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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


No one's legs have fallen off, yet, in mid-trot. So I would say "Better than expected"

Give Polly a cortisone shot and a bottle of Naproxen. Sit him and tell him to stop complaining. Ship him off for cash considerations.

If I'm being 100% totally candid, I actually thought that the 7th inning was "vintage Phillies." I guess somewhere along the lines, I actually re-calibrated my expectations, though I supposed 0 for 42 (or whatever) after the 8th inning will do that to a guy.

While the 1st inning back-to-back HR's were exciting, it was that mid-game lull that I've come to define this team, and Howard's AB in the 7th quickly tempered any real enthusiasm I had for a big comeback. Thankfully they proved me wrong later in the evening.

Who knows, maybe they'll change that whole dynamic, though, and it would definitely give me hope for 2013.

Repost from other thread:

Danny Knobler of just tweeted:

"@DKnobler: Big scout turnout expected for Greinke, but also in Anaheim to watch Richards, who Angels are offering along with Bourjos for pitching help."

If you're RAJ and the Angels offer you Richards, Bourjos, and Jean Segura for Hamels, do you take the deal?

I've been encouraged by Utley's desire to take the extra bag on the base paths. I definitely give him a "better than expected," but then again I wasn't even sure we'd ever see him play again.

I'm not in the same boat on Howard, however. I was actually at the game he had his first HR and RBI in L.A., and even in that game, I was left to feel like he probably shouldn't be playing right now. And when you use a AAAA veteran backup C to pinch run for you in a game, it doesn't speak too well for your overall mobile dexterity. I guess I actually expected a little bit more from him. Though the occasional flashes of some pop to the OF beat the hell out of many alternatives. I guess it's true that 80% of Ryan Howard is still better than 100% of an everyday Ty Wigginton.

Utley raised his OPS by exactly .80 points in yesterday's game. Before that, it was a pathetic .692. When your OPS swings by .80 points in one day, it's self-evident that the sample size is tiny. Also, it was never reasonable to expect that Utley would come right back & immediately be good. Still . . . "pleasantly surprised," when his OPS was .692 before yesterday & the Phillies are 6-13 since his return? Not even close. Before yesterday, I would have used the words "utterly disgusted." After yesterday's good game against a pathetic pitcher, I'll be charitable & remove the word "utterly."

I HAVE been pleasantly surprised by Howard, though. He is swinging the bat fairly well & being selective at the plate, even though it's not showing up in his batting average yet.

Per Murphy, the Hamels negotiation is not dead:

Quite surprised by Howard/Utley especially their power contributions. 8 HRs in just 105 ABs so far for these two (1 HR every 13.1 ABs).

Phils are just 8th in the NL in HRs, only have two hitters in double-digits in HRs right now (Pence, Chooch), and have averaged a HR every 37.1 ABs without Utley/Howard.

Power was sorely missed.

Awesome quote from the article on Howard/Utley:

""Somewhere along the line, I've got to turn them loose," Manuel said. "But at the same time, I don't want to overdo it. I don't want them to have a relapse and stuff like that. But sooner or later, I've got to let them play four games in a row. Figured we'd try today.""

Does UC get that Utley's issue isnt going to get better? Why play him into the ground in a lost cause season?

Roberts is a guy I would love for the Phils to try to acquire for next year but with so many teams needing 3B help there is almost no way he doesn't get traded to a playoff contender.

Cheap solution who would allow them to pass up Polanco & plug in there for 1-2 years.

NEPP - until the front office tells him otherwise, Cholly's job is to win as many games as he can. If they want to start dialing it back on Utley and Howard, that's up to RAJ.

"Cholly's job is to win as many games as he can..."

Which you wouldn't always suspect reading the BL game threads.

If we acquired Roberts, called up Mini-Mart, and started both of them in the same game, we could shatter the MLB single-game record for total infield tattoos.

NEPP - Because Cholly is a dope when it comes to long-term roster management. Two negative traits that Cholly has clearly shown as manager of this team is that he will sacrifice trying to win today even to the possible detriment of the team in the longer-term. Other is his crappy pitching changes & management. Even the most diehard Cholly supporters have seemed to turn on it a bit this year with his puzzling pitching decisions.

Chooch has played every game the past month and is on pace to appear in ~145 G and start ~135 G which is an insane workload for any catcher let alone a veteran catcher who is 33. Bench who was an ironman behind the plate didn't start more than 130 G after the age of 23. Fisk last did it at age 30.

Does this any sense especially given the Phils' record and that the Phils will have Chooch back as their starting catcher next year? No but it won't stop Cholly from running Chooch into the ground I bet.

There is a huge difference between trying to win games and roster incompetence. Letting your 33-year old staring catcher play every single game in a month borders into the realm of incompetence especially given their place in the standings.

It boggles my mind how Cholly can do mind-numbing foolish things yet people find ways to defend them.

MG, yeah, but you're right. Even his staunchest defenders have done a bit of a heel turn on him this season.

Phils PA announcer should mention all the scouts in the stands, and constantly show them on the big screen. That and a full house should settle down Greinke!
I'm a big RFD fan, but why is he starting against a RHP?

Gotta agree with NEPP, that is just a stupid quote. I rarely bash Charlie but it blows my mind to hear him talk as if Utley's is the kind of injury that is "better" unless it gets re-injured.

Is it possible that Utley, the team doctors, and Rube and Charlie never all sat down and worked this stuff out? Have they all really convinced themselves that Utley will eventually be playing 162 game seasons again?

Cholly's been riding Ruiz hard, but Chooch did get last Thursday and Sunday (mostly) off, and the team has this upcoming Thursday and Monday off as well.

I would be curious to look at catchers who have been say in their 30s (32 or older) and have started 130+ G in a year in MLB history.

I bet the sample is pretty damn small. Pudge didn't do it. Neither did Fisk. Nor Bench.

Basically looking at the list and low 120s GS seems to be about the limits for a veteran catcher in there 30s and that is mostly early 30s (30-32).

No other position beats up a player like catcher. Be curious to see how many veteran starting catchers end up having all kind lower leg/back issues later in life.

"I'm a big RFD fan, but why is he starting against a RHP?"

I'm ok with it. Mayberry has swung the bat well the last few games & Pierre hasn't. Granted, Mayberry has probably only swung the bat well because he was facing LHP. But his upside is so much higher than Pierre's, and his defense so superior, that it's worth throwing him in there to see if he can get something going & sustain it.

Franzke noted on last night's broadcast that Pierre has been basically in a free-fall regression into the player we all expected him to be (ok, maybe I'm paraphrasing, but that was the vibe I got).

Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, Cholly is going to drain the JMJ well while it's still producing.

I'm okay with it. For now...

Rather see Nix in LF tonight (3-12 vs. Greinke in his career with 1 double). Besides Polanco and Wigginton though, no Phils have really had any ABs vs. him.

Only thing favorable about a Mayberry/Greinke matchup is that Greinke's changeup isn't very good nor does he use it. Hard-throwing RHP especially those with a good changeup induce a staggering amount of Ks/weak ground balls to the right-side if Mayberry is up.

3B/SS side.

Nothing makes one appreciate Polanco more rapidly than the sight of Wigginton at 3B.

What about Nix in LF?
My Phils schedule has WPHL tonite, but it ain't happenen.

Another worthless Howard RBI

.985 OPS so far for Howard.

Good news: Brian Schneider is making a rehab start at Clearwater tonight. Our problems will soon be solved.

Why was the top of the 2nd preempted in order to show Murphy interviewing a towering transsexual?

You can make a case for starting Mayberry tonight, since he has been swinging a hot bat. But I don't see the case for starting Wigginton instead of Fontenot.

Maybe the ball girl can work with Pence on his defense.

"But I don't see the case for starting Wigginton instead of Fontenot."

Solid, solid point.

b_a_p: Agreed. Wigginton should NEVER be at 3B unless all other options have been declared legally dead.

Dead in here tonight

Cyclic: I blame r00b. Charlie, too. They can't do anything right.

I feel like if the CSN director/camera guys have their way, I'll be adding Ryan Braun to the punchable faces list before tomorrow's game is over.

Preacher: Just spotted Nyjer Morgan in the dugout. He's on the list, right?

Crazy random thought (as it pertains to the broadcast crews, because isn't that where we're all really the experts?) - if you feel you need to work Jim Jackson as play-by-play guy into the mix, why not spell TMac on the TV side?

Why marginalize your best radio commodity while continuing to waterboard the TV viewers?

GTown, he's not yet on the official list, though I'll take that as a nomination.

Anyone want to second T-Plush for inclusion?

My favorite was on BL last night. When there was a gap from 10:08p - 10:25p. Right before the comeback.

It was the internet equivalent of fans leaving early.

Does Howard EVER take a 3-0 pitch? Does he know that he's allowed to do so?

The Phillies will now preempt the 4th-6th innings so Murphy can interview a can of pine tar.

That may have been the fastest half inning in the history of baseball.

Not sure it was the fastest 1/2 inning ever, but pretty sure that 4 of the top 5 have occurred this year.

GTown, just curious if you caught JRoll's tweet after last night's game?:

"All of you that left missed one hell of a 9th inning, for all that stayed.......let's go streaking!!!"

He just can't help himself in his digs at Phils' fans being 'front runners.'

bap I'm with you on the 3-0. Cholly must think it's a hitters pitch,go for it.

I think I've heard before that Howard has a "permanent green light."

Perhaps that's confusing, on it's face, and assumed to mean that green means go? Sammy should at least flash him a yield sign every now and again.

The difference between 2012 Cliff Lee and Cliff Lee of years past is that, when 2012 Cliff Lee gets himself into a jam like this, he NEVER escapes.

I'd kill to know what Chooch and Greinke were discussing right there.

Probably something about the Phillies ball girls.

bap-- was just about to post something similar

I have zero confidence that this half inning will end without run(s) scored

Preacher: Didn't see that. I must have chosen not to waste my time.

Can Frandsen play 3b? .341 in last ten games for the Pigs

At least the DP is set up now.

That was Victorino-esque.

What?? How dare Jimmy Rollins give a shout out to the fans that stayed. I'm sure nobody else who was there commented that people who left missed a show. Plus, he thinks they can still win. What a jerk.. he just can't help himself. He should have just shut up and gone to da club and tweeted about an exotic car or something. Then, we could have cheered him properly.

WP gets tonight's prize for Biggest Reach Required To Irrationally Criticize Jimmy Rollins. Tune in tomorrow for another chance to win.

What a moronic move on the bases.

You gotta believe!!!

Holy eff. That was awesomely unpredictable

BAP - You were saying something about me?

Mick, you don't think that the fans who left (particularly after the 7th inning debacle) were somewhat justified?

I could see the dig if the Phillies haven't given the Phans every reason in the world to quit on them late in games. To be honest, Jimmy's lucky that many of those fans who left early even bothered to show the hell up in the first place.

Not sure how that was a swing, and Rollins' wasn't. But I'm not complaining.

The Brewers out-Phillies'd the Phillies in that half inning. Amazingly inept.

Looked like a swing on replay.

WP: I'm happy to second Nyjer's nomination to the punchable faces list.

If the Phillies can go on a 47-18 run here, they've got a chance at 90 wins and the 2nd WC.

Buy Mortimer, Buy!

This is another game that is fun to watch.

Not to overstate the oft-discussed "Intangibles" because I am not sure how much they matter. But it really does seem that the rest of the team is rising to the occasion now that Utley and Howard are back and contributing.

Consider Mr. Morgan the latest addition to the squad. Your team as currently constructed:

- Cody Ross
- Russell Martin
- Nick Swisher
- Mark Teixera
- Dan Uggla
- Jonathan Papelbon
- Buster Posey
- Brian Wilson
- Yadier Molina
- Nyjer Morgan

Can Jorge Posada be the bench coach?

NEPP, Lifetime Achievement Award

Brewers announcers have mentioned a Ruiz foot injury. How concerned are we/should we be?


I think that one landed on South street.

I feel like Lee's WHIP is like 3+ this year.

Radio guys said Chooch was limping to first twice.

Concerned? Not unless amputation is required. A few weeks off for Ruiz right about now would be just fine.

I know I should be focusing solely on the game, but, as a fan of all Philly teams, today I am especially pissed, because the teams that normally get "their man" are pitching a shutout: Flyers with Weber and Eagles with Shiancoe. As a spoiled front-runner, I certainly have come to expect the Sixers never to get their man, but the Flyers???? The Eagles??? Wowza!!!

Generic Announcer Guy and Wheels mentioned Chooch foot injury last night.

Comcast should just buy the Predators and integrate their roster with ours.

Screw small market clubs.

Sidenote: If Steinbrenner were alive and a NHL owner, I could see him trying something like that.

Just peeked in on the LV boxscore. Man, BJ has turned into a monster starter! Five innings, two hits and nine K's. That just about equals his last start.

And Dom Brown. Why is he out of the lineup? Trade? Injury? Call-up?

It seems like an inordinate amount of mistake pitches by the Phils' staff have ended up out of the park this year. Gotten killed by the HR ball.

Even Lee is on pace to give up 21 HRs this year (most since '06 when he gave up 29 HRs)

"But it really does seem that the rest of the team is rising to the occasion now that Utley and Howard are back and contributing."

I know they had their best win of the season last night, but let's not get too giddy. They've had one or two other good wins this year, only to immediately follow it up by a return to losing. So perhaps we might wait until they have actually reeled off a decent stretch of winning before we start celebrating their revival.

They're 6-13 since Utley came back, and 6-7 since Howard came back. They just lost their most recent series &, before this incredibly modest 2-game win streak, they had lost 3 in a row. Oh yeah, and they're losing this one, and looking as utterly & completely hapless as a team could possibly looked. In short, I stand underwhelmed.

WP, I'm not saying that the dig was justified. I'm saying it wasn't a dig at all. It was an enthusiastic tweet.

It may be that fantasizing about punching people contributes to only seeing the worst. Like in a feedback loop.

Phils have been outhomered this year (96 to 111 now). Didn't realize it was that large a deficit.

I'd like to place all of those listed in a punchface loop.

Any insight on Dom Brown? Anyone?

mainerob-- Hard to believe, but I think it's a problem with his knee again.

That commercial - made of stone, steel, etc..

When Hamels walked off the mound in that commercial.. Should say -- "made of cash"

Last year the Phils were out homered was '05:

167 to 189

Year that Thome got hurt and missed a lot of time. Phils got 29 HRs though out of Thome/Howard

This is a joke.

Paul O'Neill would be the hitting coach.

Getting tired of opposing pitchers hitting HRs off of the Phillies. Blanton, Hamels, Lee ... Anyone else?

Yeah...this just isn't our year.

Lee is lucky to have only allowed 3 runs tonight. He is pitching like crap. Again.

I took Jimmy's tweet last night to be enthusiasm, too. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Jimmy was expressing an opinion that fans should stay to the end of a game, but so what? Do we really want our players to not care whether fans show up or not?

Nice, Cliff, giving up a HR to Greinke.


Not surprised this offense has really sputtered tonight vs. Greinke. He's had decent stuff and Wigginton/Mayberry has been particularly terrible vs RHP pitchers this year.

I should say, Do we want our players not to care whether fans show up - and stay to the end versus leaving early?

Maybe Jimmy should have tweeted: "Can't believe we won, I would have left early like the smart fans if I'd had a choice."

Lee should get a meatball pitch to satisfy the pitchers unwritten rule book.

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