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Thursday, April 14, 2011


Did somebody say something earlier today about Clifton having back issues that might prevent him from pitching and may even put him on the DL?


Now that we have the division locked up, we can turn our attention to pitching aesthetics.

Who is the most stylish?

1. Lee
2. Hamels
3. Halladay
4. Oswalt

Is it possible we see a third straight CG tomorrow night? How about for the entire season?

Greg Dobbs is batting .500.
That is all.

Are we worried that Madson and Contreras will get rusty? HA

GREAT START to a hopefully GREAT season. Let's keep it going.

The tilt is back!!!

Good morning, good day and good night!!!

Cliffy special.

"and the ensuing injury rumors stirred by parties who shall remain nameless..."

I say name 'em JW, name 'em!

It was a good day in Phillieland.

A well pitched game by an ace.

Chooch continuing to heat up, both AT the plate and BEHIND the plate.

The offense capitalizing on their opponenets mistakes despite an opposing pitcher dealing to them.

And.....Chase Utley has started to run again, in case you hadn't heard.

(says prayer, crosses fingers, tosses salt over shoulder)

Lastly.....has Wilson Valdez [.351/.385/.432](SSSA) been the best MiL signing by any team in 2010 and 2011?

I stirred the Lee rumors. It was from a conversation I had with the Chief Medical Officer where I work who is very hooked in the local medical scene through his various positions over the years and is a baseball junkie. Normally has a pretty good bead on things.

I wonder if this guy was at the game tonight in his Full Cliff Lee uniform..

That wasn't Chase running down Bainbridge St. It was me running this evening in my Utley T-shirt jersey. Only a few weeks until the Broad Street Run. Sorry about the confusion.

It doesn't seem like it but somehow Valdez has a hit in 8 of his 10 GS this year and already has 3 multi-hit games.

It won't last but Valdez is my pick as the nice early-season offensive surprise so far.

i predict 4CG wins in a row and then a 5 run loss. (including the last two games)

Just to stir trouble -- and to offset any jinxes resulting from above commenters noting that the division is already wrapped up -- our four series wins this year have come against the league's four worst teams (determined by winning pct.)

For what its worth, I watched BP before the game tonight. Utley was taking grounders and shagging fly balls. He looked smooth in the infield but hesitant to do anything more than walk quickly in the outfield. Good to see him out there, but it seems Chase may still be a ways away.

Contrast that to Vic who has an unbelievable series vs. Braves (9-13) and just meh (8-39) otherwise.

Has anyone ever thrown a 12+ strikeout shutout with fewer than 100 pitches? If I had a subscription to I'd check there, but sadly I do not.

VoR, so then....what would you suggest, that the Phillies LOSE a series to one of those teams?

Hey, let's stop for a second.

We're fans of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2011. Last night, our ace, Roy Halladay (the best pitcher of our generation) pitched a complete game. Tonight, 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee pitched for us and threw a complete-game shutout. And tomorrow, one of the best pitchers of his generation, Roy Oswalt, pitches for us. One night later, it's World Series hero Cole Hamels. Then Joe Blanton, a proven No. 3 starter in a No. 5 role.

Seriously, this is great.

MG, of course it won't last - I expect Valdez will revert eventually.

However, I was always taught that you 'never look a gift horse in the mouth', and I'm perfectly willing to watch Valdez play this streak out as long possible while Utley is rehabbing.

Uh oh, gelb reports Lee has a bloody knee.

Oh, and MG, don't forget the defense Valdez plays. He's "not quite" as good at 2B as Utley, but he makes nice plays and fits in well.

Also, and this is absurd when you think about it, but he's on pace to score over 100 R out of the 8 hole.

I wonder how good this Lee guy might be if he gets over his back injury.

L.A. said that Polly is 8-9 with 2 out/RISP.

Coco Crisp has the best afro ever seen on a ball field

"Zimmermann actually pitched a decent game"

I thought Zimmernann looked excellent, actually. I haven't checked the game thread to see if the usual Debby Downers were carping about the Phils' offense, but I can't blame the offense for their slow start in this game. Zimmermann was tough.

Had to go out and missed the game after the 4th inning. Both pitchers looked like they were absolutely dealing to start the game. I guess Lee kept it up and Zimmerman didn't. The 4 innings I saw Zimmerman pitch, though, were pretty damn good. He deserves some credit. Obviously, Lee put on a show after I left, and I'm mad I missed it.

As someone who, believe it or not, actually thinks the Braves are pretty good, it's great seeing them lose a lot early. Every game we can pick up on them now is awesome. I would love to see us just get out to a big division lead and cruise with it. More like what we did in 2009 than in 2007, 2008, or 2010, where we had to make August/September comebacks.

"Coco Crisp has the best afro ever seen on a ball field"


In order to make sure I maintain my "Debby Downer" reputation, I will note this:

Francisco and Ibanez were 0-8 with a combined 21 pitches seen in 8 ABs? Really? Was it as bad as the box score makes it look?

Anyone know when Dom Brown starts his rehab in the minors?

Oscar - Its as good as yours ever was man. If its not better. It's equal. Big and fluffy!


"The Phillies' Big 4 have really been everything they were advertised to be. We're 8-2 in games they've started. All 8 games were quality starts and, in 7 of the 8 games, our starter yielded 2 or fewer runs. 3 of the games ended in shutouts.

Of course, because of Blanton's 2 fiascos, plus the 2 terrible games by Lee & Hamels, none of this shows up in the team-wide ERA."

Your post highlights the weakness of using averages like ERA, FIP, and xFIP in evaluating pitching performance. If you use averages, a small number of very bad outings can hide the fact that, a great majority of the time, the pitching is good or excellent.

Since the sabermetric guys like to criticize traditional measurements like pitching wins, BA and RBIs, I am surprised that they have not criticized seasonal pitching averages and advocated instead the seasonal distribution of a pitcher's performances.

If a pitcher makes 30 starts in a season, I would want to know how many times his game ERA, FIP or xFIP was excellent, good, average or poor. That tells me more about the quality of a pitcher's work than seasonal averages in which a small number of clunkers can distort the overall picture.

Similarly, I would want to know the distribution of innings pitched per game, hits per game, walks per game, K's per game, etc.

Jack - they were bad and Raul is full on Rauold mode right hitting weaker grounder after weak grounder. Seems like he is getting fastballs and stuff over the plate early in the count and then flailing at a fair amount of stuff away. Would be curious to see if numbers largely bare that out.


Hardly. Just want to keep the division-crown champagne on ice for another few weeks before popping it open just yet...

Oakland are playing the Phils in Philly for interleague play this year. Oakland announcers just mentioned that the Phils have already sold 3.4 million tickets for this year. Wow!

VoR, no one here is popping champagne just yet.

I picked the Phils to win 95 games.
I picked the Braves to win 94.

What does that tell you about whether I expect it to go down to the last weekend?

Jack: There were only 203 pitches thrown in the whole game. Nobody saw more than 16.

I see Jack and MG are getting on the corner OF......again.

Wow, they were 0-8! Cut them, NOW!

In case you two missed it the pitcher they were up against had a perfect game going through 5 innings. (Ummm, that means NO ONE got on base.) And, if you bother reading the tweets on the right, Cliff Lee said of Zimmerman's FB "That might be the best fastball I've ever seen."

Howard was 0-4, how come you didn't mention him? Werth was 0-4, too.

Do you think that maybe...just maybe, the pitching had something to do with it?

goody, stop talking sense to Jack.

Earlier today he was trying to make the case that 3 games was a decent sample size.

awh: Whoa dude. Calm down.

I admitted I hadn't watched the game after the 4th inning and wanted to know if Raul and Francisco were as bad as the box score made it look. I also noted multiple times that from what I saw of Zimmerman in the first 4 innings, he was absolutely dealing.

Goody's explanation does just fine. Yours seems like a wild overreaction. Deep breaths.

Also, the guy who saw the most pitches didn't see them very well, as he struck out 3 times. And the impatient Rollins saw the same # as the ultra-patient Werth.

Joe Friday:

Corner OF production through tonight


22-94 with a 3 HRs and 15 RBIs and a line of .234/.294/.415 with a meager .709 OPS and below average defense to boot.

Phils are winning right now but it largely isn't because of what Francisco/Ibanez have done to date.

If anything, you have to wonder why Gload/Mayberry still haven't yet started a game given the tepid offensive production & mediocre defense they have gotten from their corner OF so far.

Jack, WTF difference does it make if they sucked and looked terrible?

It's baseball, dude. That sh8t happens over the course of a season. Players - GOOD players lose their timing all the time.

I'm just surprised that a guy who tries to come off as intelligent on this board would make an idiotic comment based on the sample size of one game.

You obviously think this guy is in the same category in 2011:

.231/.294/.311, 66 OPS+

MG, go over to fansgraphs and look at the article titled "When sample sizes become reliable".

Then tell me whether or not you think your post is a reliable.

awh - How does that remotely change the simple fact that Ibanez/Francisco haven't played that well so far and you have to wonder why Gload/Mayberry haven't yet started? It doesn't.

"If anything, you have to wonder why Gload/Mayberry still haven't yet started a game given the tepid offensive production & mediocre defense they have gotten from their corner OF so far."

Not sure either. I think Mayberry has gotten 1 AB against a LHP all year. And what does Gload have about 5 AB's total all year?

Seth Everett (who is a Ibanez guy) even said on the postgame radio show that Ibanez needs to start sitting more.

Really not sure what Cholly is seeing at this point. Ibanez looked the exact same way until about June last year. And yet he played almost every day. Looks like we are going to see the same thing this year. And he's going to continue to look bad.

Raul is not a 7 games in 7 days type of player anymore. He should be starting about 5 games out of 7 now. How many other 39 year old players are playing every day anyway in the majors? Can you think of any?

awh: Um, again, you're kind of overreacting. Just a tad.

I'm not allowed to ask how two guys looked who went 0-8 with a grand total of 21 pitches seen? That line is obviously bad. What's wrong with asking if they had bad ABs, or maybe they lined out or had some bad luck calls and thus it wasn't as bad?

How did Lee look? Obviously his line was great, was he throwing nasty stuff on the paint or were guys flailing at stuff out of the zone? Or am I not allowed to ask those questions, either?

You really, really need to calm down. I was asking for some info on a game I didn't get to see all of. I'm sorry that offended you so much. Wow.

awh - So I guess Cholly should start Ibanez everyday in LF to get him to 200-250 PAs as quickly as possible to know that the simple size is reliable to know that Ibanez is struggling.

If you want to see something truly ugly, look at the batting averages of the Lakewood starting 8 from tonight. These are professional players, right?

Talk about inept. Who is their hitting coach? The owner's daughter?

Phils' pitchers will slip into the background when a new era starts in RF.

MG - it's 12 games.

Do you remember how often in the first half of the season last year told us you talked to a scout and pronounced that Ibanez was unable to catch up to pitches due to his age? Then we watched how, in the 2nd half - precisely when you'd expect a player performing badly due to age get even worse - Ibanez heated up?

Do you remember how many BLers at the beginning of last year pronounced the season over unless the Phils called up Brown to replace Ibanez?

I mean really, it's 12 games into the season.

MG, I don't wonder at all. It's Charlie...he lets his regulars play.

Phlipper: I agree it would be crazy to write Ibanez off after 12 games. While I do think someone who's 39 has a different standard than someone who is 27, 12 games is not nearly enough. If the point of your post is that Ibanez may yet have a good stretch with the bat, I absolutely agree.

That said, don't you think maybe the occasional day off for Raul, and letting Mayberry face a lefty starter might be a good idea? Or is that just so absurd a notion as to dismiss it out of hand?

MG, should the .231 hiter I referred to abve also sit?

Cholly plays the guys that make the big bucks unless forced otherwise. Not always the best idea, but more often than not I trust the Gut.

denny: I don't think it would matter who the hitting coach is. That is one shockingly bad lineup. Other than Altherr & Santana, the entire team is comprised of wash-out toolsy prospects.

awh: First off, I think MG is just saying that Ibanez should sit every once in a while considering we have a guy in Mayberry who can hit lefties well and who is a defensive and baserunning upgrade. So maybe he should get the occasional start against a lefty. I don't think he's calling for him to be benched permanently. Is that so radical a notion?

Also, I don't know who the .231 hitter you're talking about is, but I'm guessing it's someone very good. If it's Pujols or someone like that, do you think maybe there's a difference between one of the greatest baseball players of all-time and a 39-year old Raul Ibanez? Maybe, just a little? No?

derek: Classic example was last year's 1-inning, 9-run performance from Jamie Moyer, which added .70 points to his year-end ERA. Of course, if Moyer hadn't gotten injured & missed the entire second half, the effect would have been a lot less dramatic. Generally speaking, 25 or 30 starts tend to even out the anomalies. Misleading ERAs is a bigger issue with relievers than with starters.

Nonetheless, I guess that was kind of the point of the "quality start" metric. Problem is, the "quality start" metric does an excellent job at telling you whether a back-end starter is doing his job but, because it sets the bar relatively low, it isn't of much help in assessing, for instance, who had the best 2010 season among Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt & Cole Hamels.

Jack - Its just Phlipper making some extreme point as he often does. No one remotely said anything about 'writing off Ibanez' or that he shouldn't be the starter in LF.

awh - Is the player in his late 30s who is a poor defender?

Just got home from a pub in Old City. If you want to be in a charged atmo, be in a Philly pub with Cliff Lee on the mound pitching well. Everyone follows every pitch. When he walked a guy in the 8th inning, you woulda thought the guy hit a grand slam HR - everyone was so shocked and mad. Though the Flyers were also on - and I love the Flyboys - a Cliff Lee game takes precedence. Anyway, wound up with three free brews (Yards!) because of the Lee victory incl. 2 from the bartender himself. Sad that the orange and black went down to defeat!

Earlier today, I was in the school library with a couple buds and we were on the computer. After the usual facebook and youtube (sans sound) surfing, I said lets check out the Phillies blogs as Lee is pitching tonite. When we surfed my fav Beerleaguer, we we were all disappointed with all the kinda negative Cliff Lee stuff and tone that we were reading. One of my buds remarked that the Beerleaguer bloggers don't think very highly of Cliff Lee at all. I told them to search for a Mr. Clout comment because I know he would at least recognizes Cliff Lee as a great pitcher but unfortunately he didn't comment today.

Maybe Cliff lee is only the 4th best pitcher on the Phillies...or the 7th...or whatever. There's not a competition between the pitchers. All I know ... and many, many Phillies fans and people around the country know is that he is an elite pitcher who is an awesome joy to watch. He will stumble but he ultimately will not bend. He's a Phillie - so is his family - and in my kinda beer infused thinking - he's the best left handed pitcher in baseball today. I'm amped up glad he chose to come back to us. And I love Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels too!!

our four series wins this year have come against the league's four worst teams (determined by winning pct.)

And three of those series were against our own division. So now the Marlins are the only legitimate team in the NL East?

MG: "How does that remotely change the simple fact that Ibanez/Francisco haven't played that well so far"

Maybe I was watching other games but I could swear that Ben Fran was tearing it up pretty well through the end of the Braves series.

PhilliesDude with his wordy swordfight w/ C. Phifer Lee. Kinda cute. Oh to be young and in love again...

Ya heard.

...and, h yeah, this being BL and all...I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on the metric being used to say last night's Lee start was more 'economical' or what have you than Haren's CG shutout. The minutae in here is lacking so far today.

Raold's gettin' licked as always it's still homey here.

"If a pitcher makes 30 starts in a season, I would want to know how many times his game ERA, FIP or xFIP was excellent, good, average or poor. That tells me more about the quality of a pitcher's work than seasonal averages in which a small number of clunkers can distort the overall picture."

I'm no expert, but I think, as FIP and xFIP are designed to give us a better picture of a pitcher's true talent level, independent of "luck" and defense, they're far less vulnerable than ERA to outlier performances. Of course, in the early going, sample size distorts all: thus Matt Garza's negative FIP.

As to derek's pitching delivery aesthetics question, I'd break it down by pre- and post-ball release.

Pre-ball release (the windup) I rank Halladay last -- extremely ungainly. Lee is first.

Post-ball release I rank Halladay first, because his pitch trajectories are so bl88dy interesting.

"Guys like Jerry Hairston Jr. really have no business in the Big Leagues."

I mean, it's not like they're, you know, Pete Orr or something.

In re: dopic
It's a word I grew up with (5 blocks from the A-Treat plant). I love seeing it used, especially appropriately. The Natinals are, actually, textbook dopic.

"Pre-ball release (the windup) I rank Halladay last -- extremely ungainly. Lee is first."

How on earth does Oswalt not get the nod here??!! Lee is efficient and economical, but Oswalt's windup and delivery is like poetry in motion....

You, sir, are a Philistine.

How Lee's performance last night didn't make it into ESPN's Top 10 this AM is way beyond me.

Bloodstripes - I've always been a fan of the Bake McBride 1980 topps card with his Afro exploding out from under his cap.

Jason: My wife has always used "dopic" and I thought it was one of her crazy made-up family words. First time I've ever seen it in print...I'm not telling her.

I think it's spelled "dopich," but I don't have my PA Dutch dictionary handy. I'll trust JW to know. Either way, it's a fantastic word that should become part of the BL lexicon.

And I know I'm gonna get heat for this, but I like to watch Blanton pitch because of his mechanics. Not that they're pretty, but because it looks like he has no wind up at all. It's all very odd and thus fascinating.

"If a pitcher makes 30 starts in a season, I would want to know how many times his game ERA, FIP or xFIP was excellent, good, average or poor"
Baseball Prospectus used to carry Support Neutral Won Loss that attempted to do what you want. This is the first year since issue 2 that I haven't bought it so I don't know if they still use it. It was either an invention of Clay Davenport or Keith Woolner, I can't remember.

@msb @jweitzel @kutztownfan Love the PA Dutch presence! Weitzel was on fire during the Halladay start with some nice Dutchie tweets, naw vunce. /boyertown

Phils have been stinking the first game of each series and then better for the final two. They cannot depend on doing that for this Fish series though. The final match-up, Sunday, is Blanton and Volstad. Not holding my breath on the outcome of that one. The hitters need to come out against Vasquez and send his butt to the showers early.

@ Evil Andy Pretty much the opposite of the Braves, as Craig Calcaterra tweeted this morning. They win the first and lose the next two. I'll take what we're getting from the Phils.

Oops. That was me. I use the "Evil" moniker when I post on White Sox Beerleaguer.

Kutztawn: So whatcher saying is that you like to watch Joe Blanton pitch because he looks all dopic.

Klaus - I have a problem with FIP, xFIP and any other measure that ignores altogether hits that stay in the park. While I do agree there is a random (luck) element to BABIP, I am not yet convinced that, from the pitcher's standpoint, his BABIP is primarily a product of luck. I do not believe that an exhaustive study has been done of the subject, nor do I think that the sabermetrics guys even have all the tools and data to do an exhaustive study. Until such a study is done, count me as a skeptic when it comes to new pitchers' metrics. I also have a problem with current defensive metrics. I do like the current offensive metrics and refer to them regularly.

I've really gotten off topic. Even if you prefer FIP and/or xFIP over ERA, all three are averages. My point is that the distribution of a pitcher's performances over the course of a season or a career gives more useful information than averages. If you prefer to use FIP, I am advocating that you look at the distribution of his game-by-game FIPs over the season rather FIP for all games combined.

I have to say I have been impressed the most by Polanco's healing. I thought we were going to see him push himself to just barely scrape by performance-wise but he must really be healed. He has made some serious plays in the field and his throwing arm seems just as good as ever.

So, um good win.

I hope my back hurts like that.

Saw most of the game from a local watering hole, and there was a jazz trio so the sound was off. It was funny in the later innings when Lee really got rolling. The batters would march up to the plate and a minute or two later, they would march back to the dugout. Without the broadcasters and fan noise, and with the way Lee was pitching, it seemed like watching the highlight reel.

I'm wondering what Jason Werth might be thinking after this first series. Yes, he was key in the first game. But then to watch the bumbling in the field, and see Halladay and Lee put his team away in consecutive games like they were facing a high school team.

He has talked about changing the culture of the Gnats and indicated he wants to be part of a team that the fans can be proud of. Well, the Gnat fans are so dedicated they showed up by the dozen to watch their team play against two of the best pitchers in the game who happen to be members of one of the best teams in baseball.

I don't exactly feel sorry for him, he's a big boy (a very wealthy big boy) and had to know what he was buying into, but still...

Oops! The end of the last sentence should read "... rather than FIP for all games combined."

"How Lee's performance last night didn't make it into ESPN's Top 10 this AM is way beyond me."

Posted by: 3r0ck

I agree. Their Top 10 had some good fielding plays, then no. 1 was Johnny Damon's "barely made it to the fence" walk off homer. Mr. Tilt was ignored.

They also want to call our "Four Aces" the "Dubee Brothers"!? I don't want our starting pitchers linked up with some ESPN promoted doper (not "dopic" or "dopich") stoner nickname!

So...Cliff Lee, huh?

Not a bad performance. Especially considering his last outing and the rumblings about him being injured.

Heading to the game tonight, so here's hoping Roy can keep the solid pitching performances going!

TTI - "Maybe I was watching other games but I could swear that Ben Fran was tearing it up pretty well through the end of the Braves series."

He tear it up in the Astros series (6-13 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs). Since then, he has notably cooled off (6-34 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs) including a 3-13 in the Braves' series.

Watching all of them pitch when they are on is pretty incredible. If we're around 25 years from now, I think everyone on this site will still have great memories of this. Kinda like I remember the 80 championship, or regularly watching Dr. J play when he was in his prime.

But, when push comes to shove, there is something about Oswalt. The windup, then there is this barely perceptible pause, and then its like a catapault that zips the ball in at 93 mph, or maybe about 70.

I know some writer recently said none of them struck fear into a batter, but as a former right handed batter (putting the question of huge ability level gap aside, of course!), I think Oswalt could be very intimidating.

BABIP really is only useful in comparison to one's own stats. It means nothing to me to say that pitcher A has a babip of .280 but pitcher B's is .333. Instead, if you tell me that pitcher A's babip this year is .225 and in the other 7 years of his career it's been .295, now you're actually saying something.

Likewise to say that Pitcher K's career babip is .295, but one year it was .216 w/RISP, actually has some meaning unless your, like, clout.

derekcarstairs, you bring up an excellent point about distribution of performances.

One such example was the Phillies own Clay Condrey, who was solid most of the time he took the mound, but got shelled 3 - 5 times a season which made his averages look awful to average.

Also, Contreras was that way last year in the 2nd half, IIRC. A couple of really bad days made his 2nd half look worse than it really was.

The shellings stay in people's memory much more prominently than good performances, and those really influence how we look at pitchers.

Upcoming probable pitchers for the Phils:


Fri- Oswalt
Sat- Hamels
Sun- Joe


Mon- Doc
Tues- Lee
Wed- Oswalt

at PADS-

Thurs- Hamels
Fri- Joe
Sat- Doc
Sun- Lee

thats some solid research denny.

IbaƱez - .213 BA /.288 OBP /.319 SLG /.608 OPS, 47 AB, 10 H, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SB, 13 K, $11.5 Million ('11 Salary)

Werth - .217 BA /.333 OBP /.435 SLG /.768 OPS, 46 AB, 10 H, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 8 BB, 1 SB, 11 K, $10 Million ('11 Salary)

Francisco - .255 BA /.327 OBP /.426 SLG /.752 OPS, 47 AB, 12 H, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SB, 10 K, $1.175 Million ('11 Salary)

Small sample size, blahblahblah. Even so, I found this interesting. Keep in mind that Raul is in the last year of his contract, while Werth's salary will continue to increase year after year after year ...

Odds of Vice Roy tossing a complete game shut out? Probably slim to 8888 all but it would be fun to see.

if only Werth could hit like Wilson Valdez, then his contract would be justified.

"That said, don't you think maybe the occasional day off for Raul, and letting Mayberry face a lefty starter might be a good idea? Or is that just so absurd a notion as to dismiss it out of hand?"

Sure, Jack. But here are two things about that. The first is that everyone is ready to jump up and down about Ibanez whenever he does poorly, and invariably attribute it to his age. We saw that in spades last year in the first part of the season, and his performance in the latter part of the season ran counter to that analysis, yet people are ready to jump right back in.

Second - yes, I would sit Ibanez against lefties more than Charlie does, but mostly because as a fan, I'd like to see what Mayberry can do. It really is from a fan's perspective - I would be excited to see a promising young talent do well. But clearly, in Charlie's assessment, Ibanez is more likely to help the team than Mayberry. Charlie watches the players day in and day out. He has a lifetime of watching baseball from a much closer perspective than I do. He has a deep knowledge about hitting, and he consults regularly with other people with similar expertise.

Last year he stuck with Ibanez when BL was burning up with keyboard experts who said that the season was doomed if he didn't bring in Brown as a replacement. It turns out that Brown didn't do all that hot and Ibanez performed better than Brown over the remainder of the season. Charlie was right.

Charlies, not a dope. There's no guarantee that his decision to not sit Ibanez more is the right decision. Like anyone, Charlie makes mistakes. But the absolute certainty that people have that he's making mistakes either because he's stupid or because his motivation is other than that he's sending out the team that he thinks has the best chance of winning, just don't make a lot of sense to me.

Doesn't defense have a lot to do with BABIP?

Clout: I wouldn't say defense has "a lot" to do with BABIP, but it is indeed a factor.

Andy -

There is some evidence that differences in BABIP between pitchers does translate into differences in overall performance.

Regarding an individual pitcher's BABIP, at what point in his career can you determine what is normal BABIP for him? If you want 100% accuracy, don't you have to wait until his career is over to determine his norm?

It is in the nature of numbers like BABIP that each year may be different. If a guy's "normal" BABIP is .300, his BABIP will not be .300 every single year. If the pitcher's BABIP is .285 this year and .315 last year, I think it's misleading to say he was "lucky" this year and "unlucky" last year. Unless the deviations from the norm are large, I think the proper characterization of annual variations is that the variations are normal.

Phlipper: I never called Charlie stupid or questioned his motivation. I think he's a very good manager. I just happen to disagree with him on this. I think Ibanez should get some more days off, giving Mayberry some spot starts against tough lefties. Apparently you feel the same, so I don't know what you have a disagreement with me about.

You also seem to conveniently forget that Ibanez started hitting well AFTER Charlie finally began platooning him with Francisco in July. You remember that? He got his stroke back hitting off righties and then once he got in a rhythm, he was back to playing every day. I thought that was great managing by Charlie and would love to see it again.

Lee gave Zimmerman a compliment? Ridiculous. His fastball only looked good because it was the Phillies pathetic offense that was flailing at it.

Iceman: Finally, we agree on something!

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