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Thursday, May 19, 2011


When Brad Lidge was having his disastrous 2009 season, Beerleaguer posters actually used to write things like, "So long as he pitches only at home, isn't used on consecutive days, never faces left-handers, and only pitches in save situations, he's our best guy for the closer's role." And these posters weren't even being ironic; they were being quite serious.

I bring this up because it sort of reminds me of Ben Francisco. His career OPS+ was around 106 coming into the season. That looks pretty respectable. Problem is, he can't hit breaking balls, finesse pitchers, guys with funky deliveries, ground ball specialists, or knuckleballers. He also can't field his position, is a terrible base runner, and doesn't know the first thing about situational hitting. But when a pitcher throws him a fastball, on a pitch when he's looking fastball, he can absolutely mash. In a sense, he is a microcosm of this entire offense.

Show em the Blanton change of pace tonight.

The Phillies' Offense is so bad they'd only hit .240 off of Blanton. All Singles. Which ought to have been scored as Errors.

The game hasn't even started yet but, if the Baseball Gods offered me 1 first inning run off of Blanton, I'd sign the plea bargain right now.

I think Blanton comes out as the reincarnation of Livan Hernandez tonight. If it's not a junkball, he's not throwing it. All fastballs will be a foot outside or over their heads.

Breaking balls all day every day.

I know that would work against the Phillies. Can it work against the Rockies? I guess we'll find out.

Oh, and if he gives up one or two runs, the Phillies can't win because we can be very sure they won't hit Chacin, unless he walks the bases full then throws multiple wild pitches.

BAP - Lidge in '09 had one of the worst seasons by a reliever in the last 50 years. He was historically awful.

Francisco has really slumped this month. There's no debating that. He is still taking some BBs though so he isn't completely useless offensively like Valdez.

He is also hitting % LD and % FB at rates slightly above his career numbers which indicates that he isn't finding gaps and spots.

Francisco actually has generally done a nice job defensively too after a rough worst week or so. He isn't Ibanez out there with his rag arm and no range.

Also alot more certain that Francisco contributes more down the stretch to this team too. He has always been a guy who hits more in the 2nd half anyways.

Joe Blanton is 5-0, 4.53 ERA in his last 15 starts at CBP. The Phillies are 12-3 in those starts....

I've found myself very curious this year as to how this offense would do facing Jamie Moyer. I bet he'd chew them up and spit them out.

Heck, even Baez & Zagurski might hold us to 3 runs or fewer, in 9 innings.

If Blanton can give the Phils even 6 and 3 tonight, I would be pleasantly surprised.

I see at least one HR tonight by either Tulo or Gonzalez giving up at least 4 runs.

But I like the continuation of the purple pitcher theme. I'm hoping it signals a continuation of the winning.

In spite of my belittling of the offense just now. (No offense, Mr. Moyer. I love you! Baez & Zags, you may take offense.)

Blanton is one of the few guys on this team I really don't like to watch. Radio again for me tonight.

Looks like there will be a delay at some point,but after 8:30 it will clear up...

I meant the last few years. Blanton just reminds me of more and more of Lieber (one of my least favorite Phils' starter to watch the last 5 years)

MG: Agreed that Francisco's final numbers will wind up a lot better than they are right now (though, possibly for another team). My point was that he probably puts up the bulk of those numbers against about 10% of the league's pitchers; against the other 90%, he's completely hapless. I mean, last year's .768 OPS looks pretty respectable but, 4 days before the season ended, his OPS stood at a not-at-all respectable .726. He then managed to raise it more than .50 points in a single game, against the horrible Ross Detwiler.

a purple innings eater?

The Phillies are purple pros.

bap: You seem surprised that players boost their OPS vs. bad pitchers? And that a bigger jumps occur for part-time players who have a successful game? I'm shocked as well.

bap, should I put you down as a member of The 54 PA Club?

bap. a .768 OPS was slightly below average for an NL corner OF last season [LF - .771, RF - .778].

Did Ross Detwiler face only NL infielders last season, and did not help contribute to the average OPS of NL corner OF?

Just askin'.

CJ, bap's post was totally disingenuous, a veritable POS of data.

He's going into The 54 PA Club.

(BTW, The 54 PA Club, aka "the 54" will be made up of all the BL posters who think 54 PA is enought of a sample size to make a deterimination.)

awh: By all means, put me in the 54-PA Club. By the way, do they have a club for people who split full season stats into carefully gerrymandered groups of PAs, throw out the groups that don't support their position, and then make arguments based on the groups that are left?

bap: I'll remember this discussion the next time I use a small sample size to point out something positive about a player! ;-)

I think The 157 PA Club would be more appropriate RE: Francisco's performance. After all, if the Phillies can be judged by their W/L record to this point in the year, why can't Ben be judged on his stats to this point in the year?

GTown Dave: We get it... we get it... it's okay to use smaller sample sizes when it reflects unfavorably on a player than if it's positive. It's true. Ben Francisco sucks.

CJ: We get it... we get it... it's okay to use smaller sample sizes when it reflects favorably on a team than if it's negative. It's true. The Phillies have won the 2011 World Series.

Shouldn't that header read:

"Opponents hitting JUST .331 against him"?

CJ: The Ross Detwiler example was anecdotal. But if your argument is that Ben Francisco is not as bad as his current numbers, I'm on board. If your argument is that a 103 career OPS+ proves him to be a good, or even average, corner outfielder, then I jump off.

smith - How's Chacin gonna walk the bases full if the Phils swing at all the first pitches and, once a runners on first, bunt him over to second because that's what you do darnit.

Andy, I think it should be 'poor, unlucky, Joe, opponents have a .376 BABIP against him, cause we know that's all luck.

GTown Dave: Interesting. Are you from the future?

CJ: Indeed. The same Beerleaguer future what takes it as an article of fact that players will always improve (or revert) to their mystical "career norms".

Hugh: The funny thing? Joe's FIP is 3.91 and his xFIP is 3.39. The sabermetric folks would tell you he's been *really* unlucky.

GTown Dave: Interesting... you find career norms to be "mystical." I'm learning so much today.

I know, CJ, I know. I'm just waiting for his luck to turn.

If there is a just and loving god, Francisco's career in a Phillies uniform will be a small sample size.

Lidge will be traded by the all star break.

I don't think there's a god in heaven, or in any of the polytheistic mythologies of old, that would cause a team to trade for a $13.5 million closer who was on the DL for 3 months, +/-.

GTown: Oh, you didn't know? According to BL, there is absolutely no variation whatsoever from year to year of player's performance.

Just look at any baseball card. Avg, RBI, HR, K, ERA, all identical.

Why, just look at how Lidge reverted to career norms in 2009, and how Rollins did in 2010.

Hugh: If a contender is in need of a closer at the break, they'll take him.

Joe Blanton has been scracthed from tonight's game. Kyle Kendrick will start....stay tuned..

i bet anything it has to do with the rain coming.....

Francisco is an 'average' player. Nothing more, nothing less. The Phils have much bigger issues offensively including the complete lack of offense they are continuing to get from C (Ruiz is 2-12 since coming back) and 2B (Valdez has had a couple of hits recently but has been horrendous at the plate and Orr has only been modestly better).

It also doesn't help that Howard continues to hack away this month and generally refuses to take BBs (9 BBs in 16 G this month that should be closer to 15-16 at least). He's 0-20 and continues to get himself out this month swinging at cr@p (21 Ks in just 58 ABs). At a terrible .172/.284/.362 with 3 HRs this month.

Polanco has also really cooled off too. In fact, he has stunk regal this month at .211/.246/.246 and 4 lousy BBs this month. He's chasing his share of crap too hitting alot of weak pops. Not exactly what you expect of a 'professional hitter' and why yet again a guy who makes contact is generally overrated. Give me the guy who takes BBs instead of makes contact instead. Patience doesn't generally slump.

Somebody said it the other night but the reason this offense has been awful of that is that its main components including Howard and Polanco are stinking it up big time this month.

Will: Exactly. I don't know why any of these players even bother throwing a pitch or taking a swing. Their final stats are already set in stone.

Looks like some weather is moving towards South Philly...

Funnily enough, career norms only seem to work one way on Beerleaguer. I remember being taken to task quite frequently back in April, when I used recent career norms to predict that Placido Polanco would stink it up something fierce for the rest of the year. Which, come to think of it, is precisely what he has done this month, with his .492 OPS.

Dammit. We need a new Game Thread pic.

Wow. Thank goodness we don't have Worley to start tonight. He's being stretched out in AAA.

maybe not-Blanton warmed up and walked off after bullpen session.

There pulling a larussa?

Hugh: Didn't your college classics professor teach you about Lidgeus, the Greek God of crappy, vastly overpriced closers?

there will be a delay in 30 mins or so......

Supposed to start raining here and stop within the hour.

BAP - Polanco was hitting a lot of balls hard in April (26.3% LD rate). That has really dipped this month (12.3% LD rate).

My bet is that he is much closer to the 19-20% LD rate he has been the last 3 yeas vs. the 23% rate he was earlier in his career.

Yeah, I don't think the move to KK is based on not wanting to "waste" KY Joe. Just a hunch, but do you proactively worry that the guy on a short pitch count coming back from injury might be limited due to the weather?

Career norms are a myth. There are so many other variables that they mean nothing whatsoever.

b_a_p: I slept through that class.

Since I'm stuck at work for the next 3-6 hours, I asked my wife to record the game on teh DVR. Anyone want to ballpark how long I should record with rain delays and Kendrick factored in?

Polanco has been hitting lazy fly balls with some frequency as of late. I'm no swing doctor but, he needs to get on top of the ball and limit the outfielder's job to retrieving his hits on teh 3d bounce and returning the ball to the infield.

Anyone who had ZERO first inning runs for Joe Blanton is a winner! Wait... no one had zero first inning runs?

Will - Say what? For aging players like Polanco in their mid-30s you always on the lookout for a quick and sudden collapse but don't know what you are driving at.

nice play chooch

That was a really nice play.

very nice jimmy!

Nice play by Jimmy.

Will and GTown displaying more of that 1+1 = 4 logic of arguing. It's like the people who suck at Algebra because they don't know how to show the work.

Update: I still don't like Pete Orr.


KK vs. Giambi - Nibbling.

(INTERIOR. Charlie's office)
(Knock on door)
Charlie: Who is it?
(Mumbling is heard)
Charlie: Who is it?
(Charlie gets angry and throws door open)
Charlie: Huh?
(Fists fly out of nowhere and pummel Charlie)
Charlie: Why me? Why me?
KK:I'm starting tonight.
Charlie: (dazed) Sure, please stop.
KK throws one more punch and knocks Charlie out.
KK: Trade that to Japan,Mother F8er!

Ugh... good changeup for KK so far... and he should have retired Tulo. Got him way out in front but a weak grounder made it up the middle.

Dave - Orr was to the left of the 2nd base bag.

I'm just thankful that we didn't have Blanton on the DL. Otherwise, what if he actually COULD have pitched after his warm up?

Eff this...

This is going to be ugly

ball game

Oh yeah, that's why Kendrick doesn't start anymore.

And... that just happened.

Absolute meatball that a guy like Giambi can still turn on and just mash.

Yep...good thing we don't have Worley.

This is the part where CJ should probably exit the Game Chat....

Is Blanton hurt?

Those are called "home runs," right?

my god....why??

Is it just me or does Blanton look like he has lost a ton of weight?

Well that game was over quick.

WHEN is the rain due?

Worley should definitely be on this team in place of kendrick. kendrick is the worst next to herndon and baez and mathieson.

MG: I felt he should've knocked the ball down & prevented the runner from advancing ... not that it matters any now.

Kyle Kendrick does a helluva Blanton impression, though.

Who's long relief after KK? Is there long relief after KK? KK will have to stay in for five. Even with a stinker of a first inning.

Kendrick may reach his pitch count limit in the first inning.

A terrible sinker from Kendrick to Giambi. It had no sink to it

And a walk. Is it weird that I miss Blanton?

"those are called "home runs" right"


I think so.

Just a stunning display of brilliance so far in this thread. Career norms do not exist. This is some really heady stuff.

Will the Phillies bat before the rain starts?

Can we just concede the game now and save some arms?

Can KK stay in long enough for Worley to drive down from LV?

Typically, with KK, you just hope for the "LG" and maybe you'll be surprised.

Tonight, you won't even get the "LG."

One of those games where the stupid roster management by Amaro is going to bite this team in the a$$.

Wheels probably just said what is going to happen tonight. KK is going to be asked to get through probably 5-6 innings tonight despite what the results are. This may be a game where you take one on the chin for the greater good.

What else is on TV tonight?

Phillies Nation (via Twitter): "3-0. It'll take days to make that up!"

Franzke: "Every day we have this thing called the Home Run Payoff Inning ..."

L.A.: "It's a 1-2-3 Inning!"

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