely predicted that the offense would be in the second quintile, that person should get "bragging rights." It doesn't matter if the offense is in the fourth or fifth quintiles, just like The Price Is Right, the one who is closest without going over wins.

The pitching has been great and the games have been entertaining. I would like to see Madson and Contreras pitch every game in close contests.

On a more serious note, I spent the formative years of my fandom watching guys like Kevin Gross, Don Carman, Bruce Ruffin, Shane Rawley, and Dennis Cook get lots of innings, year after year. And worse, I actually liked all of them, enjoyed watching them pitch, and had high hopes each year that two or three of them would put together a good season *at the same time.* So it bothers me to no end seeing posters harp endlessly about our lack of hitting, wanting to bench so and so, fire the hitting coach...etc.

I'm really glad Cholly and RAJ aren't panicking...I like the idea of riding the starting pitching, strong back-end of the bullpen, and solid defense for awhile. Maybe some guys on the offense will come around, maybe they won't, then we can start figuring out how to improve the club. Until then, I'll just keep thinking about me as a 12 year old in front of the TV, waiting for all those pitchers to one day piece it all together.

Whoa, there were people who predicted this offense would be in the top quintile?

"but do you really want to go back to the days when you'd have to count on the Phils to score 7 runs and pray Adam Eaton could go 5 innings giving up only 4 runs?"

Speaking as a person who's always felt himself to be pro-pitching, whose favorite players have usually been pitchers and whose major league fantasies always take place on the mound: I'm starting to wonder.

There was a circus aspect to the 07/08 team that I miss -- not as much the dreadful pitching but the prodigious displays of offense sometimes to the point of overkill (dropping 23 on the Rockies one '08 night if I remember correctly). That's gleeful watching.

This team as constituted is better than the 07 team and probably the 08 team. But pitching is a negative art: success is absence. It's hard to take as much pleasure in it as one does in prodigious offensive production.

At any rate last night I issued my first b8tch about the offense; I think I'm entitled to at least 9 more.

The best this negative art can produce is a bunch of zeroes with the outcome of games depending in a large part to the whimsy of the umpire.

As long as the team is winning at this pace, I don't see the problem.

If the offense starts to cost the team a lot of victories, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a mid-season move to acquire a bat. Hopefully Utley will end up being the mid-season shot in the arm the lineup needs, though.

Howard with the big hit off a lefty to decide the game, Charlie wins again.

Bloodstripes and Iceman nailed it. The game isn't complicated. Score more runs than the opposition and you win every time. It doesn't have to be a runaway. Close games don't make the fans comfortable and don't allow for a large "margin of error," but good teams win close games against mediocre opposition and hold their own against better teams. That is exactly what the Phillies are doing.

2010 record after 19 games 11 - 8.
2011 record after 19 games 13 - 6. Small sample but still.

Iceman: Yeah, I'm pretty sure everyone on here, and most Phils fans, feels privileged to get to watch this pitching. Frankly I agree with what Klaus said: I use the offense for my bathroom breaks, getting food, etc. It's more fun to watch the pitching.

If that doesn't get said enough for your liking, sorry I suppose. But here's the thing. You don't get to tell other fans how to root for their team. You don't get to tell people "don't bitch about the offense, because this is better than 2006 with Adam Eaton."

It's just different. As Klaus notes, there was a certain pleasure in those teams, who were infuriating but also could do things like drop 20 runs in a game, or have ridiculous 10-9 wins over the Mets. There was much more youthful energy on those teams.

Now? The team is very good. But it's a much more routine type of winning. The pleasure is in watching good pitching, day after day. The offense will grind out a couple runs over the course of the game, and three out of five times a week that's enough for the win, and we'll win 95 games.

Being a fan is a subjective experience. People like what they like, and dislike what they dislike. If it were simply about who wins and loses, why wouldn't you just read the box score in the morning?

Iceman isn't telling people how to be a fan, he's just calling those type of fans whiny bitches based on their bl posts.

More great denny b. stuff:

For whatever strange reason, they seem to think Herndon is going to turn into Larry Anderson.

I'd take Stutes and Mathieson over him right now. Stutes because of his bulldog mentality and Mathieson because of his ability to strike somebody out (and because it would be nice to have more than 1 guy in the pen that can break 95 MPH). If you can let Herndon take his lumps learning the majors, you can do it with those guys too can't you?

The other thing is how much longer can they keep Martinez on the roster? We basically have a 4 man bench on a team that looks to be offensively challenged. Martinez... can't hit... has no power. Since Cholly doesn't believe in pinch-running anyone, he's useless as a baserunner. And he can't be sent down...

...that spot that Martinez is taking up right now is going to be important (or could be) throughout the season. With Mayberry likely going to play more and more in LF, you need more then Mini Mart on the pine as your RH bench stick....

Two questions:

* Herndon has options remaining, no? Why the "on the job training" for him -- he's got a lousy track record in the bigs -- and no OJT for Mathieson, who's never been allowed to show his split finger pitch in the heat of battle.

* Does Martinez have a role on this team? What is it?

Yes, Martinez's versatility was never a particularly strong selling point with me. When a guy can play 7 positions, but his bat is so bad that you can't afford to put him in the lineup at any of those 7 positions, he doesn't have much value.

Yeah I was very disappointed when Charlie used MiniMart to pinch hit for Lee on Wednesday. Cliff wasn't at his best and it all worked out in the end, but is Martinez honestly that much better at the plate than Lee? I don't think he is. When KK came out to start the next inning I really was wishing he hadn't made that move but we survived. Martinez doesn't strike me as a major league ballplayer. He's only got one tool.

It was clear as day that when MiniMart made the Opening Day roster he wasn't going to play. Cholly doesn't use rookies unless absolutely forced too. He will start complete stiffs like Bruntlett, Bako, or Castro though because they are veterans who were once capable MLB players.

MiniMart will be the roster until Utley comes back. Again, it was pretty obvious as soon as he made the Opening Day roster.

I find it completely hilarious/ironic though Cholly the other day mentioned that he missed having any real power off the bench from the right-side when he starts Mayberry. Given how he praised MiniMart and likely had a strong say in his selection on the Opening Day roster, Cholly was clearly lamenting for a solution to a problem which he largely created with his selection of MiniMart.

I also find it hilarious that Sarge always says MiniMart is a 'youngster.' He will be 29 in Sept. By no means is he a 'youngster' in baseball. He's a career minor-league journeyman. That's a much more apt description.

Who is this Hamels Bum and why didn't we trade him to Seattle instead of Cliff Lee?

29? Didn't realize that. A ridiculous personel decision just became indefensible. Just go with 24 guys and save a few bucks if you are going to waste a roster spot that badly.

I like Mini-Mart staring in LF over Raul today.

I expect Blanton to toss a CG shutout tonight.

Jack: I like Tony-Mart starting in favor of Raul today.

goody wants me to comment on the beard. Personally, I think clean shaven is the way to go. Chicks dig the long ball and smooth shaven faces.

Even if Ibanez goes 0 for his next 150, I'd rather have him starting than Mini-Mart. In fact, I'll prove it to you. Just check in 37 games from now, after Ibanez has gone 0 for his last 150. I'll still be here saying he should start over Mini-mart.

Offense:

- This is a lousy offensive team right now because you have a couple of guys who aren't hitting a lick right now (JRoll is 2-22, Ibanez is 2-22, Ruiz is 0-14, Valdez is 1-16) and are hitting under .200 the last week as a team.

Good thing is that this team isn't this bad offensively but they aren't a good offensive club either. There a mediocre club at best.

AVG: .265 (7th)
OBP: .327 (7th)
% BB: 8.0% (12th)
% K: 18.2% (2nd)
OPS: .712 (8th)
SB: 14 (8th)
HR/AB: 43.5 (10th)
IS0: .119 (11th)
wOBA: .321 (8th)

It is a lineup that doesn't do anything particularly well except make contact and not strikeout which are two qualities which are overrated.

I would rather have mashers who BB and K at a higher rates than guys who hit their share of weak grounders & pop-ups. Especially when this lineup doesn't have much speed beyond Vic and JRoll.

It is a weak lineup to play 'small-ball' around because you have bunch of guys who have don't have much speed (Polanco, Howard, Ibanez, Ruiz, Valdez) and don't take many BBs. You need speed and OBP guys to make small-ball really work. Phils don't have alot of either quality in their lineup or on their bench.

Yeah they will prevent other teams from scoring but they are also 5-5 in games where they score 3 runs or less. I have seen ridiculous nonsense where all the Phils need to do is score 2-3 runs a game. That's bunk. The average NL team last year won at less than a 35% clip when they scored 3 runs or less and even the teams that lead the NL in pitching (Giants, Padres) were woeful when the scored 3 runs or less.

Padres were 28-52 and the Giants were 23-58. Even the Phils were 24-51. In games where they score 3 runs, Padres were 16-13, Giants were 11-12, and the Phils were 11-13. Even in those games where they score 3 runs, Phils will hard pressed to finish much better than .500.

That isn't conjecture. It's raw numbers. Good thing is I do think this offense can average slightly over 4 runs/game this season even with limited/no contributions from Utley.

MG: Did you clear that post with Iceman first?

Klaus- it's definitely a different type of enjoyment. I understand your 'negative art' point about pitching, but it's fascinating to me to watch truly great pitchers and how they are able to baffle major league hitters or every caliber time after time. The brilliance is in causing the consistent failure of entire lineups of hitters- the mental fortitude it takes to be a great pitcher is considerable, and we're watching 4 great pitchers in the prime of their careers. I appreciate that a little more than watching Utley/Howard/Burrell club the ball against the Natinals AAAA pitching staff, though that was certainly entertaining.

To me, this year is more like watching Picasso paint, and the '07/'08 teams were akin to going to the circus, like you said. Personally, I'd rather watch Picasso paint than go to the circus, though I can definitely appreciate and enjoy both. But what I don't understand are the motivations behind the group that get a free ticket to the art museum and complain the whole time they'd rather be at the carnival.

Yo, new thread

Starting Ibanez:

Seriously starting MiniMart?! over Ibanez. That's makes no sense especially tonight when you have a guy like Stauffer on the mound. Stauffer is a soft-tossing RHP who is typically at 89-90 MPH on his fastball doesn't have a slider and throws a bunch of curves/changeups. Stauffer is exactly the type of pitcher that Ibanez should start against.

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