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Thursday, April 19, 2012

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For what it's worth, the only one that I'm really panicked about is Polanco. I didn't have high expectations for Thome, and I didn't really understand the Nix signing to begin with. I think Mayberry and Wigginton will be fine, but Polanco is killing this team right now.

Wow. That's it? The season's over?! Taking your marbles and going home? C'mon.

Get a pair. It's a long haul.

"Laynce Nix ....Doesn't look particularly comfortable at first base. "

One of Cholly's many, many, inexplicable moves this season has been his refusal to play Nix (an above-average defensive outfielder, whatever else you may say about him) in the outfield. Every time he's started he's been at first; this is partly because of Cholly's continuing crush on Juan Pierre and his disbelief in platoon splits, but is still puzzling.

Saw this quote on the Phillies' team report on Yahoo:

"If I look comfortable, that's great—but I'm not," said Nix, who also plays in the corner outfield. "I'm not afraid of it or anything but it's still new. Every ball that comes my way I haven't seen off the bat at that angle. Seeing the game from a different angle is really different."

He's right. And I like how honest he's being about it. LF and 1B are totally different animals, which makes it more impressive how well Mayberry plays both.

Phlip, I never actually used the phrase "fairly crucial", and I rarely actually agree with what JW puts up in the thread headers.

That being said, I understand that if the Phillies don't beat the garbage teams like the Padres, Pirate and Cubs, those are losses that they're going to have to make up against decidely tougher teams they play later on down the line. Can they do that? Certainly. Is squandering chances to beat lessers teams and forcing yourself to make up for those missed opportunities against tougher competition a recipe for success? Certainly not.

In that sense, this series is important, as the Phils would be incredibly well-served to take 3 out of 4 (or sweep) the Padres.

"Get a pair. It's a long haul."

Do you think it would it help if I posted a list of addresses and phone numbers of pit bull rescue shelters in the area?

I'm not overly worried about Mayberry, or Thome (provided he is used correctly). I fear Polanco is about done offensively. Unfortunately, Wigginton is a butcher at 3B. And I hayte Nix.

This was mentioned before the season began: Nix had started a total of 6 games at 1B in his MLB career. Why either Rube or Charlie would think of him as a backup to Howard is baffling.

When these guys were acquired, I just assumed that Wiggy would play 1B, the only position at which he doesn't actively destroy a team in the field. Nix is an above average fielder in corner OF, but clueless at 1B. And there he is, with Wiggy at 3B.

Just baffling.

Re: Wigginton: "No discernible value at any defensive position."

That shouldn't be funny, but it is.

They are what they are. Wiggy, Nix, Thome etc. Their best playing days are behind them. One could say the same for Utley, Howard, Jimmy etc.

Age does that to everyone. Couple age with injuries, (where the team is now), and you have problems. Even Doc isn't throwing as hard as he used to.

Unfortunately, there are no position players in the Minors ready to step up and play at this level on an everyday basis.

That can be attributed to the trades that Amaro has made for Doc, Lee, & Pence, Meaning that talent was traded away or that the players there were blocked by the players here or that the guys down there may never make it here. I don't know. What I do know is they didn't get a whole lot younger & two main cogs are hurt.

Now, I do bash Amaro for not correcting some of the problems that I see. But if fairness to him, he's done what he's had to to keep this bunch together as best he could. But in the last couple of years we've lost at lot more offensively than we've gained. He has precious little to trade, and what he may be able to trade won't bring back equal value. So they are what they are, and I believe the window is rapidly closing if not already closed.

It's really not funny when you consider Wigginton is getting $2 million from the Phillies this season (along w/ $2 million from Colorado), & it'll cost the Phils another half a million to get rid of him next year.

lorecore's strategy on how to proceed with playing time of struggling players:

#1. Keep Mayberry in the lineup every day, save a day or two vs tough righties.

#2. Play Nix in LF vs RHP, sub with Pierre on some days.

#3. Keep Wigginton confined to 1B only, and only starting vs LHP.

#4. Keep Polanco at 3B, but into the bottom of the order.

#5. Keep Thome as your LH threat and don't hesitate bringing in Thome halfway through games to replace wigginton after a LHP is gone.

from previous thread:

Iceman/clout: Howard's production wouldn't be difficult to replace if we still had $25 million to spend on a replacement. Especially as he is currently producing nothing. Personally I wouldn't have wanted the Phillies to give 9 or 10 year deals to Fielder or Pujols, but Carlos Pena sure is looking nice there in Tampa for $7.25m. Howard & Pena had the same OPS+ last year (124) and Pena's bWar was .5 lower than Howard's. All of it in fielding coincidentally, Pena's oWar was actually .1 higher, personally I'd rather have the better hitter at 1st than the better fielder. But if Howard weren't signed to a $25m per extension 2 years ago, Philly would have been in the market for a starting caliber 1st baseman this offseason rather than looking for some ragtag backups to fill in until Howard came back. . . whenever that will be. I don't even dislike Howard, I just think his extension was too big too early and would hamstring the club. (I thought $18m per at the time was fair). And 2 weeks in, it's looking that way. Plenty of time for him to make it up though. He just needs to go back to producing like he did when he was 29. Pena's not a perfect player, I wouldn't want to give him 5 years $125m either. But on a 1 year $7.25m deal (he actually took a paycut from last year despite that 124 ops+), he's a good value. Would have left us an extra $17.75m to spend this offseason. Maybe a Pence/Victorino/Hamels extension? better bench? better setup men? better 3b? Adrian Beltre?

1) Mayberry: not a lost cause quite yet.

2) Polanco: the glass is half empty and getting emptier.

3) Wigginton: no discernible value at . . . all.

4) Thome: I like Thome and am glad he's back. But did anyone really expect him to be a vital cog anyway? He basically seems to have been acquired for some ceremonial ABs.

5) Nix: no.

That is not panic or pessimism. That's reality. Face it.

1) Mayberry: not a lost cause quite yet.

2) Polanco: the glass is half empty and getting emptier.

3) Wigginton: no discernible value at . . . all.

4) Thome: I like Thome and am glad he's back. But did anyone really expect him to be a vital cog anyway? He basically seems to have been acquired for some ceremonial ABs.

5) Nix: no.

That is not panic or pessimism. That's reality. Face it.

That said, since Howard is sunk cost and he is better than all other currently available options, it sure would be nice to have him back and producing some time soon.

Fata -

For the sake of the sanity of everyone else who reads this board, (and because I think we're just essentially repeating ourselves anyway) I'll just post once more on this, then suggest that we move on (of course, I'll read any response you might have).

I think it's mostly just a semantic disagreement, but...

It seemed that you were objecting to my comment that characterizing this coming April series as "fairly crucial" is an oxymoron - so that's what I was responding to.

Would it be good for them to win these games? Sure. Is losing them a recipe for success? Obviously not.

I don't think that either of those perspectives are even remotely questionable.


Still, I don't think that the series reaches the bar as "fairly crucial." Aside from being unsure as to whether or not something can really be "fairly" crucial (I mean isn't the attribute of being crucial really a binary attribute?), I just think that using such a term reflects a panicked outlook, and clearly such a sense of panic was reflected in the accompanying panic button.

If the Phils lose X number of games this series, and finish that X number of wins shy of a playoff spot, then obviously those loses will turn out to be "crucial" - but no more or less so than any other loses they will incur throughout the season.

lorecore: Agreed.

I don't think that Nix is a lost cause. Here's my reasoning:

Before the season started, I predicted Nix to be the favorite BLer target of hate (not the least because he doesn't have a clue how to spell his own name). If he's viewed as a lost cause, he won't get playing time, and if he doesn't get playing time, the hate directed his way will be diminished (it won't go to zero because he'll also be hated just for being on the roster).

If that happens, I won't be able to say "I told you so." Therefore, Nix is NOT a lost cause.

I always said I'd be the last one off the Polanco wagon. I'm getting ready to jump. We won the Greg Golson trade with Mayberry but that doesn't mean he's anything more than a 4th outfielder. Wiggy will have brief flashes of clutchness and lots of moments of suckiness. He'll be a wash at the end. Charlie's loyalty to Thome last night makes me wonder if bringing him back was a good idea. Laynce Nix sucks.

lorecore - who plays 1B vs. RHP, Mayberry?

Jbird- I presented Jack's quote without comment. He said Howard wouldn't be difficult to replace without qualification.

I think the point here is not Howard's replaceability relative to the cap space he's taking up- it's that the hatred of Howard and his contract runs so deep with some people that they have let it cloud their judgment of his actual value as a player.

"5) Nix: no.

That is not panic or pessimism. That's reality. Face it."

I love this. No mention of the fact he's been a league-average hitter over the last 3 years, no mention of his 16 HR in 324 AB last year (would've been the 4th best HR/AB on the Phillies), no hint of nuance about him having 18 PA.

Just "no", followed by some short sentences to convey that Bake McBride was Here doesn't need to support his claims if he sounds really certain about them.

If Wigginton and Nix were only replacing Gload and Francisco--as planned--we'd all be happy; they'd be upgrades. Unfortunately, now, they play in place of Howard and Polanco. That's not their fault, it's just baseball's answer to the Peter Principle. Named for Incaviglia, I think.

I will agree that maybe it's the Skipper who is the biggest hinderance to April success, as mentioned by JW a few weeks ago.

It's still April, however and even in this "Golden Age" of South Philly baseball, April stumbles out of the gate are burned into our immediate recognition of the Phillies' personality. There's no need for unecessary hand wringing when there's plenty of legitimate hand wringing to go around. Yes, this offense is truly offensive but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. There is plenty of time to right this lineup's ship.

The dominating problem manifests itself in the form of Charlie's impression of "hitting season" and what it means to a club like the Phillies. As well aware as he is of the foibles that his hitters are prone to, he still clings to the notion that when a warmer May rolls around, the Phillies bats will be right as rain...so then he sends them out there as if any time now, they'll respond to the task at hand. Well, this type of reactive thinking will only doom the Phils to poor results until that season actually gets here.

And Mayberry...please. He is one of the last things they need to worry about.

Concerned and patient but not panicked.

Bring up Brown ASAP and stick him in left. Filter Nix in sometimes. Play Mayberry at first and throw Wigginton and Thome in there every now and then. Play Mayberry in left against tough lefties. Drop Polanco in the order and put Ruiz up in the order.

Give these crappy bench acquisitions a little more time. 1-2 months. Play .500 in April and slightly better in May. Trade for Batts in June/July.

Make the playoffs. Ride the rotation and hots Batts / luck to a 3rd WS ring.

$$$

DH Phils: The poster who signs himself, among other names, "Bake McBride is Here," is, in case you haven't noticed, a moron.

Go out tonight. Bet ten people $10 Polanco will hit .285. Win a hundred dollars.

I second Drew's comment at the top: The only one I'm really worried about is Polly.

That said, I can't bring myself to give up hope yet (especially when his fielding remains strong.)

A small improvement from Mayberry will be enough to make him valuable in a part time role. When Ryan is back, the merry-go-round at first is gone and the Nixes of the world will find their place or fall away.

Its crazy to give up on any of these guys at this point. You need another month minimum to even begin to start to draw some of those conclusions.

Few other points:

- Hate Pierre getting so much PT in LF. No way he should be starting more than half of the time there.

His negatives at this point outweigh his positives as a starter. Better off as a reserve who PH/PR primarily. Nix is better off starting in LF.

- Two guys with OBP over .333 at this point. Chooch and Pence. Better off moving up Chooch to the 2-hole. Basically is the same as Polanco on the basepaths and at making contact.

Only difference is that Chooch actually works counts and BBs at a decent clip.

- Why is Pete Orr on this roster? Played 1 game in nearly 3 weeks. Better off with Luna as another RH bat off the bench instead of the heavy LH bench they have most nights.

- Vic and JRoll aren't exactly carrying their weight either right now. Both are hitting for average but that is about it.

Both will hit for more power (especially Vic), but they 3 XBHs between them in 104 PAs. Why their combined SLG is only .332 which is what you expect out of a utility infielder.

Is anyone else of the opinion that the poster who's been using the habdle "Sophist" is not the original Sophist? Not nearly the same level of analysis and clarity as I remembered.

Also Phlipper, I agree with your response. Spot on.

One legit guy to worry about is Polanco due to several factors (age, recent injury history, his stats so far which all are pointed in the wrong way, and the staggering amount of ground balls & infield flies he is hitting).

He's not this bad offensively but I really do wonder how much offensive production he can give you. Most preseason forecasts had Polanco at around .680-.700 OPS with .275-.290 AVG.

Those both seem a bit high right now and yeah a .250/.650 OPS at 3B stinks and really negates his overall value.

- Wiggly is downright painful to watch in the field. He should really never play 3rd, and his starts at first should be limited (not too much that can be done about that, unfortunately).

- Juan Pierre's line is .300/.300/.300. That's actually kind of a amazing. To have him as your leadoff hitter is terrible.

- Polly's defense makes him a better option than Wiggly, but he really, really, really shouldn't be hitting second. (Maybe Galvis can play third when Chase comes back?)

- I don't really understand the Nix signing, but at least he's better than Juan Pierre. So why is the other guy starting?

- There was always the chance that Mayberry's 2011 was a fluke. I sincerely hope it wasn't and he deserves more time to prove it wasn't, but it's not looking good.

Fatalotti - Not every post needs to be perfectly thought through and thoroughly analytical. If you disagree with anything in the post you can just say so and I can be more specific.

No te preocupes, la Liga de Cerveza. Estaré de vuelta el próximo mes.

Patience with all 5. The one I'm sort of worried about is Rollins, who isn't driving the ball for beans out of that #3 hole.

I'll second RSB on Rollins. 1 XBH.

What amuses me...

People like me, who take this "rough" start with a grain of salt and have a 'Let's wait and see' approach will be absolutely trashed in a couple months if nothing changes.

Cries of "SEE THIS IS WHY WE WERE WORRIED IN MID-APRIL".

But those people would be missing the point. In a couple months, if all these problems still exist, I will be right there with you all, pushing the panic button, being pissed off and planning my baseball free October.

But right now, I refuse to let myself get worked up over a 12 game old season.

And by the way, this is not to say that none of these discussions are valid and everyone should stop posting. I love it and I love reading BL. There are many concerns, but any conclusions drawn from current results are spurious.

Make the playoffs. Ride the rotation and hots Batts / luck to a 3rd WS ring.

$$$

Posted by: Sophist | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM

That just doesn't seem like you. Sorry if I insulted.

Just trying to show that I am not panicked. I've been told I take myself too seriously, so maybe I'm overcompensating by misspelling things. Also I don't have as much time as I used to. But in the end I don't think I'm wrong.

Rollins also leads the team w/ 10 Ks. On the other hand he has that 1 XBH, & 2 BB. Pierre has a big, fat 0 in both categories.

Of course, Rollins doesn't belong in the 3-hole, and I doubt any intelligent manager would play him there. But we're talking about Cholly, who 1) doesn't understand the concept of linear time and 2) caters ridiculously to favored players in order to "keep the clubhouse," whatever the hell that means. In his mind, Rollins is still an MVP, and he figures it will make him happy to hit him what's traditionally the "most important spot" in the lineup (yes, I know it's possible to prove it's not really important with advanced metrics, blah blah blah--but Cholly doesn't know that).

Most of the problems listed on this thread can be traced to Cholly, by the way--his fixation with playing Pierre has caused him to miscast Nix as a 1B, his refusal to use his closer except in a strictly statistical save situation, his apparent belief that Polanco must either play in the 2-hole or be benched, and his refusal to move Chooch up in the order. I also suspect the Hitting Guru of being partly responsible for Mayberry's slump--remember how RFD credited Sandberg with altering his swing last year? LA has commented on how Mayberry's swing has changed from what it was in that hot second half; Cholly the Guru probably "fixed" it for him.

This team has many problems, but it could significantly improve by taking one easy step--put Sandberg in charge of this team and get rid of Cholly. I only see that happening, though, if the team loses the division, by which time the damage will have been done.

Fata: sophist has been my favorite poster here ever since I first discovered the blog.

He was absent for a long while and when he returned, it did appear he lost a step. And it did cross my mind that it was another poster who stole his name.

But from time to time he shows that high level of intelligence and excellence that attracted me to the site in the first place. So I take him at his word. Plus we are all getting older.

Pierre (LF), Polanco (3B), Rollins (SS), Pence (RF), Victorino (CF), Mayberry (1B), Ruiz (C), Galvis (2B), Worley (P).

The ineptitude will continue until morale improves.

If Mayberry, Wiggy, and Nix had each gotten 1 more hit they would all be hitting around .250

I'm getting younger!

Here's the test.

Sophist, what's my BLer nic?

nickname?

flipper, natch

OK, he checks out.

"Plus we are all getting older."

Yes, mostly this is it. I didn't post for awhile because, like you, I have absurd standards attached to whatever I do (even when pseudonymously). Sometimes it's better to say nothing at all. But your criticism is valid and noted and I will try to be better.

On the other hand, different times and contexts call for different attitudes. We all react to what's out there in our own way. I'd like to enjoy this run of Doc-Lee-Hamels as much as possible and keep things in perspective. This isn't the 2009-2011 Phils. It's a flawed team looking for a savior.

It's April 19th. The Howard contract -- there's nothing else to say. Chase's knees -- ditto. We've got a couple of All stars on the field, but there's not much else to do but hope Wigginton gets hot and Brown gains some confidence in left, right?

JW doesn't typically put up with too many shenanigans when it comes to bogus posters (being done seriously, anyway). He checks IP addresses and all that.

I'm sure we're in good hands.

Though, the mvptommyd era does cast a bit of doubt....

So, besides the slightly hot Headley, is there any reason to think that Cole/Halladay don't throw back-to-back perfect games this weekend? Then, all we'd need is a single run each game!

One must remember that focusing hopefully on insignificant "nuances" that are overshadowed by glaringly obvious, deep problems does not make you reasonable or insightful. It makes you, like clout, a pinhead.

On the other hand, different times and contexts call for different attitudes. We all react to what's out there in our own way. I'd like to enjoy this run of Doc-Lee-Hamels as much as possible and keep things in perspective. This isn't the 2009-2011 Phils. It's a flawed team looking for a savior.

It's April 19th. The Howard contract -- there's nothing else to say. Chase's knees -- ditto. We've got a couple of All stars on the field, but there's not much else to do but hope Wigginton gets hot and Brown gains some confidence in left, right?

Posted by: Sophist | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 06:45 PM


^love this

I knew it was the real sophist when he wrote a detailed exposition about why all degrees of infinity are equal.

You show em Cholly. No need to change the lineup. We've won 5 games already.

It's not the sample size of a 12-game season-to-date that scares me. It's that I just don't see any relief in sight for this offense. When Howard and Utley return, they will not be the offensive player we're used to seeing, at least not right away.

If RAJ is waiting until the trade deadline to make a move, it may be too late. If Hamels isn't signed by then, maybe they should be sellers. But even if they are, what you get back in trade will not be of any value. The value will be in the $$ coming off the books at the end of the year. But if RAJ doesn't use it properly what good does it do? Maybe if he bit the bullet this off-season and brought in an everyday bat, we wouldn't be havong thesse types of discussions now, only 12 games in. Panic? No. Concern? Absolutely.

I am going to predict a big XBH series from Victorino. I think he's going to poke a couple into the gaps in this cavern, and run for days. Hope he can, anyway.

I'm also going to predict a breakout series for Mayberry (that he'll be unlikely to sustain).

Just my shots in the dark here.

(gotta try to find SOME optimism)

DPat, maybe Rube can talk Pat the Bat into an extension, once he gets him under that one day contract.

"Unfortunately, there are no position players in the Minors ready to step up and play at this level on an everyday basis.

That can be attributed to the trades that Amaro has made for Doc, Lee, & Pence, Meaning that talent was traded away or that the players there were blocked by the players here or that the guys down there may never make it here. I don't know. What I do know is they didn't get a whole lot younger & two main cogs are hurt."


DomP, you reference the trades they made.

OK, which players that were traded away are currently tearing it up at the MLB level?

Which players that were traded away who are still in the minors would/could be helping the Phillies right now?

I can find one:

Michael Taylor is hitting .407/.450/.667 at AAA Sacramento in 60 PA.

Of course, he was traded to Toronto in the Halladay deal.

Choose.


Probably the most egregious trade that the Phillies made that could be helping them right now is one that they actually already "fixed" - Ryne Sandberg

BTW, in case anyone has noticed, the team has a 5 - 7 record. Win tonight, and this team will have the exact same record, 6 - 7, that they did on April 13, 2008.

What happened that year?

Interestingly enough, after 13 games, the 2009 Phillies were 6 - 7.

What happened that year?


Simply, the Phils problems - and they exist - are magnified a bit by the hot start the Nationals have had.


Which member of the Moronocracy expects the Nats to continue to play .769 baseball the rest of the season?

If Utley comes back before Howard, would you keep Galvis at 2nd and play Utley at 1st?

And if both Utley and Howard come back, do you even dare putting Galvis at 3rd even though he has no experience there?

Bottom line - given the small sample of games we have seen of Galvis so far at the MLB level, would you replace Polly with Galvis?

My thoughts -- no, no, and if Polly is still floundering consistently through June, yes.

I've been contemplating the Nix/Wiggy/RFD situation.

Wiggy's R - L splits have been this the last 4 years:

______R/L

08: .809 / 1.055
09: .750 / .650
10: .743 / .679
11: .705 / .796
12: .402 / .984


This beings me to the opinion that against RHP Nix should be in LF and Mayberry at 1B, with Thome getting 1 - 2 starts/week.

Against LHP Mayberry should be in LF and Wiggy at 1B.

Polly should bat 7th or 8th, until he proves he's still a top of the order hitter, and Charlie should move heaven, earth, and Jimmy out of the 3-hole.

TNA, good thought on keeping Galvis at 2B if Utley's back before Howie. Worth considering anyway, because Utley's bat is in the lineup and the wear and tear at 1B is probably less than at 2B.

Given that there are two WCs this year and the overall NL is weak again this year, it is very difficult for this team to be out of it at the treading deadline.

Looking at the standings on July 31st the last several years the NL, the only way this team is 'out of it' is if they are about 9-10 games below .500

You know who looks smart in the early going? Theo Epstein. He signed a series of terrible FA contracts, faced an uphill struggle this year & next, and had already 'been to the mountain top' in Boston.

Instead he gets the star treatment in Chicago, doesn't have to listen to the national media rip him about what a mess the Red Sox are, and is given at least a 3-year grace with the Cubs.

Pierre, Polanco, puke.

Anybody have a scouting report on the kid pitching tonight? I see he has a grand total of 12 innings above AA.

Let's win one here.

Rollins 6
Ruiz 2
Pence 9
Thome 3
Victorino 8
Nix 7
Polanco 5
Galvis 4
Worley 1

Does everybody agree that my idea of flip flopping Galvis and Polly in the order is nuts?

Plus we are all getting older.

Posted by: clout | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 06:30 PM

Age related decline exists on blogs?!?!

Man, I better get JW to lock me up while I still offer some productivity.

"If Utley comes back before Howard, would you keep Galvis at 2nd and play Utley at 1st?"

Hard to answer that right now. It depends on whether Galvis is performing at least minimally well on offense at the time of Utley's return. If yes, then I would very definitely consider that alignment at least some of the time, and maybe even most of the time.

you guys are weird

Other posters that have mysteriously disappeared, or who rarely make an appearance anymore:

CJ
Heather
Old Phan
Conshy Matt
Voice of Reason

Where have you all gone?

I heard something about Old Phan, a hurricane, and a tractor. VoR had TJ surgery.

I have actually wondered if Old Phan took the next step in the progression.

Mayberry--will do better. He might not ever repeat his second half of 2011, but he has always hit for power against LHP, even in the majors. He can do that again.

Polanco--He might never hit .300 again, but it's safe to say, he's going to hit for better than a .405 OPS.

Wiggington--OPS of .710 is not that far off of the last three years. This is probably about what we can expect from him.

Thome--the man had a OPS of around .850 last season. He might not do that again, but he's going to hit better than this.

Nix--not sure where the hate for him comes from. The man's posted at least a .750 OPS each of the last three years and he's only had 12 at bats. He'll do better.

I'm still optimistic. Every year in the past five, the Phillies have had a stretch where they couldn't hit at all. Hopefully, this is that stretch, and it's just come at the beginning of the year.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_04_18_oakmlb_anamlb_1&#gid=2012_04_18_oakmlb_anamlb_1&mode=video

38 consecutive strikes thrown by Bartolo Colon. Pretty cool. Also, the announcers are really funny after they figure out he's past 25.

I've wondered -- & worried a bit -- about Old Phan myself.

I watched a bit of Colon's last outing. It's funny because, I don't watch much AL baseball and he hasn't been a frontline guy for a long time, I had forgotten his physical profile. I didn't recognize the portly pseudo-dwarf on the mound.

No offense to Sophist and his many admirers but, Old Phan's puns are sorely missed - Beerleaguer gold.

@Fatalotti et al: As you know with my first post in a coon's age last night about the wisdom, or lack thereof, of using your closer in an away game in extra innings before a closing scenario occurs, possibly like the other "missing" posters, I've been reading the blog all along for the most part, but am in no rush to hop back on board. Some may say that it's a good thing, but I am reminded periodically that this blog in particular encourages lively debate. I am happy to oblige.

I know you were a missing poster for most of the off-season, but returned at the start and are a great contributor. We butt heads at times, but I admire your insights and your ability to express them coherently and persuasively. My guess is that we all could meet at a bar and have a great time watching and agreeing/disagreeing with each other.

For the foreseeable future until election day, I have just taken on the responsibility of volunteer coordinator for Angus King, former two-term governor of Maine and an independent candidate for the soon to be vacated seat of US Senator Olympia Snowe. Thus, I'll be mostly on the sidelines, but checking in often on the best blog in baseball.

If/when he gets elected, he will be the most refreshing member of that legislative body and will shake things up.


yo - new place to repeat your personal screed over and over. Or, to discuss the game.

Phils are a measely -115 @ San Diego (o/u 6.5) where they've been very succesful and are facing a rookie coming off a poor debut(prospect in Mike Adams deal last year).

Not a good sign, thought they'd be closer to -130.

Taking a break from watching these games for a few. Glad they won though.

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