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Friday, April 20, 2012


While I don't have any medical expertise of any kind, I do like the amount of Bill Frist-ing that goes on here ("We will not see a healthy Ryan Howard this season").

I remember well all the complaining last year about the RBI stats on Ryno not being representative of his true worth to the team, given that his OBP and WAR didn't reflect the same level of superiority. This year we'd all love to have all those RBIs back in the lineup, and it will be interesting to see once he returns (assuming he approaches the same strength this year) to what extent he can drive in the runs around the same rate as in prior years.

Phils are -135 tonight with a 6 o/u. Solid Phillies line i think, i wouldnt touch the o/u just because i'm so biased and swear they're UNDER everytime, but they've been pretty even throughout the year.

You want in on it too, lorecore? You can take Nix, Wiggington or Thome.

Rollins 60, Polanco 20, Thome -32, Mayberry 11, Nix 62.

The above are the OPS+ numbers for the players listed.

Anyone want to bet they'll be the same or lower by the end of the season?

How about the end of May?

Relax and enjoy the pitching, and don't let an unsustainably hot start by a Nats team cause your judgement to crater.

I see on the side... Kerry Wood was placed on the disabled list. Shouldn't it be news when he's NOT on the disabled list?

raul: nope, just stating my rooting interest in your proposed bet, which would be for both of you to lose.

My Grammy always told me to rub Adolph's meat tenderizer on all wounds. Ryno needs to give it a try. You fellas here are mighty testy with him out

Lorecore, I also love the under and the Phils. If I had to choose one, it'd be the under, as I'm not sure which team will score a run, but that's all it'll take.

awh - Sadly they could improve a bit and this will still be a crummy offense.

For all the people pounding about just how crummy the offensive numbers are so far and how it is likely that they will improve (and they likely will a bit), let me play Devil's Advocate and argue that the starting pitching can not possibly be this good either.

My next door 12-year old neighbor is in love with the term 'jabronis' we he talks about the Phils to me and he's right.

There are several 'jabronis' on this roster right now and going to stay that way for quite a while.

If people think Philly fans are quick to turn on a team, they haven't seen anything. Any friend who I have talked to has already given up on the Sox this year.

Its the 3rd week of April and they are 4-8.

Pierre is the hottest hitter the team has right now. .333 for the season and .421 in the last 7 games. Got an extra base hit and a walk that we all were barking about. He's making a pretty good case for playing every day.

I haven't heard anyone harping about Wilson Valdez lately. Perhaps I've missed it?

"let me play Devil's Advocate and argue that the starting pitching can not possibly be this good either."

I remember you arguing this before last season and being more than 100 runs off on the total runs allowed for the year.

"I haven't heard anyone harping about Wilson Valdez lately. Perhaps I've missed it?"

Valdez hasn't been hitting much, but we could use his arm in our bullpen.

Iceman - The Phils are going to finish with an ERA at 2.29 ERA.

The lowest team ERA of the last 30 years was Houston in the strike-shortened year in '81 at 2.66 ERA.

There hasn't been an NL squad that has had a team ERA under 3 since the '69 Mets (2.99 ERA).

MG- what did I say that was incorrect? You argued that the Phils staff wasn't as good as advertised and you were flat wrong.

They definitely aren't 2.29 good, but they're good. Really good. Like, will carry the team good.

Has it been noted yet that Volquez leads the known universe in BBs? It'll be a real thrill to watch the Phillies hack away tonight. The problem isn't "small ball", the problem is the Phillies don't have the fainest idea what "small ball" is ... well, outside of asking Laynce f*cking Nix to bunt, that is.


Several teams that have had an ERA under 3. 2.78 ERA is the lowest by the '72 Dodgers.

Last season, yeah I was really off largely because I thought the bullpen would be weaker and the backend of the rotation wouldn't be as good. Worley was a huge reason why I was wrong. Even KK pitched much better than I thought.

Is this team capable of having a team ERA under 3? Possible with the starting pitching they have but they had a 3.02 ERA last year.

I don't think so because of the bullpen, inevitable injuries they will have, and playing in CBP which isn't a pitcher-friendly park.

MG - No doubt it won't be that low by September, but it wouldn't surprise me if this team broke the 3.00 barrier. Given the league-wide offensive decline and the inability of our offense to create the kind of lead that would allow for a Herndon-level reliever to come on and give up a meaningless run or two with any regularity, I could see it happen.

The '69 Mets gave up 541 runs, and we gave up 529 last year...

MG: The Phils had a team ERA of 3.02 last season. So close ...

I blame Kyle Kendrick.

Scoring right now is at 4.04 R/G in the NL going into today's games.

Basically we are back to the late 70s/early 80s.

1975 - 4.13
1976 - 3.98
1977 - 4.40
1978 - 3.99
1979 - 4.22
1980 - 4.03
1981 - 3.91
1982 - 4.09
1983 - 4.10
1984 - 4.06
1985 - 4.07

Scoring last year was at 4.16 R/G. It is down a bit but most general media are making a big deal out of it.

Scoring is always a bit lower in April generally. Won't have a better idea until around Memorial Day or so if offense is really going to trend down again in the NL.

To me 70s and 80s baseball means trash on the feild at all times. I have no idea why but anytime MLB Network shows classic late 70s games there's trash blowing everywhere. Also the feilds have brown patches and everything looks kind of beat up. Say what you will about the modern game but it is prettier.
Also where did you pull those numbers. Is it on B-Ref?

re: Derrek Lee

If Lee has said he needs to start or he would retire, RAJ should've gone after him given the Howard situ. In fact, he should still be going after him to sign him to a contract that gives Lee the option to leave if he wants to after Howard leaves. Fact of the matter is that if Lee were on this team, he would be starting almost every game -- the offense would be better and the infield defense would be incredible.

gobaystarts - Yeah. B-Ref.

There is a clear line of demarcation in the NL offensive numbers too between '69 when they lowered the mound 5 inches.

In 1968 - 3.43 R/G, 1969 - 4.05 R/G

Scoring right now is at 4.04 R/G in the NL going into today's games.

And the Phillies' average R/G is 2.85, w/ the team ranked 15th in the NL in Runs, 2B, BB, SLG & OPS, & 14th in the NL in 3B, HR, OBP & TB.

Offense might be down MLB-wide, but this Phillies squad is just plain awful.

found it, thanks.

One could argue that offense is down even more now as parks are generally smaller (no more Vet, 3 Rives, Riverfront, etc) today. Does anyone think that stolen bases will ever get back up to mid to late 80s levels to compensate? Granted we'll never go back to playing on turn but if homers and runs go down people are going to start looking for base stealers, right?

Numbers started to really jump in '93 jumped to 4.49 R/G, crested in '00 at 5.02 R/G and has been steadily declining every year since '06 (4.85 R/G).

Basically back to where the natural state of offensive in the NL which is around ~4 runs/game since the mound was lowered in '69.

GTown Dave - Yup. This offense as currently constituted stinks. They can't hit for power at all, don't work counts or BB, and aren't even that good at hitting for AVG (down to .243 which is 10th.

This offense as currently constituted isn't good enough to push this team much more than .500.

"the feilds have brown patches and everything looks kind of beat up"

And that was just the fields with astroturf.

Speaking of the 94 runs per game jump there was a theory going around back then that owners juiced the balls for that season to try to get enough guys threatening records that the union might not want to strike. Matt Williams was chasing 61 and Gwynn .400 at the time of the strike. I bought it at the time. The years that followed made me doubt it but you never know.

MG: It really calls into question how much Ryan Howard alone can help this offense, esp. considering he won't be fully healed & up to game speed until awhile after he returns. (For the record, I'm not even considering Utley an option anymore. Long term, I think he's cooked.)

"Yup. This offense as currently constituted stinks. They can't hit for power at all, don't work counts or BB, and aren't even that good at hitting for AVG (down to .243 which is 10th."

Which reminds me of this article, esp. the "number can be deceiving" part:

Also: "This offense as currently constituted isn't good enough to push this team much more than .500."

How would you vote, if at all at this point, in that poll in the Bleacher Report article?

GTown Dave - One of my preseason predictions was that Howard comes back in June, under performs expectations this year, and hears his share of boos.

There literally has been no news on Utley in a month. Nothing. Amaro said on Tues that his 'strength' seems to be improving in his left knee. That's it.

Laughing with a coworker the other day and he said 'when do you think is Utley's retirement is announced?'

I can't imagine Howard getting boos this year after what everyone has seen while he was out. Even if he struggles he won't get booed. The only exception would be booing an error.

Bake - Enough to win a WC. Season is long and they need to see what they will get out of Utley/Howard.

Only way they will be out of it at the trading deadline is if they are 9-10 games below .500 at the trading deadline. If they are that bad, then it is time to waive the white flag on the '12 season.

I fully expect that Amaro though will be a buyer at the trading deadline and get one of the better bats available & in the process trade another 2-3 top prospects.

Bake: Even I didn't expect the offense to be this putrid, hence an (apparently) optimistic pre-season prediction of 90+ wins. However, I also tend to be a "You are what your record says you are" kinda guy. As such, I'd say this team as currently constructed is a .500 level ball club ... that's assuming, of course, that the starting pitching remains healthy & insanely productive.

Pierre (LF), Polanco (2B), Rollins (SS), Pence (RF), Victorino (CF), Wigginton (1B), Galvis (2B), Schneider (C), Hamels (P).

F*cking Schneider. I know Chooch needs a day or two -- that was obvious from watching him at the plate last night -- but still. F*cking Schneider.

MG- didn't you also predict the crowd would turn on Galvis and cut him no slack? Weren't they chanting his name when the kid was like 1 for his first 15?

Contrary to what the media promotes, Phillies fans are a lot more intelligent than most. And they're certainly a lot more patient than 40,000 BLers would be. I'm surprised you would buy into this bogus notion that they are a like a pack of rabid dogs when you apparently go to a lot of games and know that isn't really the case.

Dave, unfortunately Brian McCann was otherwise occupied. (here we go)

Also, I can understand "You are what your record says you are", but in 13-game stretches?

Do you really change your opinion about what a team really "is" based on whether they go 5-8 or 8-5 in any 13-game stretch during the season?

Iceman - He started to hit a bit and has played really good defense. It was a pleasant surprise they cheered him.

schmenkman: It's not reasonable to expect an offense w/ starters such as Pierre, WiggiNix, & Galvis, along w/ another year older & slower Polanco & Rollins (among others), to even match the Phillies' offense from '11. That offense was league average, which means we're seeing essentially what we're going to get, 13 games or no: a bottom tier group of hitters.

We are done for. Cooked. Kaput. We are going to be hanging out with Dutch's knees down the shore next week.

Dutch's knees would bitch slap Utley's knees, tell them to quit whining and get back out there.

Paging b_a_p -- "Hind sight is always 20/20". However, when I was calling RFD a "right-handed Willie McCovey" last year, you correctly told me to re-assess my opinion, as Mr. Mayberry -- a 2x No. 1 draft pick -- had the burden of 2,900 undistinguished (was that the word?) minor league plate appearances.

Now I've really come around to that point of view; John Mayberry caught "lightning in a bottle" last year. Hence, the "crazy gamble" comment I made, especially in light of needing a reliable bat in the absence of Howard and Utley.

It's ironic as hell that you appear to see Mayberry as still having a shot at a productive season. For goodness sakes, if he is not the poster boy for "You are what your record says you are.", who is? As much as I wish that was not the case.

Yeah, but Daulton was pumped full of steroids & batsh*t crazy.

MG: The Phils had a team ERA of 3.02 last season. So close ...

I blame Kyle Kendrick.

Posted by: GTown_Dave | Friday, April 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM

Wait, not David Herndon? What about Danys Baez?

GBrettFan: Baez gets a (reluctant) pass for his heroics in the 19 inning game. Herndon ... yeah, you've got a good point there.

Laughing with a coworker the other day and he said 'when do you think is Utley's retirement is announced?'

Posted by: MG | Friday, April 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM

MG, the best thing Utley could do for the Phillies, if he can't come back and produce, is retire and free up his salary. We don't have to pay him if he retires, do we?

I read a few days ago that Burrell visits with Utley in AZ, where Burrell apparently lives. After a quote from Burrell about how Utley doesn't say much but he knows Utley really wants to be back (so nothing new), the next paragraph was about how Burrell knew partway through last year that his chronic foot problem was too much and he needed to retire.

I couldn't help but wonder if he and Utley had discussions about that, and whether Utley might not learn from his friend's experience.

GTown, I loved Baez in that 19-inning game. However:

"Baez made 29 appearances for Philadelphia in 2011, recording a 6.25 ERA before being designated for assignment on July 22."

If we are going back to 70s/80s, can we please start Greg Luzinski?

From Verducci:

"Where have all the big-hitting outfielders gone? Left fielders have posted the worst batting average of any position (.240) and the second-worst slugging percentage (.380, only shortstop has less pop). One-third of all major league teams have zero home runs from their left fielders."

And I was thinking: Maybe "smart managers" are the new market inefficiency -- undervalued by a great many extremely young GMs out there.

I like the idea of Burrell visiting Utley and Utley not saying much. He just sits there thinking "you effin twonk."

GBrettFan: Not r00b's finest hour, for sure. At least he's learned from the experience & doesn't blindly offer 2 year deals to questionable free agents anymore ...

Awww, crap.

Well, there's another positive to Baez that I just remembered. Didn't he call with a way to "fix" Bastardo's struggles later in the season?

Obviously the market innefficiency right now is 36+ year old singles hitters and Ruben has those on lock down. Best of all when our current crop retires he's got a few future 36 year olds locked up long term.

GBrettFan: That he did. Someone might want to get back on the horn w/ Danys & see if he can't help iron Bastardo out yet again.

According to Gelb, Chooch is out for up to a couple of days due to a "jammed wrist".

It's Chooch's left wrist, & he jammed it on a play at the plate last night.

Oh who's the emergency catcher?

I could rip you both up.

Don't make me take you down again, Richie.

Cole hints at wanting to stay, again.

But obviously if they don't score for him TONIGHT it means that he's leaving. All that track record of winning and willingness to spend on talent means nothing.

OK, hockey time. Let's see if Flyers' goaltenders persist in being as awful as the Phillies' offense. Later, all.


* * *
Cole Hamels reminisced Thursday about his childhood in San Diego before the Phillies opened their four-game series against the Padres.

The lefty recalled his love for the Padres growing up and how much it hurt to see players leave.

“I mean, I loved that team, and all of a sudden it disappeared. I remember watching Fred McGriff before that, loving that guy, and boom, he’s gone. I think it’s hard to be a fan to devote your time to players, then see them leave like that,” Hamels said to the San Diego Union-Tribune, via HardBallTalk.
* * *

Is this Cole's way of saying he'd like to get a deal done with the Phillies?

I got your back, headlight.

Do you think Cole had the Tom Emansky video? Cole liking Crime Dog more than Tony Gwynn?

Over/under on hits for Schneider the rest of this series:

I have it at 1.5 and I would be really tempted to take the under.

I read the other day in Fact Magazine that the phrase "on the schneid" originated from people comparing slumping hitters to Brian Scheider.

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with the Phillies' training staff? Chooch indicates the swelling in his wrist has persisted -- and he's unavailable tonight and perhaps tomorrow -- but that X-rays weren't taken.

Why? Why? Why?

Is the film that expensive? Seriously.

Go Flyers.

And the result of Howard's doctor's visit is??

Howard is still waiting on 3 more posters to admit that RBIs are a valid stat and that WAR is silly. Come on, guys! We need him back.

"MG, the best thing Utley could do for the Phillies, if he can't come back and produce, is retire and free up his salary. We don't have to pay him if he retires, do we?"
The risk that a player might suffer a career-ending injury is exactly why they sign long term contracts. WHY would he choose to give that up?

Hopefully he can give the Phillies something close to his 2011 production, when he was still one of the best at his position.

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