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Monday, September 19, 2011

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Worley or Oswalt for righthanders.
Bastardo for lefties.

Then some combination of Herndon, Stutes and Schwimmer for the 6th.

No Lidge. No Blanton. Kendrick for extra inning insurance.

This isn't really a question. It will be Lidge.

Its funny there was an article today in the Philly Inquirer praising Lidge's performance over the last 2 seasons with this miniscule ERA.

Mentioned his transition toward being a slider pitcher and not pitching with velocity on his fastball. The glaring thing they didn't mention is that he simply has had any consistency with control or command on his fastball this season.

In a 1-run game, you hate to see him come in because of his propensity to BB guys and for the ability of runners to steal at will on him.

Given the lack of depth, Madson needs to be considered for more than 3 outs in some situations.

In this scenario, you have to send Cliff Lee out there for the 8th. Pitch Count be damned.

Is Lee below 150 pitches?

If so, he's back out in the 8th.

Uhm, Blanton gave up a bomb last night so not sure about him pitching scoreless innings.

De Fratus!!

"The D-Backs, trailing 7-5, are sending up Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Young and Ryan Roberts (three right-handed hitters) in the top of the eighth."

You lost me as soon as you had the Phillies scoring 7 runs.

Speaking of DeFratus, I thought he threw 97 or 98 MPH. Yesterday, I don't think he threw anything more than 91 or 92.

Do we really see Lee giving up 5 runs in a playoff game?

DeFratus maxxed out at 93 but sat around 91...which is below his supposed normal range of 93-95 touching 97.

So who knows...maybe its just the tail end of the season, maybe all the scouting reports were wrong, maybe he was overgripping the ball, etc etc.

"Do we really see Lee giving up 5 runs in a playoff game?"

You mean doing it again?

Speaking of DeFratus, I thought he threw 97 or 98 MPH. Yesterday, I don't think he threw anything more than 91 or 92.

Posted by: bay_area_phan

+1

That's one thing I enjoyed seeing last night (was at the game) was DeFratus in there (how do you pronounce it?).

I was looking at the mph and it was 90-92.

Stutes as the 8th inning setup man in the post-season pressure cooker?

Not the dumbest idea I've ever seen on BL, but definitely in the top 10.

NEPP: In his last 3 world series starts, Lee has allowed 15 runs in 18 2/3 innings.

yeah would have made less sense with doc. i've seen lee give up 5 in a playoff game a few times including for the phillies

***Do we really see Lee giving up 5 runs in a playoff game?***


No, but I'm sure Texas fans didn't see him giving up 7 runs in game 1 of last years WS either.

MG: I'm not crazy about it, but you are 100% right: Lidge will be the setup man.

***In his last 3 world series starts, Lee has allowed 15 runs in 18 2/3 innings.***

Yeah, but this isn't a WS game...;)

For the record, I agree with clout on Stutes. There's no way I want him anywhere near the eighth inning in a postseason game. The thought of him pitching the eighth, clinging to a 3-2 lead against the Yankees or whomever makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

Mo Rivera has been used for more than 3 outs the majority of his postseason appearances for the Yankees.

I haven't seen a rule requiring Madson to only pitch 3 outs. Why can't he come in for at least part of the 8th?

J. Weitzel, you're out of line. Don't make me block you from the site.

I don't think DeFratus has ever been a mid 90's type of reliever. He's a 92-93 MPH guy, with good sink and a good slider.

He looked like a wide-eyed kid out there last night. Looked both thrilled and nervous at the same time. Was fun to see someone so genuninely happy to be out there.

Aumont is the young AAA guy who is a mid-to-high 90's fastball guy. Just has trouble controlling it from time-to-time. Probably has the most upside as a potential late inning/closer in the high minors....if he can harness his stuff. When he does, he is really hard to hit.

Honestly, it will be Lidge, and if it isn't Lidge, they'll pull whatever starter has had the most rest if they're truly in a bind back there.

With DeFratus, it is an altitude thing. The air is too thick in South Philly.

Is Bastardo hurt? Or is it known he's completely lost his confidence? I wonder if Carlos Ruiz might take Antonio aside, and spin a tale or 2 about losing -- and regaining -- confidence.

Charlie says he's lost confidence.

Heck it must be something awful with Bastardo if Charlie's made that declaration. I didn't think Charlie lost faith in anyone. I'm still amazed how much Ibanez contributed this year; Charlie stuck with him and it seems to have paid off.

he hasn't lost faith in bastardo. bastardo lacks confidence in himself. and no i don't think he's injured. his velocity is there. he's missing with his pitches

Yes - lost confidence in himself, to clarify. Bastardo in himself.

Bastardo's lost confidence this quickly? Yikes.

If he was hurt, it would be one thing but talking about not being able to meet a bit of diversity.

Kind of reminds me of the phrase that an old coach used to do: 'Iron marshmallow will' - Guy that appears tough on the surface but as soon as you scratch the surface his soft and gooey marshmallow becomes apparant.

As for Stutes, if he doesn't improve that slider this offseason he is nothing more than a marginal MLB reliever. You simply can't get by at the MLB level by just throwing a 4-seam fastball in the mid-90s.

I think it will be Lidge. As much as I like him, I am hardly brimming with confidence at the thought of him out there in a close game for the 8th. But there's no one else who fills me with confidence, either, at this point in the season. Even Madson hasn't seemed to have many 1-2-3 innings lately. (Anyone have the numbers on that to prove or disprove my impression?)

If Bastardo gets back to where he was early in the season, and soon, I could see him resuming the 8th inning role, even v. RH batters.

And why not KK? I get that he fits the role of long reliever or extra innings guy, but I think he could be a good option for the 8th. Especially v. RH hitters.

One question I have is where Worley will fit into the BP mix.

It won't be Blanton. Not sure he'll even make the PS roster. It won't be a starter, except perhaps the one who began the game (Lee in this scenario).

I'm not even sure I want Stutes on the 25-man playoff roster, let alone in the setup role.

If we go with 6 relievers, we've got Madson, Lidge, Bastardo, Worley, and Kendrick for sure, plus one among the group of Herndon, Stutes & Blanton. Herndon has pitched the best of the 3 over the second half. Blanton offers the most upside, but has hardly pitched. I'm not really sure what the case would be for Stutes, other than maybe the fact that he's in better playing shape than Blanton and more likely to give you a strikeout than Herndon.

I forgot about Herndon. Maybe a deliberate omission by my subconscious, since I can't seem to feel good about him no matter how he's done the past few months.

If Bastardo can come back and look like his old self a few times, I want him pitching the 8th, regardless of whether the upcoming hitters are right-handed or left-handed. Otherwise, it will, and should, be Lidge -- although we might see Bastardo if, for instance, Chipper Jones & Brian McCann are due up in the 8th.

It's going to be Bastardo or Lidge. Bastardo was tired, but he got some rest and looked much better the other night, homerun notwitstanding. Said he felt better too.

I don't have a problem with going with Lidge. Yeah, he squeeks it out sometimes, but he always has. He also has significant (winning) experience in the postseason and he's got some maturity.

Close only counts in horseshoes.

What has hurt Stutes the most, is his fastball just doesn't have the life on it that it did in May and June.

He might have only lost 1-2 MPH on his fastball (it tops out now around 92 MPH, most nights), but its been a huge difference for him. He was blowing guys away in June. He can't do that right now as much.

I see no reason why a combo of Lidge, Bastardo and Madson can't get 6 outs in some order.

It all depends on the situation. Righties coming up? Start with Lidge. Lefties? Start with Bastardo. 2 outs and runners on? Go to Madson for 4 outs.

The real answer here is just for Charlie to be flexible.

We've really thrown Bastardo overboard this quickly? I understand he hasn't been good lately, but for the majority of the season the guy was statistically the best reliever in baseball. Unless he's actually hurt, he should get the 8th inning. He's got a few more weeks to work out whatever 'confidence' issues he has.

But yeah, being real and knowing Cholly, it's probably going to be Lidge, especially if it's three RH batters. Stutes shouldn't even be considered- ditto with Blanton and Herndon. To tell you the truth, Kendrick isn't such a bad idea, but only if it's against three rightys.

And Madson should not pitch more than 1 inning, period. Jack, do you remember what happened the last time Cholly pushed the issue on that?

Offense:

After Ibanez hit a grand slam the other night, I was told all was well with this fearsome offensive machine.

Here is what they have done this month:

- JRoll is 7-25 so far since he has come back with no XHBs and no SBs. He needs more time back to see what he is likely to give you in the playoffs.

He simply doesn't have much speed right now. He isn't going to be legging out 2Bs/3Bs nor SBs in the postseason. He's a station-to-station guy for the rest of the year.

- Vic is hitting .194/.284/.333 this month in 72 ABs. He's struggling swinging at a bunch of stuff out of the zone this month. Hopefully he gets finds his swing again at some point before the start of the playoffs.

- Howard has lingering foot issues & supposedly is going to sit out a few days. He's having a good month overall at .255/.406/.549 with 4 HRs in part because of his ability to take BBs at a healthy clip this month.

Not likely that Howard is going to improve much but hopefully Howard shows this same patience in the playoffs.

- Utley has been awful this month (.200/.245/.340) and really has struggled mightily since Aug 1 (.230/.292/.345 with 2 HRs in 148 ABs).

It has gone under the radar but he has hit % LD since Aug 1 at a 10.7% rate vs. his career rate of 19.6%. Hitting nothing hard with tons of weak groundballs to the right-side and pop-up after pop-up. He's probably hit a ball hard to LF maybe 2-3 times the last 6-7 weeks.

Grab your rosaries and pray for St. Utley because he clearly needs it.

- Polanco is having a nice month at .306/.389/.387 with 3 XHBs. He only has 3 XHBs in his last 112 ABs since coming off the DL. He is hitting the ball hard though with a ton of LDs at a ~31% clip.

Just have to hope that he continues to do this because this version of Polanco in the 7-hole is one that really can help you. If he continues to hit like this, I wouldn't mind seeing him back in the 2-hole come playoff time.

- Ibanez is at .255/.305/.455 with 2 HRs in 55 ABs. He's a pure guess hitter who has to really cheat. In the ideal matchups (vs. RHP pitcher who doesn't throw hard), Ibanez can still do some damage.

He also though than easily take an ugly 0fer where he simply has some terrible ABs.

- Chooch is at .275/.373/.353 with 2 XHBs in 51 ABs. Chooch really hasn't shown that much pop at all since the ASB but he is taking BBs & working the count. Still, he has had his usual 2nd half boost.

No issue with him out of the 8-spot in the playoffs.

- Pence has cooled off a bit this month at .293/.361/.507 with 2 HRs in 75 ABs but he is still hitting at a nice clip while drawing his share of BBs & working the count.

Curious to see if the scouting reports at the time of trade that said he couldn't hit good pitching with consistency in the playoffs hold true. Really has been a huge difference maker so far.

Bastardo's got the 8th - no matter who the batters are.

Iceman - Agreed about Madson only pitch 1 IP max. He hasn't thrown more than 1 IP all year.

I wouldn't say they are 'throwing Bastardo' overboard but he has really struggled & it has only been 2-3 outings.

They can get 6 outs with a combination of Bastardo/Lidge/Madson with a high degree of reliability.

The issue is if the starter doesn't go 7 or if a guy like Oswalt is shaky & Cholly tries to get another inning out of him instead of going to the pen.

I will be fascinated to see how Cholly uses Worley. I would imagine he will be the 7th inning guy.

Should or will.

Should, I'd go with Vanimal.

Will, do you have any doubt that Charlie will slot Lidge in that situation? Really?

Yeah. Need Scotts' 'Brad's my guy!' pic with Cholly.

If you are facing the other teams 3 4 5 in teh 8th inning, bring in Madson. If Madson can't go the 9th, you then have to think about bringing in one of the Lidge, Stutes, or Bastardo agains the other teams bottom of the order in the 9th

MG makes some excellent points about our nose-diving offense. Seriously, I see this Phillies team being eliminated in three, maybe four games by the D-Backs unless they pull themselves together. Offense is in the same slump it was back at the beginning of the season, bullpen is terrible, and we're back to giving up hope if our starting pitcher gives up more than two runs. The clinching game has made a lot of people forget these facts, but truth be told, the 9 runs in that game were more a result of the Card's lousy bullpen and (especially) Furcal's misplaying of Pence's two-out ball, not any virtuosity on the Phils' part. I can't see our current collection of walking wounded getting many runs off of Kennedy, not to mention (in the unlikely event they get that far) Greinke.

AT: go back to Queens. How the hell can you draw any
conclusions about the offense in these recent games with these random lineups? Did you watch the Braves and Brewers series when the Phillies were actually trying?

Very simply it is going to be Lidge. If it isn't Lidge it will either be Worley or Kendrick. The latter would be more against right handed hitters.

Madson shouldn't pitch more than one inning if he doesn't have too.

Wow - so everyone is sending Bastardo back to the minors already? Unreal.

AT - Swept by the Dbacks in 3? I would be surprised if this team didn't beat the DBacks.

The offense has a couple of guys really scuffling right now especially Vic and Utley. Good chance that Vic snaps back. Utley is a guy on fumes.

Curious to see how JRoll looks over the next 2 weeks & to see if Vic regains his stroke.

utley had 3 hard hits last night. looked good. vic has been hitting the last two games.

Wow - what the hell are you talking about?

also rollins has been hitting as well. had 4 hits the other night, had a hit last night

The clinching game has made a lot of people forget these facts, but truth be told, the 9 runs in that game were more a result of the Card's lousy bullpen and (especially) Furcal's misplaying of Pence's two-out ball, not any virtuosity on the Phils' part.

Posted by: AT | Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM

utley forced him to make that throw you maroon

Most irreplaceable guy on this team remains Chooch.

There isn't a bigger dropoff right now defensively and offensively at a position between Chooch and Schneider.

It's amazing how bad Schneider is at the plate. He simply showed zero bat speed last night. He's done being able to hit pitching at the MLB level.

Some team will probably sign him to a 1-year deal this offseason to be a backup who starts 45-50 G next year. It will be a mistake.

st - Utley has really struggled the last 6 weeks and has simply been awful this month. If it was Howard or JRoll or Ibanez, you would see a lot more attention on their struggles.

Poor Brian Schneider is in MG's crosshairs. He gets drug into every thread now for no apparent reason.

MG: You think you would have seen Fatalotti's stat that he posted 100000 times - the dropoff from Utley to Valdez is bigger than Chooch/Schneider no matter how much Schnieder sucks or Utley struggles.

It's not terribly difficult to imagine the Phils being eliminated by the Diamondbacks in a 5 game series. All Arizona needs to do is steal one in Philly. Then you've got a suddenly iffy Hamels & (presumably) Oswalt on the road in a ballpark that hasn't been great for Phillies pitchers or hitters. All things considered, I'd rather the Phillies faced Milwaukee.

Also, screw the bullpen. Either Lee goes 8 IP or Madson goes 2 IP. Anything else is inviting disaster.

Backup catcher is the most important position on Beerleaguer.

TTI -- Grammer police! A "drug" is a medical elixer; the proper conjugation of the verb "drag" in the case you used it would be "dragged":

He gets "dragged" into every thread now for no apparent reason.

You can't be the grammar police if you can't spell grammer (or elixir).

Being roughly the 5-6th best pitcher in the league is good enough for 'iffy' nowadays, sweet.

TTI - Schneider started last night.

These are his numbers since the ASB:

.179/.254/.214 with 2 XHBS in 56 ABs (.468 OPS)

These are Chooch's numbers

.310/.384/.411 with 12 XHBs in 158 ABs (.796 OPS)

You can make a good argument for Polanco or Utley vs. Valdez but he is still the most important player on the team because the failoff is so pronounced.

It's not terribly difficult to imagine the Phils being eliminated by the Diamondbacks in a 5 game series. All Arizona needs to do is steal one in Philly. Then you've got a suddenly iffy Hamels & (presumably) Oswalt on the road in a ballpark that hasn't been great for Phillies pitchers or hitters. All things considered, I'd rather the Phillies faced Milwaukee.
Posted by: GTown_Dave | Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

if they are down 2-1, then halladay is going to pitch game 4. guaranteed

I could see the Phillies beating the D-backs, but I could just as easily see them losing. We beat Cincinatti with a lousy offense last year, due to our great superiority in pitching. To recap what happened last year: The Phillies' offense stunk down the stretch, in the first post-season round they strung together some lucky hits against bad pitching and took advantage of a lot of errors on the Reds' part--at which point Phans started proclaiming that the offensive problems were solved. Then the Phils went up against San Francisco's excellent roation and rolled over dead. The D-backs have much better pitching than the Reds, so the first round will be a lot harder--but I can picture the Phillies squeaking by, the Beerleaguers gloating happily over the idiocy of the Debbie Downers, and then the Brewers knocking the stuffing out of the Phils. Sorry to say, I think this team's chances of reaching the WS are only at about 30%.

st - Utley has really struggled the last 6 weeks and has simply been awful this month. If it was Howard or JRoll or Ibanez, you would see a lot more attention on their struggles.

Posted by: MG | Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM
obviously. i was just pointing out he looked better last night

if you think they have a 30% chance of making it to the WS, then you are not really sorry to say anything

Cut: I didn't realize I have to use proper English at all times for someone who can't spell "grammar" or "elixir" properly.

st: That would make sense, but this is loyal-to-a-fault Charlie you're talking about. It's a 50/50 proposition, at best.

MG: What did Schneider starting last night have to do with the question of who will pitch the 8th in a hypothetical scenario? What even prompted you to bring up Schneider? Was it just a cause for you to bash the guy again?

st - Even if you figure they are 60% favorites to win the NLDS and 60% to win the NLCS vs Brewers, they are only (.6)(.6) or a 36% chance to get to the WS.

I actually really like their chances to get to the WS if they face the Dbacks/Brewers respectively in the NLDS and NLCS. Phils match up pretty well with both of these teams.

Less so against the Braves although the Braves have huge problems with Hanson struggling to get back & Jurrjens done until at least the NLCS. Hudson & Beachy are both solid but Lowe has an ERA over 6 since the ASB. Minor is Minor. Plus, there bullpen has started to leak oil too.

I would be really surprised at this point if it isn't Brewers vs. Phils in the NLCS.

Are these posts from AT supposed to be performance art? The Phils just beat Milwaukee 3 out of 4 in Milwaukee and he's talking about the Brewers knocking the 'stuffing' out of them in the playoffs. And we had the D-Backs swept if not for Halladay being pushed too far in the ninth.

They just don't care about the games right now, nor should they. They're playing out a string of meaningless games. The last games that had any shred of meaning, against playoff contenders, they won 6 out of 7. I guess I missed the memo that we're all supposed to wet our pants over some listless performances in games that don't amount to jack sh*t.

TTI - Just talking about the lineup and yeah it was.

Listen... this team is going nowhere!

Offense: Sucks. Plain and simple. All you need do is look at the 10 games (except for Saturday, they gave us those runs). We averaged just over 2 runs per game over those games (again, not including Saturday, it doesn't count). This is the offense we've got. It sucks.

Defense: Sucks. We've had 4 errors since September 10th, and probably a lot more than that since official scorers seem loath to actually give someone an error. I'm guessing we've actually had like 15. It sucks.

Starting Pitching: Sucks. Cole Hammels sucks. He gets roughed up every time out. He's obviously hurt. Roy Oswalt got rocked again his last real time out (again, Saturday doesn't count). His back is obviously injured. The honeymoon is over for Worley. His ERA has shot up in September and he can't even last past the 6th inning. And Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee look tired. Charlie has over-pitched them this year.

Relief Pitching: Sucks. Who can you trust other than Madson, and he's obviously hurt. Bastardo is obviously hurt. Stutes has no control. Lidge is a bum. We should have kept Figueroa.

Backup Catcher: Probably the most important position in the playoffs and we're stuck with the worst backup catcher in baseball history.

I say the DBacks win the series in just 2 games.

Speaking of bashing guys, does anyone else think we'll get a chance to see Bowker start a game or two this week? I'm dying to see if he can not only make contact, but maybe even launch one past the infield dirt!

"I could see the Phillies beating the D-backs, but I could just as easily see them losing. "

Yea, that's generally how baseball works.

Prediction: Bowker will finally make contact. He will swing so late he'll hit Charlie in the dugout. Then he will dutifully take a called third strike.

Actually more interested to see who will make the pitching roster.

4 starters are set. They have 5 set guys in the pen:

Madson
Lidge
Bastardo
Stutes
KK

That leaves 2 spots. Worley will be another.

Final spot for Blanton? Schwimer?

Old Phan: Unless Bud Selig is involved, in which case ties, suspended games & umpires making up rules as they go also become options.

CJ - Thanks for making your ridiculous hyperbole post which really doesn't contain anything that was said on here. You have mastered that.

Why r U mayking fhun of mi speling? Good points on my misspellings; no harm, no foul.

I really wish this board had an "edit" and also a spell check feature. It gets tedious cutting and pasting between a post and MS Word; Word's dictionary is probably the worst for baseball jargon.

I completely agree with CJ.

Particularly this comment:

"Backup Catcher: Probably the most important position in the playoffs and we're stuck with the worst backup catcher in baseball history."

Not to mention that we have the worst backup to our backup infielder, who also happens to be the worst player in any position in the history of the game - and proof that the GM and manager don't have a clue about what they're doing.

Don't be fooled by the division championship, the best record in baseball, and the best run differential, by far, in the NL.

It's all a house of cards, and the last week of baseball proves, without a doubt, that the house of cards is crumbling into a pathetic heap.

No other teams have injuries. No other teams have old players. All other teams have bench players that are really All-stars. The 10 days of offensive excellence at the beginning of this month (against two of our potential opponents in the playoffs) is completely irrelevant. All that matters is their struggles offensively in the 9 days since then (except Saturday, because obviously, you can't count any good offense as meaningful when you're bound and determined to explain why one week of baseball negates an entire season of baseball).

I've already reserved my spot on the Ben Franklin bridge.

Iceman - are you going to the Ben Franklin, or the Walt Whitman? I hear that the Betsy Ross is already completely booked.

My prediction: Bowker goes yard (mumble mumble....as the DH for Long Island Ducks 2012)

Phlipper - Is it ever possible to have an objective conservation with you?

CJ: It's spelled "Coal Hammels" not "Cole Hammels."

Phlipper,
As a result of the ill received LGBT discussion of '11, you cannot refer anyone to the Walt Whitman. You may substitute the Talcony or Commador Barry.

"Phlipper - Is it ever possible to have an objective conservation with you?"

Sure -

Objectively speaking, do you think the Ben Franklin or the Walt Whitman is a better bridge for jumping?

Phlipper - Thanks for making my point.

"To recap what happened last year: The Phillies' offense stunk down the stretch"

Nope, Phils scored 5.67 runs per game from September 1st through the end of the regular season.

Scored 5.56 over their last 16 regular season games. The offense was very good down the stretch last year. But, like has been said before, the regular season has very little bearing on what happens in the playoffs. I'm not worried about the offense going into the playoffs. AS long as they have Vic, Howard and Pence, they have some guys who can really be a force on offense. Hopefully J-Roll and Polly will contribute and you can get some nice work from Mayberry against lefties.

And, of course, hopefully Utley decides to start hitting again sometime soon.

My only concern right now is with Hamels and his recent proclivity to give up homerun balls. Hamels being a lockdown ace in game 3 of these series is probably our biggest advantage going into the postseason. The 9 strikeouts vs. 0 walks last night was a HUGE good sign that the stuff and general control is there, and these HR balls might likely being a statistical blip in the radar, but he has been prone in the past, so we'll see.

Overall, love their chances, since the teams we're playing all have huge holes of their own.

MG -

Objectively speaking - which do you think is a better predictor for how the Phillies offense will perform in the playoffs?

The first 10 days of September, when they were playing two teams they're likely to face in the playoffs - where their production was relatively more representative of their offensive production over the last couple of months?

Or.

The last 9 days of September, playing teams they won't be facing in the playoffs (most likely in the case of the Cards), when their production is more relatively anomalous in comparison to their production over the last couple of months?

MG -

I'd say that Fata's 1:45 post is a pretty "objective" evaluation of the situation.

Would you agree?

i think all the performances still merit watching. does anyone really think that Chase, or Ryan, or Victorino are going up to the plate saying, "whatever, this at bat is meaningless, who cares what happens."?

Chase, for example, is hitting line drives at a career low. his ability to talk a BB has suddenly dissappeared as well. maybe he's not so focused on walking b/c he's trying to straighten out his swing??? who knows, but i seriously doubt that he, and others, are just throwing away their at bats b/c the games don't matter.

having said that, i'm not overly concerned about the offense. we have 2 plus bats right now (Pence and Victorino), 3 better than average bats (Ryan, Rollins, and Chooch), and 3 average bats (left field, Chase, and Polanco). not one of them is truly below average, and i think enough of them will heat up in the playoffs to muster up 4-5 runs on most nights.

i'm posting this whole article b/c it's from ESPN insiders, and "kooky" is so close to "goofy" it really shouldn't be missed:

PHILADELPHIA -- In keeping with the Phillies' recent tradition, the Philadelphia veterans waited for Hunter Pence to pop the first bottle of champagne Saturday night, to give him a chance to experience what he hadn't before. They did the same thing for Roy Halladay last year after clinching a trip to the playoffs.

But part of making Pence the centerpiece of their celebration probably has something to do with Pence's personality, which is part Red Bull, part Dustin Pedroia and part middle linebacker. When Pence was with the Astros, the Phillies had some sense of him from a distance, and now that they're around him daily, they have a full appreciation for what he is. "Kooky," said general manager Ruben Amaro. "A good kooky."


A fun kooky. He's a kooky-looking player, because you'd never teach any player to swing like Pence does or to run like he does. He's praying mantis in a baseball uniform, with long arms, and he chokes up on a big bat. "Look at his shoulders," said Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, as Pence stepped into the cage for a round of batting practice Sunday evening. "He's a lot stronger and a lot bigger than you realize."


In fact, Mackanin said, he had never seen a right-handed hitter drive a ball into the upper deck of Citizens Bank Park in batting practice -- not in a game, but in batting practice, when the hitter must generate all the power -- until Pence arrived. "Now I've seen it maybe a dozen times," Mackanin said.


In one of Pence's first days with the Phillies, he had gone hitless in a few at-bats, and as he stood in the dugout, preparing for his next appearance, Jimmy Rollins hit a little flair over the infield for a single. "Hey, Hunter, why don't you hit a blooper like that," Mackanin said, jokingly.


Pence looked at Mackanin and said, "I don't hit bloopers. I melt faces."


Mackanin laughed as he told the story about Pence, who has made a lot of his teammates laugh since joining the Phillies.


Winning every year, in the way the Phillies have, is not easy. Players get worn down by expectations, by the media attention that comes with repeated success, by the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately pressure that follows a championship. The players' personalities can get calloused through the years. Pence has given the Phillies a refresher on how much fun baseball can be as they pursue another championship.

Madson won't be back with the team next year, so use him for more than two innings.

Phlipper - Generally. You can't take away much from the run totals in these Sept games for several reasons (injuries the Phils have had, bench guys getting a fair amount of PT, etc).

I was just taking a look at how some of the respective players were doing and the Phils have more than 1-2 guys scuffling right now or dealing with injuries.

Curious to see how Vic does hit over the next 2 weeks. I am willing to bet that he gets a fair amount of PT from Cholly in an attempt to 'hit his way out of it.' Also curious to see how Howard (who is going to miss a few games with a cortisone shot in his ankle) and JRoll yet.

Put the pitchers in age order, oldest first. Cholly will use the oldest first, then the next oldest, etc. Cholly's upset that Cy Young is dead; he wanted to sign him up for relief duty.

Sox are trying to hand the Rays the Wild Card on a silver platter. It's up to them to accept it at this point.

I'd seriously be engaging in some shadenfreude if the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs this year.

It'd also be funny to go back and read all the posts of people who were claiming that starting the season off 2-10 is "no big deal".

10 losses is 10 losses.

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EST. 2005

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