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Saturday, October 01, 2011

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I see popular national media backing the Cards and Brewers ... Have the Phillies really become the Yankees or the bad guys of the NL? After so much losing, you'd think we get cut a little slack.

Wow, JW. Queue the Rocky music...

Tomorrow's game pushed back a half hour because the Yankee rain situation, as if the Yankees game will not go past however long the timeslot is.

Everyone knows jinxes work, so I'm all in favor.

As if the game time weren't already late enough! And yes, EFF, the Yankees game will probably still run into Phillies game.

I see Greinke is to pitch game 2 on short rest.

JW, way to capture & fuel our enthusiasm!

Win, Win, Win, indeed!!

THey should be playing now. It is beautiful outside....it's gon' rain all night. Unlike the Tigers and Yankees the Phils really don't mind a rainout. Halladay only can pitch one game in the series? Oh well that means Lee pitches twice....either way you are in trouble if you are the opposition.

Predicting that the Phils win the whole thing is easy to do. And also very boring. So, it's not surprising that Jayson Stark predicted that the Rangers would win the WS, whether or not he really believes it.

We should expect that, next pre-season, there again will be a number of media guys who predict that the Braves will win the division. They are working stiffs who just want us to pay attention to them.

win win win; okay
win win win; okay. and then
just win win win win

(I haven't had any coffee yet; whaddya expect, Longfellow?)

113 wins=113 diamonds. One diamond at a time.

Andy, get some coffee: You need a 4th "win"'in line 2.

The Rangers are making Jayson Stark look bad at the moment. The Rays are for real.

Good Morning!

I am so glad today is finally here.

This day was inevitable the moment Cliff Lee signed on the dotted line. Everything else has been a formality. That this team took care of business so effectively this year (early clinch and team record in wins) is a testament to the talent and drive of these players.

Now the only season that really matters is here. Doc, Cliff and Roy want a ring. That's what they came here for. And they're going to do all they can to get us there.

GBrett, the haiku is sound in present condition.

Boring, but sound.

The baseball gods allowed us to put this rotation together. Now let's hope they make it rain before or after game. Don't want to see what happened last night to doc and the boys.

I think the Phils have a better record when Stark doesn't pick them.

Matt Gelb story today is on how Danys Baez fixed Bastardo long distance.

Fata, I forgot it's a haiku and as such needs the proper syllables. Thanks for the reminder.

I thought it was supposed to reflect the number of wins needed for a ring. If so, maybe the 2nd line should read: "win, win, win; okay, then" Cut out the "and" to preserve the haiku and still reflect the 11 wins

Scanning the Cardinals blog and they are claiming the "no one believes in us" mantle. Whatever.

Vic tweets 'full day of baseball today' with suspended game makeup. I think there were always 4 games scheduled today, so actually less baseball then planned.

Lets f'n do this baby! I cant wait to see Doc choke the life out of this #1 NL Offense(a la 2010 Reds), and then when they finally think they've passed the worst and get air to breathe, Lee and Hamels get shoved right down their throat to end it.

Odds this game even gets played?

EFF, great story, thanks for the heads-up.

Maybe as long as we're paying Baez, we should have been using him as a pitching coach. Maybe we should sign him up to be pitching coach somewhere in our system.

Too bad he wasn't effective as a reliever for us. But if he's "fixed" Bastardo, then I'm very grateful to him.

I'm not superstitious or anything but since I'll be at work the odds of this game being played tonight is 110%.

Im a big fan of those stories about pitchers have influence on others -- evidence against all of the sabremetric studies that try to eliminate the human element from the game.

On Oct. 3rd, ESPN Magazine named Boston "America's Most Dominant Sports City." Then the Pats lost to Buffalo for the first time in like 8 years and the Red Sox completed the biggest September collapse in baseball history. Has anyone heard from Bill Simmons?

My brother lives in Boston and sent me this message on Thursday: Go Bruins!

Say what you will about Curt Schilling, but he flat out nailed it when he made an offhand remark about Boston’s pre-’04 “jinx” being related solely to bad baseball, and not the residual and everlasting after-effects of selling the Babe to NY in order to finance a play (damn, I wish I could find that quote!). Boston's latest collapse is likely nothing more than poor talent and character evaluation; Crawford/Lackey being poster children for that nonsense.

Looks like Boston’s FO drank their own Kool Aid and really believed in the preseason hype. Regardless, the 2 – 8 start was a freakin’ revelation. The team simply is not that good. I’m sick of the Boston mystique/ worship. In what other city could a revered franchise such as the Celtics tank an entire season just to get a higher draft pick, with the scribes all the while looking the other way?

My Daddy went to his grave a rabid Sox fan – one of my first vivid memories was hearing about the “Splendid Splinter” – but geesh Boston, get the he88 over yourselves!

You. ain’t. that. great.

Linked at Philled_In:

http://m.stltoday.com/STL/db_272599/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Fm6trrUP

Quoting from it:

When last the Cardinals faced Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay at his ballpark, hitting coach Mark McGwire didn't need to check the scoreboard for the righty's pitch count or his hitter's success to know.

He could hear it from Halladay.

"Watching Halladay walk off the mound in a couple innings screaming at himself, which you rarely see, he was frustrated because we were laying off that stuff," McGwire said. "You look at what we've done to (Cliff) Lee this year, what we've done to Halladay, what we've done to (Cole) Hamels, and it's basically make them throw more pitches than they have other times."

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Doc, Cliff and Cole throw a lot of strikes. I hope they stand and watch.

JW - Little sleep, A lot of coffee, and playoffs inspired this post?

It's time indeed. Win this thing this year. I'm not ready to have to start paying attention to football.

Last time Cliff Lee faced the Cardinals, he threw a 126 pitch shutout.

I bet he was really angry that night about all those pitches he threw.

Shake and Bake rocks Beerleaguer with Shakespeare’s Henry V; Laurence Olivier's performance in the 1944 film rendition is reported in Google (www.phrases.org.uk ) to be an All Star rendition.

Yikes. The best baseball talk anywhere, and off-the-charts literary references. Only on Beerleaguer.

All told, Lee gave up 3 ER over 15.1 IP against the Cardinals this year.

Cole Hamels didn't pitch particularly well against them, surrendering 4 ER in 7 IP.

Doc threw 107 pitches over 8 IP, while surrendering 4 ER. The time before that, he threw 97 pitches over 6 IP, but only gave up 1 ER. He surely would have pitched the 7th (and maybe the 8th), but the Phillies were losing 2-1 at the time, and Manuel chose to pinch hit.

I'm not sure what McGwire is trying to get at here. Does he really think he's going to beat our pitchers by getting them out of the game with a high pitch count. Doesn't he know how Manuel manages. As long as they are effective and the game is close or we have a lead, those guys will be in the game.

Funny, Fata. Yeah, the Cardinals' approach could work for us, as well. I like CJ's image of them watching strikes 1,2, & 3 all pass them by. There was more to the article, however - Obviously, they are talking about working the count & making pitchers work, like the Yankees do.

This could be a really exciting series!

Although I'd settle for some boredom like yesterday's TX-TB game, with the Phils subbing for the Rays, of course.

Maybe it’s too much coffee, but it sounds to me like McGwire's trying to get inside the heads of Halladay and Lee. Yea, I like that strategy. Halladay and Lee get "punked" all the time by faded juicers.

Weitzel,

You have a literary voice that was muted and/or wasted this season. You are the icing that makes Phillies baseball more delicious. Please don't change or forget that, especially this postseason!

Love,
TBex

That article got me all fired up, too, by the way.

Working the count is for losers like Bobby Abreu

JW: I second the motion by TBex.

Is it October 1st yet?

On the edge of oblivion
And all the world is Babylon
And all the love and everyone
A ship of fools sailing on

E-ever-y-ybody, Everybody have fun tonight
E-ever-y-ybody, Everybody have fun tonight

[...]

Everybody have fun tonight
Everybody have fun tonight
Everybody Wang Chung tonight

It feels like forever ago and, at the same time, just yesterday that Doc was on the mound in game 1. The anticipation seems somehow greater than it was a year ago, today. Can't wait!!!

Are the rally towels white again this year?

Of course the anticipation is greater than last year. Because Cliff Lee is following Doc in the rotation.

About this series: The Cardinals are not a team that we can expect to kick away the series like the Reds did last year. The Phillies will likely have to play well to beat them, not expect them to beat themselves. That is the real difference from last year. And I think they can do it. I'd say Phillies in 4 with Hamels being the weak link based on recent fat pitch tendencies. (Don't think he's actually healthy or I would not say that.)

My last post reminded me. Did anyone remark on how Chooch called for an inside pitch 0-2 to Uggla in Hamels' last appearance?

I'm an old pitcher, really old, and I was always taught that 0-2 you bury one in the dirt or throw it enough outside that no hitter could reasonably be expected to hit it with any authority. The one place you never go is inside, unless you intend to hit the guy. You have little room for error inside, while outside, you can literally miss your target by a foot and still not do any damage.

I know these guys have to pitch inside, but I don't agree with Chooch that doing it 0-2 is smart.

aksmith, I've heard a few pitch selections questioned in the past by Ricky Bo, for example, after the games. I know that particular pitch was remarked upon by a few posters on BL, too. (Are you kidding? I think almost every decision is picked apart here.) I just chalk it up to Chooch not being perfect.

I do hope he'll be Senor Octubre! Also hoping for Red-light Rollins, might-be-MVP Vic, "Get me to the plate, boys" Howard, & "I melt faces" Pence, "good" Raul, effective Polly, and "Chase Utley, you are the man."

We've been waiting since Christmas, and now the day is finally here. Only 4 hours to go!

Phillies (via Twitter): "Game 1 Lineup - Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Pence RF, Howard 1B, Victorino CF, Ibañez LF, Polanco 3B, Ruiz C, Halladay P"


Who thinks we need to get Baez on the staff as a consultant? Fact is he was key for Contreras last year, key for Bastardo this year and could be great with some of the young guys in the minors.

Now lets go remind Lohse of what it is like to pitch at CNB in the playoffs

Off-topic for today, but I found this article about Jimmy Rollins, wherein he comments on Reyes' decision to exit the last game after his bunt single.

http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2011/09/phillies_jimmy_rollins_takes_s.html

Ouch. Wall Street Journal's headline about the Phillies: "The Mighty Phillies: All Pitch And No Hit"

Basically, all the reporter says is that our strength is our pitching. But he almost manages to make that sound negative, or perhaps that's my own bias in reading it.

Here's the piece:

As the National League Division Series begins, the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't be too scared of the favored Philadelphia Phillies.

Despite a lineup that includes hitting stars like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the Phillies are actually spookily similar to last year's National League pennant-winners, the San Francisco Giants. That's to say that the Phillies have prospered by mating a fire-tossing, world-beating pitching staff to an offense that's lucky if it just achieves mediocrity.

The Phillies, who averaged 5.1 runs per game in 2009, averaged just 4.4 this season—seventh-best in the NL and only a smidge ahead of the 2010 Giants' rate of 4.3. The Phillies also hit fewer home runs than last year's Giants despite playing half their games in a more homer-friendly home park.

Yet, in an era of diminished scoring, the Phillies seem to have realized offense may not matter all that much if a team has otherworldly pitching. This might explain why the Phillies didn't top the $126 million offer that outfielder Jayson Werth received from the Washington Nationals in December, but gave pitcher Cliff Lee $120 million days later.

If the Phillies go on to win the World Series—they are 8-to-5 favorites in Las Vegas—it'll likely be because of Lee and fellow starters Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. The team's ERA was 3.02 this season, the best in baseball—just like the 2010 Giants, who set the standard with an ERA of 3.36.

—Matthew Futterman

no holliday for stl. furcal is in

Well, I know the Wall Street Journal is where *I* always go for my sports analysis.

Isn't being the sports guy at the WSJ kinda like being a priest at an orgy?

I think being the sports guy at the WSJ is more like being the guy trying to sell concessions to an empty Turner Field

I live in NY and I can tell you they still do not understand why Lee went to Philly. So we should not be surprised if the attitude here is "Who the F are you to try to beat us at our game (of paying top dollars for players)" Somwehow they missed Lee's: "I like it here (in Philly).

Kevin--wow. Are you sure that analogy is doing what you'd hoped it to?

As an outsider, I think he got it about right, minus any meaningful nuance in the analysis, e.g., Utley's chronic knee injury, lingering dings and pains for Rollins, Howard, Polanco. I thought his point, by the end, was that they're still the team to beat because of their decision to put the premium on pitching. With offense down everywhere all year and now weather wreaking havoc on an offensive juggernaut like the Yankees and their 2.5 man rotation, that's looking like a smart bet.

From Terence Moore of mlb.com. Some good Rollins quotes:
* * *

(Rollins)"It's tough when you're competing, and when you're trying to win a world championship, because to win a world championship, one, you've got be good. Two, you've got to be extremely lucky, because the guys on the other side of those white lines, they're pretty good, too. And then you have a team with a lot of determination.

"Get those three things, and the sky's the limit."

....
Rollins said the Phillies are peaking along the way to handling all challenges. Consider that after an eight-game losing streak that didn't end until last Sunday, they currently are surging into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak.

The Phillies' last three victories came in Atlanta, where they performed like the desperate team that the Braves really were.

"Everybody's got energy now, because before that, I don't know, we were 12 or 14 games away from the postseason after clinching, and it was like, 'Oh. We still got this,'" Rollins said of the Phillies' mindset during their recent slide. "But after a while, it started getting embarrassing. Then we started getting mad. Then when you start getting mad, you start getting determined, and things start happening again.

"We're back on the right track."

Rollins wasn't just referring to this season, but to several seasons after this one, adding, "When you look at our potential, we've got the team that can make a consistent run at world championships like the Yankees did in the late 1990s. Like us, they kept everybody there. Nobody ever took anything for granted with those Yankees. Nobody does here."

* * *
Link to whole article: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110930&content_id=25401388&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

About the WSJ article, there is one thing to say:

Since Utley joined the team on May 23rd, the Phillies have been the highest scoring team in the NL (4.63 per game).

From May 23rd through July 29th, they were already 2nd highest.

YNT.

YNT? Why not what?

Aah... Yo, new thread. Got it.

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