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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Yup, the offense sucks right now.

Jamie Moyer won...and looked dominant doing so. Good for him.

This offense sucks except when it doesn't.

Can we reach an agreement that pictures of Wheels and TMac be banned, except for their obituaries**?

** Hopefully after long full lives, mind you.

***This offense sucks except when it doesn't.***

Like most mediocre to poor offenses, they are capable of the occasional nice night but overall, you're likely to get 2-3 runs an outing.

3.18 Runs per game so far.

Thome worked the count and lined out to right. Not in the same category of the daily nothing we get from Polanco and the platoonish nothing we get from Mayberry.

Excluding his set the world on fire April of 2011, Polanco has hit .237 (96-405) with a .295 OBP, .279 SLG, and .574 OPS. During that time he's scored 31 runs, has 32 RBI, 8 DBL, and 3 HR.

Manuel is loyal to a fault and he has to realize that he's not doing his team any favors by continuing to put Polanco in the two-hole. The guys getting on base are being followed in the order by guys who make outs. He needs to shuffle the order to try and capitalize on his run-scoring chances. Drop Polly to 7th.

Say what you will about the RBI being an overrated metric, but no one on this team is getting them and you need them to win the game. Howard's missing bat couldn;t be more evident and is a glaring omission from this lineup.

Howard is the RBI King. Come back big piece.

Please get Polanco out of the two hole.

So what's the consensus? As long as we play .500 ball until Howard and/or Utley come back we're okay?

Please get Polanco out of the line-up.

He's looking like the definition of "washed up."

Yup. Looked up the definition of "washed up" on wikipedia. It's down the list a bit, but there it was:
".... 7. Placido Polanco..."

So basically the Phils have basically have had Abraham Nunez-type player manning 3B the past year (no hit, all glove)? Ugh.

Polanco is actually trying to be worse than Ibanez was last year. At least Polly is good defensively, though (last nights inexplicably poor tag notwithstanding).

Youkilis anyone?

I, for one, don't expect much from Howard this season, and I don't know what to expect from Utley.

I do expect more production from LF, either from Brown or somebody not currently in the organization.

I have complete confidence in Halladay, Lee and Hamels. These three alone plus Papelbon should carry the team a long way. If Blanton and/or Worley stumble, though, the Phils may need to bolster the rotation at mid-season.

I still expect the Phils to win the NL East.

Andy, did that follow:

5. Jamie Moyer
6. Raul Ibanez

Not surprised the R-Phils pitching staff has gotten out to a really strong start. They have a fair amount of talent. Or that veteran minor league players like Spidale, Susdorf, and Ruf have posted strong offensive numbers to start.

Really surprised though that guys like younger guys like Abreu, James, C. Hernandez, and Valle have all gotten out to such strong starts offensively too.

I think Wheels, TMac, and Sarge should be removed from the lineup as well.

Polanco has gotten out to a really strong start defensively. Only thing keeping him in the everyday lineup at this point.

I know its a small sample size but Wigginton is 3-9 vs. Cain and Polanco is 0-9. Good night to sit Polanco since they don't have an off day tomorrow & start Wigginton at 3B tonight.

Rough when your solution to the withering offensive prowess of Placido Polanco is to put the decidedly mediocre bat of Wiggy, complete with butcher glove, at the hot corner.

Seems solutions to our offensive woes just don't really exist, other than the players that need to hit (Mayberry, Vic, Pence, J-Roll, Ruiz) actually hitting.

MG - Really nice start out of that Reading team. That is a really interesting team to watch this year with the staff they have and the starting outfielders.

Here's the lineup I like to see Cholly use tonight if possible:

SS JRoll
CF Vic
RF Pence
1B Thome
3B Wigginton
LF Nix
C Chooch
2B Galvis

Thome has started games at 1B on 4/8 and 4/13. It wouldn't surprise me if he is in the lineup tonight vs. RHP Cain.

Fata- Wiggy has actually been hitting the ball hard recently. Not the worst thing to do to put him in the lineup. The last time Polanco hit a ball hard was April of 2011.

MG, I'd put Chooch, who is good at getting on base, in front of Nix, who doesn't hit for much average, but has some pop in his bat,

Agreed Iceman. Just a general lamentation.

What I am almost certain though is that Pierre will be in the lineup and batting leadoff despite 4-18 (.222) with no XBHs or BBs vs. Cain.

Pierre had 2 bloops flares last night and a SB (which he would have been thrown out on if Crawford had just held on to the tag) which guarantees him a start tonight.

Fat - No a bad idea at all.

eh, tough game last nite. 5th starter on the road, definitely falls under the "cant win em all" category for me.

Crashburn Alley had an interesting stat. Phillies have stranded the exact same amount of runners this year as they had last year at this point-- 77 runners. But the Phils had scored 66 runs then, and have scored 35 this year.

Strange how much our offense struggles when the two best hitters are not playing. I didn't see it coming.

Blanton - 5 IP 4 ER - welcome back Kentucky Joe!

Galvis doing better than I thought he would, but still has an OPS of only 650. According to fangraphs his glove more than makes up for it, so it's ok for now. When Chase comes back I'm sure he'll be in AAA.

Brown isn't really tearing the cover off the ball, but all projections show him outperforming Mayberry/Pierce this year, and he's so much younger and will continue to improve I think he'll be called up soon.

I do think Palanco will do better when better hitters are in the linup and he can slide back to hitting 7th.

Thome has been very 'Gload-like' as a PH so far:

0-5 with 3 Ks

In fact, the bench has been pitiful so far in PH.

1-13 with a 1 single (Pierre) and 6 Ks with 0 BBs for an .077/.077/.077 line.

Last in every category in the NL so far. Every NL team has at least 1 XBH and 1 RBI from their bench.

MG: In April 2011 the Phillies bench was on fire, they were ~.500 AVG all the way into May i believe.

Don't understand this carping for Dom Brown. Really don't. He's off to a pedestrian .261/.306/.370 with 0 HRs in 46 ABs this year at Lehigh so far. Or the call for him to displace Mayberry. That would be fine too if Brown hits RH but he doesn't.

Does Brown give the Phils a line better than Nix's .263/.312/.480 (.792 OPS) vs. LHP the past 3 years this year in a platoon role? I would strongly bet against it.

Brown gives you better speed but likely worse defense in LF.

I would like to see them go strict platoon in LF with Mayberry starting vs LHP & Nix vs RHP with Pierre used sparingly.

***When Chase comes back I'm sure he'll be in AAA.***

Honestly, I dont know about that. If Galvis continues to pick it (almost a guarantee) and play acceptable offense for a utility infielder (.600ish OPS), I dont think he'll go back to Lehigh. Utley, Rollins and Polly could all use breaks and Galvis would still get regular playing time. Besides which, there's a good chance that Galvis will already ahve around 300 PA by the time Utley comes back. That would allow him to probably finish around 400 PA which is more than enough "learning experience" for a rookie infielder.

I also have trouble understanding the faith in Dom Brown.

Of course, I'm not surprised, as folks like Jack have been absolutely "demanding" that he be inserted into the starting lineup for the last two seasons despite his on the field performance not making it clear that he's a quality major leaguer. Dan in Philly made a good case the other day, but I'd still say wait to see what Brown does over an extended time at the high minors before counting on him as the offensive savior.

I'd really like to see Charlie stick with Mayberry fulltime to give him a chance to prove or disprove his worth. I'm kind of surprised that he isn't doing so; seems a bit out of character for Charlie.

It's early in the season, and usually Charlie does a good job at taking the long view as opposed to short-term panic moves like some overly-emotional fans clamor for. Seems that long-term giving Mayberry more of a shot would be the way to go. It would have a lot of upside, and with this pitching staff, Charlie can afford to take the long view on the offense. I have to wonder if the reason isn't some sort of reaction to RAJ's pledge to change the offensive approach, and accordingly a mistaken strategy that playing Pierre will achieve that goal.

That said, I have a hard time understanding the vitriol directed towards Pierre. I get that he has weaknesses in his game, but this seems like a classic BLer pile on where for some reason the criticism obliterates an objective look at the balances of pluses and minuses.

In the end, of the offense hasn't started trending upwards by the All-star break, look to move whatever combination of Blanton/KK/Worley/Brown is needed to pick up a quality bat.

Blanton was 'mediocre Blanton' last night largely because he struggled with locating it from the start until he was lifted.

Didn't have the same zip as on his 1st start. Only averaged a little under 89 with of his 4-seamers at 88-89 and had issues locating it all night long (31 thrown, 17 strikes, 0 swing and misses). Surprised though that he didn't go with his sinker more. Only threw 5 sinkers.

It was was the 4th start this year so far where a Phils' starter has given up 4 R. Lee/Worley/Hamels each have done it and lost too.

Basically if a Phils' starting pitcher gives up even 4 R in a game at this point, the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of him being charged with a 'L' and the Phils losing it. Not much margin for error.

Phlipper is right. I can't stand Pierre, but he's hardly what is plaguing the offense right now.

My concern is that with Utley, so much missed time may have an irreversible impact on his skill set. Hitting a baseball is such a specific skill that requires so much timing. It's one thing for a young player to miss so much time, but for an older guy it just seems to me that there must be an accelerated rate of skill deterioration with such an extended time without an ability to maintain his skills through practice.

It's hard to count Utley out. He had a huge reserve of talent to draw from. But to me, the longer he's out the less likely he'll be able to provide a quality performance on the field once he returns, assuming he returns.

On a happy note, did anyone see what Reading did last night?

Philipper - Vitriol no but he Pierre is a miscast as a leadoff hitter and guy who gets a ton of starts in LF.

His positives at this point (higher average, speed) are out weighed by his negatives (low OBP, low BB rate, zero power, poor defense, questionable base running decisions).

Pierre can help a team as a 5th OF who plays sparingly and is used primarily as a late-innings replacement player who can PH/PR.

Nix is miscast and misused as a PH option and it is the role that Pierre should fill on his team. Instead Cholly has been giving more starts to Pierre and leaving Nix on the bench.

Managers need to place their players in the best position where they can be expected to succeed. Cholly isn't doing that when he starts Pierre in LF and puts Nix on the bench instead vs RH starter. Both are being misused in those roles.

I would think that Luna and brown will give you way more then those two stiffs we are trotting out there now. Really glad to see AAA bullpen doing well and AA squad off to a good start. Few players in A and lower A ball watching. May 3 and 0 with good k numbers. Polly and Mayberry are becoming more painful to watch. Luna has to start to be thrown in mix soon. Polly needs to stop dragging his d$ck in the dirt. And mayberry needs to get an Fn clue. He looks lost up there. You mean to tell me brown can't do better. Please.

History also tells us Blanton is significantly worse on the road.

***did anyone see what Reading did last night?***

Caveat: against a guy who has been out of baseball for a couple years. Hell, our SP went 2 for 3 against him.

Crashburn Alley had an interesting stat. Phillies have stranded the exact same amount of runners this year as they had last year at this point-- 77 runners. But the Phils had scored 66 runs then, and have scored 35 this year.

Posted by: Jack | Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 09:38 AM

* * *
Wow. Just wow.

We didn't have Chase then, either. We did have Howard, of course.

Iceman -

I've made this point a couple of times, but I'd say that mostly what's plaguing the offense right now is the low AVG with RISP in comparison to the overall average. Chances are, that's a small sample size anomaly.

JW got it right with the lead of the post - no hits in key spots. Of course, the lack of power is also a huge factor - but they had been hitting with RISP at the same rate as their overall average, they'd have more runs. They obviously still wouldn't be a top offense, but it wouldn't look at pathetic as it's looked so far.

But BLers tend to focus only in the inevitable struggles/weaknesses of any particular player and attribute any disaster to those factors. In point of fact, all teams have players that struggle and all players (except Pujols, Cano, Rivera, and maybe Braun) have weaknesses. It's just the nature of the game.

If the overall AVG climbs back down to the AVG w/RISP, then this team is in some serious trouble. Chances are, however, that the opposite will happen.

From what I remember last season, the team got off to a torrid start that everyone said was not sustainable because of LD%, BAA w/ RISP, etc. Eventually, it cratered and everyone freaked out.

Hopefully the same happens, to the opposite effect, this year.

It was was the 4th start this year so far where a Phils' starter has given up 4 R. Lee/Worley/Hamels each have done it and lost too.

Basically if a Phils' starting pitcher gives up even 4 R in a game at this point, the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of him being charged with a 'L' and the Phils losing it. Not much margin for error.

Posted by: MG | Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM

* * *

Our starters have shown a tendency to give up 1st inning runs, too.

I wonder whether that impacts this offense, to be in the hole early, even only down 1-2 runs.

JW got it right with the lead of the post - no hits in key spots. Of course, the lack of power is also a huge factor - but they had been hitting with RISP at the same rate as their overall average, they'd have more runs. They obviously still wouldn't be a top offense, but it wouldn't look at pathetic as it's looked so far.

Posted by: Phlipper (back to thinking the Phils will finish ahead of the Mets) | Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM
* * *

Good point.

It's as if the whole team is infected with what ailed Werth in '10. ;)

***It's as if the whole team is infected with what ailed Werth in '10. ;)***

Jen Utley really gets around apparently...

MG -

That post seems spot on to me. The problem though is that it is easily possible to overemphasize the impact of the downsides of starting Pierre and hitting him leadoff as compared to the other options available to Charlie.

Not to diminish the quality of your analysis, in real terms, the marginal gain of those other options is likely to be small. Of course that small advantage could have made the difference between a W and a L in a couple of close games. So then, it's valid to question the degree of attribution of the struggles we see in the comments.

But still, sure, it's the managers job to maximize the utility represented by each option. So Charlie's decision to be playing Pierre as he has could be attributed to at least two possible factors: (1) stupidity or, (2) a valid reason - such as a strategy of trying to change the nature of the lineup. Given RAJ's press conference at the end of last year, and Charlie's long record of success, I think that later is a more likely choice.

Gotta love Jamie Moyer.

The following is quoted from a story by Thomas Harding at
* * *
Moyer understood the significance enough to have his wife, Karen, and seven of his eight children present. His oldest son, Dillion, plays baseball at the University of California, Irvine, and could not make it. However, he admits being embarrassed at not being a baseball historian.

But during the game he didn't waste time thinking about history. More important to him was the Rockies have a chance Wednesday night to win the three-game series with the Padres and finish with a winning record in their first homestand of the year, a nine-game set.

"For me to put that in front of the game really would be unfair to my teammates, unfair to myself," Moyer said. "It would tell me also that my focus and my attention were in the wrong place. And as you saw tonight, the game's not over until the last out is made. You have to respect and appreciate how this game is."

Are Utley & Howard still our 2 best hitters (when healthy) or have Victorino & Pence surpassed them? Checked all their oWAR's for the last 2 years and it graded out:


Utley & Howard are the older pair and they obviously do have the current injury issues.

GBRett -

My intuitive feel is that the habit of falling behind early is a significant factor to what's causing the poor output. I know that people pooh pooh the notion that physiological pressure affects AVG with RISP - but I think that this team is pressing offensively, and falling behind early adds to that pressure

On the positive side, the habit of falling behind early hasn't seemed to have affected the pitchers in the same way. They've done a pretty good job of shaking that off and continuing to pitch well through the rest of the game.

RISP issues are killing this offense right now and I have to think that things will improve a bit just based on the law of averages...its not like they're hitting many HRs but every single one has been a solo shot, right? That can't possibly continue for too much longer, can it?

Jamie made NPR's Morning Edition. Just a quick little blurb (less than 30 seconds) - succinct and true. (He made NPR after that great game he pitched v. the Yankees for us a few years' back, too.)

You can listen to it here:

Pence is the best hitter on the team. Vic is just behind him.


National League wide numbers:

OPS: .710
OPS w/ RISP: .726
OPS w/ Men On: .733

Phillies numbers:

OPS: .644
OPS w/ RISP: .600
OPS w/ Men On: .603

If we improved their RISP and Men On numbers by the same ratio as the league has enjoyed, we'd have this:

OPS: .644
OPS w/ RISP: .653
OPS w/ Men On: .665

That .665 OPS with Men On is still lower than 11 NL teams regular OPS.

Conclusion, even if they had normalized numbers with men on base, this has still been a very poor offense.

I don't think the issue is AVG w/RISP as much as it is a complete lack of power. A team doesn't need to be subject to the vagaries of AVG w/RISP if they can create scoring opportunities from anywhere.

A team with power can score 2 runs just from having a runner on first. A team like the Phillies basically needs to have a ground ball find a hole with runners on 2nd and 3rd in order to score 2 runs

If Howard was playing, the Phils likely have a better offense and a better record.

Does that mean his career WAR calculation means absolutely nothin'? Say it again!

Howard is a career .816 OPS hitter in April...that would look really nice in our lineup right now.

One more thing about Jamie Moyer (much more satisfying to think about him than about last night's Phillies game, although I know that's the point of the site):

* * * * *
(CBS/AP) DENVER - Jamie Moyer is headed to the Hall of Fame.

Well, maybe his uniform anyway. Or perhaps even his glove.

Cooperstown has asked for some sort of memorabilia from Moyer to commemorate his record-setting night as the 49-year-old left-hander became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league contest.

And whatever the Hall of Fame decides it wants, Moyer said he will certainly deliver after throwing seven efficient innings to help the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Tuesday.

"To have your name mentioned with great players of the past or Hall of Fame players, it's pretty special," Moyer said.

* * * *
If you're interested, CBS This Morning did a piece on Jamie at the beginning of the season, which I hadn't known. The video can be found here:

* * *
Ok, back to the Phillies. Yes, Jack, hitting for power would go a long way toward helping them score runs.

Philipper - Even if it is a marginal advantage with Nix getting most of the PT in LF for the time being, Cholly should use it. This lineup needs power first and foremost. OBP would be nice too. Pierre gives you neither at this point.

Posted a couple of times that Nix has a terrible PH career line & is miscast in that role. Since the Phils already have a power source potentially off the bench most games in Thome, having a contact/speed guy as the other option PH like Pierre makes a lot of sense.

Cholly has limited pieces to put in the order right now. He needs to try to maximize using those pieces those in the way that most makes sense. Don't think that is a strength of his and why I was a bit concerned that the Phils were going to have to use a lot of roster/lineup juggling for the early part of the season.

The issue isn't the 'power' as in HRs. This team isn't going to hit a lot. They are t-12 in NL with 6 HRs and 12th in HR/AB at 62.3. Even with Utley/Howard, this isn't a lineup anymore that has more than average power.

The issue has been the dearth of doubles and triples.

T-13 in doubles (15) right now and t-15 in triples with (0).

Aquaman would have more doubles than the entire team does thus far...

Not like this is something new either. Phils were 12th in NL last year in doubles (258) but they were 4th in triples (38).

7th in doubles in NL in 2010 (290) and 4th in triples (34).

Phils were 1st in NL in doubles in (312) and 8th in triples (35) in 2009.

In 2008, 9th in doubles (291) and 4th in triples (36).

In 2007, 4th in doubles (326) and 1st in triples (41).

Ever since Vic became an everyday player and one of the league leaders in triples in the NL annually, the Phils have been in the top half of the NL every year.

I expect that Vic will end up with 12-14 triples this year again and the Phils will end up somewhere around 30 which should be midlde of the pack.

The issue nearly as much as the lack of HR power is the ability to hit doubles too.

Totally agree that some power is much needed, but I still think that some improvement with men on would put them closer to a league average offense than a league worst...and that would be a big help in regards to keeping this team afloat until they can hopefully infuse a little more power into the lineup via Howard and Utley.

One last Pierre/Nix stat:

Since 2009 when Nix became more of a MLB regular:

52 doubles in 798 ABs (every 15.3 ABs)

51 doubles in 1670 ABs (every 32.7 ABs)

So much for taking advantage of his superior speed. Literally means you could start Pierre for an entire week and there is a strong chance he doesn't give you a single XBH.

Free Nix!

For those who say JRoll has lost a step, he has still hit his share of doubles the past 3 years:

81 doubles in 1589 ABs (every 19.6 ABs)

What is worrisome is that the last 2 years his rate of hitting doubles has dramatically diminished.

MG, you're right on. Against a RH starting pitcher, Nix is clearly the better option to start in LF. Better defense, and despite a lower BA, on-base skills are comparable with Nix possesses far better power abilities (although, I'm pretty sure Cliff Lee has far better power abilities than Pierre).

Fat - I don't have the time now but I would be curious to do a run down the last few years on this current roster's ability to hit doubles.

Only 5 guys who appear to be capable of hitting doubles at an above average rate (last year it was 19.7 ABs in MLB and 20.0 ABs in the NL per double) are Pence, Vic, Nix, Mayberry, and surprisingly Chooch. Thome is too but he won't get enough ABs.

Even JRoll the last 2 years has only hit doubles at a rate of 24.1 ABs which is quite below MLB averages. Last year where he had a ton of doubles was in '09. Prior to '09, JRoll would annually have at least high 30s/low 40s every year since '03.

Polanco's a 'punch and judy hitter' now. Ditto Pierre. Wigginton has the ability to drive the ball but not the speed. He's average. Galvis is TBD. Schneider can't. Ditto Orr.

Polanco's no punch, all judy now.

I am the biggest RFD apologist but I think his lack of any real production added to the lack of Chase and Big Piece and Polly continuing down the toilet is what is actively killing the team. They need atleast a .270 hitter in left and Dom ain't going to be it either. This staying up late to see this crap is for the birds.

Interesting article on Verlander throwing heat in the 9th inning.

The biggest issue for Jimmy on doubles isn't his speed declining but rather his power is declining He's simply not driving the ball into the gap like he used to. Otherwise, his speed is still above average.

Jack just craving some SLG/ISO this year, funny how that works.

Otherwise, his speed is still above average.

You'd think, but then again I was surprised by the DP Rollins hit into last night. He was out by a mile at 1B.

JRoll has never been one to get out of the box quickly. He has a big swing and corkscrews himself into the batters box. He is an average runner at best going from the batter's box to first. Above average when on the basepaths.

David Wright just tied Daryl Strawberry for the most RBIs in Met history with 733.

Checked the Phils list and the Phils have 13 guys with more, and I've been around to see 5 of them play, so it's not just guys who played in the Baker Bowl.

JRoll has 727.

I have no doubt if we face the Giants in the playoffs again we'll get beat. The teams are somewhat similar but the Giants will find a way to win somehow. They'll scrap and scrap at you until something gives.

@EF -- shhh don't tell anyone one of those guys is Abreu...

"I have no doubt if we face the Giants in the playoffs again we'll get beat."

For years, I felt that the Giants were a bad matchup for us. Funnily enough, I no longer feel that way. The "bad matchup" theory rested on the premise that their good pitching would nullify our considerable offensive advantage. Now, however, we no longer have an offensive advantage. If anything, we're a bad matchup for the Giants since Halladay, Lee & Hamels nullify their offensive advantage over us. Unfortunately, the same can't be said when Blanton pitches.

After all the clamor over the years for Rollins NOT to be the lead off hitter, it's pretty ironic to see the recent clamor for him to return to that role.
Like the old cliche goes "Damned if you do; Damned if you don't."

"After all the clamor over the years for Rollins NOT to be the lead off hitter, it's pretty ironic to see the recent clamor for him to return to that role."

Was thinking exactly the same thing.

From, article by Barry Petchesky:
* * *

The Marlins, despite that fancy new ballpark, haven't even been close to filling the place.

The Marlins Park sellout streak ended at one game. This past weekend's series with the Astros saw an average attendance of 32,020, nearly 5,000 shy of a full house. (It's a very small ballpark.) Those numbers must have been for paid attendance, because by all accounts, the number of ass-filled seats was much lower. But that's the Astros; no one cares about the Astros. Surely the Cubs would draw? Last night's game, which saw the return of Ozzie Guillen to an "indifferent reception", drew shy of 25,000. Again, that's paid attendance, and seems generous when looking at huge swaths of empty seats.

Don't panic. It's the parking. It's the rain. Lots of new ballparks have drop-offs after opening day. Attendance is still up from last year. The home run sculpture isn't any cooler the second time around. Miami is a tropical paradise with a thriving nightlife and a small local base and it'll never support a baseball team no matter how much it wins or how many gewgaws the stadium has to offer.

It's one of those, anyway.

Sawks wanted Posednik. First Mlbtraderumors says the Phils just let him go then they say Boston willing to trade. Does anybody see Rube offering somebody else? What good does Pos do for anybody?

"As far as third base, Polanco's career resume should allow him some patience. too. At some point if he does not get going, Manuel will have to move his third baseman down in the lineup, but, for now, he deserves a chance to escape this slump. It's easy to write players off as old when things are not going well, but many times it's the wrong thing to do."

I agree but only to a point. I hope Polanco sits tonight vs. Cain. Polanco's defense at 3B should keep him in the lineup almost everyday but I wouldn't mind seeing Wigginton start there once a week especially when they don't have an off-day to give Polanco a rest.

I also wouldn't give him a long leash higher up in the lineup either. If Polanco doesn't show much improvement besides an ability to hit singles over the next 2-3 weeks, he needs to be dropped out of the 2 spot and they need to move up Chooch.

Chooch is just as fast as Polanco is at this point & is equally as good as a contact hitter. I know it hurts to potentially have two weaker hitters in Polanco and Galvis lower in the order but rather have better hitters getting more ABs and more hitters on base for Vic/Pence.

Why Brown? No, he is not tearing teh cover off teh ball in Lehigh but he already has shown he can hit several tripels an HR. WHo in our elft field is stepping up to the plate? I think his situation is like a kid who gets left back in school. In general getting left back is not a learning or motivating experience. Its also why its not doen these days.

I don't think we can expect maturity from a 24 year old about being sent down especially if he thinks he can hit in teh Bigs--and he clearly can. Last year he was sent down and did nothing.

Is he the be all and end all for the Phillies? Of course not. But he is a piece of the puzzle and he is not going to get better in Lehigh.

Would I be harping on this if we had a better solution in left? No, but we don't! He is clearly the better solution and if we believe he is in the Phils future then bringing him up now makes all the more sense.

@MG an ability to hit singles would be a blessing right now...

Hamm - The numbers do look terrible across the board for Polanco:

2.4% BB
14.6% K
.026 ISO
15.2% LD (well below his career avg of ~22%
51.5% GB
33.3% FB (with 23.5% IFH)
5.3% swing and miss (well above career avg of 3.6%)

He hitting nothing hard and most of it not even out of the infield.

Oddly, he averaging 4.15 P/PA which is well above his average.

If you look at all of the data available on Fan Graphs, it looks like Polanco is seeing more stuff out of the zone, chasing it more, and making a ton of weak outs.

For all of the nonsense you hear about him being a 'professional hitter' he has never been a guy who has a really selective strike zone or works deep counts.

One reason for potential optimism is that Polanco is in just a bit of a funk right now, stops swinging slightly less at some of those offspeed pitches out of the zone, and subsequently starts making better contact.

The thing that really jumps out to me though is how bad he looks vs. fastballs in the early going. Can't remember Polanco really driving a fastball since the season started.

Always was a very good fastball hitter. His bat just looks slow and he can't hard stuff especially in his hands. Something that much might might be related to age/injuries he has and he really can't make any adjustments on at this point.

Its way too early to say Polanco is done either. If he is hitting like this in another month with only a modest improvement in his numbers or so after 100+ PAs, then there is a good chance he is just done being able to contribute offensively as a MLB starter anymore.

Still has value due to his defense especially at 3B but you can't play him everyday if he hits .250 with no power and a sub .300 OBP.

For what it's worth, the Braves seem to be awoken.

They drilled Santana last night, and opened a cas--no, a shrink-wrapped pallette on Dickey & Co, putting up at least 2 runs in every inning but the 1st and 3rd.

"After all the clamor over the years for Rollins NOT to be the lead off hitter, it's pretty ironic to see the recent clamor for him to return to that role."

In fairness to other posters, a lot of that prior clamor was from me. However, I'm in no hurry to see Rollins back in the leadoff spot. It wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing in the world -- this offense is going to be poor no matter how they line up -- but Jimmy really ought to be a 6 or 7 hitter.

A wild offense-improving suggestion here: Given Boston's current quest for a center fielder and Youkilis's issues with Valentine (plus the Sox having Middlebrooks in their system), how about a three-way trade: Philly sends prospects + Polanco to Oakland for Coco Crisp (who the Sox are supposed to be interested in) and then send Crisp to Boston for Youk (with the Sox taking on some of the salary). The Phillies would probably have to unload salary in another area (Kendrick? Blanton?) to make it work, though.

Conversely, we could offer to move Vic for Youk and then pick up Crisp or Marlon Byrd for ourselves, but that sounds rather like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Way off topic, but any thoughts on Papelbons latest music selection? I was there on Sunday and it was pretty cool to hear Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls". I like the tie in to the whole bell chiming thing. Sorry if it was mentioned already.

Two questions:

1. Why the hell would Oakland want they wouldn't want to take on his salary for starters and he's terrible.

2. In what world is Crisp equal value for Kevin Youkilis?

3. How would trading Vic to get Youk help?

We need more offense, so trading one of our top offensive performers away wouldn't seem to help the situation to me. I haven't checked Crisp's stats, but I find it hard to believe he'd be an equal replacement for Victorino.

fooman, has he changed it from Man in the Box? The only time I've heard it was when he entered in his first game at CBP (in a non-save situation, April 9). Wasn't sure if he had a separate "non-save jam," or what. So, he's using For Whom the Bell Tolls? Commendable, though not especially creative.

To be fair, I have to watch these games from the West Coast, so I don't get to be at the park to hear "entrance music," and even if they come back from commercial early enough to hear the end of it, you can bet TBag is yammering his life away, so I can't hear it anyway.

Phils are going to have this same roster until at least Memorial Day because it appears that Howard/Utley won't be back before at least June 1st.

By the trading deadline, Amaro should have a good idea at least on what Utley & Howard will be back and able to contribute. Also have a good idea on what some of the secondary pieces have done & where to make tweaks.

Going to be a lot of mediocre baseball in between that because this offense simply isn't good enough to push the Phils to a strong record. As long as they hang around .500 and are slightly over it through Memorial Day, they will be okay.

Only way they really take on water if one of the Big 3 gets hurt or they suffer a significant injury to JRoll/Vic/Pence/Chooch. If that happens, this team is going to start to take on water and list downward in the standings.

MG, I wholeheartedly agree with you assertion. Right now, they're just in "survival mode," looking to stay close enough to make a late season run.

My concern with this tactic, however, is that you get NO GUARANTEE that Utley and/or Howard are even going to be a shell of themselves for any stretch you might get them this season. They may actually even hurt the team further. So, even if available around June 1, you have to imagine at least several weeks of rehab games, then you cross your fingers that they're capable of performing at even a decent sized fraction of their "usual" output. That's a whole lot to bank on.

I won't even think about getting into the "what if" scenarios if/when they lose someone else for any period of time in the interim.

But, all in all, I couldn't agree more - mediocre baseball will rule the day for the few couple of months (at least).

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EST. 2005

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