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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Creeping toward that all-time Phillies wins record:

The next two wins will each pass 5 other Phillies teams.

The opposing player photo curse is broken

Cliff broke the curse! Phils win with opposing player pic.

Now that they've won the series, the Phillies are free to play their traditional mail-it-in series finale.

Cliff Lee:

15-7, 194.2 IP, 198 SO, 40 BB, 2.59 ERA

9.15 SO/9, 1.85 BB/9, 1.058 WHIP, 5 CGSO, 7.21 IP/GS

And that's his line at the end of August. That'd be a career year for most guys. He's definitely deep in the CY conversation.

86 wins matches the season totals for the 1975, 1986, 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. 4 second place teams in that group. 86 wins is a better total than in 100 other Phillies seasons.

25 2/3 IP of scoreless pitching so far for the Phils' starters this series. Gets a little easier for the Reds tomorrow but not much.

I remember that 2nd Place 1986 Phillies team. 2nd Place was 21.5 Games back.

As Jayson Stark tweeted, Lee was one swing away (the 2R HR against the AZ rookie)from having a 0.00 ERA for the month of August.


On another note, the IronPigs are choking. And Brown didn't play tonight.

...if Michael Taylor wasn't having his own issues at age 25, there would be some harsh BL commentary on the relative values of Taylor vs. Brown.

You know, if the Phillies didn't have, like, the 14th best 1B in baseball, they might be, like, a decent team.

The Braves are on pace to win 96 games (just one less than the Phillies had last year, when they had the best record in baseball), and yet the Phillies are on pace to take the division by TEN games!

This season is just fully blowing my mind.

Its got to be frustrating as an opposing team to see you have Hamels, Halladay, and Lee on the docket for your series.

1 run allowed in a three game series with one of the best offenses in baseball?

TNA: Brown has the flu, and Kratz has just been suspended for 3 games.

Ah the 86th win. That was the magic mark during the Bowa years. 86 wins. Generally the mark of a good team, but not a playoff team.

86 wins.

This team has 86 wins by the final day of August.

30 games to go.

I heard Brown threw up before DHing the other night. Sounds fair, seeing as how I threw up while watching "highlights" of his fielding earlier in the week.

BTW - do BLers still have that existential fear of the Giants?

72-65, with a -29 run differential.

What is the scenario in which the Phillies could clinch the playoffs the earliest?

Since June 1st, Lee is 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 15 starts.

Looks like the Vanimal gets another 100 degree day tomorrow afternoon.

Hope it turns out as well as it did for him in Chicago.

Not exactly sure how the Phils didn't get more against D-Train then they did. He had nothing out there. Only thing that probably saved him was having Utley and Howard back-to-back in the middle of the lineup.

The Iron Pigs look like they are running on fumes. Can't score. I don't think they make the playoffs and we'll see some roster additions by gametime on Monday against the ATL.

Everytime I see the Reds, I wonder how they score as many runs as they do during the year. That lineup isn't any good, besides Votto. They don't have a leadoff hitter. They strikeout a ton. They have a bunch of old guys and rookies on their bench. That team is made to order for the Phils. Both their lineup and their starting staff.

Pence is really strong. He'll hit 30 HR's playing for this team, for a full season.

@Andrew, Day 1 obvs

Think about this a minute.

86 wins, 30 games to go.

If they win all 30 games, they equal Seattle's 2001 season.

Andrew, if the following three things happen:

Phillies win their next 7 (max of 69 losses)
Cards lose their next 7 (min of 70 losses)
Giants lose 5 of their next 7 (min of 70 losses)

Theoretically,we could clinch in the middle of the Braves series, the day after Labor Day.

7 games over 500 on Sep 1 but a negative run diff? I guess run differential is not perfectly correlative.

Watching the empty shell of Utley and Howard back to back trying to hit against a lefty is becoming more painful by the game.

I have to think that between Utley's throw that Yao Ming couldn't catch, and the wretched at bats by both of them, this had to be one of the ugliest games by the 3,4 I've ever seen. What is it going to take for Charlie to rest Utley? And what is it going to take for Charlie to split them up in the order against a lefty? The apocalypse?

This team is really very good to overcome what they're getting from Utley and Howard most games. It's a testament to their pitching and what the other hitters bring to the game. And I know how good Lee is and all, but how in the world is Chooch not the player of the game tonight?

***Cards lose their next 6 (min of 70 losses)***

Earliest scenario: Phils win 7 more in a row while Cards lose 6 during that stretch, the Giants lose 5, bunch of other teams lose 2 or 3 games.

7 games over 500 on Sep 1 but a negative run diff? I guess run differential is not perfectly correlative.

Posted by: Spitz | Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Has anyone ever claimed that it is?

Does Atlanta winning help us clinch? Or Arizona?

The Phillies pitchers may have just done a number on a good offense, but the highest ERAs against the Phillies are, in order:
Brewers (4.50), Cards, Nats, Mets, DBacks (3.63), Pirates, Astros (3.33).

The Nats, Pirates and Astros offenses are dreadful.

And the Phillies will face the Brewers or DBacks in the playoffs. Remember that the Brewers took Halladay to the woodshed and got 8 H/1BB in 6 IP off of Lee earlier this year.

The Brewers are a scary team with a power offense and pitching.

EFF, the only other thing the PHils would need is for the Mets to lose 1 of their next 7 games, as the Phillies, if they win their next 7, would eliminate the Reds, as they wuold hand the Reds their 70th loss tomorrow.

Everyone else would be at or over 70 losses, save the Braves, Brewers and D-Backs.

Phlipper: The Phils only have to go 22-8 to match the '86 Mets.

"86 wins, 30 games to go.

If they win all 30 games, they equal Seattle's 2001 season."

That's amazing. That year, everything fit perfect for Seattle. One of those once-in-a-lifetime years in baseball, no less for one team. All the more sad that they ran out of juice in the postseason.

Speaking of records, it took about 25 posts for the first negative comment tonight (aksmight). Pretty atypical.

Phillies only have to go 11-19 to match their record from last year.

Have to go 15-15 to match the greatest seasons in Phillies history.

Dukes: You do b_a_p a disservice. 4th post of the thread.

How many losing streaks have the Phils had over two games this year? 2? I think they have two four game losing streaks and that's it. Hilarious.

The funny thing is, it's kind of admirable that the Braves are even this close. They are going to finish with a very good record and still possibly/probably lose the division by a mile.

As a baseball fan, I should be angry with Lee's complete disregard of running out that ground ball to Phillips early in the game.

As a Cliff Lee fan, I laughed by ass off.

Not sure I've ever rooted for a team that was 40 games over .500 before.


And as a Cliff Lee fantasy owner that counts complete games as well as shutouts, let me say how disappointed I was in his effort tonight. If you ask me, he's gotta trip Manuel on his way out to the mound and throw the first pitch to the next batter before he can pick himself up.

Dukes - Was that really a negative post? I thought I merely stated what happened during the game.

Did you think that Utley and Howard played well tonight? That they've hit lefties? That Utley has looked anything like he used to? I'd be interested in your observations. Other than counting until a post that reflects reality shows up.

Look, this Reds team has been phoning it in for a long time now. Beating them is to be expected at this point. But the fact that Howard is clueless most nights at the plate and Utley is a bare ghost of his former self is somewhat troubling. You don't see it that way? What do you see?

Actually, I should take that back. I forgot that Howard did something during the game that I think he should do more often. With two strikes, he shorted up and waited on a ball and hit it to the left side.

Janish made a nice play on it, so it sort of went by unnoticed. But I think Howard actually made an adjustment with two strikes. That did catch my attention at the time, but I'd forgotten about it by the end of the game. I'm really serious. I thought that was a sign of possible progress.

aksmith- I see 40 games over .500 and some bumbling fool whining about our slumping 3-4 hitters after a third-straight victory.

Thanks, aksmith.

I thought the team having the best record in baseball might be a reason to relax a bit.

But after reading your post, I realized just how panicked I should be. No team can succeed in the playoffs with such lousy 3 and 4 hitters.

Ok, I'm off.

Does anyone know a good place to get a cheesesteak near the Ben Franklin Bridge?

Matt Gelb just wrote about an iPad game that Cliff Lee plays...

By tomorrow, Words With Friends will be the most downloaded app amongst Phillies fans.

"He chooses not to study detailed charts and graphs as the man who precedes him in the rotation does. Before his start Tuesday, Roy Halladay put his iPad on a table in the clubhouse and used it to show Carlos Ruiz his notes on the opposing hitters. Lee plays Words With Friends and other assorted games on his."

Utley's wRC+ is 130 (context is everything; it ain't 2007 anymore, for anybody), good for 3.9 WAR in 80 games; but, you know, shell of his former self

A classic Bler post, aksmith.

Phillies allow 1 run in three games against one of the best offenses in baseball.

Lee dominates at the end of a historic month of pitching.

And you're complaining?

BTW - did you see the graphic at the beginning of the game that shows the Phillies record against LH starters?

Some Phillies fans just ain't happy unless they're miserable.

Some Phillies fans just ain't happy unless they're bitchin' about other Phillies fans.

If there ever was an opposite of DITHL, it is Cliff Lee.

Phlipper, Phillies have a .310 wOBA, 91 wRC+ vs. left handed pitching this year.

They are simply not a good hitting team against left handed pitching this year (though, I'm sure they're better with Pence and Mayberry in the lineup).

Phillies have a .320 wOBA, 98 wRC+ against right handed pitching this year, which is good for 5th in the NL.

smitty, you're kind of all over the place. Sure, Utley and Howard didn't have good nights, but so what? If you had limited yourself to that, it was defensible and most people here would agree with you.

But unfortunately you had to post this:

" But the fact that Howard is clueless most nights at the plate and Utley is a bare ghost of his former self is somewhat troubling."

Now, even if one tries to take it in some context that comment isn't even correct.

Utley's OPS this season is .817, and his OPS+ is 122. Where does that place him in respect to the other 2B in MLB.

Howard has an OPS of .827 and an OPS+ of 123.

Sure, they're not having career years, but they're not liabilities on the team as you seem to imply. Or do you think leading all of MLB in useless RBI is being a liability? The only other player who has 103 RBI is Adrian Gonzalez, and he plays on that vaunted Boston team that features a DH. If that team is so good, and given the season that Gonzalez is having [.342/.403/.554] WTF hasn't he driven in more runs? Is he a choker with RISP?

Utley? Well for those of us who didn't even expect him on the field this season he's been a pleasant surprise. And in case you don't think he makes a difference I offer this as evidence(Fatti posts on this too):

Record through May 22nd: 28 - 18 [.609, 99 win pace]

Record since May 23rd: 58 - 28 [.674, 109 win pace]

What happened on May 23rd? Oh, yeah, now I remember, it was Utley's first game back. It could, of course, be a coincindence, but I don't think you'll be able to convince many people of that, particularly those in the Phillies' locker room.

Does Utley need a day off? Probably, but with Jimmy Rollins on the DL Charlie probably feels he needs Chase in there, an would probably like to clinch ASAP so he can rest guys at will.

But you're right in this respect: Utley has been in a slump in August [.247/.316/.348 before tonight] but that's not unusual for him - go take a look. His career August slash line: .264/.359/.423, the lowest month of any in his career. He usually rebounds a bit in Sept/Oct. But his OPS was .874 on Augsut 5th - as opposed to a career OPS of .888. Personally, I think I can live with it.

Howard didn't have the best August either, but he did have an August OPS of .867 through last night, hit 8 HR and drive in 22.

But the amazing thing is that you ignore the results that count the most: The Phillies finished August with a 16 - 8 record [.667].

Do you really think they can play better than that, and if so, what are your expectations?

Oh, and BTW, IMHO the batting order when everyone is healthy should look like this, because I agree that Utley and Howard should be split up:


And some fans ain't happy unless they are bitching about people who bitch about other people bitching. Will the circle be unbroken?

Another amazing game by Lee. It's fine if he reverts now to his every other month numbers in September, since it means he will dominate in Oct when the Phils need it.

Big, good post.

That's a good one to go to bed with fresh in my mind.

OPS against LHP = .704
OPS against RHP = .734

Best record in baseball when facing LH starters?

Bigot-to: and three of those 8 August losses were all blown in the 9th inning of games. They are flat out dominating teams, whether Utley and Howard are 'shells' of their former selves or not (they're not).

BTW - that .704 against LHP?

If they only faced LHP the whole season, and continued to produce at the same rate, they'd have the 9th best OPS in the NL - one position ahead of the Braves.

Y'all need to relax a bit.

Actually, that would be 8th.

8 HR and 22 RBI in one month is pretty good, even better when you consider he is the 45th best 1B in baseball.

OP, given that there are 6 months in a season, 8/22 extrapolates to 48/132.

How many guys do that?

Mets' OPS against LHP? .702

Cards, Rockies, Brewers, Mets, all have lower OPS vs. LHP than RHP. D-backs OPS is exactly equal.

Of the NL teams with more runs than the Phils, only the Reds have a better OPS against LHP than RHP - and that by a huge margin (.814 vs. .717)

Big, exactly what I was thinking. Yet the comments run the gamut from new stance to new glasses to electroshock therapy.

Those 8 homeruns are nice. The consternation is over what happened in the 86 PAs which didn't end in a homerun. In those PAs, he hit .158 with a .256 OBP. For the entire month, he struck out in 40% of his ABs. I don't generally obsess over strikeouts, but that number is shocking. He usually strikes out around 30% of the time.

The 8 homeruns no doubt helped us win some games, but they sure don't make up for the fact that his month, as a whole, was horrible. And, for clout and CJ, I'll add that Utley's month was even more horrible. We had a great August record in spite of these guys, not because of them.

"Yet the comments run the gamut from new stance to new glasses to electroshock therapy. "

lol! Sweet dreams, ladies and gents!

BAP, good thing baseball is a team sport.

Old Phan: You raise an interesting question. How much better might Ryan Howard be if he had the electroshock therapy? Or how 'bout this - electroshock PLUS standing closer to the plate. Why, the Big Man could be cracking the Top 35 1B in MLB in no time!

September 5 - 11:

3 games vs. ATL
4 games @ MIL

Lee vs. Lowe
Worley vs. Hudson
Oswalt vs. Beachy
Hamels vs. Narveson
Halladay vs. Marcum
Lee vs. Wolf
Worley vs. Gallardo

The Phillies will miss seeing Greinke during the regular season. It'll be interesting to see if Hallday and Lee can make adjustments and have better games against the Brewers offense in their second go against Fielder, Braun and Co. It'll also be the Brewers first look at the 2011 Hamels.

If our record is this good without electroshock therapy, imagine how good it would be with it.

Did anybody catch the play in the top of the 8th with Ruiz at the plate - he fouled off the first pitch, Votto went to the rail to try to catch it and he basically shoved the fan while leaning over the rail. The fan said something, Votto walked away and turned back towards him and threw his gum to the ground (Cholly style when he yanks a pitcher). The Reds' announcers ignored it, they would've went ballistic if Howard had done that. It makes me wonder if the fan was a Philly fan. Oh well, yes, I'm reaching for stories at this point in the season.

Crap, posted before I was finished. Anyway, the point of the Votto story is he's kind of an ahole, but then again most really good players seem to be. There's been a lot of talk this week in Cincy about him as he's kind of refusing to make a move to left field (or even try it) with a rookie behind him (Alonso). Votto was asked about it in an interview and he basically said "do you think he can play first better than me?"

Why should the reigning MVP move to a new position when he's established himself as an above average defender at his position? That's like asking Pujols, Teixeira or AGon to go play LF because of some hot-hitting prospect that is blocked by them at 1B.

He has every right to "refuse" to play LF. And Dusty Baker would be wrong in putting Votto in LF (which he won't do).

At this point, Alonso is off-season trade bait.

40 above .500

If we go .500 the rest of the way, we equal the 101-61 records of 76 and 77.

I'm looking at 108-54.


I just got home from McGillin's Old Ale House in Center City Philadelphia. I might be a little high but I can't tell you the love we all feel for Cliff Lee. The whole pub, which btw has been around since 1859, couldn't believe that anyone would take a Cliff Lee out of a game where he had a shutout going. To us Phillies fans, maybe most of us in McGillins tonite were way under the age of 30, but Cliff lee is the greatest p[itcher in baseball bar none, even our other beloved Phillie pitchers and guys in the other league like Weaver and Verlander. Cliff lee is Cliff it!

Speed of the Puma Puma Puma...

Good Morning.

So I kinda like this Pence kid.

When do we see Browsker get in a game?

phargo, Good Morning!

I kinda like Pence too. And that Chooch guy!

Phillies Dude, IMO Lee was gassed. No pitcher of his calibre will ever admit it, but he was. No pitcher of his calibre will ever WANT to come out of a game - too competitive. But that's why they're as good as they are.

Charlie clearly saw something, and if you read Chooch's comments after the game he implied that it was a good move because Lee was gassed.

Lee was off of his regular routine because of the rainout, and had thrown 117 pitches.

Besides, you have a short memory, and Charlie obviously doesn't. After losing a game in which he left Roy Halladay in - with Madson warming and available - IMO there was no way Charlie was going to make the same mistake twice.

Lee seemed mildly miffed, but if you don't want to get pulled with two outs in the 9th, don't give up a double, walk the next guy and hit the guy after that to load the bases. Pretty simple, really.

Phillies Dude, here’s what Ruiz said:

"I was thinking, 'Give it one more chance,' because we knew we could finish that game," Ruiz said. "But at the same time, he was over 100 pitches and I think it was real hot, too. The last inning, he was working real hard to make good pitches. I think he came out at the right moment -- bring Madson in and get it done."

As much as I was rooting for the CGSO, when Manuel came out and looked like he was just going to argue with the ump, I nearly jumped off the couch. I thought, no way is he going to hang his starter out to dry again with Madson warmed and ready in the bullpen.

I'm sure Lee was upset, but he should be upset with himself for letting three straight runners on base in the first place. Manuel did the right thing. Hopefully that's a 'lesson learned' sort of thing: you have a lights out closer, so use him.


The Phillies have the best record in baseball when facing LH starters, like you said, but would you like to know the numbers behind that?

When facing RHSP (60-37):

Runs scored per game: 4.63
Runs against per game: 3.39

When facing LHSP (26-9):

Runs scored per game: 4.43
Runs against per game: 2.97

Our offense has been above average in games in which we've faced a LHSP, but it's been worse against LHSP than RHSP. But our pitching, for some reason, has been unbelievably good when a LHSP is on the mound for the opposition. There's probably no rhyme or reason for this, but our pitching has just been lights out when we've squared off against a LHSP, and that, even more than our offense, is why the Phillies are 26-9 against LHSP.

Look, I agree with you, we shouldn't be that worried about LHP anymore with Pence and Mayberry in the fold, but before you start spouting off stats in a such a self-contratulatory manner, maybe look into the numbers/context first.

Fata getting an early start on the catfighting this morning.

I like that it's not a Ryan Howard argument though. Please, anything but that today. Just one day without it.


Good post at 12:09. It added a nice perspective to some of the commentary.

When your three and four guys are struggling over a period of time, it's going to stick out like a sore thumb. As a fan, it has been frustrating to watch at times.

Discussion about whether either or both are in decline are certainly fair game, and so is a certain amount of day to day griping. I posted a gripe myself when Polanco, Utley and Howard all whiffed in order in one inning. For that matter, pretty much anything on this type of blog is fair game.

But sometimes it does go a little over the top. The bandwagon started with Utley when he struggled coming back. Then the bandwagon reversed itself, coming to a peak when he hit his inside the park HR. Now we're back to the "Utley is a shell of his former self" theme.

I guess I'm old school enough to figure that these guys have earned enough respect over the years to at least wait for the end of the season to decide if they're washed up or not. And I confess I've absorbed from BL over the years that the season is a long one with lots of peaks and valleys, and to try not to get too crazy when a player goes on a hot streak or when one slumps.

Jack Wilson was available?

Tweak to my numbers:

When facing RHSP (60-37):

Runs scored per game: 4.58
Runs against per game: 3.35

When facing LHSP (26-9):

Runs scored per game: 4.43
Runs against per game: 2.97

All my points agove, still stand, just want statistical veracity.

Ice, you're right, way too early. =)

Lee seemed mildly miffed ...

Maybe, but at the end of the game the dugout shot showed an "all smiles" Lee.

Pence swings SO hard. that is my only analysis from last night.

oh and cliff lee will continue to dominate in the playoffs, obviously. thats why the RAJ bought him, for playoff WAR. If we didn't have C_____ L___ we'd still have a great chance to win the division, if not lock the wild card, but this is about the POSTSEASON people. LESSGO

I think today's game is important because of the following: This is the time of the year to begin to be able to win the last game of a series. I hope Charlie doesn't take the first of September as his cue to make wholesale substitutions. I haven't looked at the numbers, but my impression is that the Phils have mailed in a lot of last games with the series already won this year. It is time for that to stop. Today.

When Lee is pulled from a game: "miffed."

When Hamels is pulled from a game: "hissy fit."

Why? They are a virtual lock to make the regular season. Who cares if they sweep? almost all of these games are becoming more and more low leverage, why risk injury for when the playoffs roll around and you need as many role players as you can possibly fit onto one team?

If I could i'd sit Polanco and Rollins for most of September, and maybe give Halladay, Lee, and Hamels a night off or two. Philly fans, we've already wrecked the regular season. Let's start thinking like we've been here before and are ready to dominate the playoffs. Please.

Phils record when winning first 2 or 3 games of a series: 8-10.

Record in the other 2-3 games in those series: Something like 45 and Zero.

I can live with a 53-10 record, even if they're mailing it in and it doesn't stop. Today.

EF, I have never accused Hamels of a "hissy fit", other than to instruct him to remove the tampon when he gats back to the locker room. :)

Shawn I don't care if they sweep. I want them to start winning the last game in a series for a change. Do you really get the sense from this team that they are ready for the hardest win, the last one? The foot on the throat attitude is essential to win in the playoffs. I don't necessarily see it with this team. I believe UC strategy is to just win series. I've heard too many players uttering that line for it not to be the management goal.
That mantra doesn't work in the playoffs. You must win the LAST game. Time to do it.

I would like to see Howard lobotomized and given mandatory steroids. All he will think about is baseball 24/7 and when he hits, the ball will bore holes through the fielders on the right side of the diamond and as they lay screaming in agony he won't even care. Hahahaha(evil laugh)

Templin, a lot of times the last game of a series is either a Sunday afternoon or a getaway day. A lot of managers use a day game after a night game to rest some regulars. This will not happen in the playoffs.

If Cliff Lee's September is anything like his June or August, he'll take home the Cy Young. Nothing short of amazing after a so-so start.

Can we talk about Lee's lack of hustle while not running out that grounder, or is that only reserved for rookies and all star shortstops?

I feel like a cranky old man, but for some reason after +200 comments during another shutout win, this comment is the one that made want to repost:

CJ "St. Utley fails to get it done... and the Albatross drives in the run. Same old, same old." -- posted during the 1st inning.

CJ - as a fellow Howard defender, you actually make me want to switch sides with crap like this.

Utley and Howard hit the EXACT same ball. Utley groundedout and moved the runner to 3rd while Howard groundedout and the runner from 3rd scored.

It is complete BS post like yours that make all of the people who criticize Howard do it so often.

I can't tell if templin is being serious or if he's trying his hand at parody, but either way, bravo.


If you think that this team is organically different from a team the last 3 years that has had excellent post season success, and this year with the best record in baseball and they don't have a "killer instinct" and cannot win "important" games, then we're going to have to just agree to disagree. Teams that make winning look easy and "aren't ready" for the hard game is analogous to extremely athletic black athletes that make baseball look easy, while white gritty players make "hard" plays. Think objectively here.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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