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Thursday, April 19, 2012


I put a lot of stock in what JW, a fairly even keeled and somewhat connected soul, thinks about this team.

In the last 24 hours, I've seen a comparison of Polanco to Abe Nunez, and now the panic button, a graphic that seems to be unveiling itself with a greater frequency on this site.

Basically, I'm not getting a good vibe from our esteemed web master. Here's hoping we can turn things around a bit in San Diego.

Thankfully, with Dick Clark's passing, it only reinforces the Mayan calendar's assertion that we won't be seeing a new year, hence this is the last year we'll have to suffer. Might as well blow the bank at the deadline Rube!!

Your yearly reminder that April is not the time to panic about anything. Yes the offense has been bad but I don't expect them to keep avoiding XBH like the plague- do you? Just have to tread water til the big guns from the lineup return and we should be fine.

Also- if I were to panic I would ask all the people that have basically argued over the years that Howard is easily replaceable- how do you like the line-up without him?

***Also- if I were to panic I would ask all the people that have basically argued over the years that Howard is easily replaceable- how do you like the line-up without him?***

Well, I think that's an unfair characterization of the argument (a rare occurance on BL). The general consensus is that if we didn't have Howard under contract, that $25 million AAV could have netted us Fielder or Pujols this off-season which more than adequately would have replaced Howard. Otherwise, its pretty well known that its difficult to replace any major player if you still have to pay the previous player's salary.

I think the panic button is actually JW's attempt at a reverse jinx. The panic button was unveiled during the summer of 2010 and used almost daily for quite some time.

I'm beginning to think that, had the Phillies not given Howard such a generous contract, r00b would've found a way to spend the money on crappy relief pitchers & even worse bench players, anyway.

The problem isn't so much finances, or even an availability of at least semi-tolerable replacement players. It's the man making the decisions.

I think people are panicking because it's not un-realistic to think that, the big guns, won't be back until June at the earliest. I'm also forseeing freddy galvis making 4 out of 5 starts at 2b even when chase comes back. I think we'll be seeing chase at some point, but i think we'll be seeing him a lot as a bat of the bench followed by a Pinch runner.

Yeah, you think there's hand-wringing now, wait until Howard/Utley rush back, have all of the expectations of saving the season on them, then spend the first month or so swinging like a rusty gate, while a chorus of "they're cooked" rains down on them.

They're in a no win situation.

"while a chorus of "they're cooked" rains down on them"

I doubt they read BL, so this shouldn't be a problem.

But at least I got an email from the Phillies with the subject "Manuel expresses confidence in Mayberry."

Whew, I feel MUCH better.

Cards have a good amount of young positional players and the money to sign a big contract next year: might be worth entertaining a Hamels deal come July...with carpenter being banged up and wainwright still working back from TJ they should be in the market for a plus young pitcher like cole. In fact, it might be the move they have to make at the deadline to stay in it.

"I doubt they read BL, so this shouldn't be a problem."

Ah, yes, I'm 3000 miles away, in L.A., and I sometimes forget how sympathetic and understanding the Philadelphia fan base tends to be.

I am proof that scientists are human and will falsify scientific data to make a living. Overeducated Ivy Leaguers with no street smarts will keep my legacy alive until they become infatuated with the next "in" thing.

I am proof that scientists are human and will falsify scientific data to make a living. Overeducated Ivy Leaguers with no street smarts will keep my legacy alive until they become infatuated with the next "in" thing.

Posted by: Global Warming | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM

On a blog that fosters idiotic comments (often tiem from myself), this one takes the cake. Not only is it totally off ay topic that would ever grace this blog, but it's immeasurably dim-witted.

***but it's immeasurably dim-witted.***

I would tentatively agree with this point but we're looking at an awfully small sample size to make such a determination.

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

clout, schmenkman posted multiple times on thi board about how valuable Polly'd defense is.

The truth: Wiggy had a base hit last night. That's it. But Polly, at least, stood a waaaaaay better chance of making all three plays that Wiggy missed.

His wits aren't as dim as I am!

awh, I was bringing it hard yesterday about how much Polly has lost at the plate, but even with all that, I still wrote this:

"[Wigginton has] much worse defense, and probably doesn't offer enough more offensively to offset the defensive deficit.

Posted by: Fatalotti | Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 09:11 PM"

Now, i did at one point advocate that Polly should sacrifice some playing time to Wigginton, but I never advocated that Wiggy should "replace" Polly. If we have Worley on the mound (not a GB pitcher), you might consider throwing Wiggy at third, to try to get some offense, but in general, Polly's glove + bat is greater than Wiggy's bat + glove.

If I'm reading the BL consensus the last few days, I don't think anyone has called for Polly to be replaced (since there's no one on the current roster capable of doing so effectively, including Wigginton). I think that the discussion was more that Polly was killing us on offense, and as such, should be dropped in the lineup.

I don't know that anyone really thinks:
a, Polly should sit in favor of Wigginton full time
b, Polly should bat 2nd

Polly brings value on defense, to be sure. He can still do that from the 7 or 8 hole in the lineup.

Never get tired of seeing a consumate artist at work on the mound. Crashburn Alley has some awesome .gif highlights up of Lee being Lee and also of Freddy Galvis being Freddy Galvis.

His wits aren't as dim as I am!

Posted by: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM

You only exist because of me.

No one has said Howard is easily replaceable, just that he's not exactly elite. The fact that Laynce Nix/Ty Wigginton haven't adequately replaced him doesn't disprove any of that. The fact that they somehow managed to downgrade defensively from Howard while adding no offense either is an impressive feat of ineptitude from Amaro.

"Ah, yes, I'm 3000 miles away, in L.A., and I sometimes forget how sympathetic and understanding the Philadelphia fan base tends to be."

Then let me remind you- the fan base is actually exponentially more understanding and tame than BL (as an example, the respectful treatment of Brad Lidge).

I can't imagine what 40,000 BLers would sound like, but it sure would be a lot less pleasant than what I hear on TV.

Lee's change was stupid fresh. Something like 21 of the 24 he threw went for Strikes. I've said it before & I'll say it again: when he's working at the top of his game, there's no pitcher I find more entertaining to watch than Cliff Lee.

I second that GTown Dave!

I'm curious - how many different pitches does Cliff Lee actually throw? Is it five?

I like my bread stupid fresh.

Baseball Fan: He's fastball, cutter, curveball, change, who ever so sparingly uses a slider.

I hate to promote this off-topic behavior, but I'm concerned about the Straw Man. Does Global Warming place him at increased risk of catching on fire? Should the grounds crew wet him down occasionally as a precaution? Or will the melting polar ice/rising oceans keep him suitably moist?

When you ink a pitcher to a 5 yr/$120 M contract, you expect him to be elite. You also expect that when he throws his single best game with your team, that you'll win that game. Still can't believe they wasted that outing from Lee.

Thanks Fata....

I can't believe Cliff Lee wasted those runs he got in last year's NLDS.

The Phillies have scored 3 Runs in support of Cliff Lee this season.

'But at least I got an email from the Phillies with the subject "Manuel expresses confidence in Mayberry."

Whew, I feel MUCH better.'

Got the same email, felt the same thing.

GTown, do I have to take a shot whenever the Straw Men is mentioned, or only when he is used in an argument?

Also, the Straw Man should get plenty moist, given that sweaty Vance Worley pitches in our rotation. He'll get thoroughly moisturized every time Worley takes the mound.

Yeah, pretty much what EFF said. It's a travesty what they did to Lee last night, but let's not pretend he's some white knight that has never failed the team.

Fatalotti: Only when used in an argument. It's the indignation that makes it count. And good point on Worley. I'm a lot less concerned now.

Lee got royally screwed over by a strike zone that changed radically after the Cards dugout began riding the idiot behind home plate. The Phillies also managed all of 1 hit after the 2nd inning. There were a lot of failures in that game.

Iceman, I don't feel bad for Lee. i feel bad that the Phillies, teh team I root for (probably too much) got a 10 IP, 0 R masterpiece from one of their pitchers, and lost the game. I'd've felt the same if it were Kentucky Joe up there.

dont laugh just a question since i tend to get up a bunch during games was Pete Orr available to Pinch Hit ?

Luis, Orr was available.

"No one has said Howard is easily replaceable

Posted by: Jack | Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 02:31 PM "

"Replacing Howard's production is not that hard.
Posted by: Jack | Saturday, October 08, 2011 at 12:39 AM"

It should be noted that pointing out that this team essentially blows--for the obvious reason that it has no offense--does not equal pushing the panic button. That is, saying things such as, "My kingdom for some offense," "Feels like a loss," "Season = over," "This team will not win the WS," and so on is not panicking. It is simply expressing a sober, clear-eyed comprehension of reality.

Halladay & Lee in '12

6 GS, 46 IP, 8 ER, 6 BB, 32 K, 1.57 ERA, 0.739 WHIP

The Phillies have parlayed these starts into a 3-3 record.

From one of the aforementioned 'Panic' threads from July 2010.

I found this gem.

"I've tried to remain patient with this team, but they have played terrible, uninspiring baseball for most of the season.

I know baseball seasons' have their ups and downs, but I'm not seeing the late season charge into the post season this year. It is possible they make a run at it, but what evidence does anyone have to suggest that our team is suddenly going to click?

Posted by: Bay Slugga | Monday, July 19, 2010 at 01:40 PM"

Cyclic This team is a far cry from 2010

RK-- In the same way April is a far cry from July?

"...fairly crucial, mid-April..."

Really? Dude, that's an oxymoron.

I'm really not inclined to say "I told you so" w/r/t benching Polanco for Wiggy. I see no problem with, as a policy, resting starters every now and then, especially if they're struggling, and you go with what you got to replace them.

Then again, this should serve as an example for Beerleaguer's Bellyachers (like the alliteration of that phrase even more than Negative Nancies and Debby Downers). There is no free lunch.

There may be a marginal advantage to reducing Polly's playing time, but doing so comes along with risks that will prove negative on occasion. That is what some people miss with their authoritative, black and white assertions that one move is definitely what should be done.

If I'm not mistaken, the bridge-jumpimg has started earlier this year than any other year in recent memory. I may have to start booking my reservation soon.


Has anyone seen Jack?

"I can't imagine what 40,000 BLers would sound like, ..."

Watching the Phillies bat is a Utopian fantasy compared to that thought.

Yep Phlip, April games don't count as much as September games.

The team is playing without 3 1/2 regulars.
LF, 1B, 2nd and sometimes 3rd. Its hard to see how such a team could be expected to do as well as any of the teams fielded in the past 5 years.

Fata -

If the Phillies are in a close race in September, and the margin for winning the division is close to the number of games left, then the games are "crucial."

I point of fact, we have no idea whether these games are "crucial" or not, because we have no idea what their subsequent ratio of wins and loses will be, or of their opponents.

Using your logic, any game for any team early in the season could be a "crucial" game, including the next couple of games for the Nats.

But please do carry on on panic-mode and make patently obvious points.

Sorry they all count. What counts in Septmber is being hot (as in the Cardinals last year and SF the prior year).

Does anyone else find that sometimes your posts disappear for a short period and then reappear?

It keeps happening to me and I can't figure out why.

So, if we don't know if they're cruical or not, how is the phrase "fairly crucial, mid-April" an oxymoron, since by your own definition, they might actually be crucial?

Any way you slice it, falling 5-6 games back in the division is never a godo thing, no matter what time of the season. Also, if the Phillies want to weather this storm of not having Howard and Utley, wouldn't it stand to reason that they should probably take advantage of playing lesser teams like the Padres and Cubs?

Iceman: Well played. Jack is often blinded by his own biases.

Replacing Howard's production with $20M in spending money that we're instead paying to him this year: not that hard.

Replacing Howard's production when you've got no legitimate 1st base prospect in the minors, and your replacements consist of 3 major league veterans whose combined 2012 salary is less than $4.5M: considerably harder.

Bake: "It is simply expressing a sober, clear-eyed comprehension of reality."

Totally agree with one slight insertion:

"It is simply morons expressing what passes for their sober, clear-eyed comprehension of reality."

Dave - "Halladay & Lee in '12

6 GS, 46 IP, 8 ER, 6 BB, 32 K, 1.57 ERA, 0.739 WHIP

The Phillies have parlayed these starts into a 3-3 record."

Wonder if they go on strike at some point and picket with 'No Runs, No Pitching' placards outside CBP.

Fata -

First the argument is that any game is of great importance, and then argument is that some games in particular are of great importance.

Of course being 6 games back is "never a good thing," but if you have 150 games left to make up that ground, then it's less of a "bad thing," than if you're 6 games back and you have 6 games left to play. And in the former predicament I find it hard to characterize an upcoming series as "crucial" (or "fairly crucial) when compared to the later predicament.

Did you notice the panic button? If you think it makes sense to "panic" with 150 games left in the season, then yes, this upcoming series (with a non-division team, mind you) would logically be viewed as "fairly crucial."

Since I'm not inclined to panic (yet), I tend to view it differently. That's why they make chocolate and vanilla.

Clout, 406p. Win.

Wow, it's strange how people simply forget to factor in the fact that they are trying to replace Howard ... and Utley for a longer time than they seemed to have factored in before. Gee, that's strange.

Phlipper, is it fun to characterize your opponent in your head, and hen continually and only ever attack that characterization, no matter how little it lines up with reality?

I'm not panicking about the Phillies, and I never will. If they don't make the playoffs this year, so be it. That's what happened when you're power hitting 1B and your all around great 2B succumb to injury and are unable to contribute, along with various other players unable to maintain levels of past production. If it happens, so be it.

From a rational perspective, though, given that those two players are out, making it hard for the Phillies to compete given their patchwork offense, I do think it's very important that the Phillies take advantage of beating as many bad teams as they can, since losses in April count as much as losses in September, and a squandered opportunity in April is just as bad as a squandered opportunity in Spetember.

And getting hot in September/October is much better than getting hot in April.

I'm actually more concerned about the losses in April accelerating the time table on Howard and Utley. I know everyone always says "they won't come back until they're 100%" or whatever mumbo jumbo, but as someone who works for a corporation that needs consumers to make money, it's only natural that both the player and the team get a bit looser on their definition of "100%" (or whatever fraction of that they're using for Utley) when performance could start to impact revenues.

Not a large concern, mind you, but Utley isn't exactly known to keep everyone crystal clear on his condition, and it's things like a last place dwelling, with a large deficit that can change one's approach pretty quickly.

OK, Fata - so an upcoming series, one of many over the course of the season, 13 games into a 162 game season, against a non-division team, that doesn't figure to be a competing against the Phils for a wild card should they not win the division, is "fairly crucial," as JW stated in the post where he also pictured a "panic button."

But you're not panicking. I got it.

Clout, you are a moron who is wrong. That's just the way it is. Sorry about that.

I don't know what a realistic expectation is for Howard and Utley, in terms of productivity, when they return - whenever that will be.

Yo, new 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?

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