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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I think that should say "Let's drink".

We may all look back at this in a month and laugh, but color me concerned at this point. They look completely gassed, worn down, and injured. I know that "momentum" has been discussed ad nauseum, but I'm in the camp that momentum - for this team - matters. They have not shown the ability to flip the switch when it matters.

Momentum does not matter. But hitting slumps are real. The Phils .671 OPS in September is, however, better than the Padres and the Astros, so they still have some bragging rights.

I was pretty psyched about watching them set the franchise win record, but now I just hope they can all get healthy in time for the postseason. Not sure if that's possible for Chase or Polly, but Howard, Ruiz, and Pence ought to be okay come playoff time if they get more rest. Hopefully that will be enough.

Guess why they look tired. They are tired. Shocking, right? They just charged through a season and never took a break. They were amazingly consistent and were on every night. Now that they've accomplished all they can in the regualr season, they are rightly resting. Remember resting? It's what eveyrone said they should have been doing all season. They are resting now. Sometimes that mean Orr and Bowker play. Sometimes that means the regulars just get some work in. I am not concerned at all.


Rest, rest until Monday and then emerge from the cave and put a whoop'n on the Braves as a tune-up for October.

Momentum or streakiness, or whatever you call it, does matter and its laughable to pretend like it doesn't exist.

However, when you have a team basically rolling back-ups out there with nothing to play for and are at the back stretch of a long run it means nothing. There is no conclusion that can be drawn from what is happening right now other than- the Phillies are not invested in these games.

I forgot to mention that I was using the short attention span, small sample size approach by referencing the most recent 22 games. WE do not need to worry about, say, Milwaukee because we hold, like, a .262 to .259 batting average advantage in franchise history.

Steve - when have this year's Phillies not shown they can flip the switch when it matters?

They haven't had to this year. But this same lineup - save Pence - showed that it wasn't that easy in the 2010 playoffs

Resting??!! I don't like seeing Hamels, Halladay and Lee lose on back to back to back teams like the Fish and the gNats! This losing crap has got to stop! No runs last night? Shameful!

Cholly needs to read the riot act to these back up scrub bench players. They are playing for the best team in baseball, not the Podunk Punching Bags. This is pre-spring spring training for these guys. They need to put up or be looking for work elsewhere next year.

I'm with Lake. How can these AAA guys be tired?

It is strikingly obvious that this team needs time to rest. They're an old, banged up team to begin with, and they've played 25 games in 23 days (with a few extra inning games mixed in there). They've clinched home field throughout the playoffs. Who cares if they don't break the franchise record for wins? The only thing that matters right now is winning the World Series.

I agree with Meyer's 8:51 post. Let them rest and play the Braves tough, for two reasons: (1) those games might be important for the Braves and Cards, so professional courtesy and whatnot; and most importantly (2) get everyone ready for October. I'm not saying the regular starting 8 shouldn't play again until the Braves series, but playing them everyday against the Nats and Mets seems foolish.

The AAA guys aren't tired -- they're AAA guys. That's why they look like they're AAA guys playing in an MLB game.

Steve - I would say they had to during the Braves and Brewers series. Two most formidable opponents in the NL and the Phils went 6-1 against them. How soon we forget.

I read a beat writer report that DOM will go to Florida Instructional League after the regular season ends - does that mean he's definitely not making the post season roster?

The "AAA" lineup that got a classic ass-handing-to courtesy of noted hurler Ross Detwiler last evening consisted of Rollins, Polanco, Victorino, Utley, Mayberry, IbaƱez, Francisco, Ruiz & Lee.

Ah nevermind, found answer. Instructional League ends Oct 15th.

World Series starts Oct 17th, DOM goes from instructional league then to his DH role in the World Series.

correction - WS starts oct 19

I'm not going to join in the hand wringing. It's a rough patch and watching Ross Detwiler befuddle the regulars throwing 8 pitches an inning was painful. All that matters is health, staying in a routine that keeps everyone reasonably sharp, and that the games don't matter.

"How can these AAA guys be tired?" Not sure if it's a joke but, of course they're tired. They've played a full season of AAA and now they're entering uncharted territory in terms of the number of games played in a single season. To that I'd add, who cares? I doubt they'd rather be home or even sitting on the bench. Let them play and don't worry about the results.

Yeah, I'd agree there is some merits for concern esp with Pence limping, Polly banging that pitch off his foot last night and the majority regular linetup getting blown away by Detwiler last night. The other concern is the starters losing to these less than stellar teams which are playing some AAA guys as well. Who would think the BL community would be in desperate need of Howard hitting?

When the Phils used to open to loss filled April the word was Charlie couldn't get the team together in time for opening day. Now it seems he has a problem getting them for the playoffs.

I am no expert but somneone has to explain to me the penchant for letting our stellar starters complete games unnecessarily. If anything I think Bastardo needs to get out there to find out he is OK and not Schwimmer or Savery.

For that matter it has been clear for sometime now that Ibanez can produce if he doesn't play daily.I bet the same is true for Howard. But the people that spell these aging guys should be those who are likely to see action in the playoffs --as DH for example or base runners--Gload and Mayberry, Brown. Not Bowker!

It is absolutely ridiculous that Bowker gets to have this playing time when Gload needs to get ready for his role as a PH.

Charlie is a nice guy and the players like him and he brings good Karma to the club house but he sucks as a tactitian and we all know that. Casey Stengel was called a great manager. And he was when he had Mantle and Berra and McDougald he sucked with the Mets. Same as Charlie he has a great team he is not a great or even good manager.

If we can make it to WS and face the Yankees it will be quite the contrast, and interesting to see who wins the battle of our starters against their lineup. If our hitters show up at all, one would hope we can put up at least a few runs against CC whom we beat in playoffs against the Brewers, and shell a couple of the other starters. But of course, we're not there yet.

Despite the results, I'm enjoying seeing the AAA and bench guys go out there since I wouldn't have a clue as to who they are otherwise. Rest the main guys, watch the replacements [make or] break. Getting more play now may give some of them a good dose of humility and make them kick it into high gear, producing better-than-expected results--check out RFD.

RK - UC will own the record for most wins as a Phillies manager perhaps by the end of this season. Say what you want about how much of an impact a manager makes on a game, but you can't argue with the amount of wins he has.

One thing that has been alarming is the HRs given up by starters lately.

Incidently, I don't know who was on what side of the bet, but the guy that said that the Phils would not crack the top five offenses defined by R/G is looking pretty good right now. Aside from their falling to a dead heat for 5 with MIL, their tiredness, the meaninglessness of the games and the AAA guys who will get a lot of playing time will probably keep them from outscoring ARI, NYM and MIL the rest of the way. They're pretty safe for seventh though.

since everyone is resting these days, I'm really hoping we get to see another Wilson Valdez pitching opportunity. I mean, why not?

While pondering the 7 hours of yesterday I wasted watching the worst baseball I've seen the Phils play in a long time, I came up with two conclusions.

Either we look back at this as a stretch the Phils just didn't take seriously, or this is the start of an early playoff exit for the best team in baseball a la the '08 Cubs.

Both are very plausible outcomes if you ask me.

Red: Casey Stengel also owned a stellar record as a Yankee manager and still does. So did Torre until he got to the Dodgers.

Beides I have been a Phillie fan for more years I would care to admit and most of those years were very lean years for the Phillies. So it doesn't say much that he has most wins.

Enough alrady with the AAA lineup excuses. We've played exactly 1 game with our AAA call-ups in the lineup. And we've won all season with the likes of Mini-Mart, Valdez, Orr & Schneider in the lineup. We're scoring 1 run a game because every last one of our regulars -- except maybe Polanco -- is stinking it up spectacularly.

The Phillies have decided to tank the rest of the regular season. Hope all that rest and ambivalence pays off come playoff time. Guess we'll see if they can flip that nonexistent magic switch

Dear Mr. Bastardo, Happy Birthday Antonio. Welcome to age 26. I hope this message finds you well rested and ready to pitch tonight against Lannan and the Nats. It will be OK if you are a productively wild. Get it out of your system and celebrate your birthday with your friends and family.

Not that I really care all that much, but it's funny how only a few days ago, the NL Cy Young race was probably the closest race in history. 1 start later & it has turned into a landslide. I wouldn't be shocked if Kershaw won unanimously at this point.

I'm fine with a slump. I've had a great time enjoying the winning now people that like losing, worrying and carrying on about how bad the team is can have their fun. Enjoy. It won't last long.

bap: I'm actually suprised that Halladay and Lee came out as flat as they did in the last respective starts. Even if the regular lineup needs a blow, they had a lot riding on those starts

they had a lot riding on those starts if you think they get fired up about winning Cy Young awards.

I'm just glad the Giants will be declared dead a 2nd time this month. They can't be dead enough to ease the pain of last October.

If Lincecum pitched against his Giant team for a full season he would have won the Cy Young award.

Halladay and Lee both came to Philly to compete for rings. They are getting ready for October.

The only thing that concerns me about these games is getting into bad rhythms at the plate. But Rollins and Utley were hitting line drives last night so that shows me that their approaches are staying the same which is encouraging.

Here's a wild and crazy idea for Worley's start tonight: let Ruiz catch. Ruiz is the one who's going to be catching him in the playoffs &, if that's an issue, it's an issue that Worley needs to adjust to now.

Not to mention that Ruiz can hit & play defense, whereas Schneider can do neither.

yawn. i'll be interested to see how the Phils look in their final 3-4 games of the season. till then, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

As long as they win 11 games in October, I couldn't give a damn about the rest of September.

BAP: You are right - Worley pitching in the playoffs is a wild and crazy idea.

Here's a wild and crazy idea for Worley's start tonight: let Ruiz catch. Ruiz is the one who's going to be catching him in the playoffs &, if that's an issue, it's an issue that Worley needs to adjust to now.

Not to mention that Ruiz can hit & play defense, whereas Schneider can do neither.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

ruiz has an ankle problem. i doubt he even plays a couple days

st: Wasn't aware of that. Great.

lorecore: You don't think Worley's going to be on the 25-man roster?

Yes he will be on roster - but I anticipate him matching the playing time of Wilson Valdez.

lore: Disagree. There will come a game in the post-season in which Vance Worley's performance looms large. If we go far into the post-season, there may even be several such games.

this is interesting

Phillies have 12th best W% when scoring 3 runs or fewer since 1950. Of those 11 better, 7 won WS, 2 won NL.

I'm thinking an average of 7IP for our starters, and Madson/Bastardo/Lidge ahead of Worley on the pen depth chart.

lore: I agree with all of that, but the key word in your statement is "average." At some point, there will probably be a game where one of our starters makes an early exit & we need 4 or 5 relievers, including 1 who pitches multiple innings. There could also be a long extra inning game where we need multiple relievers. The Phillies have had a ton of such games this year.

st - So pitching wins in October?

Yeah pitching wins in October, but the bats need to supply some support.

Can't argue that - and i would definitely feel better with Worley getting those multiple innings then a Stutes or whoever else is our 6th bullpen arm (KK?).

I would wonder if there was a poll - what the overwhelming choice would be:

Who will appear in more 2011 playoff games - wilson valdez or vance worley.

for Jack:

Ibanez HR - 20 (1 per 25 AB)
Francsico HR - 6 (1 per 40 AB)

Raul in a rout. Francisco played his way onto the end of the bench this year.

Of course, Francisco had 2/3 of their hits in the second game of yesterday's twin bill.

Pretty crazy that the CY award will essentially equate to "who pitches best when the games are meaningless?" Kind of defeats the purpose of an award but Kershaw has certainly had much more experience in meaningless games this year. Doc and Lee never really stood a chance.

Willard: Yeah, too bad Dodgers team didn't suck so we could watch Kershaw crumble in the playoffs against us again.

Charlie is killing em on the 610 midday show right now. So good.

Kind of ironic that the 39-year old guy in LF just might be the most healthy regular the Phils have right now.

If there was ever a game to field a full AAA lineup, today's the day.

Lannan isn't quite in "Phillie Killer" status, but he's certainly among the leading "Phillie Maimers."

MG: Must be the chew.

TTI: "Momentum or streakiness, or whatever you call it, does matter and its laughable to pretend like it doesn't exist."

Allow me to defend my good friend Jack. I don't think he is saying those things don't exist. Obviously, streaks and slumps exist.

What Jack is saying is that how a team performs in the last couple weeks of the season has no predictive value at all for how it will do in post-season. Since the stats back this up, it's always a surprise to me when this gets debated (as it does every year on BL).

My brother Albert and me plan on starting our streak next week. Don't worry, be happy.

Meyer: "How can these AAA guys be tired?"

Obviously the pressure of the pennant race and then the AAA playoffs has exhausted them, both physically and mentally. The games in Philly are just spring training games after that pressure cooker.

***"Momentum or streakiness, or whatever you call it, does matter and its laughable to pretend like it doesn't exist."***

I agree completely. Momentum is the sole reason that the 2000 Yankees won the WS. Had they not played .400 ball in Sept, I dont see them winning in October.

clout: Your good friend Jack? I'd hate to see how you treat your enemies.

As for the study cited by Jack (and Fatalotti), I'm not so sure that it captures the specific issue which is being debated. The study concerns team record over the final weeks of the season -- a segment of the year in which the teams with the best records are often playing the scrubs. But what about plain old hitting stats over the final weeks of the season? If you believe in streaks, then what you're saying is that a player's hitting stats this week have a positive correlation with that same player's hitting stats next week. So, if the Phillies' everyday players are almost all hitting badly going into the playoffs, that would potentially be a very bad thing.

GTown Dave: What do you know of Ross Detwiler? You know NOTHING of Ross Detwiler.

It's My Brother Albert and I!

Hmmm, let me get this straight. RK compares Charlie Manuel to Casey Stengel and then concludes "Same as Charlie he has a great team he is not a great or even good manager."

Stengel is in the Hall of Fame. Is RK suggesting Charlie is headed there too?

Little Ollie: A Phillies-Yankees World Series would be the starkest, most fierce battle of Good vs. Evil since World War II.

Baseball is first and foremost entertainment, and the last few games have been, at best, mediocre entertainment, so the frustration in watching the games is understandable. Do the outcomes of these games mean anything as far as the playoffs are concerned? Not a bit.

I'm moving closer to the b_a_p-ish school of thought regarding the post-season. Moving, but the there yet.

I think the best description of my mindset is "the sky is half-falling".

Remember now, GTown Dave said that Doc was doing worse the second half of the year because his face was redder during those starts.

BAP: You don't think that you'd find poor hitting to be a cause for the poor records in the stats cited by Jack and Fata?

Excuse my French. Me and Albert.

RedBurb: Fangraphs is developing a stat they call RFS (Red Face Syndrome), but the research is laborious since they have to review game stories in which the pitcher's face is mentioned. One their work is complete, I think RFS will supplant WAR as the argument-ender on who's better than who.

No. 1: As long as we're headed to the playoffs, the sky isn't falling. But if our offense doesn't get straightened out within the 10 days between now & the NLDS, I will be seriously concerned. At this point, I'm more disgusted than concerned.

clout: I think you'd find a lot of reasons for the poor records -- including the fact that teams with good records are often playing mostly the backups. To some extent, that's also true in the Phillies' case. But my point is: the backups aren't the only ones who aren't hitting.

in game one yesterday though, the regulars went 6 for 13. the backups/crap went 4 for 26

So, Preacher, without Chase Utley in the line-up, who do you think Lannan will aim at today?

(It is true that, like, 30% of his career HBPs are Phillies. Other than hitting Phillies he appears to have decent control. Kinda makes me wonder if facing Philadelphia gives him the yips.)

"BAP: You don't think that you'd find poor hitting to be a cause for the poor records in the stats cited by Jack and Fata?

Posted by: clout "

Not necessarily. Teams have won a few games with poor hitting because their pitching was superior to the other team's. The stated statistical analysis was, IIRC, about how teams with bad records over the last couple weeks did in the post-season. While they may have had bad hitting leading to their bad records, they also might have had bad pitching leading to a bad record. We simply do not know, based on the given data, anything about how those teams were hitting, either in the last two weeks or the post-season.

Worley is kind of an unknown, possibly intimidating quantity. He may not be quite as "above the fray" as Doc, Cliff & Cole. Lannan may end up being a bit more careful, knowing he'll have to face the Vanimal.

Or maybe, since these games supposedly don't mean anything, Charlie can put Valdez (or even Chooch after yesterday with Werth) in to take a shot at him for one at bat.

Andy, hopefully someone expendable. I vote for Francisco.

NEPP: I'm not saying it is an absolute in all cases because it clearly isn't. Please tell me where I argued it is.

Look we have established on here that the hottest team in October usually wins the World Series. What would you call that? I would say it is a team on a streak or having some form of momentum. Some might call it something different. Some might call it blind squirrel finding a nut.

The larger point is that while I do think in some cases momentum can help a team- it's a non starter with the Phillies because these games mean nothing to them. You can't gleam anything from them about future performance.

The Phils have been playing so poorly with Howard on the bench - maybe this nets him more MVP votes (yes, I'm kidding).

With yesterday's starts - it looks like KK is now the #1 starter with the Vanimal #2 (could change after tonight) with Oswalt #3 based on last start. Right now, Hamels will be in the pen if even on postseason roster at ll.

I wonder what the record is for teams who already clinched home field advantage over the past decade or so.

I tried to think of other teams that have clinched such with still over 10 or so games left - but couldnt really. 2001 Mariners..but they had a 100 win Oakland team still within shouting distance.

Reposting this from last thread because it is relevant to this discussion:

"Actually - I'd bet that performance over the three previous days has no significant impact on how a player hits on the fourth day: my guess is that chances are, averaged over a significant # of at bats, the performance on the fourth day would work out to career averages, regardless."

I don't normally agree with Phlipper, but I agree with this. I decided to do a brief analysis of 3 players: Utley, Howard, and Ibanez. I only looked at 2011, and only these 3 players - if someone with more time or more data-collection knowledge wants to look at this further, I'd be really curious to see the results.

I grabbed the 2011 gamelogs for each player, picked out the games where they had 2 hits or more, and figured out what their batting average was in their next games. If hot streaks and cold streaks are reliable game-to-game predictors of performance, we would expect players' batting average after multi-hit games to be higher than their overall batting average.


Utley: 22/97 (.227) after multi-hit games, 75/286 (.280) otherwise
Howard: 31/148 (.209) after multi-hit games, 103/391 (.263) otherwise
Ibanez: 40/134 (.299) after multi-hit games, 81/367 (.221) otherwise

Combined: .245 after multi-hit games, .248 otherwise

You can't really draw any conclusions without looking at a larger sample, and if I had more time I would look at more than just batting average, but this seems to cast doubt on popular perception of "hot" and "cold" streaks.

Granted, there are a ton of caveats in this back-of-the-envelope analysis (a 1-for-1 pinch hit day is not included in a streak, I didn't account for off days, I only looked at batting average, etc.).

Also relevant:

"The clustering illusion was central to a widely reported study by Gilovich, Robert Vallone and Amos Tversky. They found that the idea that basketball players shoot successfully in "streaks", sometimes called by sportcasters as having a "hot hand" and widely believed by Gilovich et al.'s subjects, was false."

DH Phils -

I don't normally agree with you either.

And in this case I agree with your assessment that your analysis in the post above is based on too small a sample size to be very informative.

Too bad that you left out the other part of my post from a previous thread:

"In a similar fashion, there is no doubt that BL's Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys will predict gloom and doom for a player on his fourth day no matter what happened in the three previous days. With a large enough sample size, we'll see that they too will perform exactly at career averages: hand-wringing until the cows come home or the Phillies win the WFS - which ever comes first."

"Look we have established on here that the hottest team in October usually wins the World Series. What would you call that? I would say it is a team on a streak or having some form of momentum. Some might call it something different."

I would call it an assessment that has the causality exactly backwards: a team doesn't win the World Series because it is the hottest team in October, rather, we define the hottest team in October as the team that wins the World Series.

Phlipper: I do agree with that, too.

I would just like to remind the hand-wringers that most of them were hand-wringing hopelessly for two years running about the Phillies' "pathetic offense" after the early parts of the two seasons, respectively,

-- only to find that in the subsequent months, the Phillies offense out-performed most of the other teams in the NL.

I know, DH - just tweaking you a bit.

Chase B. Ross - You going to actually start to hit at some point?

DH - this debate about "hot streaks" has come up at BL before - and unfortunately, it seems that the basketball study is the best one that most people know about.

I think that Jack's points about the "gambler's fallacy," are on point. Also, I think that a "hindsight is 20/20" mentality comes into play.

People tend to note, and then remember, when on a fourth day after three days of hot-hitting, a player continues to hit well (or after three days of winning, a team wings the fourth game) - yet they tend to note less, and thus remember less, when after three days of hot-hitting, a player stinks it up on the fourth day. It's the nature of how we all tend to find patterns to capture seemingly random events.

It's like when my girlfriend is thinking about her twin sister, and at that moment her twin sister calls, and she speculates that there was some kind of "precognition" that came into play. Of course, she tends not to note the many times that she's thinking of her twin sister when no call comes through.

Andy: "We simply do not know."

My point precisely. We have no clue whether teams that had poor records in the final 3 weeks before the playoffs hit poorly or not.

The one thing we do know is that, whatever the cause, those records have no predictive value at all. I'm willing to bet OPS in the final 3 weeks also has no predictive value.

Just want to say that although Chase B Ross's post was one I would have been proud to have written, alas, it was not written by me.

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