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Thursday, April 19, 2012


I think the general consensus in the offseason was that Mayberry was big question mark on whether the offense could survive enough to at least take advantage of gems like Lee last night, its held true so far.

Mayberry still deserves another month in my opinion as a full time player. It might hurt short term, but you need to find out what you have when evaluating the future, both his and your franchise.

Well, the BL geniuses who want Wiggy to replace Polly got to see the downside of that plan, so there's that.

How long does Thome deserve? Assuming he continues to be non-productive, is there a graceful way out?

Also, since Jack and Raul's Grandpa have been saying for years that Howard adds little to this team, the problem must be that we're missing Utley and Ibanez.

Can: Who do you replace Thome with? Hector Luna?

I have seen all I needed to see with Mayberry. Boom done. Rube said we aren't in business to develop players. So wasting time with John would be more of the same. Blah blah blah. Team doesn't have time to wait for John to "get it" Dom brown would gain more by playing now to see what he has. Something needs to be done to shake team up. I know mark Reynolds is available. Sure he strikes out? But at least he can make pitchers think etc. Stale team falling further and further behind.

All comments about the Phils offense are met with the disclaimer "hold on until Ryan and Chase return". I call BS on that. This offense, despite whatever stats can be thrown, wasn't all that good last year either. So having those two back really doesn't ignite this offense all that much. The offseason additions of guys like Wigginton and Nix were lousy and they're proving to be exactly that early in the season.

can: He deserves to DH vs. the AL teams and get a bunch of ABs in a short time frame.

Also, I fully support June 20 as NEPP Day.

Mehh, we're hovering around .500. The offense is a concern of course, but panic is premature (indeed panic never helped anyone at any time unless it gave our ancestors the energy to outrun the tigers chasing them).

We've scored 1 more run than allowed, have had bad luck with 1 run games (1-3) which will even out, and are missing our two best hitters. Furthermore we have a poor BABIP which will probably improve somewhat (though not certainly!) and our HR/FB% is an unsustainably bad 5.8% (almost the worst in the majors).

All in all, I'm ready to wait a few more weeks before calling for anyone's head - even Mayberry or Palanco's. :)

Thome can be productive if put in the right situation by his manager. Which of course, wasn't facing Lopez last night. Thome's sample size of ABs is still too small to draw any conclusions.

i was a big mayberry fan! i really hope he works out we were counting on him bigtime! but in my eyes 11 games into the season doen't make a players year. and waiting another month sounds good and fair because of his upside. however what we are seeing right now in 11 games is exactly what he did in S.T. for about 25-30 games so the sample is actually a 30-40 game span and i don't like what i'm seeing! it's bad enough utley and howard are out but this guy is out even though he's here! and to make matters worse poly's not hitting and jimmy has only 2 rbi out of the 3 hole and that pace will give you less that 40 for the year! i don't know how or what but somethings got to give!

"This offense, despite whatever stats can be thrown, wasn't all that good last year either. So having those two back really doesn't ignite this offense all that much."

Get out of here with your facts! I have confirmation bias and an opinion not supported by anything!

Good grief.

From Baseball Cliche Central: You can't win the division in April, but you can lose it.

I have little doubt that there will be some major changes to this team by August 1st...Howard/Utley returning, perhaps Brown being recalled, a big trade of some sort if the offensive doldrums continue, etc.

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint like the NFL. There's 150 games left...If this were football, this would be the equivalent of declaring the season over after week 1

Thome has had all of 2 starts and 12 ABs. He has looked poor in his handful of PH ABs but it is ridiculous to say he is done or not at this point.

Agree with Clout here. Phils will have a pretty good idea if he is cooked or not after in another 2 months or so especially after he DHs several Interleague games in June.

Not like the Phils have a better replacement either at this juncture or that he is making that much cash.

If they lose this series to the Padres, then it is time to get legitimately concerned.

Will have lost 4 of 5 series this year to start the season (didn't even do that in '07 when they had a poor start) and to a few of the worst teams in the NL including the Padres and Pirates.

Wow. Just Wow. The Panic Button after 12 games?

I have no illusions that this offense will be prolific, even when Howard and Utley return but, they're not this bad either. Mayberry, for one, is in an obvious and deep slump. Last night's loss was rough. There will be more like it but, they should still win more close games than they lose.

Oh, and, Wigginton is a butcher who should not play third late in a close game and who plays 1B like he's wearing the glove on the wrong hand.

Polanco will start hitting and that will make a big difference. Might even happen tonight.

"And all opponents need to do is endure the Phils' starter, even if it means taking them toe-to-toe through 10 innings."

This is an excellent point. All the focus has been on the offense's ineptitude and Cholly's blundering -- and both deservedly so. But our bullpen has also been a bona fide disaster. If you're going to go all-in on pitching, you need to have a lockdown bullpen to back it up.

"Get out of here with your facts! I have confirmation bias and an opinion not supported by anything!"

Last year the Phils were 7th in the league in runs, 7th in wOBA, and 5th in batting WAR. But please don't let that count as opinions supported by anything.

Grey clouds:

Phils ERA last night is 2.48 (2nd in NL)
Starters ERA is 2.51 (2nd in NL)

DC is first by a wide margin but they will come back to the pack gradually.

Silver lining:

Offense is 13th or lower in every major offensive category except AVG (.248 - 7th) and SB (12 - t1st).

No where to go but up.

The Phillies bullpen has an ERA of 2.39, 4th in the NL. Obviously they are not really the problem.

Mean the pitching can't be any better. Literally clicking on all cylinders right now.

So, to review:

1. A slumping Polanco against a RHP needing only a ground ball or fly ball: pretty good matchup.

2. A slumping Mayberry against a LHP needing only a ground ball or fly ball: good matchup.

3. Pierre against a LHP needing a single: good matchup.

4. Thome against a LOOGY needing something something other than a strikeout: terrible matchup.

5. A slumping Mayberry against a RHP needing a hit: terrible matchup.

Also, there were other questionable moves in the top of the 11th that no one mentioned. I'm still not enamored of bunting when there's a man on 2nd and 0 outs -- even if the hitter is Freddie Galvis (who has actually been one of the Phillies' hotter hitters recently). And why wouldn't you bring in Orr to pinch run for Chooch?

Phils' bullpen only hasn't been an issue because they have only pitched 26 1/3 IP (least amount in baseball so far).

Means you haven't seen a lot of Stutes/Herndon/KK. If Contreras is healthy and effective enough, they should be 'ok' though.

It isn't a terrible bullpen or a shutdown bullpen that has a lot of depth either. It is somewhere in between. If Contreras is effective, it is above average and an overall strength.

I guess we should be hoping for the pitching to settle into just being decent, so we can say "at least we know it'll improve".

I agree with those saying it's not time to panic about the offense. They obviously aren't quite this bad, and Matt Cain was pitching really well last night.

What it is time to panic about is Charlie Manuel. With this offense this year, we need to take advantage of every statistical and matchup advantage we possibly can, and with Manuel at the helm, that's just not going to happen. And this isn't based on 12 games. This is based on almost his entire tenure as the Phils manager.

Beard - No but you can't expect any more from them and likely a bit of reversion. 2.48 ERA through first 2+ weeks of baseball is incredibly impressive.

MG brings up a good point. The offense will obviously regress to being slightly better than this, but at the same time, the pitching so far has been equally as unsustainable. not saving we don't ahve amazing pitching, but giving up 2.83 runs/game is not sustainable.

The offense is absolutely to blame for last night's loss. No question. And some blame for Wigginton's defense, I suppose (especially in the 11th -- no defensive sub at any point?)

But, the managerial mastery of the 10th inning was spectacularly terrible. Charlie went out of his way to put players in terrible positions offensively. BAP's 10:41 post is pretty dead-on, if you ask me.

What it is time to panic about is Charlie Manuel. With this offense this year, we need to take advantage of every statistical and matchup advantage we possibly can, and with Manuel at the helm, that's just not going to happen. And this isn't based on 12 games. This is based on almost his entire tenure as the Phils manager.

Correct. Since '05, it's been one head-scratching move after another. It's like he doesn't have access to the same in formation and technology that the rest of the league (and even the casual) does.

...(and even the casual fan) does.

Ugh..."11th inning" in my 10:51 post.


BAP - I would disagree with you about the bullpen. The bullpen is not a diaster. The management of said bullpen has been.

I'm hesitant to panic after 12 games, too, but this is who the Phillies are now.

Don't see the Wigginton/Nix/Mayberry crew magically turning into .280 hitters with 15 homers each. Don't see Pierre being anything other than a guy who bloops singles (seriously, he's completely incapable of driving the ball to the gaps). Don't see Polanco ever returning to form at his age/injury problems/declining skill set.

They are who they are. It's not getting any better than this.

Fatal - our hitters are underperforming their expected norms more than our pitchers are overperforming.

Remember everyone we're about .500 and playing pretty bad offensive baseball - indeed we're playing truly offensive offensive baseball! If and when we start hitting.... Boom goes the dynamite!

Cholly said, per newspaper quote, he went with Thome because he had hit the ball 8 of 11 times against Lopez. I have as much trouble as anyone with Cholly's moves, but that would seem at least superficially plausible. No?

Here's the thing with Mayberry...why would opposing pitchers give him anything to hit when they can pitch to nearly anyone else in this lineup?

I can almost garantee that if Utley and Howard were in the lineup with Rollins or Victorino batting behind (or perhaps in front) that Mayberry would have markedly better numbers.

Let's not lose sight of this fact. It's gonna take an entire season to fully assess this dude's aptitude so might as well go with it. Hey, it's not like the guy will hit Mendoza all year. There'll be a few "torrid" weeks along the way.

Mayberry isn't your problem right now, Phillies Phans. I think that you know this.

Blanton was 'clicking on all cylinders' Tuesday night? Worley was clicking on all cylinders against the Mets?

The pitching hasn't been a problem, overall, but those two didn't exactly give adequate performances in their last turn, especially Blanton against the Giants. 11 hits in 5 innings.

Now in 2005-2008, Worley and Blanton would have given adequate performances because those offenses would have won the game. I'm definitely not saying they are to blame.

Basically, though, Hamels, Halladay and Lee have been as good as they could possibly be the last week +, and the only real travesty was what happened last night with Lee.

That quote by Manuel about why he used Thome tells me tat Charlie would never survive ont his board.

To use an 11 AB sample size to abrogate an entire career of information is just ludicrous.

For the record, Thome has a career OPS of 1.038 against RHP and a .766 against LHP.

For his creer, he's struck out once in every 4.38 PA against RHP, and struck out once in every 3.43 appearances against LHP.

Polly, on the other hand, has struck out once every 14.79 PA in his career. With a runner on 3rd with less than outs, why Charlie chose Thome over Polly may be one of the great managerial blunders of all time.

On a lighter note - Howard's house is huge but it is amazing how much smaller it is than Jeter's.

Most surprising thing to me was that Howard's mom who is accountant still apparently plays a key role in managing his money.

vs Javier Lopez

Thome (13 PA) 2-12 with 1 BB and 4 Ks
Polanco (7 PA) 1-7 with 1 HR and 0 BBs and 4Ks

If Cholly wanted contact vs Lopez, the much higher probability was Polanco. Really odd move because Cholly almost always plays the classic split matchup even if the numbers necessary don't favor it in that particular matchup.

Cholly went with his heart instead of his head there by sticking Thome. Don't buy his BS nonsense about Thome making contact.

Meant Polanco had 0 Ks facing Lopez. If he wanted contact and the ball put in play, Polanco was the obvious choice.

Not that Charlie's move was smart, but do others really think Polly would have done more than hit a weak grounder to make the 2nd out w/o advancing Chooch to 3B?

When he's not slumping, yes. But the way he's been performing lately? I really think the result would have amounted to the same thing.

Using Mayberry would have given a better chance of a sac fly, I think, although he's slumping horribly, as well.

And keeping Pierre in over Mayberry would have made the most sense.

Basically, I think it speaks to how weak we are offensively right now, the fact that none of the options appeared promising. We had to rely on either an aging LH bat with an excellent chance of whiffing v. a LOOGY, or 1 of 2 players mired in slumps.

I'm not saying Charlie played it smart. I'm just saying our bench options stink.


You're probably right that none of those guys are going to be superstars. But it can get better. If you look at the stats so far, the only guys playing potentially over their heads are maybe Pence and Ruiz. But most other guys you can reasonably expect to get better: Rollins, victorino, Mayberry, Nix, Polanco, and Thome are all well below their Norma, even of the last couple of years. Either they'll get better, or get replaced.

The offense is bad, but hot this bad. It will get better.

Announcing Thome was right move, leaving him in was the wrong move

BAP: You are wrong about the bullpen and wrong to argue the bunt of Galvis.

Sign me up for the Panic Button in the header for the rest of the season. If the poor hitting continues like this it will be Sayonara Cole Hamels.

I have to admit I'm being pessimistic about Polly in my above post. It's just as possible he could have slapped a single or made an out on the 1B side that did advance the runner.

GBrett, Chooch was already on 3rd base. A well placed grounder would have gotten the job done, and witha drawn in infield, a well placed grounder had a better chance of turning into. The LAST thing you wanted there was a strikeout, but Cholly obviously doesn't agree with that.

GBrettfan - Chooch was already on third. A decent fly ball or a grounder in the hole was all that was needed.

Dan: While 7th is 7th, statistics without context can be misleading.

The Phillies missed being top 5 in runs scored last season by a grand total of 8 runs. The two teams immediately ahead of them were the Mets, who played more innings and scored 5 more runs in 56 more PAs, and the Brewers, who play in a more extreme hitters' park.

The difference between 5th and 7th was tiny and there were good reasons for it.

On a lighter note - Howard's house is huge but it is amazing how much smaller it is than Jeter's.

Posted by: MG | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Not sure if you've ever seen his modest house in Blue Bell, but this crib in Belle Air Shore more than makes up for it!

This is a bad offense. I hate the statement "It is, what it is", but it's very fitting in the case of this lineup.

"The bullpen is not a disaster. The management of said bullpen has been."

I can't argue the latter point. But the bullpen has gotten the "L" in 3 of our 7 losses and hasn't gotten a win yet. More to the point, it's just an underwhelming group which lacks big arms. Qualls is fine, but he shouldn't be the 2nd best guy in your bullpen. And Bastardo simply doesn't look like the same pitcher he was last year. When you're pinning your hopes on a 41-year old who's coming off a major injury, you're in trouble.

lorecore is right about BAP being wrong.

Oops. That's right. Chooch was on third. My bad.

"vs Javier Lopez

Thome (13 PA) 2-12 with 1 BB and 4 Ks
Polanco (7 PA) 1-7 with 1 HR and 0 BBs and 4Ks

If Cholly wanted contact vs Lopez, the much higher probability was Polanco."

As those splits prove . . . er, never mind.

2012 Polanco strikes out a lot more than younger Polanco.

Why is it harder to root for a team with no offense than a team with no pitching? Is it just because the games get out of reach faster?

"You are wrong about the bullpen and wrong to argue the bunt of Galvis."

All I said was: it was debatable.

Personally, I thought Cholly should have pinch run with Orr. If you have a fast runner on 2nd, then maybe you don't need to waste an out by bunting.

From the article about Howard's Tampa Bay house-to-be. This is just wrong:
* *
The house will use so much electricity, according to a construction document, that "it is likely that Progress Energy will set a new transformer for this property.''

* *
I would hope someone as rich as he would construct a green home that makes use of FL's sunshine for solar energy, rather than use enough electricity to require a whole new transformer.

Soapbox moment. Back to baseball.

Did hear this on the radio this morning:

Phils have scored 2 or less runs in 7 of their first 12 games. Last year in the NL when a team scored 2 runs or less they lost around 85% of the time.

Phils are 1-6 so far when they scored 2 runs or less. Won the season opener 1-0 behind Halladay.

Last year they were 12-37 (.245 winning pct) when they scored 2 runs or less.

That's just depressing, MG.

EFF, even with Polly's icnreased K-rate lately, he's still a far better contact option than Thome, especially when Thome is facing a LOOGY.

Phils' 2012 offensive theme song:

Way too early for panic, but anyone who is not the least bit concerned has to have ice water in their veins.

I believe it tends to even out over the course of the season, but it can be frustrating to watch the O score zero runs to support Lee's gem, then to see the offense mash the next day on all cylinders. Actualy, the offense will likely not mash the next day, and the definition of "mash" for the current offense is probably three runs and six hits.

On Howard's house: 17,000 square feet is a monster, but 32,700 square feet for a single family residence is off the chart. Crazy. Oh well, it's their money to spend.

4-1/2 games back after 12 games?

Wow, the whiners here now have evidence that they'll finish 60 games back.

They're on pace to do that, no?

GBrett, and if Howard has any of his Phillies buddies over to the house, they have absolutely ZERO credibility going forward making any noise about energy conservation or the environment.

I have posted to the effect that the Phillies need a productive Mayberry to weather the loss of Howard and Utley.

So far, Mayberry has been suboptimal.

I had hoped for better.

If it ain't physical then he need to get his head out of his a88.

***On Howard's house: 17,000 square feet is a monster,***

A few years ago, I was househunting in N. Virginia (I lived there before VT) and our realtor, knowing what we could afford, took us to a 12,000 sq ft house at the top of our price range. It was the most ridiculous McMansion on the face of the planet. It had 4 stories, an elevator, an entire Master suite with a private suite on a 4.5th floor above it with its own balcony. It had something like 8 bedrooms, 12 baths, etc etc. It was so ridiculously awesome to walk around...but then we realized that there are only 2 of us and I would go insane with a house that large.

It was a pretty neat house though...had its own wine cellar, downstairs bar, game room, movie theater, etc etc etc.

No venetian canals though.

A couple points. The first is that I have no idea who ever called for Wiggy to replace Polly at 3rd, and certainly I have no idea who would call for Wiggy to start against a RHP like Cain. All I ever said, and I think what most people said, was that Polanco needs to be dropped in the lineup. His bat is horrible. His glove is good enough that he should still start most games at 3B.

Second point is that people saying Thome is done are insane. He's a HOF talent that has still hit at a really high level the last couple of years. To consider him done based on 12 ABs this year is nuts, and even more insane to claim he's finished because his manager put him in last night against one of the worst pitchers in baseball for him to face. Charlie needs to hit Thome *more*, not less, and he needs to do it in spots where he can actually help the team.

So, someone who cares about the environment cannot even step foot into/on something that isn't "environmental friendly"? That's silly.

"Qualls is fine, but he shouldn't be the 2nd best guy in your bullpen."

Says who, you? Qualls hasn't even given up a run yet.

For a hitting guru, charlie sure never seems to be able to get guy's out of slumps.

At a very bare minimum, you give Thome until the end of interleague play to see what you have. He will get a bunch of regular ABs as our DH so we will have a good feeling of what's left in the tank. To say he's finished after 12 AB is ridiculous.

Also, to put it in perspective, he started off 2011 with a 7 for 41 streak (.554 OPS). Clearly the Twins should have released the 40 year old Thome as he was finished at that point, right?

He then posted an .886 OPS with 14 HRs/45 RBI in his final 278 PA.

well let's see what we get tonight. They should be fired up, because if i was cliff lee, i would have ripped that clubhouse apart last night.

Thome needs to be out there bunting.

Whoever commented last night that Lee was pitching a gem with "two statues at the corners" was dead on.

Every ball(which was like 6 thru 10IP) that went towards 1B or 3B ended up with Nixington tipping over in the dirt about 5 hops too late.

For anyone who didn't see the last out in the 10th should make it a point to. Galvis knew immediately that Nix was going to topple over with no success, so he played the ball on the perfect angle to not only field it, but scoop it in full stride to run right to the bag himself and beat the runner.

With Thome 2 for 12 and poly 1 for 7 Charlie might be ok leaving him in there. I know when I watched last night I thought "no way Charlie taking out his body Thome" and that,s really what this is about. We have seen this from CM before "loyalty" is no. 1 with him.

Might be a little reactionary, but I have a hard time envisioning more than a few 2B over the last 5 or so years with ability to make the play Galvis did, considering the obstacle of an oaf 1B and a pitcher not getting off the mound

if Charlie was truly loyal to Thome he wouldn't have let him get embarassed.

mm - What good would that possibly do? Lee's a grown man. Not a 15-year old kid.

I am neither too down or up on this team right now. 5-7 and they win last night 6-6. Its incredibly early yet

If they keep losing series those to bottom feeders this month including his 4-game series vs. Padres and the Cubs later this month, then it is time to get a bit concerned.

- Not only is 7th in the NL in Runs not very good, there's almost no chance the Phillies will manage to finish that high this season.

- I figured Polanco would come in, hit a weak grounder &, w/ Chooch probably running on contact, make for an easy out at home plate.

- I don't recall anyone demanding that Wigginton replace Polanco, only agreement w/ JW's suggestion that the former be given a bit more playing time.

- For a hitting guru, charlie sure never seems to be able to get guy's out of slumps.

That's because the entirety of the skipper's "hitting guru" knowledge consists of "He needs to swing his way out of it."

Charlie has the same grasp of the art of hitting as a relatively alert chimpanzee, which is to say he is aware that you're supposed to swing the bat in the general direction of the ball. His supposed genius in the field is a giant raft of bullsh*t.

I was going to be happy with 12-11 at the end of April before the season started and stand by that.

Schedule was tougher than most made it out to be especially the road trips to Pit, SF, and AZ where this team has played relatively poorly the last few years.

Red~ I wasn't talking about Theriot. But Betran had more HR's (5) than our entire team. We wasted another stellar performance by Lee.

Galvis has the raw potential to be the best defensive 2B in baseball...which is why he's a natural SS. You could put plenty of good defensive SS at 2B and see this type of defense.

It is impressive how quickly he has taken to the position.

"GBrett, and if Howard has any of his Phillies buddies over to the house, they have absolutely ZERO credibility going forward making any noise about energy conservation or the environment."

These are guys who play a game every night in stadiums so bright you can see them from the moon, and get on jet planes every 3 days to play said games, and they are supposed to draw the line at Ryan Howard's light bulbs?

According to Gelb (& I do not disbelieve the man), the Phillies don't have a XBH from the LF position yet this season. They don't seem to have a BB from the position, either.

I cost 10X as much as a regular bulb, take a full 5 minutes to reach complete brightness and still provide less light than a single birthday candle slapped haphazardly into a cupcake!

Ibanez has a .778 OPS so far.

Interesting thoughts from Murphy:

Correction: Mayberry had a 2B in a game in which he was the starting LF, back on Opening Day. So that's one XBH. Mayberry hasn't had one since, & Pierre hasn't had one yet.

Gtown - Did Mayberry start opening day in LF? He had a double that day.

GBrettfan: Pretty much echoes my feelings. Manuel doesn't have that excuse to fall back on w/ regard to his bullpen usage, however.

Last night's game was too late to appear in print in today's Inky. Here's a link to the well-written Matt Gelb report on the game.

I can see how somebody can mistake me saying that Howard will never return from his injury hitting anywhere near the same as he used to as me saying for "years" that Howard has no worth.
Still willing to offer the Dunn versus Howard bet for this season?

RedBurb: You're correct. Already caught the mistake.

Sorry. I think I posted the same time you posted.

This is all one big rouse to get us all to shut the hell up about Kyle Kendrick's shortcomings, for once, and to instead, take a step back and realize that he's actually one of the pluses on this current team (he's probably the 3rd best bullpen arm we have).

Okay, noted, now we can go back to hitting.

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