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Thursday, September 29, 2011


6-0 vs. the Braves in September. That has to sting.

Great finish to the regular season. Hope they win their last post-season game, too.

JW: I like the post, except for the Eagles part. Even though it was denigrating the job that Reid and the Eagles have done, I prefer to keep them separate. Philadelphia was an Eagles town for a long time, and quite annoyingly so. Now, it's the Phils' time to shine and they are outclassing the "Gold Standard" at every turn. The Eagles are of no consequence until the final playoff game is over.

Saturday can't come fast enough!

What an insane, indescribable pleasure it was to sit with a smug little grin and watch the Phillies wreak havoc on the playoff picture in what has to go down as the best day of regular season baseball ever.

Perfectly articulated.

JW: Can you have your lackies go collect every Chipper Jones quote this season and consolidate?

That would be gold.

oh and as always, great post -- couldn't have even described my own feelings as well as you just did.

Here, Here!!! Well said JW

On pins & needles until first pitch... Bring on playoff baseball =)

I'd like to think the pressure but no-pressure condition that Worley and Stutes pitched through could help transition them into real playoff play. BTW, any idea what Dubee said to Vance to turn his inning around? ("Throw some damn strikes, kid.")

Now for the big question. What's the 'pen going to look like? There are some interesting decisions to be made.

What's the 'pen going to look like?

That's our next topic. Because 8th inning on down is a mystery. Ideally, the 1st through 8th belongs to an ace.

"...what has to go down as the best day of regular season baseball ever." - Jason W.

So true, it was great. Today I feel great. Cholly used his subs like an All Star game but kept enought guns like Chase and Hunter to be able to win the game. Mini Mart was pretty anemic batting in the 4th slot, killing a number of potential rallies with his inappropriate spot in the lineup. It was great to sweep the Braves in hostile territory; and in a torturous manner, knock them out of the playoffs!

I have some close friends who are Bosox fans, and I feel bad for them. We had visions of a Boston-Philly WS that will not happen this year.

We were talking about being hot going into the playoffs. The Phils lead the NL by going in with a 4 game winning streak. Brewers and Cards are on 2 game win streaks, while the D-Backs lost their last game. In the streaky AL, three teams are on good win streaks: Rangers - 6, Rays - 5, and Tigers - 4. The Yanks are on a five game slide that dropped them below .600 for a final winning percentage of .599.

8th inning will be Lidge/Bastardo (lefties only).

The real mystery is the 7th inning.

The end of the Phillies' season is inexplicable except for the mysterious "switch" that we imagine they must have in their heads. A full season of dominance, then eight games of AAA play, only to be reversed in a masterful sweep of the collapsing Braves. My bewilderment from last week is forgotten; I am confident again.

Phils in 4 over the Cardinals.

Oh, and just a word from a resident of Massachusetts, which I am:

The BoSox got 6 walks and 11 hits, and scored only 3 runs in that last game against the Orioles. They deserved the loss. Nobody I know is upset. All attention here is on the Patriots.

Yesterday was the wildest and most consequential day of baseball I can remember. Awesome.

If you thought Phils fans were reactionary, you need to listen to a feed from WEEI in Boston this morning. Those not planning ritual suicide en masse after the collapse last night are seriously calling for wunderkind Theo Epstein to either be fired or resign. Because a 30-something year old GM winning 2 WS titles in 10 years is something you definitely want to get rid of.

Sawx fans whining that the Yankees didn't play their best, allowing the Rays to win.

Braves fans whining that the Phils played too hard, knocking the Braves out of the playoffs.

Who are the biggest cry babies?

Working from closer backwards:

Lidge/Bastardo (against lefties)
Whoever(the game is for all intents and purposes likely over at the point anyone else gets into the game).

A quick scan of the first page of comments and I found these 2 gems:


September 29th, 2011
12:01 am
Tough tough season Bravos. It was not meant to be. Trouble scoring runs and losing your starting pitching made the slide inescapable.

It’s okay – we have football. Go get ‘em next year.

September 29th, 2011
12:01 am
College ball is the way to go in this town. Better value, better talent.
Memo to Bud: Disband the Marlins. Move the Barves (intended) to Miami. Atlanta does not deserve a(n) MLB team.

How did the Yankees blow a 7 run lead? Either they were throwing the game or their pitching isn't that special. I can imagine both, but in reality the latter is true. They will be lucky to make it to the WS.

Kutztown: both

It is hilarious to listen to Boston radio.

Someone just called A-Gon an albatros.*

* paraphrasing.

Chad Finn-
"Talented, richly compensated players did not perform, starting with Lackey, who simply cannot return to this team or this city next year. Not only is he coming off the worst season a Red Sox starting pitcher has ever submitted, but he's a miserable, dim, finger-pointing, unaccountable wretch of a teammate, and those may be his good qualities. That the Red Sox were apparently considering acquiring lefthanded mediocrity Bruce Chen to pitch a one-game playoff if necessary tells you all you need to know about Lackey's status with the team. Pack up the sneer and the sacks of unearned cash and just go away. "

Girardi was well within his rights to pull his players with a 7-0 lead. And the Phils should have played hard and did. Nothing wrong with that.

Fans in Boston and Atlanta now are feeling what we went through in the mid to late '70's when our boys got beat. That's not counting '64, or all of the other miserable seasons we've had.

It's our turn to shine. The team and we phans deserve it. Now let's go out and win our 3rd WFC, so Doc, Cliff, Roy, and the others who don't have one get their rings!

Cannot imagine that the Yanks would throw the game. It would have been to their advantage to win and let the Sawx and Rays fight it out for an extra game.

Still. It's kinda tough to lose a seven run lead in a game you're serious about winning.

I can picture Steinbrenner calling Girardi from hell-"Put in Scott Proctor and end this game!"

Regarding some's fear of the Cardinals, I'm just thankful that we don't have to hit against Wainwright this year. Don't know how he usually does against the Phils, but the thought makes me breathe a little more easily.

"Sawx fans whining that the Yankees didn't play their best, allowing the Rays to win."

Any time a team gets off to a 7-0 lead, the first thought that always pops us into my head is, "Clearly they're just trying to cover up for the fact that they're trying to let the other team win."

The Yankees did not seem particularly focused on winning. They yanked their starting pitcher after 2 innings for no particular reason (a tune-up for the post-season, probably,) then basically rotated the rest of the bullpen through the game, 2 or 3 outs at a time. The meltdown in the 8th was mostly on Luis Ayala, with an assist from Boone Logan.

Old Phan, the Yankees threw Johnny Wholestaff yesterday.

All the runs were given up by Boone Logan and Luis Ayala, and then of course, Scott Proctor, who won't even sniff their postseason roster, gave up the bomb to Longo.

Fact is, Yankees are the best team in the AL, by a fairly significant margin. Their starting pitching depth is questionable, but CC is a monster this year, Nova is capable, Robertson has been good in setup, Mo is still the best, and their offense is relentless.

They'll make the WS, IMO.

The butthurt throughout New England is EPIC today.

I kinda feel bad on one level...but then again, no, I really dont.


1. Between now & the time that the post-season roster is announced, a great deal of Beerleaguer ink (some of it my own) will be spilled pondering who gets the last bench & bullpen spots.

2. After the post-season roster is announced, a great deal of Beerleaguer ink (some of it my own) will be spilled criticizing the final roster choices.

3. No reliever other than Madson, Lidge, Bastardo & Worley will ever pitch a meaningful inning in the post-season, and the last bench player will never have a single plate appearance.

Yanks didn't necessarily throw the game. They used several decent relievers even up 7-0. However, they didn't use Rivera to close the game in the 9th, holding a slim lead, even with the day off today.

A few days ago I didn't get into the lottery for postseason tickets.

I was really happy this morning knowing the Phils knocked the Braves out of the playoffs and the way they have played the last 4 games.

Then I get an e-mail from letting me know that I had a chance to get tickets for game 2 Sunday.

So I got 2 standing room tickets, one of which will be my 5-year old daughter (whom I intend to fully indoctrinate as a Phillies fan---her first game was a couple of years ago but she will REALLy remember this one).

On Cloud 9!!!

Why use your 41 year old closer who just pitched the night before when you have a playoff game in 2 days?

Zero reason to use Mo there...nobody in their right mind would have put him in last night's game.

"The Yankees did not seem particularly focused on winning."

My first response is that I disagree; they got off to a 7-0 lead.

My second response is that even if you're right, that's just TS on Boston. They did this to themselves, right down to last night's epic collapse.

The Sox went something like 7-19 in September. If they want to see why they are sitting home in October, they should just take a nice long look in the mirror.

I actually felt sorry for the Braves fans last night.

I like that feeling.

The Braves were division champs for many times- it was nice to know we were the better team and ended their season.

Next, let's get to where we can feel sorry for the the St Louis fans and educate them on the new, true location of baseball heaven.

Jason: Love your writing. As others have mentioned - your description of how I feel is perfect.

7-20 in September.


Wow...even worse. That's just sad.

If the Cards lose game 1, it would not surprise me if Carpenter started game 2 on short rest. LaRussa needs to take one game in Philly. Being down 0-2 to the Phils in a best of 5 would be a scary position.

"They did this to themselves, right down to last night's epic collapse."

Couldn't agree more.

Lots of talk today that the Sox have a bad clubhouse, and that Tito lost the team over this September collapse.

I would guess the "bad clubhouse" comment would be in reference to Lackey, who seems to have allowed whatever personal situation he's dealing with to overwhelm his professional life.

Yes, 7-20 in September is definitely what killed them.

It's important to understand that while Boston fans may be moronically blaming the Yankees for not going all out to beat the Rays, Tito himself said a couple days ago that the only thing the Sox have to worry about is just winning every game they play through the end of the year, and they'd be in the playoffs.

The Red Sox players, and coaches weren't looking for help, and they probably won't be b!tching about the Yankees after their September.

I wasn't suggesting the Yankees should have used Rivera. I was suggesting they would have if they were serious about winning the game. They weren't. The "he pitched last night" story is BS, though. Rivera pitched 3 times in the last ten days.

I dont think Tito is back in Boston next year.

I don't think this has been linked, yet, but a nice article on SI to put these two collapses into some historical perspective.

I agree Hugh...if it were a meaningful game, Mo would have pitched. But it wasn't and he had already gotten his post-season tuneup appearance the night before.

Whether Tito is back next year may depend on the perception of whether the negative magnitude of this year's collapse is greater than the positive magnitude of the '04 ALCS comeback and subsequent WS win, a feat that also had never (and hasn't since) been accomplished.

I think back to the Mets' collapse in '07 (I wasn't born in '64, so this was the biggest collapsed I'd witnessed). The Phillies played well down the stretch, no doubt, but all the Mets had to do was win a game here or there. No one to blame but themselves.

Same goes for the Braves and Sox this year. The Sox losing 2 of 3 to the Orioles to end the season? The Braves getting swept at home to end the season? Look no further than those two series. Each team should be embarrassed, but the Sox should be mortified. Considering the payroll, the big acquisitions and all the hype, it was a disappointment not to win the division. But to not make the playoffs at all, especially in that fashion, is a bit of a disgrace. At least the Braves lost to the best team in baseball, not the Orioles. Unreal.

Lackey can't stay in may have to eat the entire contract, but he's gotta go.

As for Francona, I'm not sure Boston is the type of town that can forgive this collapse. I wouldn't be shocked to see Theo and Tito both gone.

300 mil plus in payroll over the last two seasons and no playoffs with the biggest September collapse in baseball history...not good.

@Tony - I have taken 5-year-olds to Phillies games. You may not get to watch as much baseball as you expect, although I absolutely admire you honoring your daughter with a ticket.

In 2007, I won the right (by lottery) to purchase three tickets to Game 2 of the NLDS. I pulled my kids out of elementary school to go to the 1:00 pm game. As I told my wife at the time, "it's not like we're Yankees fans. If I pull them out of school once every 14 years, I think they can handle it."

Well, that game didn't end well, but now my kids think their favorite team goes to the playoffs every year.

And if the Phillies had ended up losing last night's game, while St. Louis lost theirs, then Cardinals fans would be complaining that Cholly only used Hamels for 3 innings out of the bullpen, brought Martinez, Schneider, & Valdez into the game, used Madson in the 8th instead of the 9th, and used a bunch of rookie relievers instead of using Bastardo.

If the "integrity of the game" obligates a manager of a playoff-bound team to play his starters in this type of situation (which is dubious), I think we can all agree that the obligation only goes so far. If Cholly or Girardi had used their pitchers as if it were a regular middle-of-the-season game -- i.e., letting Hamels throw 110 pitches, or bringing in Bastardo or Mo -- then they would be putting their made-up obligation to the game ahead of their very real obligation to their own team.

I agree with everything Chris in VT said...Lackey, Tito and Theo might want to look at other options.

The real "albatross" contract for the Sox is Crawford...A LF with marginal power and OB skills, good range, a weak arm, and declining speed? At 21 mil per? For 6 more years?

Sign me up!

Yes but Crawford is better than Howard because, well, because Dave Cameron says so!

R Bill: The Braves also lost the 3 series before this one -- one each to Washington, Florida & the Mets. And when they actually played a head-to-head series against the Cardinals earlier in the month, they got swept. They had ample opportunity to lock up the WC long before this 3-game set with the Phillies.

The Braves did have to play the last month of the season without 2 of their 3 best pitchers. Injuries are part of the game, so it's no excuse. But it's a substantial factor in mitigation as compared to Boston.

Chris, that and Lackey's contract.

Chris: even better, Crawford's good range goes for naught in Fenway's LF.

'64 Phils and the '07 Mets will still be more infamous than these two teams because in the manner in which they lost but these two teams are right up there.

I'm just bummed that even though they started an hour later, the Cardinals game was over a little more than an hour before the Phillies game. The Cardinals have more rest...

Crawford will be making $19.5 million next year (he actually gets a $5 million raise).


Lackey makes $15.25 million.
Matsuzaka makes $10 million.

The super smart Sabermatric oriented BoSox that Dave Cameron and Bill James worship have essentially $45 million in dead weight on their payroll there.

They should move Crawford to RF.

don't forget Matsuzaka's contract. And moving Youk to 3rd. and not having a good short stop or catcher. And JD Drew's contract.

they should use video review to find the Rays "fans" who left yesterdays game early. once positively identified, they should not be allowed back until next year as punishment. and they should consider themselves lucky that the organization doesn't come to their homes to remove any team memorabilia they own, which probably isn't much anyway.

greatest single night of meaningless (for the Phils anyway) baseball i've ever witnessed. just a remarkable evening. i love this game.

***Crawford's good range goes for naught in Fenway's LF. ***

And you cant put him in CF or RF because he doesn't have the arm for either spot...especially RF in Fenway.

"Lackey makes $15.25 million."
That makes me long for the days of Adam Eaton's puny contract.

Crawford's arm would be useless in think people were complaining about Raul's arm in LF, I can't imagine the whining that would occur in Boston.

In all reality, he's just ill-suited for Fenway and the Sox, but the glitz and glamour of the signing blinded everyone to that fact.

No...lots of non-Red Sox fans (like me) thought Crawford was a terrible fit...but because it was Theo doing it, everyone lauded it as a genius move. Kind of like how the Mariners GM got the benefit of the doubt on every move he made in the 08/09 off-season.

I don't think I'm prepared to call Carl Crawford an "albatross" after one bad year. He's overpriced, but he has been a very good player & is young enough to bounce back. Lackey is a different story. The moment he signed that contract, I knew that Boston would come to regret it.

One of the factors that might have mitigated the fact that the Crawford signing was poor was that, if all things worked out well for the Red Sox, he was supposed to be their 6-hole hitter behindd

Ellsbury (MVP candidate)
Pedroia (former MVP)
A-Gon (MVP candidate)
Ortiz (had a monster year)
Youk (very good hitter when healthy)

To Red Sox fans, it may not have much mattered that Crawford was an overpay, because in reality, if he played up to his ability, he wsa just a super-luxury on a team that already had a stacked offense.

Now, that they didn't use the money on Crawford to bolster their thin/weakish pitching staff is another criticism, and one that should be levied their way.

In Fenway, with that team, Crawford's a bad fit. He's going to hit what, 7th? And play LF, where his range is wasted on the smallest LF in baseball. And if he's only stealing 20 or so bases a year, with an OB% around .340? He really doesn't do anything for that team that a MUCH cheaper option couldn't do.

Chris in VT, I agree. Just trying to uncover why the deal wasn't roundly criticized when it happened, as adding the "perceived" Crawford to that lineup was almost like adding a Cliff Lee to the Phillies stacked rotation (not suggesting that these two are alike in reality, just suggesting what might have been the perception).

Within a block on the way to work I saw a Braves cap and a Red Sox cap...those are some true fans or guys who only have one cap.

All the talk of the Phils playing their regulars kinda ignores some of those shaky relievers who were out there shutting the Braves down, and throwing Hamels on 3 days rest in his first relief appearance wasn't a guaranteed good idea nor did it play out that way.

Just last night, Theo said it again: "You can’t deny this month happened,’’ Epstein said. “Even though it was preceded by being the best team in baseball for fourth months, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen."

WTF?? Does this guy not really that the National League is part of baseball?

Good riddance.

Chris in VT: All true, this season. Do you think it's in the realm of possibility that maybe he just had a bad season?

I fear that my lasting memory of yesterday will be of Jose Reyes. Seriously, is there a way to search baseball reference to see if anyone has ever reached 1st on a bunt single and then been pulled for a pinch runner?

My guess is that it has happened due to injury because the runner either pulled a hammy or collided with the first baseman. But what a TOOL! at least run the freaking bases and take yourself out in the top of the 2nd.

Crawford could definitely bounce back and be great again in doesnt change the fact that its a bad fit him and the Red Sox. He plays 81 games a year in a park that negates his greatest strength (defensive range) while also hurting him at the plate (Fenway is tough on LH batters that pull the ball). Giving him $20 million was a mistake. They should have probably given all that money to Cliff Lee...if he would have taken it.

Clout, I think Chris's point stands independent of how Crawford performed this year.

simply no reason to pay $16-20M to ANY 6/7-hole hitter who's playing LF in Fenway.

Crawford signing was one of the dumbest contracts of the last 10 years. Maybe more.

Who in their right mind pays $20M+ for a guy entering his 30s whose game is based his legs and defensive prowess at a position where good defense really doesn't matter that much.

The capper is the team that signed him plays in a park where you can put a donkey in LF as long as learns to play the caroms off the Green Monster & not kill his CF.

It was a terrible signing that is going to hurt the Sox for years to come because $20M is a large figure for even a team with a payroll at $190-$200M.

"On the morning of Aug. 26, the Braves were up 9 ½ games in the National League wild card race and 10 ½ games on the Cardinals, who were a game behind the Giants at the time. Former Baseball Prospectus statistician Clay Davenport calculated Atlanta's odds of making the playoffs at that point by simulating the remainder of the season a million times and gave them a 98.99 percent chance, or barely more than a one-percent chance of failing to make the playoffs."

1.02% chance of blowing it. couldn't have happened to a better team.

***a park where you can put a donkey in LF as long as learns to play the caroms off the Green Monster & not kill his CF.***

I laughed out true.

You guys are making me appreciate Ruben Amaro more. Let's buy him a nice, Belgian ale...

I think Manny Ramirez was worse than a donkey, to be fair to donkeys everywhere.

clout - Most definitely a possibility, sure. However, it's also a possibility that his game is completely unsuited for Fenway/Boston/the Red Sox. Even if he had a bad season, his range is still a complete waste in Fenway's LF, and he doesn't have the arm to play "wall-ball" off the green monster and gun people down like some other LF's in Red Sox history. So that's not changing. His career OBP is only .333, and his career OPS+ is only 105...As a LF. He's not really suited to be a leadoff hitter, and he's not hitting in the middle of Boston's lineup. The best-case scenario for him is 6th/7th in the lineup.

In all reality, the only really elite tool he brings to the table is his speed/SB ability. If that declines at all, you're paying 21 mil per for a slightly above league average offensive player with little defensive utility. And speed is one of the first things to go as a player ages...

It's a bad contract.

Sox GM position is a thankless one. Expectations have gotten so raised that unless you make the playoffs every year and have a deep postseason run, it is considered a disappointment. Even Duquette in the late 90s didn't have nearly that same kind of pressure.

Their farm system isn't that stacked, they have a couple of terrible contracts in Lackey and Crawford ($36-$37M annually through '14), question marks about Adrian Gonzalez long-term durability with his shoulder, and a lack of pitching depth in the rotation and bullpen.

Fat - Nah. Manny actually learned to play the caroms pretty well. Few 2 seasons though were an adventure to say the least. His biggest issue was that he was clueless regarding other players around him.

At Fenway, the LF really has to play attention to the 3B, SS, and CF as those guys will often be in position to make a play on a ball. Saw Manny wipe out Damon a few times on plays because he just wasn't paying enough attention.

Man MG, you are humorless.

Still, Manny was a terrible defensive player, but I suppose I'll give him credits for playing the caroms.

"...but now my kids think their favorite team goes to the playoffs every year."

Ummm, Mr. Stern, lately they do, no?

Fat - If its funny, I laugh. Manny really wasn't as bad defensively as people made him to be at Fenway.

There were plays though where you really wonder what the hell he was thinking.

My favorite is when he would sail the ball over the cut-off man and it would be an adventure on where it landed. Worst one I ever saw was on a play where he rifled it so offline that it bounced and ended up in the seats down the 1st base line.

MG, based on the way you describe him, he was actually that bad.

Anyway, wasn't looking to start a fight, just being a smartass.

To be fair, Boston's starting pitching situation actually looked really good at the start of the year.

Lester is (usually) a bona fide ace, but he didn't pitch like one this year.

Buchholz was fantastic last year and was widely assumed to be on the verge of stardom; then he got injured & missed more than half the year.

Beckett had a terrible, injury-plagued 2010 but it was fair to expect a bounce-back, considering his age and history -- and he did, in fact, bounce back with a very good year.

Lackey wasn't so good in 2010, but it seemed distinctly possible he could bounce back to pre-2010 form; no one could have foreseen a 6.41 ERA.

That's 4 starters who looked like they could be anywhere from good to great this year. Perhaps they might have done well to add another one in free agency but it's not like starting pitching looked like an area of weakness for them when the season began.

Old Phan~ Their 2-10 start didn't help either. Games in April are just as important as games in Sept. There's always a greater emphesis on games in Sept. because the season is winding down, but if the Sox stated 4-8, they're in the playoffs today.

It's all coulda, shoulda, woulda. That's why we have to give Cholly credit. We all may not agree with his moves at times, but when it was time to make sure the team back their foot back on the gas pedal, he made sure thay did. The players played with pride, you could tell they wanted to KO Atlanta (Utley stealing 2nd last night as an example). Great for them.

"Now, that they didn't use the money on Crawford to bolster their thin/weakish pitching staff is another criticism, and one that should be levied their way."

Fatti, I posted that earlier, and contrasted the Sox with the Phils.

RAJ could have spent Lee's money on Werth, but chose to load up on pitching.

Give credit where it's due.

"(Fenway is tough on LH batters that pull the ball)"

NEPP, Williams and Yaz would disagree.

Bigotto, Williams and Yaz both learned to go the other way.

That was a big part of why they stopped using the shift on Teddy.


I think Theo's definition of "best team in baseball for the past 4.5 months" omits their start. His timeline basically starts when their initial losing spell stops. That must be it.

BAP does bring up a good point. The Red Sox could have done for the rotation, but it's not like they left some gaping holes in their rotation and took fliers on unproven pitchers and over-the-hill reclamation the Yankees did.

The Yankees got away with that this year, because they just crushed the ball, and those over-the-hill pitchers actually pitched pretty well for them. But they were roundly criticized at the beginning of the year for bringing in Garcia and Colon and putting their hopes on them, and sticking with Burnett.

Sometimes, it works out for you even when you don't set yourself up well (Yankees), and sometimes it doesn't work out for you even if you set yourself up reasonably well (Boston).

Boston's biggest mistake was probably mid-season, and not doing something to bolster the rotation then, although I guess they did bring in Bedard, but that's not a big enough move, but what moves were there?

BR08, I actually looked at the respective records by date and games played: both times the Phillies came out on top with the better record in almost every conceivable, arbitrary scenario.

Well, Fatalotti, you're forgetting that EVERYONE knows the AL is just a better league in general. I mean, The Phillies could have won 130 games and Boston still would have been the better team. ;-)

Haha, Theory.

While the AL may be more top-heavy than the NL, the AL definitely has its share of stinkers.

Though, it's pretty inarguable that the AL East is the toughest division in baseball.

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