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Saturday, August 20, 2011


It is amazing how professional baseball people can cling to a "foolish" idea such as someone being a closer. You'd think that after 30 years of this being common practice, they'd realize it doesn't work.

Based on the comments on the previous thread, I'm wondering how many blown saves Madson has this season. Eight? 10? I don't have time to look it up.

Today, I'm gonna agree with Charlie. Werth had a good AB, hit the ball hard. So did Zimmerman, obviously. Other than that, grounders and bloops. You can't strike everybody out and you can't help where a quail like Desmond's goes to die. Madson hasn't been great lately, but he had no luck last night. Worry about today and what Oswalt can contribute.

I love how BLers are arguing whether Charlie/Dubee made the right move or not with Madson. Obviously, the Phils were ahead, brought in madson and lost the game. This is, in hindsite, the move that loses the game. Therefore it is the wrong move. Leaving Halladay in into the ninth, with the resulting loss, turns out to be the wrong move.

I know many can "justify" these decisions as logical or necessary to avoid bruising player psyches. That doesn't make them right.

Charlie doesn't pull Madson because Madson's the closer and might lose his confidence? UC doesn't pull Halladay, especially after a couple of hits in the ninth, because he wants to stick with his guy and get him a complete game? UC sticks with players out of respect for their feelings, to bolster their confidence and to show them that some failure on their part is acceptable.

Whether this method of managing is right or wrong ultimately is decided by the outcome. Do the Phils win or not win a WFC. Charlie's earned a lot of rope with the '08 championship. The rope does have an end, though, and Sandberg didn't go to Lehigh Valley to wait there too long.

An aside question. How much rest do you think Madson's been getting lately with a newborn in the next room? I know people compartmentalize, but a new father probably would want to be there in the middle of the night. I would never say Madson is anything less than professional. But he is human. Coaches should have the possibility that he is not at his best in their thinking.

Gotta agree with Weitzel and give props to Werth for a tremendous at bat. Zimmerman was looking fastball all the way on that 3-2 pitch - I was yelling for a changeup. Zimmerman was in the cat bird's seat there. Spectacular crash and burn for Madson. Nothing for him to do but take a day off, get back on the hill this weekend.

Doc's loss-Andrea Doria
Last night- Lusitania

"UC sticks with players out of respect for their feelings, to bolster their confidence and to show them that some failure on their part is acceptable."

These guys are established veterans who Cholly defers to sometimes to the detriment of the team. It has nothing to do with 'bolstering their confidence.' Seriously Halladay or Madson need a boost of confidence at this point in their career? Hardly.

Last night's decision to leave in Madson was far different than leaving in Halladay in the game the other night.

Basically, there are a bunch of managers who I bet would have lifted Halladay at some point in the 9th especially with Bastardo and Madson ready and available.

There aren't many managers (possibly any) who likely would have lifted Madson last night in the 9th. Just wonder how long Cholly was going to let Madson out there. Having him 38 pitches was an awful lot especially since it was his 3rd straight game pitching.

Goes back to the issue of Cholly 'managing only for today.' He steadfastly has stated this time and time again. Personally, I think it is a foolish strategy especially in a game like baseball where you have 162 games over a 6 month season. More foolish when you have such a big lead and the larger issue is preserving health/reducing wear and tear when possible on players especially guys who are in their mid-to-late 30s.

Halladay game - Good strategic ready and available.

Madson last night - Not so good strategic options available and they weren't ready. No mabye Cholly should have warmed Stutes but can't imagine that Cholly/Dubee have much confidence in Stutes lately.

Two games really aren't comparable. Different scenarios and different strategic options available.

It is going to be interesting to see how many days Madson gets off. Said in the thread before that the 38 pitches Madson threw was the most since June 2008 in a game where he went 2 IP.

Herndon threw 39 pitches the other night when he went 3 IP and the Phils have tended to try to sit a reliever at least 2 games after he throws 30+ pitches. Rightly so.

Out of the last 4 games, the Phils have lost 2 of them in the 9th inning. SSS I know, but hopefully not a new trend for this team. Also, I guess this team's utter dominance over the Nats is gone (only 7-5 as of this morning)?

On a side note, I'll the first to ask: Who's Lannan gonna plunk tonight? My guess is Vic, to see if he can get him suspended again.

I still can't believe Zimmerman kept that ball fair. That pitch was on the inside black and most hitters would have pulled it foul. Give him props too.

I also can't believe they let Madson in the game for 40 pitches. That's an awful lot for a 1-inning guy who pitched 3 days in a row.

Tough one coming tonight. We need a big game from little Roy. No Madson, probably no Bastardo. Roy for 7 then Stutes and Lidge!!!

JW, what you mean is the Phillies fans try to forget Friday night's collapse. I bet the Phils already have.

Is there a single person on Beerleaguer who didn't believe it should have been Bastardo in the 8th and Madson in the 9th? Anyone?

Madson was one strike away from successfully locking down the save. Just as he's done every other time this season except once. This game doesn't mean anything other than last night he didn't get it done.

But this is Beerleaguer, where every loss is an opportunity for recriminations. Charlie is an idiot. Madson sucks.

Time for a bold move. Bastardo as closer for now. Madson is focused on a contract, not the team, I believe. Let him stew about that for a while. Let Bastardo close games, he's earned it.Braves are closing in, can't let them win!

Is that a parody post?

Philsfan: You're a complete idiot. The guy gets blown save number 2 on the season and you're ready to demote him.

I am, however, impressed that you can watch a guy give up a bunch of bloop hits and you can look into his mind and see that the cause of those hits were because because he was "focused on a contract."

Unless that post was a complete parody, in which case I'm off base.

Gelb (via Twitter): "Also, never before have I been more convinced Philadelphia is a football city. Just read the comments after 1 of 162 baseball games."

Of course Charlie isn't an idiot and Mad Dog doesn't suck. I also think A-Train's point on props to Zimmerman for getting that ball fair is accurate because I honestly felt when that ball left his bat, it would be hooking foul. It didn't.

I do think use of bullpen pitchers could be less rigid than what has evolved in baseball over the last decade or so. But I don't know if that applies to this game. Also sometimes things happen so fast, it's hard to sometimes creatively react at the time. Cliff Lee for example has had a couple of innings this year when all of a sudden there have been a couple of bloops hits followed by a homerun or two and it happened so fast that it's almost hard to see it coming on.

"There aren't many managers (possibly any) who likely would have lifted Madson last night in the 9th."


King: The post is obviously a parody. Even the King of the Morons isn't that moronic.

CJ, I have no problem with how Charlie handled the bullpen last night, but Madson wasn't 1 strike away from locking down the save.

He gave up a single to Werth, single to Espinosa, single to Gomes (score 3-4).

Got Ramos out on a bunt, intentionally walked Flores and gave up a single to Desmond (score 4-4).

Only after the game was tied did he record the second out.

Charlie managed the bullpen fine the last two nights, but the problem is that he had Madson throw unnecessarily 3 days ago with a 7 run lead. Phlipper always prods MG to show him an example of how Charlie's misuse of a bullpen in one game might have affected a later game negatively. Look no further than last night.

Still, even with that "horrible" loss last night, the Phils are still 16 games up in the loss column for the Wild Card, 9 games up in the loss column for the division and 4 games up in the loss column for the best record in baseball.

There's just simply no reason to get upset about a single loss anymore for this team.

CJ: Charlie is not an idiot, Madson doesn't suck and no one here has made that argument last night or this morning.

However, with two capable closers in the pen, it is not necessary to overwork your right hander. Stutes to Lidge to Bastardo has every bit as much chance at getting the job done against the Nationals, and considering Madson's workload, they have a better chance.

Now, we go into game 2 with Oswalt, who may or may not pitch deep into this game, and without Kendrick, Madson or Bastardo available in the pen.

No, one loss and one blown save is not the end of the world, but even if Madson had recorded a save last night, Stutes to Lidge to Bastardo would have been the wiser option. You have two capable closers. Utilize them as such.

Fatalotti: What was the nature of those hits? Sharp line drives? Bloops? How many MLB managers would've lifted Madson after Espinosa's hit? At which batter did you call for him to be lifted last night? Is it on the game thread?

"There aren't many managers (possibly any) who likely would have lifted Madson last night in the 9th."

I agree. I was frustrated and not thinking clearly when I suggested it, but I still wish he would've been given last night to rest. Win or lose, I think that Stutes-Lidge-Bastardo last night gives the Phillies a better chance in a close game tonight. Having our two best bullpen arms unavailable for an Oswalt start isn't an ideal scenario (no disrespect intended to Roy).

The only thing better than playing team doctor through the TV is playing team psychiatrist.

should have left Halladay in.

The Halladay thing is beat to death. I would have pulled him because Overbay was on his pitches in every prior at bat. After Overbay got the big hit, I didn't see a problem letting Halladay finish. He had 7 days rest.

The guy who's getting lost in the discussion of last night's game is Kendrick. Another solid outing for him in a season of solid outings. I've been as down on him as anyone but, he's having his best season. He's throwing strikes and keeping the Phillies in games with regularity.

Clout, never said they should have lifted Madson at any point. I jokingly mentioned that with 1 out and the bases loaded, it was the perfect situation for Herndon, since he induces groundballs at a 60% clip, but like I said, I have no problem with how Manuel handled the game last night. I just think he hamstrung himself by mismanging the bullpen the first two games of the 'zona series. Just my opinion.

Also, I posted during the game last night that Madson got blooped to death last night. But even if he didn't, closers are allowed to have bad games, and that's exactly what happened. No big deal.

Madson breakdown:

Before Madson got hit by a line drive on his pitching hand May 20th vs. Texas by a David Murphy line drive.

Since the May 20th game:

27 G, 26 1/3 IP, 5.13 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.4 K/BB, .284 BAA, .355 BABIP, 19% LD, 14% swing and miss, 0.74 GB/FB ratio

He has 15 saves in 17 chances but has blown 3 games (2 blown saves and a loss).

He has given up at least 1 ER in 8 of those 27 G (29%). That's alot especially for an elite reliever.

Contrast that to Bastardo who has given up at least 1 ER in only 4 of his 35 G since May 20th (11%).

Prior to the hand injury (included the May 20th outing in here):

18 G, 18 IP, 0.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.3 K/BB, .175 BAA, .275 BABIP, 10% LD, 15% swing and miss, 1.67 GB/FB ratio

He was 8 for 8 in save opportunities and picked up 2 wins.

Since coming back off the DL on July 15th:

14 G, 13 1/3 IP, 6.09 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.3 K/BB, .269 BAA, .342 BABIP, 15% LD, 18% swing and miss, 0.67 GB/FB ratio

Don't have the time to run the pitch f/x data over that span but I did see that this year Madson's 4-seam fastball usage is up big time this year (58.4% vs. 52.2%) and his cutter usage has plummeted (18.1% to 9.3%). He also has a real negative pitch value.

Madson said after the Rangers game on May 20th and after the game on May 24th where he blew a game that his 'hand was fine.' Turned out not to be the case.

Cholly revealed on June 24th that Madson had been unavailable the previous week and was the reason he hadn't pitched since June 18th since Madson had reported 'numbness' in his right hand.

Madson went on the DL shortly after with a 'right hand contusion' officially. Madson didn't pitch again until July 18th.


Running the pitch f/x data on pitch selection via the cuts I gave would sink it but Madson is a guy who is pitching hurt to a degree. Simply isn't the guy he was earlier in the year and the DL stint didn't apparently do much to help.

My take - Madson has had a hard time getting a good feel on his changeup and especially his cutter. As a result, he has gone more 4-seam fastball. The fastball velocity is still there because his elbow and shoulder are fine. He just has a tough time gripping the ball on some of his offspeed stuff.

I bet opposing teams have caught on to this too already and given this advice to their hitters. Madson can still succeed because he still throws very hard (94-95 regularly) and has a good/outstanding changeup.

This doesn't bode well for this season. I can't imagine that it will be easier as the weather get colder for Madson to find a grip on his cutter/changeup.

Don't believe any nonsense either about 'Madson not being able to close' or 'being nervous out there.' That's BS.

This team's biggest weakness going into the postseason is going to be the bullpen due to the lack of overall quality depth and if the post line-drive Madson we have seen since May 20th is going to be the version we see in the playoffs.

The missing piece is the pitch f/x to see what Madson's pitch selection has actually been but the overall numbers at Fan Graphs and the flip in the GB/FB ratio tells me he is using more fastballs (hence the huge increase in flyball outs) and less offspeed stuff (hence the drop in ground ball outs).

I would be curious to see too what pitches Madson is using when he is ahead/even/behind in the counts too since his hand injury.

That's the kind of stuff a smart team runs, picks it up early, runs it on video having their advance scouts look at it, and then feeds it to their hitting coach/manager with general advice like "Madson is still feeling the effects of a line drive earlier this season and isn't using his cutter as much"

Doesn't mean they will automatically succeed against Madson but against a good pitcher every bit of intelligence can help especially around what a guy is likely to throw in certain counts.

Charlie should have lifted Halladay because, as was pointed out, Overbey seemed to be on every single pitch he threw all night. Some guys simply have a pitcher's number, and for Halladay, Overbey seems to be that guy.

Charlie was fine in handling Madson. The guy simply didn't have it last night. It happens. And he'll be correct to put Madson in that position 100 out of 100 times. Sometimes good teams lose games. They just don't make a habit of it.

But there is a bigger question. There are a lot of guys not available tonight and Charlie can't possibly be sure Oswalt will go deep into the game. Vic is back, so isn't it about time to send Benny Fran down and bring up another fresh arm, at least for a couple of days? Charlie clearly needs a couple of guys who can throw an inning or two, and Schwimer is probably a righty specialist only at this point. So might as well bring up someone who can give him a couple of innings if needed. Even if that someone is going to get pounded. Because it's important not to wear out the arms now with the stretch run coming and September callups just around the corner.

Matt Gelb and Twitter:

"In one morning, Ryan Madson allowed the same amount of runs he had over 86 previous days. It was a meltdown.
2 hours ago

Also, never before have I been more convinced Philadelphia is a football city. Just read the comments after 1 of 162 baseball games.
2 hours ago"

What does Gelb expect from posters on It represents the 'common man' who generally post in large numbers only on sports, stupid pop-culture, immigration-related stories, crime, and stories that discuss African-Americans in some shape or form in Philadelphia.

Philly especially when it comes to sports and most events very much is a knee-jerk reaction type place. Ditto much of the East Coast. Generally common in all of the US but not as common on the East Coast (say DC to Boston) as it is in other places I have lived/visited in US.

The internet in general provide a sounding board for people's opinions (regardless of how utterly meaningless or socially unacceptable it might be in public) and provides an outlet for their desires even there darkest and most repressed ones.

Try to think of another medium that provides both. If you shut off the Internet and cable/TV in this country for a pronounced period, things would really getting interesting and really fast.

Fat: Herndon had pitched 3 innings the previous night. Not sure he was available.

Using Madson there was the only choice. Letting him stay in the game even after he allowed the tying run was also the only choice. Using him with a 7-run lead 2 nights earlier, however, was not too swift & may well have had something to do with his ineffectiveness (though we have no way of knowing). And, though it seems to be a minority view, I HATE when managers intentionally walk the bases loaded to set up the DP. I hate it even more when the batter you're walking (Flores) is a weaker hitter than the guy on deck (Desmond), with the team's best hitter waiting in the wings a couple batters later.

As for Madson, I have no idea where people are coming up with this stuff about his being ineffective recently. In the 2 games before last night's, he pitched hitless, scoreless innings & he only allowed 1 run in all of July. He had a bad night -- probably because he was pitching his 3rd night in a row (plus a 4th night in which he warmed up). The calls to replace him are in the 99th percentile of zaniness.

MG: I'm out the door & don't have time for a detailed response. But it seems to me that those post-injury numbers are significantly impacted by last night's game. Other than that, Madson has generally been fine. Comparing him to Bastardo is unfair, as Bastardo has arguably been the best reliever in the league this year.

BAP (per your request of removing the meltdown last night)

Since May 21st:

26 G, 25 2/3 IP, 3.16 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 3.9 K/BB, .250 BAA, .319 BABIP, 18% LD, 14% swing and miss, 0.76 GB/FB ratio

Even without the meltdown last night which primarily caused a huge spike in ERA, the other trends hold up (increased BAA & % LD, lower swing and miss and GB/FB ration).

Doesn't mean that Madson can't get the job done. He just isn't posting results nearly as strong as he was the first 7 weeks of the season & doubt he improves that much the rest of the season because of the problem I bet he is having (pitching hand issues which cause problems with his grip on offspeed stuff).

Since May 20th:

Herndon - 22 G, 29 2/3 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 3 of those 22 G (4 if you count 1 R+)

Stutes - 33 G, 38 1/3 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 10 of those 33 G (10 if you count 1 R+)

Other closers:

Kimbrel - 41 G, 40 2/3 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 3 of those 41 G (3 if you count 1 R+)

Axford - 40 G, 40 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 4 of those 40 G (5 if you count 1 R+)

Wilson - 35 G, 34 2/3 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 7 of those 35 G (7 if you count 1 R+)

Bell - 36 G, 34 2/3

Given up 1 ER+ in 7 of those 36 G (8 if you count 1 R+

Storen - 36 G, 36 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 10 of those 36 G (10 if you count 1 R+

Storen has given up a run in ~28% of his appearances since May 20th. Stutes has given up a run in slightly over 30% of his appearances since then.

Not good when 2 of your 4 relievers (Stutes, Madson) right now on the depth chart are giving up run at around a 30% clip in their appearances over the last 3 months.

If Worley is going to start in the playoffs, my bet is that he simply leapfrogs Stutes and becomes their 4th reliever on the depth chart and with good reason. Stutes has been leaking oil for a while now and it has only become more pronounced as the summer has progressed.

Putz just for kickers:

Putz - 28 IP, 27 IP

Given up 1 ER+ in 8 of those 28 G (8 if you count 1 R+)

Most of those came in June before Putz went on the DL but he's been more hittable this year than Kimbrel and Axford.

Kimbrel has been incredibly good since the end of May. Ditto Axford.

The Phillies have shown short memories on the bad losses, I hope they can do the same tonight and tomorrow against a team that gives them more trouble than you would predict.

I know I should have learned bt now to completely turn our announcers out, but was anyone else put off by the condescending comments by T-Mac and Sarge about how the Nats are not even coming close to emulating the Phillies model for establishing a franchise for continued success.It's true , but self congratulatory.

Don't their memories go back to the many, many last place teams of years back. I know a lot of recent fans are spoiled, but these guys have been around baseball long enough to realise that the Phils current win - loss record is no reason to be smug on-the-air.

We have 2 WS wins in way over 100 years.
Enjoy the ride, but keep it in perspective.
God, I miss HK and Whitey when I hear T-Mac and his drivel.

I guess all the Iggles comments are Pulitzer Prize worthy.

MG- you are officially off the deep end. When you start thinking GTown is speaking the 'truth,' you've completely lost it.

First, you're just flat-out lying that Madson didn't get up Wednesday until it was a 4-run lead. It's a lie. I don't care what you think you heard on the radio. Madson got up at the beginning of that half of the inning so he'd be ready for the top of the 9th, just like any relief pitcher who knows he is going to pitch the next inning. He's not going to start warming up halfway through the inning. We all saw it on TV. Either you don't watch the games or you're hoping people on here are stupid enough to buy your crap, because that's exactly what it is.

Your act of pretending like you know how the pitchers of this team are feeling physically or how they react to warming up in the bullpen better than the people in the dugout who actually observe and interact with them on a day to day basis is getting pretty damn tired. On Wednesday Madson was going on a week without getting in a game. He was warmed up for the second time in two nights. Are you really making the claim that the warm-up pitches had absolutely no physical effect on Madson, but once Cholly put him into the game, all of a sudden his body started getting taxed? Get out of here with that crap. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You have about as much knowledge as to how a pitcher is feeling as my mother, and she still thinks Larry Bowa is on the team.

Nevermind the fact that the very notion Madson's performance last night was directly attributable to being used on 3 straight nights is something that can never be proven, and just another in a long line of things you're pulling out of your ass. After Werth's hit, he gave up a bloop, a seeing-eye grounder and dying quail that dropped because of where the infield was playing. The three hits they strung together were just stunningly lucky. He definitely didn't have put away stuff last night but let's not act like they were smacking him all around the park. You don't have to be a drama queen about everything.

Oh, and speaking of you being a drama queen, Madson had given up a run three times in thirteen appearances since coming off the DL before last night. He had a 12/2 K/BB ratio in 12 and 2/3 innings, only giving up 9 hits in that time. Quit while you're ahead with the doom-and-gloom "He's pitching hurt" garbage.

BREAKING NEWS: Iceman and MG will be the main event at next year's Wrestlemania in a Hell in the Cell match!!

You don't want to miss this!

Ice: A lot of places are serving brewed decaf these days.

I haven't read the game thread, but are people questioning bringing in the closer to close the game?

Old Phan, near as I can tell, there is one or more people suggesting Madson should have had the night off, and maybe one or two others who think he should have been lifted after one or the other hit that followed Werth's AB. There seems to be a solid majority that think 'sh!t happens'. There seems to be a more universal consternation as to Manuel's use and non-use of Madson in previous games, the first two Dback games in particular. Me, I'm with Manuel on every one except that first Dbacks game, although he could have asked Halladay to walk Overbay if he really wanted to stick with him there.

Yeah but Hugh you can't argue about sh!t happens. Whatever would we do if everybody just thought sh!t happens.

OP- no one said a word about anything relating to Manuel until after things started going wrong. Imagine that!

donc, it could be argued that Ryan Madson having a bad game like that could be filed under "sh!t happens". I'm just glad I didn't see it.

Using your closer in a game up seven runs is a good use of your closer despite having other guys available?

Using you closer 3 straight days and warming up in a 4th had no effect on him? I watched the 9th inning on TiVo. Madson missed spot after spot on his on his fastball last night. Didn't get a single swing and miss in 38 pitches. Normally a guy who gets at least 6-7 if he throws that many pitches. I am sure he wasn't tired at all.

You can argue with numbers all you like. As Joe Friday said, "just the facts, ma'am and they clearly show Madson hasn't been the same pitcher since his hand got hit with that liner.

MG: The tiny sample size doesn't bother you at all? You can make all those conclusions from a 26 IP sample? I bet I could find some interesting 26 IP samples of Roy Halladay.

Me too OP. I woke up this morning and reached for my Blackberry with a feeling of dread. We were up 4-2 when I fell asleep but somehow I just knew. And I don't usually feel that way. I don't believe I am in the Debbie Downer group.

And, though it seems to be a minority view, I HATE when managers intentionally walk the bases loaded to set up the DP.

BAP walking the bases loaded in that situation does not just set up the DP. What it does is set up a force at any base, including, and especially, home. It's pretty much standard baseball strategy and there is not a manager anywhere who would not do the same thing in that situation. The winning run is on second base. The runner on first is irrelevant.

I haven't read the game thread, but are people questioning bringing in the closer to close the game?

Posted by: Old Phan | Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 03:59 PM

No OP. What people are questioning is whether Charlie should have know that when he used Madson in a game the Phils were winning by 7 runs after he had already warmed up, that 2 days later he would blow a save because of it.

Charlie's overuse of his late inning guys used to work a lot better when they were losing more often, because a game would pop up every few days when even Charlie would skip those guys.

MG- you are combining the numbers of the month when Madson admits he was pitching hurt with the month AFTER he went on the DL to heal from said injury? Are you really too dense to figure out what's wrong with that method?

After the DL, before last night, he had given up 3 runs in 12 2/3 innings. An ERA around 2. Less walks and hits than innings pitched. Averaging about a K an inning. And you're taking that stretch and combining it with a four-week period preceding the DL during which he gave up twice as many runs & twice as many base runners in the same number of appearances, to come up with your conclusion that he's pitching hurt? I am retroactively failing you in every statistics course you've ever taken.

Clout - it is only data sample available. Madson isn't a glaring liability like Lidge was in '09 nor should he lose his job as the closer. He just hasnt been the same pitcher since his hand got hurt and the results reflect that. Maybe they change over the next 5 weeks but I kind of doubt it.

Most times it takes a spark to recognize something or dig into numbers to get a better understanding of a possible trend.

Backseat drivers.


Madson blew a save. Call up Mathieson!

Let's be sure to cherry-pick some tiny sample sizes and then make some broad generalizations. That's productive!

"The winning run is on second base. The runner on first is irrelevant." - Mike G

"irrelevant" seems strong, no? isn't the point that with a runner on first, there's suddenly zero room for error? (i.e. unintentional walk, hit batsman). with bases loaded, the batter knows he's MUCH more likely to get some fat strikes.

the fact that every manager does it really doesn't mean much. it seems to me the rise of sabremetrics illustrates this past decade, among other things, the incredible hold that groupthink has over people paid to know better.

Here's a 'trend:' prior to last night, Madson's post-DL numbers were MARKEDLY better than when he was pitching with a gimp hand in June. An ERA near 2 and a WHIP under 1, nearly a strikeout per inning. HE IS NOT INJURED.

For the record, I agree with BAP about intentionally walking the bases loaded. It's foolish to give your pitcher one less pitch to work with in an AB and the batter gets a huge advantage knowing that once it's a 3-ball count, he has to throw a strike.

You have a strikeout pitcher on the mound and a pinch-hitter coming up (was it Bixler? I was too p*ssed off to remember). Try for the K, move the IF in to cut off the run at home and hope for the best. Loading the bases makes the box you are pitching in infinitely smaller. I would say that led more to Zimmerman's HR on a 3-2 count than some fantasy-island hypothesis about pitching Madson 3 straight days.

It is amazing how easy it is to become spoiled by a lights out closer. The guy blows his second save and there must be something wrong with him. Clearly, there is. He's not perfect that's his problem.

As an addendum to my previous post I will say that lately (didn't see last night) I've been a bit concerned about Madson's velocity. He only seems to get over 93 with the very high fastballs. Probably paranoia but I am a velocity guy when it comes to closers. Having said that, he's going to have to blow more than one save before I worry about him.

"It's pretty much standard baseball strategy and there is not a manager anywhere who would not do the same thing in that situation."

That's a common line of argument on BL & it's not even an argument; it's just an unsupported conclusion. Unless you've surveyed all 30 managers in baseball, you have no idea if it's true. In this case, I strongly suspect it is NOT true. But even if it is, it would be neither here nor there. There is plenty of mangerial orthodoxy that is dumb.

The benefit of having a force at every base is small compared with the risk of forcing home the game-winning run on a walk or being forced to groove a fastball on a 3-ball count in order to avoid the walk.

"You have a strikeout pitcher on the mound and a pinch-hitter coming up (was it Bixler? I was too p*ssed off to remember)."

The pinch hitter was Flores, who is terrible. Desmond, the batter we ended up facing, is the more dangerous hitter even though he's having a down year. And, yeah, the fact that Madson is a strikeout pitcher is an important point. If Kyle Kendrick were pitching there, then maybe you'd walk the bases loaded to set up the DP since, after all, there's a strong likelihood the hitter's going to make contact & there's a good chance that contact will get the runner home. But Madson against Flores is a matchup that has strikeout written all over it.

When does Desmond become a player? God he looks like he should be good but he's just brutal in the field and clueless at the plate. Can't believe a toolshed like him got past the Phils.

Iceman- since he came off the DL Madson has numbers that fit the splits I generated earlier: 14 g, 13 1/3 IP,1.35 WHIP, .269 BAA, .342 BABIP, 18% swing and miss, 15% LD, 0.67 GB/FB ratio, 8.8 k/9, 2.0 BB/9

The numbers and trends fit.

Yeah, when you add in an appearance where a pitcher gives up 6 runs and 5 hits in 2/3 of an inning, those numbers are going to be skewed in a big way.

This isn't even complicated. He was pitching very, very well for a month until last night. He had one had outing, and all of a sudden he's been pitching hurt? It makes absolutely no sense.

Iceman- under what you are saying. Era is next to meaningless and the 5 hits hurt his other numbers. You simply can't throw out last night completely either. My bet is that his numbers rest of way more closely resemble what he has been since may 21st and since he was off the DL.

Cust and Heilman were released. I thought Cust was looking OK in AAA?

MG, I have to agree with Iceman here. Madson was pitching hurt for a while after he got hit on the hand and was less effective than normal. There were I think two outings after he came off the DL in which you could tell he was a little rusty, but after that rust wore off, he was his same self.

He just had a bad night last night. Let's not overreact.

My opinion is that pitching on three days made him less effective than he would have been otherwise, but I have no support for that, so I'm just stating that it's my opinion.

And Madson kind of had his hands tied after he was asked ot load the bases intentionally. And he was also victimized by two bloop hits and a groundball that would surely have been fielded if our 3rd baseman wasn't guarding for a bunt.

Again, let's not overreact.

I'm going to small sample size war with MG.

In Madson's 11 games prior to last night's blow up:
1.64 ERA, 0.727 WHIP, 10% LD, 20% swinging strikes, .175 opp avg

Yep, Madson is clearly in decline. Or he's definitely injured. Those numbers just suck.

I wonder if releasing Cust was a sign that they are going after Matsui?

Fat - you need the pitch fx data to see if madson is indeed using his cutter and maybe his changeup a bit less and his fastball. If he has especially since coming off the DL, it would provide more support for what some of the aggregate numbers show.

MG: And what do the aggregate numbers show over the 11 games prior to last night?

Cust being cut loose is strange? Is there a secret roster rule at play here that I don't know about?

I'm not necessarily against the use of advanced statistics and don't deny that many of them are quite useful. But I don't need some nerd running a computer simulation or Pitch K-PAX9000 to tell me that Madson has been excellent since he came off the DL before last night. He hasn't looked hurt and his results are that of a top-tier relief pitcher. End of story.

So Hamels is starting on Friday. Why don't they just DL him and start him on Saturday? That way they can add a pitcher until then, doesn't seem to make a lot of sense

Damn those nerds (cameramen) running those PitchFX computer simulations (video cameras)! Those computer simulations are ruining baseball for me!

DH Phils- yeah, I really have no idea what PitchFX is or what it means. Nor do I care. I guess that makes you better than me.

Then why wouldn't you take 2 seconds to look up what PitchFX is before blasting someone for mentioning it? It's just two video cameras that track pitches - you assumed it was a computer simulation and blasted people who value computer simulations over results.

That said, I agree with you. Madson's numbers since coming off the DL have been good before last night. Now, the ERA is bad but the peripherals are still good, which can obviously happen in a 13-inning sample - no reason to believe he's still hurt.

I must have blown MG's mind with my small sample size. Or maybe he doesn't like stats that fail to support his narrative.

DH- yeah, it was lazy. And I get on people for not looking stuff up before spouting off all the time, so that was my mistake.

The person citing it was using it to support a ridiculous argument, so I immediately assumed it was pretty worthless.

Someone mentioned last night that Zimmerman had the dream scenario walk-off hit in that it was a grand slam. Don't agree.

Dream scenario is being down 3 runs, 3-2 count, 2 outs...then hitting the grand slam.

Just curious - does anyone have a stat on the # of games the best pitcher in baseball has blown in the 9th inning of a game were he just retired 13 straight batters - the last three in the 8th by dominant strikeouts?

Yeah - but Charlie's a moron for leaving him in.

BL cracks me up.

Before last night, Madson had strong numbers since coming off the DL.
.95 WHIP, 8.5 k/9, 1.5 k/9, .196 BAA, .265 BAA, 20% swing and miss rate, 12% LD, .70 GB/FB ratio

They agree with what Iceman says. Madson looks like he is going more fastball than offspeed stuff with the decrease in ground balls. Given up a run in 3 of his 13 appearances which isn't great but isn't bad either.

94 on that last fastball. To me, it didn't look even remotely close to a swing but, then again, there are few calls in sports that are more arbitrary than whether a hitter went around on a check swing.

As a person that has had back problems since junior high, Oswalt's body language since coming off the DL is a great sign. He looked like he was 60 years old gimping around before he finally admitted he was badly hurt. The fact that he's bouncing off the mound walking around with ease indicates he's feeling much better.

Every time I get treatment for my back I feel like a million bucks. That's what Oswalt looks like out there. Hopefully it lasts.

Astros take a 1-0 lead on San Fran. I think we can all agree that lead is insurmountable.

bap: The replay from the side pretty clearly showed swing.

Phlipper, I don't know if there a majority opinion that Halladay shouldn't have started the 9th inning. Nor do I think that most people were that upset that he stayed in the game after he gave up the two singles.

Remember, with urnners on 1st and second, you are looking for one of two things: strikeout or groundball double play, both of which Halladay excels at inducing.

What still upsets me is that Doc was left in after he gave up the lead. I didn't see a reason to leave him in to record two more outs after the lead had already been relinquished. But I can understand why people wanted to see Bastardo ro Madson after the first two singles were recorded, but that's an ambiguous call, and I haev no problem with Manuel leaving Doc in at that point.


While I'm annoying DH Phils, I just thought I'd ask where the BL psychics got their training that enables them to know that Charlie lifted the best pitcher in baseball and his best reliever because he's protecting their psyche, rather than because he believes that a consistent approach coupled with the fact that he was leaving in his best pitchers is a reasonable approach.

Yeah Manuel, it's not a platoon.


CJ: I'm watching the Nats' telecast & didn't see a replay. I'll take your word for it -- although, like I said, these calls are pretty arbitrary. I think pretty much any check swing could be made to look like a swing from the right camera angle.

Manuel insists that left field is "not a platoon," despite all evidence that left field absolutely is a platoon.

Why is Manuel adamant about saying Mayberry/Ibanez isn't a platoon? Everyone else wants it. It's the smart move. Just do it, Cholly.

I think Valdez just did a tribute to Michael Jackson before his AB.

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EST. 2005

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