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Monday, April 30, 2012

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Hang around .500 until Howard comes back. IF he and Utley come close to their past, we'll be OK. If not, stick a fork in 'em.

In the last thread someone lumped Dickey into a category of below average pitchers. Does anyone else here believe that? Not only has he had consistently had the phils number, but over the last couple years he has put up some good numbers. Also, is there anyone else that even throws a knuckle ball in the majors right now? Talk about a change of pace, that has to mess with timing doesnn't it (a lot like facing Moyer)?

That 2nd WC slot could be our lifeline this year. Otherwise we're starting to look really bad.

The return of Utley and Howard alone is not going to do it. We just can't assume that those guys are gonna come back to the lineup and immediately start producing. It's gonna take a while for them to return to form, and in Utley's case we can't even be sure what that form is (though certainly an improvement over Galvis' production).

For this team to really contend again, we need Lee and Pence to get healthy, and Vic and Jimmy to really step up. By the time Utley and Howard are really contributing it will likely be too late.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that not all teams are created equal, that they are not always endowed by their Creator with certain infallible players, who among them are Howard, Lee, and the seldom seen Utley.


If Vic, Ruiz, Pence, Rollins and Polly hit, we can survive...if they dont, they're a 4th place team.

Right now, Polly and Rollins arent hitting at all, Pence is playing hurt and Vic is having a pretty crappy contract year.

Wigginton and Ruiz cant carry a team.

Braves are playing well, Nats are falling back to earth a little (as some of us predicted), and the Phillies are now 4 games back whereas on Wednesday last they were 5-1/2 games back. This, despite going 1 - 2 since then.

The moral: This division is winnable even for an ailing Phillies team. They just need to stay close until the big guns get back.

Freddy has been a nice surprise defensively, which has made up for his offensive shortcomings, but he's no Utley, who IMO impacts the lineup more than his actual performance.

Nixington have been a pleasant surprise, with them having a 157 and 131 OPS+, respectively. But they are not Ryan Howard - and do not strike the same fear into a pitcher that Howard does, who is still the biggest threat on the team to change the complexion of a game with one swing.

Opposing teams no longer have to plan to pitch around the Phils 3/4 hitters.

That makes a big difference.

Stay close, and hope Howie and Utley are some semblance of their former selves. If they are, this team should make the end-of-season crapshoot in one capacity or another.

Then, hope to get hot.

A lot of people speaking as if the season is over. Hopefully, we don't see them on this blog anymore. No one wants to ready their whiny posts after a month of baseball. Taking a cherry picked sample of seven (7) Phillies season and saying that, because of this, past performance is an indicator of future performance and the season is over. This is preposterous. I imagine some of you never took statistics in college.

Has anyone looked at all teams in the MLB over all active years in their history and determined what, if any correlation, the April record had for the season record? If we want to look at statistics, this is the analysis you perform. Not cherry picking one team over seven (7) seasons.

NEPP, the 2nd WC slot would be a psychological killer for us. We'd be on the road. Doc starts for us, gives up a lead off double followed by two pop flys to the outfield to drive in a run. Doc pitches a complete game one run one hitter with no walks and loses 1-0, because our turd hopper line-up can't hit their way out of a wet paper bag. Where's the Panic Button in our thread header? Better yet, the Panic Button should be inserted in the website masthead until further notice.

I am pretty much at Defcon 4.5 now. In the past Aprils when we struggled, I didn't panic. This time it is different. We are old, slow, and broken. The new Utley would be a 2 or 6 hole hitter on contending teams. Howard won't feel comfortable to September and even then, what Howard are we getting? The new warning track power or a guy who really has adjusted his style?

Amaro has to go the Flyers route on this one. Time to trade Cole and perhaps Victorino. Get a true 3B prospect, OF, and some pitching. Fire Charlie and bring up Sandberg. Get younger, deeper and a new manager/voice/approach. It is time. We cannot wait until the offseason and let Cole walk for nothing...

The predictive value of past Aprils' records is pretty much nil.

The predictive value of this April's record, in and of itself, is pretty insignificant except in the sense that it speaks to how many games back the team is. Obviously, there are countless examples of teams going deep into the playoffs after being 4 games back at this point in the season, let alone more than 4 games back with far fewer than @140 games left in the season, let alone with teams that started the season with key players injured who were farther back deeper into the season.

I think that NEPP basically has it right - this team's fate rests largely in the hands of Polly, Rollins, Vic, and Pence (I think that Ruiz's solid performance is pretty much a given). At least three of those four need to be producing pretty close to the highest output we could reasonably expect. We're getting it that from none of them.

A solid performance from 3 out of those 4 and we're likely to be able to leverage the pitching into a playoff spot. Add to that solid performance from Howard and/or Utley and we're likely to be able to leverage the pitching into a championship caliber team.

As for those four players, I'm perilously close to joining the Debby Downers and Negative Nancies, (although I'll never be able to match their constant belly-aching). I'd say that from a statistical perspective, we're likely to see significantly stronger performance from all four - but from watching them on the field thus far, I can't predict that any of them are going to match what the team needs to be playoff caliber.

We should also prepare for the inevitable fall back to earth by Wigginton. Statistically, there is no reason to believe he's an .844 OPS hitter. He was a .724 OPS hitter the three years prior to 2012. So hopefully, everyone else starts to hit soon as Wigginton will crash back down sometime soon.

I'll also add that Charlie following the BL genius prescriptions for moving deck chairs by altering lineup and/or different gameday lineup decisions (Wiggy over Polly, Nix over Pierre) won't make the difference either. What matters, IMO, is how those four players hit.

"This time it is different."

I suspect that the Debby Downers and Negative Nancies have said that each and every year. How many times over those 7 years have we seen proclamations that it's time to "blow up" the team? I specifically remember some BLers (cough, Jack, cough) panicking deeper into a previous season that the offense was a disaster, and unless Brown was inserted into the lineup immediately it was time to completely restructure the team.

If the Phils are relying upon key offensive contributions from Polanco and JRoll (two singles hitters) and one guy who shouldn't really be starting at this point anyways, they are in trouble.

I feel like NEPP does. With the 2nd WC, it is almost impossible for any team in the NL to get so buried that they are indeed 'out of it.'

That would take this team sinking to 9-10 games below .500.

There's a lot of ways to look at the sub-mediocre record in the first month, one of which is the positive: they've suffered through worse ans still won the division; Washington isn't going to win at their present clip all season, and the next time Atlanta plays well down the stretch will be the first since their division-winning days.

But MG's point tends to sick with me more: they can't win series against the league's weakest teams. Not just once, but three times now. That just does not bode well for the long term. The Phillies have looked to me like a team that's consistently been on the verge of a season-gutting freefall; they'll snap out of it for a day or two and then fall right back into the morass. Obviously, the pitching is going to ultimately prevent that freefall from occurring, but it no longer seems to have enough power to propel the team out of irrelevance.

I do believe the Phillies will grow into themselves a little more at some point this summer, and claw their way back into contention (though whether they can sustain it is another set of conjecture). And I don't think you necessarily lose a division with a 10-13 or 11-12 April. But the next week of games against what look like the two key teams in front of them will probably be more telling than anything we've yet witnessed, and I don't think anyone is particularly looking forward to finding out.

Man that will hurt to see Cole leave. Im a Victorino fan as well but i could Stomach that a little more. I hope Shane hasnt got that im a power hitter syndrome and has been swinging for the fences I havent watched many games so i cant tell. Can we get Sandberg up here as a hitting coach?

I hate it when Beerleaguer goes full-whiny. You should never go full-whiny. Me and several others said that so goes Mayberry so goes the offense. So far, it's proved true. The only thing we can do know is wait for Utley & Howard and re-evaluate from there. I'm sure the team is of a like mind. Amaro will figure out what to do at the deadline based on how the star pair returns. Until then, we just have to hope that Vic & Mayberry start hitting and Charlie can put together a competent batting order.

***If the Phils are relying upon key offensive contributions from Polanco and JRoll (two singles hitters) and one guy who shouldn't really be starting at this point anyways, they are in trouble.***

They dont need to be key offensive hitters...they just need to be above replacement level. Right now, they are posting OPS+ in the 45-55 range. That's unacceptable. They need to get that up into the 80s and Vic/Pence need to hit like we all know they can. If that happens, they can toss up 3-5 runs per game and win with our rotation.

"But the next week of games against what look like the two key teams in front of them will probably be more telling than anything we've yet witnessed,.."

Agreed.

The head-to-head matchups with these teams are likely to have more importance in terms of the standings on the last day of the season than games against the Cubs or the Padres.

If they muddle through those two series looking no worse than they have so far, then it might not tell us much. But if they look proportionately more pathetic in contrast to those higher caliber teams than those they've already played, then I think it would be indicative that the previous series' were not just evidence of a slumping team but evidence of a team that's just bad.

I agree with Jbird about Mayberry being a big key to this offense. I'm worried that thanks to 2 weeks of bloopers from Juan Pierre, Mayberry may not get the ABs he needs to hit his way out of his slump.

The #1 saving grace? The National League is putrid this year. April was an easy schedule but it did involve a 10 game west coast trip.

I don't think they can rely on Rollins and Polanco for major contributions, but if they could give them a ~.700 OPS instead of ~.550 that would help this offense a ton.

I tend to agree with Jbird and DH Phils about Mayberry - but given the performance of him so far, his track record outside of a limited sample size last season, and the performance of Pierre and Wiggy thus far - it's hard to see how Mayberry will getting many ABs.

I like watching Mayberry play because I like watching players with exceptional athleticism (in contrast to, say, pudgy guys who have mastered one specific skill). It might be small consolation, but if the Phils do fall out of contention, it could be interesting to see if Brown, Mayberry, and Galvis (and Bastardo?) are given the ABs to prove that they're major-league quality players.

The performance of Pierre...haha

93 OPS+, 3 CS to 3 SB, and one pickoff. Atrociouis defense.

Mayberry has been godawful, as well, but that's the problem with the Phillies. Pierre's mediocrity has seemed like All Star level contributions compared to most of the the players on this team.

Hopefully a few of the regulars pick it up, otherwise, this could be an ugly month or two before Howard/Utley come back.

As has basically been stated, if Polly and Rollins both continue to basically be black holes in the lineup, I don't think that the team has much shot of playing in the post season.

And I would include in that if they continue to be basically only singles hitters. Their slugging %'s are both down, considerably, even from last year. And so are the slugging %'s of Vic and Pence. IMO, if at least 3 out of that 4 can't perform in that aspect at a level at least commensurate with last year, then the team is in trouble.

Although Nix's is actually higher, Pierre's OBP, relative to the rest of the team, makes Charlie more likely to continue to go with his proclivities and stick with him instead of playing Mayberry.

I think it's pretty hard to argue with that, although personally I'd rather see Mayberry play.

I don't know if they lost their title in April, but a good start is very important (see Red Sox last year). Can they rebound? But at the moment they are hitting like derr staring into headlights. Their record for April is not acceptable. I can't wtach nor listen, it makes me sick.

And I'm tired of hearing excuses from the manager. The team's poor offensive performance is echoing the GM's poor performance in the off-season as to putting together a better lineup. Also, it may be time for the hitting coach to go.

In Rube's defense, his acquisitions this off-season outside of Thome have all performed at least as well as we had any reason to expect. Even Pierre's line would look great if he were our 5th OF as it was drawn out on paper. If Mayberry had turned back into a pumpkin and the left-side of our infield turned into pure crap, we'd be okay.

Granted his moves in the years prior that emptied out the farm system haven't helped but so far Wigginton, Nix and Pierre have done as well as could be expected...as has Papelbon thankfully considering his ridiculously bloated contract.

"Taking a cherry picked sample of seven (7) Phillies season and saying that, because of this, past performance is an indicator of future performance and the season is over"

If you're referring to me, my response is:

(1) The only people I've seen using the words "season is over" on this blog are the posters who choose to mischaracterize others' posts.

(2) I didn't cherry-pick the 7 Phillies seasons. clout picked them as an example of why we don't need to be concerned. I was simply pointing out that he picked a strange set of examples to make that point, considering that the 7 years of data show exactly the opposite of what he was arguing.

NEPP - which moves that emptied the farm system do you think were a mistake given what was obtained in return?

And which contract for which reliever that signed this year would you take over Pap's?

NEPP, I agree. I like Nix as a platoon partner with Mayberry, as he can hit RHP well enough, has always had a good ISO, and his low OBP wouldn't be such a killer in the 6-hole on most teams, as a platoon player. Also, plays good defense in LF.

Pierre is a fine 5th OF, and a late innings pinch runner (if he's extremely judicous about whent o steal). As our starting LF and leadoff guy, though, he's incredibly misplaced.

Phlipper, the Pence trade is going to go down a really bad one in my opinion. Pence was never anything more than a slightly above average RF, who was in the midst of an unsustainable career year. Nice player, but not worth your top hitting AND pitching prospect.

Also, not gettting more of a return when we sent Lee to Seattle was poor, in my opinion.

So BAP, you agree that the predictive value of the last 7 Aprils is virtually nil?

clout's point was that they have no predictive value, and it sure seems that your point (using "correlation") was the opposite.

"I agree with Jbird about Mayberry being a big key to this offense. I'm worried that thanks to 2 weeks of bloopers from Juan Pierre, Mayberry may not get the ABs he needs to hit his way out of his slump."


Ohh, come on. RFD has had 11 AB's since April 20th. That's about 1 a game. Isn't that enough?

This week we will face 7 straight RHP. So I don't see him getting much action.

As bad as Victorino has been against RHP, they might as well put RFD in CF for a game or two. He can go 0-4 just as well as Vic can. At least he'd get some consistent AB's for a game or two. Might help him down the road.

Obviously you can't win 'em all, but that doesn't mean you should lose 'em all.

When the Phils are only slight favorites or even an underdog(only once so far), they are losing every single time. And since they're losing a few games that they are overwhelming favorites, you end up on the wrong side of .500

You either take care of business when you're supposed to - or you better at least pull a couple games here and there that are closer to a coin toss to help even out.

Utley and Howard's return will make everyone else better.
Subtract the # of times JP has been picked off and his average is nothing great. Mayberry and Nix need more playing time,1 big hit makes up for alot of dribblers thru the infield.Sorry to say(sss) I don't see Thome helping.Need to atleast give someone else 20 tries.

phlipper: Virtually nil? I agree, as a general proposition, that April record is not terribly predictive of regular season record when it's within about plus/minus 2 games of .500. But the Phillies' last 7 Aprils have actually been very predictive. If they finished above .500, they won the division. If they finished below .500, they missed the playoffs. The pattern followed in 6 of 7 seasons, which is why I found it odd that, of all the data sets that clout could have found to make his point, he managed to use one which directly undercut that point.

Fair enough, NEPP. But I think that all of that needs to be looked at as an overall balance - what was obtained in comparison to what was given up. It is inevitable that any GM will make some moves that aren't a slam dunk in a positive sense. Cherry-picking the questionable ones could be misleading.

I'd say that overall, looking at how the prospects moved have played out RAJ's done pretty good. It doesn't look to me like there's a standout mistake in terms of prospect given up - (am I wrong about that?); and in terms of moving Lee back and forth, the relevant comparison seems to me would be what he gave up in total compared to what he got in return in total (the players he gave up compared to the players he got back plus the performance Lee has given the Phils).

"In the last thread someone lumped Dickey into a category of below average pitchers. Does anyone else here believe that?"


That was me. Dickey for his career is 41-50 with a mid 4 ERA.

That is the definition of average to below average.

We will face 5 pitchers this week, better then Dickey.

"But the Phillies' last 7 Aprils have actually been very predictive. "

BAP - I'd say that's a misunderstanding of statistics. It's a "correlation" without any significant meaning.

My guess is that if you established some "correlation" with teams' records in any given month with their final record, April's records would have the lowest value of any month of the season.

It's more or less a random stat, and that was clout's point. You're trying to have your cake and eat it too. Either it's predictive or it isn't. Is it somewhat predictive? Sure. Winning teams tend to win. Is it predictive at any meaningful level (in which you'd have to consider all teams over the history of the game)? My guess not very much.

My guess is that selecting a sample of one team over 7 seasons renders your sample to a size that doesn't give you significant results.

Dickey has been a 117 ERA+ pitcher over the last 3 years. He's been pretty good. Not having a hot start this year, but I'd cbe careful to call him a below average pitcher currently.

BTW - in my comment above I wasn't using "significant" in a statistical sense. You can sometimes of a statistical significance that has no real world significance. My guess is that playoff teams have more often had a winning record than not - but the predictive value of a winning April record is virtually nil.

"Phlipper: It's more or less a random stat, and that was clout's point."

And my point was: then use an example which proves that point. Don't use an example that undercuts it. If I wanted to argue that teams which get into the playoffs by the Wild Card are at a disadvantage, I wouldn't punctuate my argument by saying, "Just look at what happened last year."

Phlipper, you're right. Studies have shown that April record is not very predictive.

It's not the Phillies 10-12 record that worries me. It's why they're 10-12, ti's the projection of this lineup going forward, it's the uncertaintly of Lee's health (I never feel good about pitchers w/ oblique strains), the uncertaintly of when Howard comes back, how long it takes him to get back to being himself (if he gets there), and whether we ever see any semblance of Utley ever again.

The record is just supplemental to those fears.

A 10-12 record isn't that hard to overcome in this league. I just wonder if this team can do it. I do believe that if Howard and utley return and are above average players (125 OPS+ for Howie, 115 for Utley), we'll be in much better shape. Big "ifs" though.

bap: "And my point was: then use an example which proves that point. Don't use an example that undercuts it. If I wanted to argue that teams which get into the playoffs by the Wild Card are at a disadvantage, I wouldn't punctuate my argument by saying, "Just look at what happened last year."

I was just about to chime in with basically the same message, well put.

A 10-12 record isn't that hard to overcome in this league. I just wonder if this team can do it. I do believe that if Howard and utley return and are above average players (125 OPS+ for Howie, 115 for Utley), we'll be in much better shape. Big "ifs" though.

Posted by: Fatalotti

Most of you probably don't recognize my posts since I don't post often, but I'm never a whiner.

I, however, will say this. I'm please and surprised we're at 10-12 considering how we've been playing. The Phillies have a few more weeks to keep their performance out of the headlines as long as the Flyers keep winning. After that, the Philly media will start pressing them and, IMHO, it will get ugly if they keep playing like they have (even if they remain close to .500). $.02

***I didn't cherry-pick the 7 Phillies seasons. clout picked them as an example of why we don't need to be concerned. I was simply pointing out that he picked a strange set of examples to make that point, considering that the 7 years of data show exactly the opposite of what he was arguing.***

Though if he had said "A losing record in April has zero correlation with us having an above-.500 season", he would be correct based on those numbers as we did win at an above.500 pace in 2005 and 2006 despite crappy Aprils.

I would say that we arent doing ourselves any favors and the odds go against us the further we go into the year with a losing record. Given that we are in a division with two other solid if flawed teams in the Nats and Braves, we should be worried about our chances of winning the division as its within the Margin of Error this year.

For the last couple years (2009-2011), the Phillies basically would have had to completely and utterly implode to lose the NL East. We knew going into 2012 that the margin of error was far smaller thanks to major injuries to two of our key players and a general improvement across the board in 2 (we thought 3 with the Marlins too) division rivals on paper. We were and should certainly have been favored to win the Division but it wasnt a near-certain lock like in years past. This first month of the season has seen basically ever fear come true for our roster:

1. Zero production from aging veterans like Polly and Rollins.
2. Injury to one of the Big Three
3. Shoddy bullpen outside of Papelbon
4. Mayberry showing he was a fluke
5. Underachievement from Vic and Pence

Outside of Wigginton, nobody has overachieved. Again OUTSIDE OF TY WIGGINTON, NOBODY HAS OVERACHIEVED. That's a losing recipe.

Still, there is very good reasons to assume that Vic and Pence will start hitting. Both are good to very good offensive players and have great track records to prove it. Rollins is a better player than he has shown and Polly should be at least better than he has shown so far. Neither is an all-star but both are above replacement level and that's what they've been so far. Howard should be back and he should hopefully start hitting just as Wigginton comes back to earth at 1B. Utley even at 50% is an improvement on Galvis offensively though we'll lose a little bit on defense which is okay. Also, hopefully Howard returning will push Nix into LF against RHP and Pierre then goes to the bench where he is a useful piece. A Nix/Wigginton platoon in LF or Nix/Mayberry could be productive.

That's my "glass is half-full" assessment.

"Most of you probably don't recognize my posts since I don't post often, but I'm never a whiner."

Congratulations.

I'm with NEPP on almost everything, but I disagree with the shoddy bullpen. Papelbon(9th) and Qualls(8th) have been shut down.

Your 6th and 7th inning relievers not being world beaters doesn't qualify as a setback to me, 'dem da breaks.

***which moves that emptied the farm system do you think were a mistake given what was obtained in return?

And which contract for which reliever that signed this year would you take over Pap's? ***

I thought we should have targeted Bourn over Pence last year as he was cheaper and we could have moved Vic to RF again which would have given us 2 GG defenders in the OF as well as a legitimate leadoff hitter (something we sorely need right now).

I also think the Oswalt trade was a mistake as well as the second Lee trade where we got peanuts for an elite starter. If Rube would have actually gotten a good prospect in return for Lee, we might have a young player roving the infield at 3B or patrolling LF. Even if none of those prospects pan out (the ones we gave up), we could have gotten better returns for them. Oswalt had a great run in the 2nd half of 2010 but it didnt help us in the post-season and he was basically worthless last year. Pence is a nice player to have but we paid top dollar in prospects and are now paying top dollar in salary for him.

As for Papelbon, there is nothing wrong with getting him...we just could have waited a bit and not massively overpaid. Rube once again had to set the market and massively outbid everyone else. He waits a week, there's no issue with the draft pick compensation and hopefully he gets him at a slightly lesser premium.

dennyb: and most of that was pre-knuckleball correct? That is a terrible arguement to say he is below average, using win loss record anyway.

I agree on Qualls, he has been solid in the 8th inning. I was thinking more of Bastardo and Contreras being non-factors and the rest (Schwimer, Stutes, Herndon, etc) being replacement level.

My fear at this point is that UC will ride Qualls/Papelbon into the ground and burn both of them out by September...assuming we start getting leads in the later innings and he actually has to worry about closing out games.

Fat~ We will overcome the bad April if we hit like we're capable of. And I do agree that the return of Howard and Utley will make a difference. The question is what will they be able to bring? If they perform like their old selves, then our bench becomes really good. One of the problems with the offense right now is that a lot of the bench players have to play. We've lost a lot of games so far to teams a that are supposed to be inferior to us.

What I don't get is possibly a management's perspective of "we can turn it on when we have to". It doesn't work that way. Staring tomorrow, they'd better start hammering the baseball, lest the April troubles go into May. It can snowball into much worse.

***it's the uncertaintly of Lee's health (I never feel good about pitchers w/ oblique strains), ***

FWIW, Lee has had oblique issues the last couple years and aside from missing a couple starts here and there, it hasn't been a huge issue for him. He's just prone to that type of injury. I think they are being very, very cautious with him to avoid a long-term issue or a repeat of Howard's achilles snapping after he played hurt for the entire 2nd half last year.

Also, dennyb, I would assume dickeys era the last 3 years, which would conicide with his use of the knuckleball at the major league level is a bit better than mid 4?

Chase was a .742 OPS hitter in the 2nd half last year when his knees were bothering him. If he can give us that and Howard can chip in an OPS+ around 120, the offense is fine. They dont need to be MVP candidates, they just need to be productive.

NEPP, I hope you're right. I just know that oblique injuries are generally tough for pitchers to overcome, and lee is 33 now. Can't always count on him bouncing back like he did in years past.

Hopefully, he's back on the mound for the Phils next week. They need every bit of their starting pitching advantage to weather the offensive woes rght now.

NEPP: What do you mean by "fine"?

If Utley and Howard only perform to that level, the offense might be sufficient, given this team's pitching, for us to sneak into the playoffs. If that's what you mean by "fine," then I agree. But it will still be a decidedly below-average offense.

"I'm with NEPP on almost everything, but I disagree with the shoddy bullpen. Papelbon(9th) and Qualls(8th) have been shut down."

I also think that the death pronouncements for Contreras so often found in game threads may be a tad premature. If KK gets back to the bullpen, KK to Contreras to Qualls to Paps is not so bad as a regular bullpen progression.

Since Dickey mastered the knuckleball, he's got a 3.16 ERA in 62 starts.

He was working on it for years prior to that (I distinctly remember a great SI article on him during ST in 2008 when he was just starting to learn how to throw it but hadn't yet mastered it). Its ridiculous and silly to use his pre-2010 stats as an indicator of his future success as he's a completely different pitcher now.

Dickey, like all knucklers, will get bombed occasionally when he's not feeling his pitch.

Wow, Phlipper and I actually agree on something. Qualls/Contreras/Papelbon I think can be pretty good, and if Bastardo can get back a little of his stuff/command from last year, that's a perfectly fine back of the bullpen.

GALVIS FOR MVP!

It is 'whining' to say this offense stinks and that they aren't any more than a .500 even with Lee back? More like a realistic assessment.

Depending upon Mayberry, Polanco, and JRoll to drive the offense? Good luck with that Cholly. The certainly are likely to hit more but Nix/Wigginton/Pierre aren't likely to hit this well going ahead forward.

This is a terrible lineup. Going to remain that way regardless of how Cholly orders it. Bench is underwhelming too most nights given who is on it. Fontenot is a better player than Orr. He should be called up in short order. Not a big upgrade but an upgrade nevertheless.

Defensively though they are quite good especially when Polanco is at 3B and Galvis at 2B. Probably the best INF defense in MLB right now. Starting pitching with Lee is also ridiculously strong.

They are able to put out a starter out there every start that is capable of going 7 IP and only giving up 2 runs or less. Even Blanton can do that when he is really locating his fastball like he has in 2 of his 4 starts so far.

Hope that is enough to keep that at .500, they go get Howard/Utley back, and Amaro decides to make a move at the deadline to upgrade the offense which is enough to get them in the playoffs. Recipe will remain the same the next 2+ months as it did 2 weeks ago.

The only question is whether this team can indeed stay at ~.500 playing better comptetiion because they have largely played dregs in April and are below .500 against them (4-6 vs. Cubs/Pirates/Padres).

It's unlikely the starting pitching will allow for any long losing streaks but if they have a bad turn in the rotation this team could easy lose 4 or 5 straight against better teams.

***If Utley and Howard only perform to that level, the offense might be sufficient, given this team's pitching, for us to sneak into the playoffs. If that's what you mean by "fine," then I agree. But it will still be a decidedly below-average offense.***

Of course it will be below-average...but it will be sufficient to win games and advance in the playoffs if things go our way just like it worked for SF in 2009. Our SP is elite. Howard/Utley performing at that level along with Vic, Pence, and Chooch will give us 5 solid hitters, 2 defense first guys (Polly/Rollins) and a question mark platoon in LF that might be good or might be mediocre. Thats sufficient given our rotation.

How early is too early to start speculating as to which veteran hitter they will overpay for at the trade deadline?

Utley and Howard will be our "trade deadline acquisitions". Other than that, Rube might try for a veteran corner OF that can hit LHP to platoon with Nix. He likely wont get a 3B as there simply arent any available that we could afford prospect-wise...its simply too thin a position. The Padres are talking about extending Headley and he's our only true choice as the Mets would never trade Wright within the division and especially not to Philly.

I dont see a major acquisition like in years past.

Would anybody be interested in trading for Carlos Quentin at the deadline? Not a world-beater, but a good power bat. He's been a 124 OPS+ hitter the last 4 years, and might not be all that expensive. The Padres will be out of it by mid-June, and he is only on a one year deal.

Just a thought. I don't think we have the chips to go after a big time bat, even if one were available, but Quentin could help this offense.

A lineup of

Rollins
Utley
Quentin
Howard
Vic
Pence
Ruiz
Polanco

Not too shabby.

"How early is too early to start speculating as to which veteran hitter they will overpay for at the trade deadline?"

"If" they get one, they most assuredly will overpay. I still say it would have been wiser to overpay (in terms of dollars) for one in the off-season.

Bullpen is really mediocre right now. Only reason it has been exposed is that it has pitched the least amount of IP in MLB (50 IP). Average NL team has thrown 63 IP.

Starters so far are even going a bit deeper into games this year so far (6.62 IP/GS vs 6.57 IP/GS last year). Cholly is pushing them even harder this year so far.

There's two solid arms right now - Papelbon and Qualls. Maybe you could include Bastardo but he's had control issues in almost every outing this year.

The rest are underwhelming. Contreras isn't throwing his splitter much and his fastball velocity & control are down.

Herndon is a 'ROOGY' and utterly useless against LH hitters. Savery's a marginal reliever who pitches mop-up. Schwimer remains to be seen but he isn't a guy I have high confidence in a tight game late.

NEPP - Your probably right. It will probably be more of a 'tinkering' move as a secondary piece to upgrade the offense.

"Most of you probably don't recognize my posts since I don't post often, but I'm never a whiner."

Congratulations.

Posted by: Fatalotti

Everyone's good at something. I'm good at proclaiming I don't whine. Now where's my prize?!

Interesting commentary from some about Mayberry. I was one of those who thought his performance early would be key.

I just took a look at his gmae logs, and I'm just puzzled as to what Charlie expects of him given the way he's been used. Very inconsistent in comparison to other players.

At one point, April 9 - 13th, RFD had hits in 4 straight starts, and then put up an "ofer" on April 14th. Charlie then buried him on the bench for 3 days.

Contrast that with Pence, JRoll and Polly who have had multiple "ofers" strung together yet Charlie still runs them out there.

It seems to me it's pretty hard to get in a groove if you're not seeing live pitching on a consistent basis.

Mayberry hasn't had a start in a week, so what does Charlie expect?

Strange.

Last point:

If they do get gradually sink a bit in the standings to several games below .500, it is really going to be tough for this team to go on even a 4 or 5 game winning streak to roar back there as constituted.

Offense just isn't able to propel that kind of streak.

Today doesn't seem like a big game but it kind of is.

Ace on the mound, facing a terrible starter who they have pounded in the recent past, and a chance salvage this series & end up 11-12.

If not 10-13, if this team doesn't go better than 5-4 the next 10 days vs. Braves/Nats/Mets.

I like Quentin, wanted the Phils to try and get him last year. But, right now he's on the DL and has shown a remarkable inability to stay healthy. we'll have to see how he plays, I guess. Petco should depress his numbers a tad. So should being apart of the Padres lineup in general.

"Your 6th and 7th inning relievers not being world beaters doesn't qualify as a setback to me."

They don't have to be world beaters, but it would be nice to have more than 2 legitimate major league caliber pitchers in your pen. Herndon isn't. Schwimer is a guy I like, but he sure hasn't looked like a major league pitcher to date. Savery: we'll see. Contreras finally looked decent the last time out, but you'll have to excuse me for being skeptical about a 41-year old coming off a serious injury. KK isn't even in the pen right. And Bastardo has actually been the worst of all of them.

Also, in his starts, Mayberry is 8 for 37, slightly better than his overall average.

Also, it's probably just coincidence, but the team's record in Mayberry's 10 starts is 4 - 6, as opposed to 6 - 6 when he's on the bench, and maybe Charlie is strangely looking at that.

Quentin hasn't even played this year...he's still injured. We'd have to see if he's healthy and productive before such a move.

Herndon career vs LH hitters:

.346/.440/.609 (1.049) with 8 HRs with 25 BBs?! and just 21 Ks in 186 PAs

That's ridiculous.

I agree we have to see what Quentin has (and it's a long way off, so just utter speculation at this point), but him being part of the Padres could be a good thing, as his depressed numbers could drive down the price for him. Also, his injury wasn't all that severe. i believe he just had surgery last month, and is already about to go on a rehab assignment. Not a major thing, and he's no savior, but he could be a nice contributor, especially if he can be gotten relatively cheaply.

Just thinking out loud, though.

"My fear at this point is that UC will ride Qualls/Papelbon into the ground"

I thought our fear was UC didnt use Paps enough? Which is it?

***I thought our fear was UC didnt use Paps enough? Which is it?***

Well, my hope and fear is that we'll be playing enough games with the lead where it matters and UC doesnt feel forced to use Pap because "he hasnt pitched in 5 days so lets use him in a 5 run deficit game to get him work".

The fear, nay, reality with Papelbon, is that he's often times not used correctly. He's the best pitcher in the bullpen by a wide margin, and should pitch the highest leverage innings almost always. That Qualls has pitched more high leverage innings is evidence for this fear.

The one spot that the Phillies can most assuredly improve without blocking anyone or acquiring redundant "talent" is 3rd base. But as NEPP noted above, they aren't too thick on the ground.

Quentin's a guy the Phils have been linked to in the past.

I'd stay in San Diego, and go with their 3B instead.

I don't want to pronounce him a "Savior", but one guy I don't want the Phils to trade is Trevor May. They're going to need cheap pitching options that have a highish upside next season.

If the Indians fall completely out of it, we might be able to get Jack Hannahan...though he'd be somewhat pricey as he's not a FA until 2015. Downside is that he's already 32 and not that great.

If the Angels completely implode (a slim possibility), they might sell off Callaspo or Izturis...both would be an improvement on Polly offensively.

And there's always Mark Reynolds. Granted neither Callaspo or Reynolds is hitting any better than Polly right now.

***I'd stay in San Diego, and go with their 3B instead. ***

So would I...but the rumor is that the Pads are trying to extend Headley, not trade him.

May's control has taken a massive step forward this year...I'd be hesitant to trade him given our lack of high-upside pitching in the minors. The dropoff from May to the next best pitching prospect is pretty steep.

That's why i bring up a guy like Quentin. Headley would demand May. Quentin (or someone like him) might not.

the sun is out. howard is in clearwater. everything is going to be just fine.

Although, the counter-argument becomes, if you lock up Hamels before next season, with Lee stillunder control for 3-4 years, and halladay still under control for 2 more years, and Worley under team control for the foreseeable future, giving up future starting pitching for the 3B of the future might e a tradeoff worth making.

***Headley would demand May.***

May, Brown and probably a 3rd piece in all likelihood.

Yeah, true. I don't like the idea of May being "untradeable", just gotta be sure you're getting more of a long term piece back.

Anyone else see that Brown had another error on a routine flyball catch yesterday? Has anyone ever seen a worse defensive OF than him?

Everyone's good at something. I'm good at proclaiming I don't whine. Now where's my prize?!

Why your smug self-satisfaction should be reward enough, shouldn't it? :)

Speaking of "great trades"...Jonathan Singleton has a 1.035 OPS in AA so far this year. He's 20 years old and I bet he sees the majors next year at the latest.

Yeah, the trade for Pence was a pretty big overpay on Rube's part. Pence is a decent player. Definitely not worth your best starting pitching and best hitting prospect.

Yeah but it was much smarter to massively overpay for Pence instead of giving up 3 non-top 100 prospects and Jordan Fvcking Schaffer for Michael Bourn. That would have been crazy talk.

Singleton in MLB next year? Yeah, maybe on a bad team like the Astros, especially since they're moving to the AL and will need a DH.

May and Brown for Headley?

That might wind up being a big overpay as well, just like the deal for Pence.

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