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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Comments

Strike Three.

So quick hahaha

Sorry Madson. I'm keeping Bastardo in the 9th.

I REPEAT!
An Utley post-game interview?!?!

The more baseball you watch, the more you come to this conclusion...

There are a lot of bad managers in the National League.

Probably the most beastly save by a Phillies closer this season, or maybe the last couple of seasons. Who saw Bastardo coming?

I other news, did you hear that Jose Canseco convinced Tony Phillips to play for his Yuma Scorpions? Good deadline pick-up by Jose.

Anyone else just hear Franzke admit to not owning shorts? I love that. Shorts are for children.

The story of this season has been that Bastardo is for real.

...and it only took three injured closers to discover. It's funny how things work out sometimes.

60th win matches the total for the 1933 Phils.

Bastardo - I still worry about his work load. How many innings has the guy pitched combined the last couple of years. But that huge strikeout a couple of years ago in the playoffs, was the indicator. Fun to see Charlie go with his guys -- Stutes and Bastardo in big moments time and time again. They are getting lots of important experience.

Star-Do Star-Do yeah...So is Star-Do the closer now whats up with that?

I think there were some BLers who pimped Bastardo over the years*, and got heat from some of the "elite".


*not saying I was, to be honest.

Meanwhile, Beachy's FIP took a bit of a hit tonight in Colorado.

This was very important outing for Stutes and it was great to see him respond so positively. I think it's consecutive outings of more than 35 pitches.

Stutes vultures another win.

He had a great slider tonight and deserved a win though.

Very good win. When this team bears down and concentrates, they are tough.

Why can't they have those AB's in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings, earlier?

Was stunned that Manual hit for Brown, who had a good night, in a tie game in the 9th with nobody on base. Thought they'd want to keep either Francisco or Mayberry around for extra innings. Probably wanted to get Mayberry's glove in the game for the bottom of the 9th in RF.

Have no idea why Wood wasn't brought in, in the 9th. Marshall threw a ton of pitches in the 8th.

Have no idea why Garza hit for himself in the 7th and then started the 8th, when he'd already thrown 113 pitches.

The "League Minimum" guys have been doing it, on this road trip.


WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-WOOT-

Wheels is calling a great game tonight.


funny, i was just thinking that. maybe it's the relative crummy-ness of the post-kalas roster of tv guys, but for the first time in my life, i'm starting to appreciate wheels. well, i've always thought he was a good analyst, but he's not annoying me to the point of madness anymore.


secondly: does bastardo keep the closer role? we all know that madson has made his name in this league as an 8th inning guy. very interesting call.

This reader also notes that 60 wins is more than in 30 other Phillies seasons.

Couple of thoughts:

- This Cubs' lineup is full of hackers galore. Castro, Johnson, Soriano, and Soto all chase a ton of stuff.

No different tonight as they chased stuff low and out of the zone all night long. As soon as Lee got his sinker down in the 3rd, their offense dried up.

- Mini Mart showed some really nice bat control tonight on his 2 base hits. Cued a first pitch curveball in the top of the 8th for a base hit into CF and poked that slider that hung over the plate in the 9th down the RF line.

Teams have realized that you absolutely don't give Mini Mart a first pitch fastball and try to give him as much breaking stuff as possible. He showed some nice adjustments tonight.

- Phils had some nice baserunning tonight. Utley did a nice job of getting to 3rd and Mini Mart did a nice job of having his head up rounding 2B to see the sign from Samuel to go & score the tying run.

- Stutes did a nice job tonight. He really got squeezed in the 8th yet kept his composure despite throwing a 2nd inning. Also threw a couple of nice sliders tonight including one to get Soto to K to end the 8th.

- Utley had a huge hit but Utley/Howard overall funk continues at just 3-37 with 3 RBIs since the break. Howard was fortunate he didn't get a 'Golden Sombrero' tonight.
Needs these guys to start to hit because the rest of the offense isn't good enough to compensate from a lack of production from Utley/Howard

How much longer will Martinez have to keep keep this going in order for BLers start cueing up to accept their punishment for being wrong about him?

Wheels made a bunch of spot-on calls on the fly tonight (eg Ruiz's long swing, Soto block, Stutes' slider, Mini Mart base running).

Even Sarge made a few good points about stances tonight and keep the schtick to a minimum.

Rockies 12, Braves 2, and Rockies still threatening for more. Run differential!

Agree w CJ and denny that Stutes looked pretty good tonight. Nice to see him move past his little debacle vs Atlanta.
Keeping Bastardo as the 9th inning guy over Madson seems like an out of character move for Charlie, but wouldn't tonight have been a pretty clear Madson scenario, traditionally speaking? he's got some work in since the DL, should be fresh... hope he's feeling OK.

Why..I did..of course, J. Weitzel.

Phlipper - How about the end of the year. If he hits ~.250 with some BBs and an OPS that is say ~.650 OPS then I will eat plenty of crow. I don't think he gets close on any of those numbers.

Here I think is a legitimate question going forward, if Bastardo continues this rebirth, and Stutes continues to establish himself.

Do you let Madson walk at the end of this year?

I know on the surface the answer is "Absolutely not. We need his ability to miss bats and possibly close games." But there is a possibility it may take 7-8 million per year to re-sign him. Do you let him walk, turn the closer keys over to Bastardo and then look for some cheaper bullpen options?

If you say no way- does your answer change if the Phillies get someone like Mike Adams at the trade deadline this season? That would give you Admas, Stutes, and Bastardo at the back end which- provided the latter two keep progressing- could be very tough to get around.

Watching MLB Network has made me appreciate Wheels, McCarthy and Sarge. I don't know his name, but I couldn't stomach listing to that jackass from the White Sox and his obnoxious HR call.

If Mini Mart actually starts to hit a bit, this bench isn't that bad with Mayberry/Francisco as their man right-handed PH options and Gload as their primary left-handed PH options.

Here is what you consistantly see with Stutes and Bastardo...

Hitters don't pick up the ball from them.

You really saw that tonight with Castro against Bastardo. Castro is a good hitter. But the way he took a couple of pitches, it looked like he never saw the ball.

With the way the Cubs hack at anything, that should be a good team for Worley to pitch against. Its going to be a brutally tough day to pitch, with the extreme heat and a strong wind blowing straight out. Worley needs some quick innings early. They should get to Dempster. Dempster will have trouble keeping the ball in the park.

You are likely going to need a Perez or maybe even a, gulp, Baez, tomorrow to get a few outs. Stutes won't be available.

bigmyc: You saw seven saves, the keys to the closer role and a .109 BAA?

TTI - If it means locking up Hamels' long-term then yeah especially if they get an Adams at the deadline.

Really depends on what they do with Oswalt though and whether they think Blanton will be a decent enough starter.

MG-

If they are willing to roll the dice now with only 1 infield backup, you have to think Valdez's roster spot could be in jeopardy whenever Polly gets back.

For the money, I can't see retaining Oswalt past this season. Blanton, Worley and Kendrick free that money up to be spent elsewhere.

denny b: totally agree, especially in regards to Bastardo. I was watching a game with one of my mildly baseball literate girlfriends, and she remarked on his delivery. Called it "sling-y." I'd agree with that characterization.

Will - How dare you put down "Hawk' Harrelson and his ridiculous hyperbole? He is an acquired taste.

denny - Nah. They will keep up 2 backup infielders which makes little sense but it is what they will do whenever Polly returns which looks more and more like early August at the soonest.

MG: Yeah, that's what they said about the Insane Clown Posse. :)

Now that the "His name is Dan Uggla" call has come to a close, "Put it on the board" and "thuuuuu Yankees win" are fighting it out for the most vomit inducing calls in the game.

MG: Yeah I ask that because if the Phillies are truly after Adams that seems to me like a domino type move. He makes 2.35 million this year and is up for arbitration. I could easily see that number going up to 4 a year based off what he has done. If Madson takes 7 or 8 a year that is 11-12 million dollars in the back end of the pen. If Stutes and Bastardo continue their progression that is a lot of money and a lot of guys out there. I know you need a lot of good arms but that could be a bit of overkill- especially when you have holes at other spots.

If we get Adams I sort of think that signifies Mad Dog is gone. With Ibanez gone, Oswalt probably gone, and no Mad Dog that gives you some money to to spend on plugging your team's holes. Plus as MG mentioned it would help you extend Hamels.

"The Phillies and Red Sox are among the most aggressive suitors for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran — if not the most aggressive, FOX Sports reported Tuesday, citing sources.

Other clubs remain strongly in the mix for Beltran, who returned to the Mets' lineup Tuesday night after missing three games with the flu.

The interest for Beltran is so high, sources said, that the Mets might trade him several days or more before the July 31 non-waiver deadline — and pay less of his remaining salary than they initially expected would be necessary."

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110719/SPORTS90/110719727/-1/NEWS

TI (or anyone else): What do you think it would take to land Adams and Ludwick in a deal? I'd like to see both in red pinstripes.

Enough of this Ryan Ludwick talk. I agree that the Phillies need a bat, but Ludwick is not the guy.

Drew: He's no savior, but I've always liked the guy. I think he has a good shot of being this season's Cody Ross to whoever acquires him.

"Phlipper - How about the end of the year. If he hits ~.250 with some BBs and an OPS that is say ~.650 OPS then I will eat plenty of crow."

Same standard you were applying at the beginning of the year, or have you raised it recently, MG?

Martinez was being ridiculed day after day for not being even close to a major league player. BL consensus was that he is a poor quality minor-leaguer.

I'd say that he could perform significantly below the standard you just described and still do considerably better than you and many other BLers predicted. He was ridiculed, and with absolute certainty declared to be a completely wasted space on the roster - an example of incompetence on the part of the Phillies' front office and player evaluation.

What is the average level of offensive performance expected from a young, backup infielder with a decent glove and decent speed? What is the bottom of the range? How do the worst backup infielders in the league perform offensively? Is Martinez really significantly below that level of performance, as we were told in thread after thread here at BL?

I know on the surface the answer is "Absolutely not. We need his ability to miss bats and possibly close games."

i don't think that's on the surface at all. madson made his name in this league as an 8th inning guy. even this year, after almost two years as an established elite reliever, he was third in line for the closer's spot. doesn't seem so crazy that they just stick with bastardo. he's having one of the best seasons in the history of philly relievers. and i sort of don't think madson would mind - except for the damage to his value in the FA market.

Truth: Hard to answer that question in a vaccuum. We need to know what the Phillies' payroll budget is going to be & what they'd be able to do with Madson's would-be salary if they didn't sign him.

I do know that, much as I like Madson & much as I'd like to resign him, top-flight relievers are a more plentiful commodity than ace starters (Hamels), 70th percentile shortstops (Rollins), and .800-OPS RH bats (a FA to be determined). I would not expect Madson to be at the top of the Phillies' off-season priority list, nor should he be. But I'd love to resign him if we can.

phlipper: Martinez has played well lately and good for him. But a .550 OPS is not grounds for saying, "I told you so."

Phlipper - A .200 AVG and a .550 OPS would stink even for a guy who was a great defender as a middle utility infielder.

That might of have been one of the worst game threads in the history beerleaguer. It was Philly.com level commentary.

@MG -- You are right Martinez probably won't sustain his July production. But he might be producing more than just about any other Philly this month... with his 2 for 4, he's now hitting .314/.843 with 11 of his 15 total RBI on the season (excuse the math if i'm off a bit cause B-R doesn't have the game in there).

SSS of course. (he came in to tonight's game .273/.749 )

Martinez is getting some love right now because he's performing well right now. Hard not to show him some love.

But in any case you were right it was foolish to give him an extra at bat tonight.

He likley won't get to .250/.650 for the total season because Apr through June was horrid. But what about from July 1 on??? I would guess he performs closer to the .250/.650 number than the former.


Once again, BAP - we were told over and over that Martinez is far below what is even remotely acceptable for a major league backup infielder with a decent glove and decent speed.

What is the bottom of the range of backup infielders playing in the major leagues? Is Martinez significantly below that level?

If he is, then the chorus of MM-bashing BLers is still correct. If he isn't then the chorus of MM-bashing BLers can start lining up to accept their punishment (assuming the MM maintains his current offensive stats).

I'm not saying "I told you so." I never posted word on one Martinez because I hadn't seen him play a sufficient amount to formulate an opinion, and although he certainly didn't look very good in his limited playing time, I generally assume that the professional talent evaluators on the Phillies might know just a smidgen more than the BL chorus on how to evaluate professional baseball players.

For those reasons, although he didn't look good, I was somewhat reluctant to ridicule the Phillies' judgement because a bunch of keyboard baseball scouts told me that the Phillies were completely wrong about MM.

I agree Ludwick isnt the guy nor is Francouer. Cholly said if he gets the hitter he wants he want "the" hitter not just anyone. I feel if they get another guy like Bell or some one his caliber Madson is probably gone. It looks like they are prepping Star-Do for high pressure situations for next year. Although i would like to see Madson return with Contreas a big question mark. A bullpen of Mad Dog, Star Do an Adams an Stutes getting some work here an there would rival the Bravo's....PS...im glad Stutes had a good outing today was starting to worry about him..

For those who might know, was Bastardo warming up for the possible tie game in the bottom of the 9th? With Madson being held for the 'save' situation than may never come?

Even Charlie had to doubt Martinez knocks in the go ahead runs, so he just used Bastardo anyway?

MG - look around the league. How many backup infielders in MLB are performing at a level significantly higher than MM?

I'd check it myself but I'm on the road and have an incredibly slow Internet connection. My assumption is that you could pretty much make an evaluation off the top of your head.

At his current level, is MM really as far below the major league standard for backup infielders as the BL chorus pronounced in thread after thread?

For a team like the Phillies, salaries may be more determined by a few playoff games than a season's worth of effort.

Madson blows some playoff games and his salary drops. As does the faith in the Phillies for him as the closer.
What will Oswalt's role be? Blanton?
Does Rollins come up big?

Hamels is likely the only guy who will get a huge salary regardless of playoff performance, as well he should. An elite young proven starter is almost priceless.

If the medical reports are good and if he wants to continue his career, the Phils should replace Oswalt's option with a two- or three-year deal with incentives based on innings pitched.

We have seen that the Phils are a playoff team despite their offensive deficiencies. Having four studs in their playoff rotation should make the Phillies the favorites in every playoff series, even against the Yanks or Bosox. Having an ace as the Game 4 starter in the playoffs would give the Phils the edge against all teams. If healthy, Oswalt is an extremely valuable commodity, much more so than a LF.

(For those who think the Phils don't need four starters for the playoffs and can just pitch Doc on short rest, remember that would also mean that Lee and Hamels also would have to pitch on short rest.)

I think the Phils can re-sign Hamels, Rollins and Madson and extend Oswalt and still come in with a payroll of about $170-175 million. That's what I think they should do in the off-season. Given these priorities and their budget constraints, the Phils probably shouldn't pay more than $5 million for their next LF.

Adams would be a nice pick-up for the bullpen for this season and beyond. Facing teams with bullpen pieces like Madson, Adams, Bastardo and Stutes along with our four aces, the Phils would be quite formidable.

I think Garza pitched one hell of a game, as well as setting the spit record for major league baseball. No wonder the Phillies could do nothing until he left the game. Whatever else folks want to bitch about with the Phillies bats, I don't think a lot of times BLers give due to the opponent's pitchers.

Last year Valdez put up this slash line: .258/.306/.360

He was also widely hated early in the season before earning his acceptance as a valuable bench piece.

If Mini Mart can do the same I'll happily admit I was wrong. But he's not there yet.

I would like to see a clear statement from those who are pushing for a RH bat for this season about who plays what positions and when.

Two-thirds of the pitchers are righties. What is the new RH bat's role two-thirds of the time?

The Phils add a RH bat now. What happens with Ibanez, Brown, Francisco and Mayberry?

I should also mention that those numbers would put him right about at where MG placed his threshold above. I think he set the bar correctly.

MM is this year's Valdez (w/o the strong pitching performance), I guess it demonstrates his place on the tame has paid dividends lately and Rube and Manuel know a little bit more about putting together a team as opposed to all of the experts (including me) on this board.

Why does anyone think Ryan Ludwick is any good anymore? He's another guy past his prime who makes good money has no speed and strikes out a ton.

Again, this team does NOT need a RH bat. It would be swell if a .300 hitter could be added. But, there is no room for one on this roster. Where is the spot? Ibanez is going nowhere. Vic isn't. There is no room in the infield. Ruiz is set. Its not like you are going to acquire Jeff Francouer (why you'd want that hacker, I have no idea) and get rid of Raul Ibanez. Whether he hits or not, Ibanez is going to be the LF in 2011. He is untradable and is making way too much money to bench now. If he didn't get benched when he was in a 0-35 slump, he won't now.

The only possible opening might be in RF. But that just sacrafices Brown. What good would that do? You brought him up to play. Are you trading him? Are you going to use him off the bench? Does he go to AAA? What message does that send to him? Its not like he's hitting .180 and everyone else is hitting .280. He has a better approach at the plate most times up then most of the starters do. He struggles to hit LHP, but you have a couple of reserve OF'ers to help him (and Ibanez too) there.

The keys are to get Polanco back, get the batting order settled and get the LEFT HANDED HITTERS producing. That means Utley, Rollins, Howard and Ibanez. Four of your first 6 in the batting order most nights. Its not like they will be seeing Sabathia and Cliff Lee on these potential playoff teams. Most of the playoff teams feature RH starters. So your LH hitters should have an advantage. And the need for a true RH bat, very unimportant in the grand scheme.

When they finally get everyone healthy, it will be up to Cholly to put a batting lineup together specifically aimed to thwart the Braves in the playoffs. The Braves are going to load up with Sherril, Venters and O'Flaherty in innings 6-8. You know that going in. So splitting the LH hitters is imperative. Flip-flopping Utley and Polanco in the 2-3 spots, does this. Putting Ruiz between Ibanez and Brown in the 6-7-8 spots, does this. Make it as hard as you can on the most dangerous team to your crown. And right now that is Atlanta.

Phlipper: There are certainly other utility players out there with a .550 OPS or lower, but it's on the low end, if not the extreme low end. Most of these other .550 OPS guys have probably hit better than that in the past (Craig Counsell springs right to mind). They are able to maintain their job, not because a .550 OPS is acceptable but because their team hopes & expects that number to go up. If it doesn't go up, I would expect most of these .550 OPS players to be out of a job before too long.

"I would like to see a clear statement from those who are pushing for a RH bat for this season about who plays what positions and when."

That's why I'd prefer Beltran or Cuddyer. Beltran is switch and Cuddyer has decent splits vs rhp (.274, 8hr). Carlos isn't as good average-wise vs rhp, but he has the same amount of homers. (.234, 8hr)

As for who plays and when, I'd cement Vic in center as long as he's healthy. As for the corners, since Charlie likes to tinker with the line up, I'd let him.

Ibanez, Brown, Mayberry, and Cuddyer/Beltran gives you two lefties and two righties (or 2L, 1R, 1S) which allows for plenty of line up flexibility.

Ben Fran would be the odd man out in that scenario. Since he has an option left (I think) he goes to LHV until rosters expand.

derek: For the very reasons you identify, I'm at a loss as to why people are interested in acquiring a platoon player. We already have 2 RH outfield platoon players.

What I WOULD like is an impact bat -- ideally a RH one -- who would play full-time. If we acquired an impact bat who played the OF, Cholly & RAJ could sort out the details of whose spot he takes & who gets squeezed off the roster.

Realistically, I think we're a lot more likely to trade for bullpen help than for an impact bat. If we do trade for a bat, it won't be anyone great and I suspect it will more likely be a 3rd baseman than an outfielder.

Is Beltran a good locker room guy? I feel like no.

Yes we indeed another bat. We need something a little different out there. This lineup gets a little stale at times. Brown an Mayberry are(possibly) the future we need now. Ryno is struggling an we need a proven bat that can carry this team if Ryno fails to come around...Nuff said...

"How much longer will Martinez have to keep keep this going in order for BLers start cueing up to accept their punishment for being wrong about him?"

Until after her retires. And probably not even then.

Also, must say that was one of the best game threads I've ever had the pleasure of reading after the fact.

Many of the comments about Utley pre game tying RBI double were fantastic.

A few more clutch moments and Mini-Mart will surely have a shot at being the Phillies' everyday shortstop next season.

That was one of the funniest game threads ever. The best part was by far mainerob saying he was giving up on the game to watch Glenn Close, then coming back a half hour later to complain about the umpiring.

It's almost like these guys can't even lose a series anymore without people flipping out. They are allowed to go out there and lay a turd every once in a while. Every good team does. And people here were jumping off the bridge before the game was even a third of the way over.

They do not 'need' a RH bat. The offense needs some stiff like Ryan Ludwick like it needs a hole in the head. And why in the world would you bench or trade Brown for 3 months of Carlos Beltran? Please God don't let that come to fruition.

One hitter isn't going to make a huge difference unless you get a guy like Kemp, and that isn't going to happen. The offense is good enough right now to win a championship. The smart move is to go out and add a bullpen arm that really will improve the team.

Good Morning!

Holy cow, forecast high of 99 in Chicago today. I would consider calling the game for weather, if I ran the world. Or even just baseball.

Perez scares me.

Love the headline this morning.

Jimmy Rollins seems to be a part of all the action lately.

Have a great day and stay cool!

PS Scotch Man, your most recent comment is actively hurting this fan. Of course, every day MM wouldn't be quite as bad as every day Jose Reyes...I just don't like that fellow.

Awesome thread title.

Finally seeing what Manuel saw on Martinez. I still expect him to suck eggs for the rest of the season but, his contributions in July are enough to vindicate his spot on the roster. Really clutch at a time where the team is in a drought (yeah, I'm talking about you, No. 6).

Really nice job by Lee to settle down after a rough start and the kids in the pen are really a saving grace for this team.

RIP the original wes covington!

Martinez has played well lately and good for him. But a .550 OPS is not grounds for saying, "I told you so."

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 12:29 AM

His OPS is .817 for the month of July. If he keeps that up, it will certainly be grounds to say "I told you so."

I doubt that he'll keep it up. But I certainly don't mind him trying, and I'm enjoying riding the wave while it's surging.

The Phillies still at 4.6 runs per game since May 23rd. This offense is fine going forward, and with Roy Oswalt set to return within the next couple weeks, the only real "need" this team has is bullpen depth.

Running Stutes, Bastardo and Madson out there all the time may catch up to them (although noe of their innings pitched is really high right now). It would just be nice to get another arm out there that is reliable. This may end up being Lidge, but a guy like Adams or Uehera would be really nice, too.

"And why in the world would you bench or trade Brown for 3 months of Carlos Beltran?"

I would most definitely not trade him for 3 months of Beltran. But I absolutely would bench him for Beltran--Beltran is the better player. Well, actually, I'd bench Ibanez for Beltran, but Charlie won't do that because Raul is a veteran, and veterans are allowed to have sub-.300 OBPs for the whole season and play terrible defense and still be considered a key player on the team.

MiniMart's July, 2011 is very reminiscent of 31 yo Roberto Pena's June 1968, when in the year of the pitcher, he put up a .309/.333/.457. He hit between .194 and .222 the other five months. I remember thinking at the time that the Phils finally had a SS who could hit after watching the Bobby Wine/Ruben Amaro, Sr. era.

Howard looks awful as of late.

JW: I saw Bastardo coming. The only problem I saw with him was health and if he would ever get a chance. Lefties who throw 95 can be valuable bullpen assets, and the nice thing about Bastardo is that he seems to have OK command.

Stutes and Bastardo combined for 3 IP and 6 strikeouts tonight.

Strikeout pitchers are the single-most important thing you can have in your bullpen. I still worry about Stutes' walk rate, but if he keeps striking guys out, he's going to be just fine. Bastardo, of course, is one of the best relievers in the NL this season, and is having a significantly better year than Johan Santana.

No one saw this performance from Bastardo coming this early, but some of us (myself and a few other posters) predicted pretty early on that he could turn into a dominating late-inning reliever down the line. I definitely would not have predicted this sort of dominance so early in such a key role, though. Pleasant surprise.

Some posters, of course, who will remain nameless, thought Joe Savery was a better prospect.

Jack- obviously Beltran is the better option than Brown. But I'm not in favor of letting Brown once again rot on the bench when he's supposed to be cutting his teeth against MLB pitching.

If they're not going to bench Ibanez (which they won't), who is actively hurting the team, I don't see why you would bother trading for an OF in the first place.

maybe it's the relative crummy-ness of the post-kalas roster of tv guys, but for the first time in my life, i'm starting to appreciate wheels. well, i've always thought he was a good analyst, but he's not annoying me to the point of madness anymore.

Agreed, I reached that point about 3 years ago, and I've been listening since before Wheels was Whitey's go-fer.

Iceman: I want Brown to play and develop as much as anyone, for sure. But the team is trying to win a title right now. And of course, the best option for that, which you and I agree on, is to trade for Beltran and bench Raul, as he is our worst OF.

However, if they idiotically refuse to do that, they will still be a better team with a better chance to win a title with an OF of Ibanez-Vic-Beltran and Mayberry and Brown coming off the bench. That's simply a better team than they have right now, and that's what matters.

As I posted last night, I thought for sure the game would be in the "L" column. Great work by Martinez, both his baserunning & the clutch 2b.

TTI~ I don't think they'll "let" Madson walk. I think just like Werth, being a Boras client, he'll test the market & some team will make him rediculous offer and he'll be gone.

There are paralells between his case and Werth's in that the Phils don't seem to either want to engage in extension talks with him and so on.

Or maybe they feel Bastardo can do the job & can use the $$ for Hamels or other options.

I'd like to see Adams here, but as I said 2 days ago his price will be just too high. It's a sellers' market. It's not whom you get, it's waht you have to give up.

Part of the difficulty here is Amaro's ego. He wants whom he wants and the price he wants to pay, not what the market will bear.
The Giants got Keppinger and it was rumored that the Phils may have had interest. Well RAJ better step up or we won't get a guy like Beltran or anyone else either. They have the best record in baseball and despite that, this team MUST be improved if they're going to go deep into the playoffs (IMO).

We certainly need a RH bat. We could use BP depth, but we'll get Lidge back. It's up to RAJ. We'll see.

Looking at the box score from last night, I had no idea that Howard and Carlos Pena have virtually the exact same numbers.

Howard: .246/.342/.453 with 18 HRs
Pena: .230/.342/.463 with 20 HRs

Pena is going to be a free agent again this year. I wonder if he'll get close to a 5 year, $125 million deal.

phils did not have interest in keppinger. that report was false

The Giants getting Keppinger is about as newsworthy as....well, it's not really all that newsworthy. They went from having a weak middle infield to having a slightly less weak middle infield.

Wow, Jack taking a swipe at Howard and his contract. Who would have thunk it.

Grilli signing a major league deal with the Pirates since he has an out in his contract.

Looks like the Phils might let Grilli walk to the Pirates. No big deal, tearing up AAA doesn't always mean anything but doesn't he have to be at least as good as Baez or Herndon?

Grilli deserved a shot to replace Baez, but as stated, no big deal. It looks like they won't release Baez. They probably don't want to eat his remaining salary.

I predict Vance goes through a Jersey per inning today. Heat Index of 109 at 2 PM...

I wonder if Grilli will get shipped out to Korea in a few weeks like Gordon.

I love how we can't talk negatively about Howard because his summer hot streak is only a few days away. I won't be holding my breath.

DPatrone: I fail to see the connection in not getting Jeff Keppinger and not acquiring Carlos Beltran.

Certainly I don't think that if we had gotten Keppinger (and I had no clue we were even interested), that would somehow make us more likely to get Beltran. How would that make sense?

Wait, I'll answer for you. It doesn't.

Who said you can't talk negatively about Howard?

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