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Monday, April 09, 2012


The walk year begins today

In addition to filling the roster with junk, Rube also managed to not sign the 2 MVPs from recent years: Hamels and Vic.

No luck on wind advisory yet, let's hope its blowing out so we can name wind the games Mvp if we score more than 2

I don't blame Manuel at all for the series loss. He's missing some 50-60HR from his 3-4 hitters (Utley/Howard) and his only power threats are Victorino and Pence (neither of whom are 30HR mashers). When you're missing the heart of your lineup, you're not gonna score runs.

Posted by: The_GodfatherSJP | Monday, April 09, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Shane Victorino had an ISO of .212 last year. Laynce NIx had an ISO of .201 last year. Both are above average for MLB players. BOTH were asked by Charlie Manuel to bunt with a speedy runner on base in two separate games (the second time with NO outs and the runner ALREADY on second base). This mindless apologetic for Manuel is perplexing. He screwed up big time multiple times this series. Just call it like it is.

I wonder if I'll be able to pre-order the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies Video Yearbook: Remember The Buntins! at CBP today?

Oh and Godfather, as much I love Chase Utley, he hasn't had an ISO over .200 since 2009. Right now, even if he and Howard were healthy, he'd be our 5th or 6th best power option.

"Filling the roster with junk" like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, John Mayberry Jr., Hunter Pence...

(All players Ruben Amaro acquired)

Hey, did Jim Thome fall apart last night after starting a game? Any word on whether his body disintegrated in the clubhouse afterwards?

I think this may be the year my distrust of Manuel finally rears it's ugly head on here.

Great graphic although I still love the old retro baseball cards the best.

Gtown - Since the sky is falling for the Phils after 3 games, your favorite team the Yankees are 0-3 so far. Still think they will win the world series?

O/U on the first Phils bunt of the game: 5th inning. Who wants some action?

I watched a documentary about Pete Rose(that completely ignored the gambling but we'll deal with that another time) this weekend, and I'd just like to point out that Pete Rose did not get his first major league hit until his 12th at bat.

Now, I'm saying that Freddy Galvis is going to be Pete Rose some day, but, i just wanted to put that out there.

NOT saying Galvis could be Pete Rose!

RedBurb: Yup. Kentucky's win in the NCAA tourney all but guarantees it.

jack: I'll take the under.

Oh, last thought: anyone else think Thome could've fielded that low throw from Schneider in the 7th(?) better than Wigginton did. I do.

Through 3 G, Jayson Werth & Freddy Galvis have the same BA, & Galvis has been far better in the field. So at least there's that.

Jack: Under.

Speaking of Thome... the ovation he received IN PITTSBURGH for his first AB back with the Phillies was tremendous. One of the coolest moments I've been a part of in a live sports setting. I really wish he'd have come through...

2012 slogan: At least we're not the Braves

"2012 Phillies: "Wishing the dugout was wheelchair accessible".

2012 Phillies: The Smallest Balls Of All

Matt Gelb had this line in his game story...

Jim Thome iced his back.

in a list of some of what was going on in the clubhouse after the game.

I read somewhere that Qualls said it felt like someone was shoving a knife into the back of his heel yesterday, but he'll be fine to pitch today.


GTown: It was a small knife.

"Wishing our GM had the foresight to have planned better for the 2b situation."

From last thread: "bigmyc, beside the explanation I offered above, run expectancy matrices, which are based upon decades of baseball data, show that you have a run expectancy of 1.057 with a runner on 2nd base and no outs, whereas you have a run expectancy of 0.928 when you have a runner on 3rd base with 1 out."

I don't know how to look this up or I would: does the fact that the runner from home has 3 outs to score account for the higher run expectancy? In other words, assuming the intention is to score one run (only the runner on second with no outs or from third with one out) rather than the possibility of two, does the bunt make more sense?

CJ: Good. No worries, then.

Shakes: I may be wrong, but I believe that if you're playing for 1 run and ONLY 1 run (tie game, bottom of the 9th), the bunt makes sense there.

In every other situation, the bunt does not make sense.

The Andres Blanco watch is on. Two-for-three with a walk in leading off for the IronPigs Saturday. Joe Thurston has been playing second. Hector Luna third.

The Phillies has a boiler plate form the players fill out after the game to submit to the training staff so don't read too much into it.

"My feels like a knife was shoved into it."

"When I stand up, my feels like it is full of gravel and on fire."

"After the game, my tightened up and I had to beat it with a meat tenderizer to feel it again."

"Within the month, I predict my will turn black and fall off."

"Please give me a shot of "

The blank is after the "my" in the sentence.

Fatti, take a look at these #s:

Career HR/PA:

Thome 16.77
Pence 27.06
Vic('07-11) 43.16
JRoll 44.41
Mayberry 17.95
Wiggy 28.70
Nix (v RHP) 25.62

Then ask yourself the question:

Why isn't Mayberry being given the opportunity, at least, to sink or swim?

Unless, of course, someone thinks 8 PA is an "opportunity"?

I'll stick my neck out: If Mayberry gets a chance and proves 2011 was sustainable (or somewhat sustainable), then this team will be fine. If Charlie keeps yanking him around and doesn't let him find his stroke (the wasy he would an more established player), then this offense is going to be sh8t until Howard and Utley return.

He's the second biggest power threat on the roster. WTF is he doing on the bench.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering:

Mayberry career vs. RHP HR/PA: 23.22, 209 PA

Against RHP, he may STILL be the second biggest HR threat in the lineup.

Play him, Charlie. Let's find out if he can do it.

awh, I agree with you. We need power, defense and baserunning abilities. Mayberry gives us all three.

Also, I'm very excited for the Darvish debut tonight. I can't wait to see him pitch. He's got (some say) 7 pitches, and looks like he could be a strikeout pitcher (though, susceptible to the HR ball).

From the last thread: "In other words, assuming the intention is to score one run (only the runner on second with no outs or from third with one out) rather than the possibility of two, does the bunt make more sense?"

If the intention is to score one run and one run only, the matrix changes. I don't know where to find it, but I do recall that your odds of scoring a single run with a man on 2nd and one out are slightly greater than the odds of scoring a single run with a man on 1st and 0 outs. But there are many caveats:

Caveat No. 1 is that the difference, as I recall, is very small -- perhaps even so small as to be meaningless.

Caveat No. 2 is that, unless it's the 8th inning or later in a tied game, it's bad strategy to give up the potentially bigger inning in an effort (which may or may not work) to score 1, and only 1, run.

Caveat No. 3 is that, just because your odds of scoring a single run are better with a man on 2nd and 1 out, it does not follow that, if you get a man on 1st with 0 outs, the next hitter should bunt. It simply depends who's at the plate. If it's Freddie Galvis, then bunt. If it's Hunter Pence, then don't. As vividly illustrated this weekend, bunts often fail -- particularly when they are executed by hitters who can't bunt.

It should also be noted: a straight steal accomplishes exactly the same thing as a bunt and, unlike a bunt, a successful one doesn't give up an out. It obviously carries more risk, since a failure will not only cost you an out but eliminate your baserunner. But, a sacrifice costs you an out even when it succeeds -- and if it fails, it will leave you in a situation in which the odds of scoring a run which would not have scored even without the bunt, are substantially against you. It seems to me that, if the runner on 1st is even reasonably fast, the trade-off justifies the attempted steal instead of the sacrifice.

Fatti, agree. I'm looking forward to Darvish as well(though I have watched videos on youtube from Japan).

If it wasn't for the Minnesota Twins, the Phillies would lead MLB with the least amount of runs scored. Bed Beard is right, the need to score runs lands right in Cholly's lap, as Foghorn has to pull the right strings at the right time. He can't be stupid this year and get away with it. It will get ugly on BL for Cholly as the year progresses.

Fatti, just to provide comparable numbers to the one's you originally posted,

Mayberry's career ISO is .250.

Thome's is .279.
Pence's is .194.
Rollins' is .160


Agreed on Mayberry. If he's not going to get a true sink or swim chance now, when will there be a better one?

Addendum to my 11:16 post: I used a confusing phrase in the last paragraph: "a run which would not have scored even without the bunt."

What I was trying to capture was the fact that, if you sacrifice a guy to 2nd, you only get to declare the strategy a success if the guy subsequently scores on a single. Take the following scenario, for instance, which has played out more than a few times on Beerleaguer:

1. Guy reaches first in the 5th inning;
2. Cholly has the next hitter bunt him to 2nd;
3. Certatin posters on BL criticize the move;
4. Proponents of "small ball" chime in and defend the move;
5. The bunt works as planned, moving the guy to 2nd but giving up an out;
6. The next guy hits a 2-run homer;
7. Proponents of small ball declare victory.

No! No! No! The above scenario was NOT a victory for the sacrifice bunt proponents. If the guy reaches 1st, and 2 batters later, the guy hits a homerun, the guy on 1st would have scored with or without the sacrifice bunt. All the bunt did was give up an out and potentially deprive you of another base runner when the homerun occurred (ok, it also eliminated the DP, I guess. But if any half-way decent, .330-OBP hitter is at the plate, then the odds of reaching base safely are far greater than the odds of hitting into a DP).

Over/under on when the 'Freddy Galvis' experiment ends as the everyday starter at 2B?

I have May 2nd.

Ryan Howard's ISO the last 2 seasons:

2010 .229
2011 .235

I can only speak for myself, but if I were Charlie, Mayberry would be playing everyday so I could find out what I have.

Rant over.

My biggest fear from yesterday is that UC started Pierre against RHP and he went 2 for 4...thus validating in UC's mind that Pierre should only ever face RHP despite his reverse splits.

We all know that is what will happen.

We have known for many years that Charlie is not a good in-game strategist. He will not change.

We also know that Charlie does not have a small-ball mentality. He has more the Earl-Weaver mentality. Despite Charlie's paying lip service to small ball and the feeble attempts at small ball in the first three games, I expect he will abandon the small-ball experiment shortly.

When you have $38 million in salary on the DL, that is justification to exceed budget and to go over the luxury tax threshold. I expect the Phils to make a couple of moves that will put them over the threshold this season.

I also expect the Phils to sign Hamels, Pence and Victorino to extensions and exceed the threshold in 2013. They don't have much choice. In 2014, when the threshold is bumped up to $189 million and Utley is off the books at $15 million, the Phils' payroll will drop below the threshold.

Gillick adopted a three-year limit for pitchers a few years back that was smart at the time, but is no longer appropriate. Present market conditions dictate that the Phils must abandon the Gillick policy to sign Hamels. The Phils ultimately will do that and give Hamels what he wants.

I mean under/over May 2nd date. I am taking the 'Over' only because Utley won't be back yet.

Yea, Mayberry should definitely be in LF everyday not sure about this Pierre nonsense.

"If it wasn't for the Minnesota Twins, the Phillies would lead MLB with the least amount of runs scored. Bed Beard is right, the need to score runs lands right in Cholly's lap, as Foghorn has to pull the right strings at the right time. He can't be stupid this year and get away with it. It will get ugly on BL for Cholly as the year progresses."

The blame has to be put on Amaro's shoulders too. He's the man who gets the players here (or doesn't).

Now if Utley's back soon, the offense SHOULD be better, but as everyone knows, the big hole in the #4 spot is hard to fill with whom we have.

We don't hit, we don't win. We hit, the BP coughs it up, we still don't win.

But really, until the gys return, I don't think we can score on a consistant basis. At an average of 2 runs per game so far, that looks to be so.

And yes, Cholly has to manage smarter. Don't think that will happen though.

Gelb reports Phils may only have 3 or 4 bullpen arms available today.

Has Howard even begun baseball activities? I haven't seen anything suggesting that he has. If he hasn't, he's still a good 2 months minimum from playing. This is the offense we've got for probably the first half of the season at best. Utley and Howard aren't walking through that door. Larry Bird is not walking through that door. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door.

***Gelb reports Phils may only have 3 or 4 bullpen arms available today.***

Why not just put Qualls on the DL and call up somebody...unless of course Qualls is one of those arms that is supposedly available.

Our bullpen really sucks this year.

NEPP: Howard took grounders today.

If this offensive futility continues how soon does Brown get called up?

No Bastardo, Stutes or Kendrick, & possibly no Qualls. Looks like Hamels is gonna hafta go the distance.

@CJ: Great news then on Howard.

CJ~ Did Howard take grounders from a standing position or was he on a stool?

"No Bastardo, Stutes or Kendrick, & possibly no Qualls."

You forgot: no Papelbon until and unless we take a lead into the last inning.

NEPP - Qualls will not be available for the rest of the week I bet and instead the Phils will be a reliever short.

It baffles me why they do this especially when they do it with the bench and essentially play a week or so with a 3-man bench & backup catcher.

sadly, the golden age of winning despite foghorn's limitations are over.

Contreras is able to come off the DL I think tomorrow and I imagine he will be back probably by no later than early next week.

Derek: I don't know whether they will or won't sign any or all of those guys (Hamels, Victorino, or Pence). But it should be noted that you don't HAVE to sign all of those sorts of players to compete. You don't HAVE to lavish big money on every aging player you have to stay competitive.

The Cardinals lost Pujols and are still likely to contend. The Rangers lost C.J. Wilson and look just as good if not better. The Rays lost Carl Crawford last year and still made the playoffs.

You need some things going for you that we probably don't have (notably a farm system and/or a GM capable of finding some diamonds in the rough), but you definitely don't need to sign old guys to big contracts in order to be successful. In fact, it often doesn't help all that much in even the medium term.

lot of Doom & Gloom on here today. It's only been 3 games, folks.

"is over" sorry

Jason, was at Pigs home opener, Blanco is silky smooth in the field and while this means nothing, Luna simply looks like a baseball player. Even so, was surprised he was batting cleanup. Another note from that game- I can see why Dubee likes Diekman- he has a somewhat funky delivery that seems to extend his delivery to the plate by just enough to make it uncomfortable for the hitter. He had a couple of hard hit outs in his clean inning, but I liked what I saw. Was in pro shop with my bro and nephews when Aumont pitched his inning, so nothing to report there.

Howard was standing. There's picture proof of it, tweeted by Todd Zolecki:!/ToddZolecki/status/189361332255080449/photo/1

BP guys weren't exactly lock-down yesterday, anyway. I think our only chance of winning is CGSO by Cole. May be a challenge in this wind. Anyone know which direction it's blowing at the park?

MG, didn't Contreras just pitch - very badly - a few days ago in a minor league game, or did I read that wrong?

bap: Paps would be used in a tie game in the 9th. But your point stands.

I'm not worried about this series. I think they'll take 2 of 3 from Miami (it's weird typing that) without breaking much of a sweat. I think that was just the Pittsburgh jinx that they have for some reason.

GBrett~ Thanks. That is really great news.

didn't Contreras just pitch - very badly - a few days ago in a minor league game, or did I read that wrong?

He had a perfect inning since then, on Saturday (I think). I saw it in the paper yesterday.

Still don't understand why Pete Orr is on the team and Luna isn't. And one might say the same about Galvis and Blanco. And, for that matter, Brown and Nix. And Schneider & Kratz (or, if you prefer, Gosewich).

It's often a speculative exercise to rip the GM for particular acquisitions, or non-acquisitions, when we have no idea who else he might have gotten, what it would have required to do so, and what kind of budget parameters he was working with. But in each of the above instances, we're dealing with known alternatives. And, in each instance, Cholly and/or RAJ chose the wrong one. Even when you're deaing with marginal players, you just can't keep making the wrong decision and expect to get away with it -- especially when your margin for error is slim, as it is now.

I can't sit here and say that we would have won one or both of the past 2 games if only Galvis, Orr, Nix, and Schneider had been replaced by Blanco, Luna, Brown & Kratz. But considering that we lost both games by 1 run, while those 4 guys were a collective 0 for 14 in the 2 games, and while opposing runners were 3 for 3 stealing off of Schneider, I would venture to guess that the other guys couldn't possibly have been any worse & could very conceivably have been the difference between winning & losing at least 1 game.

Along the lines of what everyone was saying about the bunts of late, but I don't think anyone put it this way. This is from Todd Zolecki's blog:
* * *

Now what happens if Victorino swings away, makes an out and doesn’t advance Pierre? The number drops to .650. And what happens if Rollins swings away, makes an out and doesn’t advance both runners? The number drops to .863. So you can say sacrificing gives a team a better chance to score than having hitters make an out without advancing the runner, but what kind of thinking is that? You’re basically saying you’re expecting to make an out, so I’m just going to sacrifice and give an out away. I think that’s what Manuel was trying to say today. You watched the Phillies bunt throughout the weekend in Pittsburgh and it’s like they were saying, “We don’t think we can hit, so let’s just fight for one run right here and hope it’s enough.”

Thanks, Edmundo. I hope he's ready to successfully re-join the big leagues. We could use some BP help.

Someone just said that pop-ups to RF are HRs today.

...HR for Jimmy Rollins?

bay_area_phan, I found this site:

Which shows a single run (in the NL) will score on average .648 of the time with a runner on third and one out compared to .609 with a runner on second and no outs. If I interpret Table 6 correctly, if the number two hitter (NL) successfully sacrifices with a runner on second and no outs, the probability of scoring jumps from .659 to .741. Both seem statistically significant.

That is the only study I could locate on the question. I'd like to see more.

BAP, I'm with you on some of the head scratching personnel decisions. On one hand, Brown is in AAA because he defense is deplorable enough that his upgraded bat is less desirable for some reason. Yet, the same folks who make this assertion also view Wiggington and Mini-Mart as "versatile defensive pieces," and employ cheaper, better options at backup catcher in the minors. Kind of hypocritical to me.

RAJ is just asking for an anemic offense.

GBrett, pops up to RF, or to the second baseman? If it's the latter, then Jimmy will hit a few out.

Contreras' line from Saturday:

1ip 0h 0bb 0er 2k

I'm really not concerned about the offense. The team has established a pretty solid pattern in run production. If they keep doubling the RS they'll be up to 256 by mid-April.

Jack - The reason I say the Phils will sign Pence and Vic to extensions is that they are the Phils best two offensive players. Moreover, Vic is a good all-around player.

Pence is in his prime at age 29 and should be able to play at a high level for the next several years.

Vic is only 31; so, I would not have a problem giving him a three- or four-year deal.

Contreras got hit hard on Thursday, his previous appearance.

BAP - it's a case of RAJ and Cholly taking the the guaranteed contract and the known commodity over someone who actually proved themselves during the spring.

Cholly has no idea who Blanco or Luna are, so he picks Orr and Galvis.

Nix has a guaranteed 2-year deal so they stash Brown in the minors again

Schneider is a veteran so he gets an automatic bid

I think they are handling Mayberry correctly. I think he will play 4-5 days a week either in LF or at 1B and will be rested against the real tough RH (like Josh Johnson tomorrow). I would expect Pierre to get more and more PT in LF (and I think he should, until he shows he can't or he gets worn down). Wiggy gets a couple of starts a week at 3B (to help rest Polly) and Nix/Thome share whatever scraps are left at 1B.

Of all the players so far through camp and the first week of the season, I have been most disappointed with Nix. I don't think he's shown anything yet. He could be the left-handed version of Mayberry, if he gets his act together. And he has big power, if he can make contact.

Getting Nix going will be critical in the next week or so. The Phils need him badly. Thome is just a added bonus, whatever you get from him off the bench. He's a severely physically limited player whose tank is about empty. But if he can give you a few big swings a month and be a threat late in the game in a big PH spot, then he will be at least more useful then Gload.

bap, you can ruminate all you like about why certai players are on the roster and others aren't.

But what perplexes me is that this manager, who has a reputation for letting guys work their way out of funks and slumps, won't just play his best 8 players and see what they can do.

Against LHP:


Against RHP


Sure, Howard and Utley aren't there, but what LHP wants to navigate Vic, Pence, Mayberry and Chooch (.778 OPS vs. LHP)?

If Charlie leaves them alone they'll score.

I'm a bit concerned about the "new era of small ball" in Philly, not because of the slim margin for error, or because we don't have the right guys to do it. Mostly, I'm concerned that Charlie Manuel has absolutely NO idea on how to appropriate such a strategy, and I feel he'll screw it up more than he'll be successful with it.

WP: The Phillies have long adhered to certain fallacies:

1. The veteran major leaguer is preferable to the AAA guy, no matter how much that veteran major leaguer may stink (i.e., Nix over Brown; Schneider over Kratz);

2. The incumbent is preferable to the new guy, no matter how much the incumbent may stink (i.e., Schneider over Kratz; Orr over Luna);

3. 3 levels of infield depth is more important than an extra bat off the bench (i.e., Orr over Luna); and

4. If the guy was a Rule 5 draft pick, disregard 1 and 2.

I'll give them this: Freddie Galvis doesn't fit into any of those 4 fallacies. But the others all do.

The Phils SS Chin-Lung Hu to Indians for future considerations after Hu failed his physical. "Hu" cares?

WP: Jimmy's just going to have to hit his pop-up a little further than usual.

Stanton scratched, as reported by twitter beat writers.

BAP, nice summary. I think you've discovered the "secret sauce" SOP for the Phillies Front Office. If you figure out their methodology on handling injuries, you might want to pay attention to the black helicopters circling the Bay.

It is sort of odd that Nix isn't in the lineup today. If he doesn't start against a right-handed starter during a time when Howard isn't even on the roster, then what exactly did we bring him here on a 2-year guaranteed deal to do?

"it's a case of RAJ and Cholly taking the the guaranteed contract and the known commodity over someone who actually proved themselves during the spring."

I'm not sure a guy can "prove himself" in ST. But you're right about the Phillies reflexively preferring the known commodity. It's bizarre. If what you know about your "known commodity" is that he is wretched, why would you be reluctant to try something new? I still remember the first 2 years that Bill Walsh coached the 49ers, when he went through like 20+ starting cornerbacks over the course of 2 seasons. Through trial and error, he eventually stumbled upon Dwight Hicks, who was working in a grocery store at the time and who became a mainstay of their secondary for the next 6 or 7 seasons. If the status quo is terrible, management should be reflexively IN FAVOR OF change, not reflexively opposed to it.

Catch a bit of a break missing Stanton.

Btw, I may be reasserting my ignorance here, but I can't find the answer: when did he go from being called Mike to Giancarlo?

During the off-season, he decided to go with his birth name

Great that Cole gets this start, but considering the opposition, I'd like to have Moyer out there some time this week.

I can't help but be excited for the home opener, in spite of the disappointing beginning series in PIT.

I love that the teams walks through the stands en route to the dugout for the home opener. I also love Cole Hamels pitching it.

I think the players are pumped for it. Hope that translates into good things on the field.

Wish I was there. Go Phillies!

Jack: I think Cholly is pissed at Nix for coming up short in the pinch-hit spot yesterday--he often seems to vent his irritation in that way. Pierre is being rewarded for that (admittedly clutch) single yesterday. I'd much rather see one of Mayberry/Nix in LF and the other at 1B; better defensive alignment, especially if it's going to be so windy this afternoon.

Rollins, however, seems immune from the Wrath of Cholly, even though he came up short twice yesterday. He has GOT to be removed from the 3-hole spot, to minimize offensive weakness. I'd favor Chooch as the cleanup hitter (for now), Vic as leadoff, Pence in the 3-hole, and Rollins batting fifth or sixth.

First time I get to watch a full game this year. Hopefully it's a good one!

Man, Cole just spun Reyes like a top.


Not a great start for Cole so far.

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