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Saturday, May 21, 2011

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HUGE win last night. Doc was awesome, as usual. Finally got a couple of long flies, including a VERY impressive HR from Raul. CJ Wilson never gives up home runs to lefties*. And Madson is a lock down closer. Last time I talked up Madson, the wet blankets were quick to tell me he didn't have to save 1-run games yet. What are the wet blankets saying now?


*Never is an exaggeration, but not by much.

I read that last homerun given up to a lefty by Wilson was in 2008. Raul has been hitting well latey, and espeically seems to have found a bit of his power stroke.

Madson strikes out batters at an elite level, induces ground balls at a great level, and doesn't walk many batters. He only has 4 unintentional walks in 18 IP, which is good for a 2 BB/9. His K rate is a fantastic 11.5 and he's inducing ground balls at a 62.5% clip. He's turned into the perfect relief pitcher. Ground balls, strikeouts and few walks. Not much more you can hope for in the ninth inning.

Raul with the .955 OPS in May. Man is he streaky.

Reposted:

Was just looking, and as good as Hamels has been since his opening day clunker, Halladay has been even better.

In a game of "Toss away the Clunker" (eliminating their worst start from their numbers) Halladay still wins.


Doc: 70.2 IP, 13 ER, 54 H, 10 BB, 77 K, .906 WHIP, 1.66 ERA

Cole: 59. IP, 14 ER, 42 H, 11 BB, 61 K, .898 WHIP, 2.16 ERA

In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are 5th in runs; 1st in team ERA and have an impressive run differential of +33. Yet they are tied with the Mets in the loss column.

I find this astonishing, and all at once one of the most compelling reasons to be a baseball fan. Stats mean everything, until they don't. Heck, maybe Fredi Gonzalez is just a lousy manager.

One more thing. Charlie's got a zillion flaws, and I can count on at least a half dozen moves a season that he will make that will turn me into an apoplectic freak. Regardless, through thick and thin since 2007 (Howard's riding an 0-23 through last night), all the Phils do is win. Simply amazing stuff.

Doc is there with a few others as the best pitcher in baseball. I'd say Hamels is our 2nd best on the team though.

Is Hamels the best LHP in baseball right now? Or the best LHP in the National League? This is an actual question because I don't have time to look it up. Who are the others?

Looks like Worley will be in the rotation for a while (from the Inquirer today):

"Evidently, he's got some new discomfort," he said. "He had some medial problems in the joint, and now he's got lateral issues that added to the discomfort." Blanton, however, disputed Amaro's claim. "It's the same thing," the right-hander said. "Structurally, nothing got worse." Regardless, Blanton figures to spend more than the minimum amount of time on the disabled list this time around after he was rushed back before. He's yet to officially be placed on the DL, as the move will be made when his replacement, Vance Worley, is called up.

Well a quick and dirty ERA lookup has Hamels 2nd in the NL in ERA for LHP. Jaime Garcia is the one ahead of him.

CJ: Off the top of my head, the other candidates would be Lester, Lee, Sabathia, Price, Kershaw, possibly Jaime Garcia (too early, maybe?), and Santana, if he still counts (I wouldn't count him at this point, but some would).

Personally, I think it comes down to Lester, Kershaw, and the 2 Phillies. I'd probably put Kershaw first, with the other 3 all very close to even.

Contreras:

"Contreras was knocked around in his first rehab appearance Wednesday, but he'll make another one Saturday, and if he comes out of it OK, it sounds like he could be activated Sunday. He seems likely to go back to a setup role with Ryan Madson settling into the closer gig"

Good news. With a core of Madson, Contreras, and Bastardo, they will have a pretty good back end of the bullpen.

I know that I have written off Lidge but he is supposed to throw another bullpen session today and is trying to get back by mid-June.

Top 5 pitchers in baseball, in my opinion:

Roy Halladay
Felix Hernandez
Josh Johnson
Jon Lester
Cole Hamels

I think Cole has taken his game to another level. Again, lots of strikeouts, limiting walks, and inducing lots of ground balls. The keys to being an elite pitcher.

Check this out:

Pitcher: SO/9, BB/9, GB%, HR/9, IP/GS

Doc: 9.31, 1.4, 52.9, 0.23, 7.73
Cole: 9.34. 1.9, 51.3, 0.58, 6.85

Doc's HR/FB rate is due for some regression, since it sits at 3.2% (career is 10.2%: Cole is nearer his career average at 8.8%), but otherwise, the quality of the pitchers is strikingly similar, with Doc holding a large edge in quantity (inning pitched). Doc is clearly better, but Cole is not lagging far behind.

MG: I feel better about Lidge coming back now, assuming his velocity returns. He's gotta get that fastball to low 90s at least. The reason I feel better is that Madson's suggests virtually guarantees Lidge won't return for closer role.

And Lidge has plenty of success as a set up man with lower ERAs in both the 7th and the 8th in his career than he has in the 9th.

Halladay is a better pitcher than Hamels. Right now if the Phils had a single playoff game they needed to win, I would want Hamels on the mound though.

ugh... suggests = success in above post

CJ - I figure that Lidge is like Gordon was in '07. He still has the ability to help this team in the 7th/8th if he is healthy. Just no idea if he can stay healthy for any kind of duration & probably has some strict limitations (can't be used 3 consecutive days, no more than 25 pitches an outing, etc).

Basically a Lidge gives them a potentially semi-reliable arm in the 7th/8th which they are a bit short on. Anyone who doesn't want him to come back is being a bit foolish since this bullpen doesn't have a surplus of quality arms.

I'll take a bullpen of Contreras, Lidge, Bastardo, Madson any day of the week. If they're all healthy, and pitching as well as we can expect them to be, with this starting staff, we should have a shot to win virtually every single game we play.

MG: I have to assume that anyone saying they don't want Lidge back fears that Charlie will just automatically plug him into the closer role. God knows he leaves us scratching our heads a lot of the times but that would be a shocker with the way Madson is throwing. I guess anything is possible though. If Lidge comes back at a decent level and we can keep the Big Truck healthy (two huge ifs to be sure) the pen should really be strong.

Madson is the closer.

Josh Johnson to the DL!

Josh Johnson is on the DL with shoulder inflammation...

Just another example of why Doc is the best in baseball. Johnson may have better pure stuff and can be more dominant, but nobody can match the dominance + durability of Halladay.

And I would expect some sort of surgery for Blanton at this point. He did not look right coming back from the DL, and trying to pitch through elbow pain is about the dumbest thing a pitcher can do.

MG- I'm curious as to why you'd want Hamels over Halladay in a one-game playoff situation right now.

I read this on Delaware Online (the 2nd best Phillies site after this one): Madson has generated a 30.3% swing and miss percentage with his change-up this year.

Think about that. That is a truly incredible stat.

Iceman - Empirically, I can't support it. More based on Hamels' stuff lately. His cutter has really progressed to be an effective pitch. Hell, even his curveball now is a nice change of pace pitch to use on hitters on a 2-strike count when he is ahead and on the first pitch. I would bet that Hamels has at least a dozen Ks on his curveball this year already.

Gotta love how Blanton & the Phillies publicly contradict one another at every turn RE: his health & pitching. I feel fairly confident in saying Dubee/Charlie/r00b & Joe aren't BFFs.

If it's Game 7, I'm giving the ball to Halladay. Though I think even he would admit that Hamels has better stuff.

My schedule says 1:35 today,and I planned my whole day around that. Is it still ch.17 at 7:10 tonite?

Dave - It sounds like Amaro massively 'kicked the pooch' on how Blanton was handled. Now a good chance he misses most of the season, stuck with him for next year as he is untradeable, and just have to hope he contributes.

Iceman - I guess it comes down to that fact that Hamels can go into 'FU Mode' where he just carves up a lineup on nights where his fastball location is spot on at 93-94. We have seen it twice this year where he goes almost exclusively 4-seam fastball/changeup with mixing in his cutter occasionally to right-handed hitters. He largely scraps the curve on these nights because his fastball mojo is so good. No those nights, Hamels is a better pitcher than Halladay.

MG: C'mon, think positive. Maybe he'll throw a shoe in the Preakness & have to be put down ...

re: goody

It's on Fox after the Rapture

Halladay should be better than just 6-3 too. In 2 of his losses, he came them complete games (8th inning) on the road, gave up 4 earned runs, and got just a total of 3 runs in support.

Didn't doubt that Halladay was going to him 20 games again this year before the start of the year. Only question was whether he hit a really impressive number like say 24 or 25 wins, which hasn't been done since Johnson back in '02 (24-5 while Schilling went 23-7).

Thanks Scotch. I think I'll head out for my last meal.

Halladay's career high is 22 wins back in '03 (22-7).

I hope the Phils do clinch a bit early or do cut back on Hallday's workload at some point because he is on a ludicrous pace (284 1/3 IP).

Yeah I know he is a conditioning stud but that is a considerable amount more than he has ever pitched in a year (250 2/3 were his career mark last year).

When men were men . . .

Carlton though threw 283 2/3 IP including 8 complete games at the ripe age of 38 in '83.

We have a night game tonight???

MG: "When men were men . . .

Carlton though threw 283 2/3 IP including 8 complete games at the ripe age of 38 in '83."

Are we playing that game again? How about this:

Carlton, first 41 starts with Phils:

27-10, 182 ERA+, 30 CG, 3.56 K/BB, 8.45 IP/start

Halladay, first 43 starts with Phils:

27-13, 166 ERA+, 13 CG, 7.12 K/BB, 7.63 IP/start

Okay, you win, Carlton was better, but the K/BB ratio says that Halladay will be better in the future.

WOW-30 cg....that is awesome!

bap, that S & M percentage on Madson's changeup is pretty close to his historical # on his change.

Just looking at BBRef and the ridiculousness of this pitching staff versus the ridiculous badness of this lineup. Here are the rankings in WAR according to that venerated site:

Entire pitching staff: 11.0
Halladay: 3.1
Hamels: 2.1
Entire offense and defense: 1.7
Madson: 1.3
Polanco: 1.2
Victorino: 1.1
Howard: 0.3 (remainder are lower)

Nine Phils have offense + defense WAR of more than zero. Two of them (Hamels and Worley, both at 0.1) are pitchers.

The hated Baez (-0.1) and Herndon (-0.3) duo combine for -0.4 (these are the only pitchers with negative WAR). Everyone hitting and fielding not named Polanco and Victorino combined for -0.6.

Ouch!

Zolecki (via Twitter): "Elias says Phils' streak of 7-straight games of 6 or fewer hits is longest since a 9-game streak in June 1908."

Historically awful. And considering how bad the Phillies have been for the majority of their existence, that's saying a lot.

Tonight's lineup vs. TEX: Rollins SS, Brown RF, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Mayberry CF, Valdez 2B, Lee P.

Zolecki (via Twitter): "Tonight's Lineup vs. TEX: Rollins SS, Brown RF, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, IbaƱez LF, Ruiz C, Mayberry CF, Valdez 2B, Lee P."

You're starting to piss me off, Jay.

Tonights lineup looks a lot like a major league baseball team.

Tonight's lineup vs. TEX: Rollins SS, Brown RF, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Mayberry CF, Valdez 2B, Lee P.

Where was the panic meter for the team with the 9-game streak in June 1908?

Anyone know about tonight's lineup?

??????

Jay: Much better.

I like that lineup. Really interesting to see Ruiz above Mayberry... but maybe they figure Ruiz on in front of Valdez is a guaranteed GIDP, but Mayberry can steal 2nd.

LOL-G-TOWN

Is it a sign of the apocalypse (rapture?) that Charlie immediately put Dom in the 2-hole? I suggested that yesterday as my favorite lineup, but was convinced there was no way it would happen.

Also... nice to see Charlie wasn't swayed by Benny Frank's HR last night. Mayberry's defense is CF is the best we're likely to get with Vic on the DL.

CJ, you must be enraptured with this lineup.

I'm intrigued by tonight's lineup. I have a feeling the Phils will either break out w/ 6+ Runs, or get Shut Out.

... & given Cliff Lee's history vs. Texas, I'm really hoping for the former.

This feels like a win...

Lee had a 1.13 ERA vs. Texas last season in 2 starts. And it looks like most of his bad starts vs. the Rangers were in Texas. Not sure why he hates that stadium so much.

Man, my boy Dom Brown finally gets to see the lineup this year and I'm gonna be out and not able to watch the game. Is this one worth a DVR?

Dave - Have the same kind of feeling. Lewis has been dealing lately.

One of the more interesting game in a while for the Phils. Brown's debut. Lee vs Rangers. Beautiful night.

I wish I was at the game tonight instead of tomorrow afternoon's game.

CJ: Good point. Personally, I've always found Arlington aesthetically pleasing, esp. the overhanging porch in RF. Maybe it's something w/ the mound.

MG: I know nothing about the guy, save for the fact he's a RHP. Is Lewis a soft-tosser? If so, oy. :-S

Rangers lineup:

Andrus SS
Moreland RF
Kinsler 2B
Young 1B
Beltre 3B
Napoli C
Murphy LF
Gentry CF
Lewis P

Does anyone know who the plate ump will be tonight? It's either Jim Reynolds, Mike DiMuro or Tim Welke.

I don't really have a problem with the way the Phillies manage injuries. Frankly, they've done a hell of a job for most of this run keeping guys healthy, and as people know, I view the last two seasons os injuries mostly as just part of the bargain you make when you bet on the oldest team in baseball. Largely, the medical staff and the front office has done quite a good job of keeping the team healthy, and managing guys well when they aren't, as well as filling in with depth.

But the Blanton situation appears to have really not been handled well. He admitted his elbow wasn't fully fine, and yet made the Florida start anyway and was lined up to start again this past week. All the while Worley had done nothing but been perfectly adequate (arguably better than Blanton's performance this year). Seems like the proper move was to DL Blanton and keep Worley in the rotation until he was 100 percent. But I admit, of course, to less knowledge than they have, and this is clearly just speculation.

Paul Hagen tweet:

Unconfirmed rumor that Utley left Clearwater last night. No word whether he's coming to Philly or continuing his rehab at a higher level.

Dave - Never seen him either. He is a soft tosser (88-89 MPH) but a guy who is mainly fastball/slider. Throws a curve/changeup too but neither one is supposedly that great.

plz hurry chase....

Figure Utley will be here by Monday, but would be cool to see him up tomorrow! Paired with a Blanton DL trip, would give Phils a couple days with an extended bench before Worley needed to come up.

MG: Oh no. Chris Young. CGSO.

Per twitter-David Murphy
More and more it is sounding like a Monday return for Ut bag

Headed to game tonight. Gonna watch batting practice, take in some Bull's BBQ and a brew (or 2).

Looking forward to finally going to a night game this season with baseball weather!

I hope Lee is on because he stunk the last time I saw him pitch.

Dave - here is a scouting report on Lewis:

http://www.baycityball.com/2010/10/30/pitchfx-scouting-report-colby-lewis/

He is actually quite different than Young. Lewis is a 4-seam fastball guy while Young sinkered the Phils to a slow death. Lewis also misses in his changeup a fair amount vs. right-handed bats.

Now tweets say Utley in Clearwater, in lineup.

David Hale says Utley is in the lineup for Clearwater tonight.

He also says Contreras pitching in Reading tonight and will have one more rehab outing.

Probably chase's last game in fla......

Phils have scored more than 3 runs just 3 times in last 14 (!) games.

Braves have five more losses than the Phillies... the same number of losses as the Mets... and just one fewer loss than the last place Nationals.

There are only three teams in all of the NL who are more than 2 losses behind the Braves. There is only one team in the NL less than 2 losses behind the Phillies.

That must xpllain it: Contreras in Reading & Uts in FL..someone thought Jose was Chase when he was seen @ the airport.

CJ: For Worley to come back in less than 15 days, I think he has to replace someone going on the DL. Hence,Utzs will not replace Joe.

Salisbury has an article saying the luxury tax may affect Phils trading for a bat. I thought the tax was based on the opening day roster.

Tonights linep:

Rollins
Brown
Polanco
Howard
Ibanez
Ruiz
Mayberry
Valdez
Lee

I'm going to have to miss tonight's game. I expect a full report on Dom Brown's swing, particularly on fastballs in on his hands, when I get back later tonight.

Sorry didn't see the above lineup posts from TWO hours ago. My bad. I like it though.

Luxury tax shouldn't affect mid-season acquisitions, unless it's a player with a multi-year contract and he's talking about next season...

we made to 6!!!!

goody: Excellent point. Forgot all about that.

Is it a sign of the apocalypse (rapture?) that Charlie immediately put Dom in the 2-hole? I suggested that yesterday as my favorite lineup, but was convinced there was no way it would happen.

Posted by: CJ | Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 03:44 PM

Apocalypse? No. (as opposed to Apocalypse Now...)

But the forecast for hell is -5, and I just had a large, round bird with a porcine snout drop something offensive on my Camry...

Is the game not available on Extra Innings tonight? Because its on Fox? Is there any way to see this game outside of Philly?

Yeah how can you watch the game if you are outside of philly?

Philsphoursome: No real legal way. There's pirated feeds online, but I'm not sure where.

Nick: No real way to do it unless you can find one of those weird pirated feeds. Fox broadcasts suck :-( I'm stuck with Cubs-BoSox

CJ: do you know any of the pirated feeds? I just got back from vacation and I need to watch Dom Brown dominate tonight and see Lee throw a complete game!

does any body know those pirated feeds?

Do not want to watch Sox Cubs on the night of the apocalypse. That was supposed to happen on a chilly, October night when the two met in the World Series, not a pleasant May afternoon in 2011.

Rangers radio just interviewd Frankze.

MLB.com blackout rules make absolutely no sense. I'm 3,000 miles away from Philadelphia and I'm neither getting this game on tv, nor close enough to go buy a ticket and see the game live. So why am I being blacked out?

Sarge on the radio. I might have to listen to FOX.

Dom Brown made that catch look easy (because it was).

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