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Friday, September 21, 2012

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Matt Kemp up with the bases loaded top of the tenth.

I'm not sure I want the Dodgers to lose yet. I think that because of Victorino, I'd like them to get in if the Phillies don't (given up on Pirates).

Have said this before a couple weeks ago, but if the Phils miss the last playoff spot to the Brewers, which will only be made possible by a mismanaged urine sample, well, that will p*ss me off.

If anyone else really needs an answer to their rhetorical question about why they hate the Brewers, then that cheat Braun should be it.

Impressed that KK gave that a solid outing tonight after he looked a little hesitant on the mound the first 2 IP. Kind of composure he didn't have in the past before.

Only need 1 more win in his final 2 starts to tie his career-high of 11 wins. He will have done it in only 24 GS this year instead of the 30 GS in '08 and 31 GS in '10.

I know I'm a huge Utley fan boy, but I can't help be impressed with the man. His OBP of .382 is above his career mark of .377, and while his SLG is down from his career marks (as well as his ISO), he's still got a 130 wRC+ on the year, which is only TWO points behind his career mark of 132.

All signs point to him still playing a good defensive 2B, even if not up to normal elite levels, and he's still a fantastic baserunner, even chipping in 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts (if I'm not mistaken, he still has the best SB% all time among players with at least 100 attempts).

He's just a fantastic player, and even with his injuries and everything else bringing him down, he's managed to post 3.1 fWAR this season, a 6.9 pace over 700 PA.

When healthy, there's an argument that he's still the best (if not a close second) 2B in the game.

i think the 2 gms in Houston that we gave away will be the diff betw the p/o and going homer in October

Also, another cool thing about Utley this year: for the first time in his career, he's walking more than he's striking out. He's always had a decent BB/K ratio, as he's always walked above league average, and struck out, at worst, at league average levels (mostly, though, he's been better than average).

But this year, with his diminished power, he's striking out less, thus giving himself a better chance to get on base. I hope it's not a fluke, because as his power disappeared, becoming more of a contact hitter who still walks at a near elite clip will keep him a productive offensive player.

Two "weak links" in our rotation give us two solid outings. Hope our Aces fare as well.

If someone told you a month ago we would be 3 games out of the WC with 11 to go, you would have laughed them off.

I'm having a hard time keeping the requisite BL negativity, with all this good baseball (HOU excepted) coming from our AAA/ damaged goods team.

Charlie Manuel wins "NL Manager of the Year" in my opinion.

"Charlie Manuel wins "NL Manager of the Year" in my opinion."

Over Davey Johnson? No way. Johnson wins going away. Baker will finish 2nd with Fredi probably 3rd. Maybe Bochy.

Just read a stat, Pierre is hitting .458 (!) in his last 16 games.

Sil: That's madness. Has to be the (positive) surprise of the season so far as this team is concerned.

No NL Manager of the Year love for Tony LaRussa?

How soon they forget.

Trying not to dwell on the losses to Houston, trying not to dwell on the losses to Houston, Trying not to dwell on the losses to Houston, trying not to dwell on the losses to Houston, . . . .

Oh hell.

Trying not to dwell on the losses to Houston,

12 of their last 15
12 of their last 15
12 of their last 15
12 of their last 15

ThePhillies starting pitching has been great since the All-Star Break when they started their push back to contention.

Lee: 5-2 ... 2.53 era
Kendrick: 7-3 ... 2.73 era
Hamels: 5-2 ... 2.85 era
Halladay: 6-2 ... 4.07 era

Also interesting to note - Victorino was benched tonight for the start of the Dodgers big series with the Reds. Posters on Dodgers blogs were in full agreement with that move. I doubt if Shane wears Dodger blue next season barring he plays a big role for them in a long playoff run.

Victorino has a wrist injury.

Props to all who have been posting. These days may seem dark but we are all better for it in the end.

Bowlcut... did I give you your nickname?

Agree it is great to see Utley performing at a high level this second half. Robinson Cano might take issue with an argument that Chase is still the best second basman in the game, but I'm sure enjoying watching his play, especially after so many seemed to have written him off.

Brewers don't have a shot at the WC, because there were too many teams ahead of them back when there were too many teams ahead of us when both were behind the Cards, Dodgers, Pirates and Dbacks.

Would be nice to blame not making the playoffs on Houston,but it's a real fallacy. They were not the only lost games this year.How soon we forget all the games they blew in the first half of the year.

I'm enjoying the unexpected reappearance of the Phillies, like everyone else.

However, they're not going to be playing in the post-season. It's possible that they could catch the Cards, who are playing average ball; and they might catch the Dodgers, who are faltering. But they're not going to catch the Brewers, who are playing just as well as the Phillies these days. And Atlanta is just too far ahead.

It will be an exciting end to the season, and I'm content. But it will be an end.

From twitter:
@APgelston: Braves 1B Freddie Freeman: "It's almost like it was a new pitcher tonight. I never faced a Kendrick like that."

Forget how young Kendrick is and that he could get better.

For Freeman to make that comment is a little surprising.

To date, Kendrick is a Braves killer. I can remember only one game where they knocked him around. Other than that, he has piched very well against them and on a couple of occasions been absolutely dominant.

Then again, Freeman's only been around a couple of years, so he hasn't seen all of the outings.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a reason Kyle Kendrick may be a Phillie long term. If you have a pitcher - that for whatever reason - can dominate an important division rival like the Braves...

Sophist, he did just turn 28 so he's not that young. But ya never know, there are plenty of guys who became good pitchers after a half-career of mediocrity or worse. Dave Stewart, Mike Scott, RA Dickey leap to mind. Bob Purkey from my youth, he bounced up and down from the minors until blossoming in his age 27 year and improving beyond that to be an above average pitcher.

awh- Kendrick is 25-14 in his career against the NL East.

When your "5th starter" pitches that effectively against the teams in your own division, you might have something.

all of a sudden his 2 year $7.5 million extension signed this offseason doesn't look so much like an "Albert Ross"

It almost seems like the appreciation of Kendrick is growing around here.

It's like people forget that he was rushed to the majors in an emergency and for years lacked an out pitch vs. lefties. He mostly got by by pitching around lefties putting an awful lot of hitters on base. His margin of error was tiny.

Then he thought the cutter was his salvation, but he couldn't command it and it frankly made him worse.

Now he recognizes how great of a weapon his change up is, particularly to lefties. Ready to be shocked?

Kyle Kendrick has been tougher on LHB than RHB this season.

Edmundo, did Cliff Lee get better after he was 28?

Do you expect Cole Hamels to improve?


If your answer is "yes" to both questions, then why would you not have the same expectations for Kyle Kendrick?

Most pitchers improve in their late twenties. Unlike hitters, pitchers often peak in their age 29-30 seasons (again, in the non-steroid era) and good pitchers can maintain a better level of performance in their early thirties than they had in their mid-20s. It's because pitchers learn to pitch a lot more than hitters learn to hit. Pitchers pick up new pitches or discard poor ones. KK definitely has room to grow.

Edmundo - for a guy who's thrown 750 IP as a starter and reliever, he's young. That was the point. He's been around awhile and still in his age 27 season.

"Kyle Kendrick has been tougher on LHB than RHB this season."

Years past (incl. this year) I wanted him to pitch middle relief / matchup with right handed bats.

The change up is a real weapon for him now.

Great, titillating introduction to this blog, JW. When I arose this morning and did my usual rehash of the game the night before, I just went with my gut and that feeling of Phillies prowess came back. We all know that feeling: strong starting pitching, tight bullpen assistance and raw bashing power that comes in droves.

My comment to myself (my wife pays lip service and not much more) was that the magic of 08-11 is back. Yes, I too would like nothing more than a return to postseason play, but the hole may have been dug too deep. If so, lessons learned on the field and in the front office. If not, may they become the Cardinals of 11 and win it all.

Meyer's "Charlie Manuel wins "NL Manager of the Year" in my opinion." statement reminded me of the poll one year long ago when Howard Cosell topped both the Favorite Sports Announcer poll and the Least Favorite Announcer poll. If Cholly wins the NL Manager of the Year voting, he would also top the Dumbest NL Manager vote, too!

From August 25th to September 17th, Ryan Howard was AWFUL. In 22 games (95 plate appearances) he posted a line of 169/242/289. Remarkably, in his 14 hits he still managed 21 RBI. Before that stretch he had a respectable OPS over .800, which isn't bad considering the injury he was coming back from.

It's been great seeing him homer in three straight games where he's seen his OPS climb 29 points.

I don't know what kind of player he'll be next year, but elite power is still hard to find. Hopefully he rediscovers his.

I think it's more fun to follow this if you take the attitude that making the playoffs would be gift.

I don't if anyone subscribes to ESPN the magazine, but I was at the mechanic's this morning reading the isse with Mike Trout on the cover. The articles on Trout, but the real treat, which everyone here should find great and worthwhile reading, was the 6 page piece on Jimmy Rollins.

Hard not to love the guy after reading that article, and I heartily recommend it to everyone here.

We should have swept the Brewers at Milwaukee in August. 2 more wins for us, 2 more losses for them....Ah,well....It's still fun to win now.

Thanks,Fata. I'll try to find that article!

Why is everyone so intent on declaring whether they think the Phillies will make it to the playoffs? The answer is plainly, "we don't know yet". I'm just trying to sit back, relax (yeah, right) and enjoy the show.

ODB:Bowlcut... did I give you your nickname?

My brain gave me my nickname.

Sophist, I gotcha.

awh, do I really expect KK to get better than his last n (how ever many) games? No. Then again I wrote "But ya never know"

Do I expect Hamels to get better? Expect, no, but I'm not going to tell you he won't.

Do you expect his next three years to be better than 2010-2012?

Thanks johnny!

I dont think Kendrick can pitch better than he has. The question is how much improvement over his career numbers to this point could his age 28-30 seasons be. His recent stretch and his age are signs that his prime have potential to be a good measure better than that 4.30 ERA.

Excellent Rollins article and here's the money quote about the hustle controversy, "I understand why Charlie called me in. If you get on the officers, the troops will get the message."

A little OT-By the way I hate the Yankees, would love the see the Orioles win that division putting the Yankees in the one game elimination playoff game. Oh how sweet it would be for them to get knocked out like that.

I'm enjoying the positive posts from JW lately. If they continue to play at this level the rest of the way out, WC or not, it's good momentum for next spring.

"When healthy, there's an argument that he's still the best (if not a close second) 2B in the game. "

Two words: Robinson Cano

Even if you view kendirck as no more than 5th starter, considering what teams have given up either in $ or players just to accquire that, Kendrick is a bargain. Also, i see Kendrick just like madson. Once you allow them to have one role, they flourished. I think kendrick firmly cemented as a starter only will continue to be successful.

... Dave Stewart, Mike Scott, RA Dickey leap to mind ...

Always burned my ass that Stewart was crap in his brief tenure the Phillies, then went on to have such a lengthy & successful career (inc. pitching for the '93 Blue Jays).

Regardless, the name which initially grabbed my attention was Mike Scott. He had a very nice run in the mid-late 80s, & I even managed to grab his autograph before a game at the Vet the year after he won the Cy Young. Really patient w/ us kids clamoring for a signature, even though half of us probably wouldn't have known him from the bullpen catcher. Good times.

You'd think that people here feel like I've never heard of Robinson Cano, and hadn't considered him when making that statement. Obviously, Robinson Cano IS the best second baseman in the game, simply for the fact that he's played in over 159 games the last 5 years, and is on pace to do it again.

BUT...

BA
Cano: .297, Utley: .267
OBP
Cano: .367, Utley: .382
SLG
Cano: .531, Utley: .462
ISO
Cano: .234, Utley: .195
wRC+ (which accounts for park factors)
Cano: 140, Utley: 130

So Utley has him on OBP, and the gap in power isn't nearly as wide as you'd believe when you account that Cano plays in the mother of all hitters' parks, especially for power.

Defense:
Cano
10.4 UZR/150, 14 Rdrs/yr, 4 Rtot/yr (the latter two stats are from bbref, per 1,200 innings)
Utley
10.4 UZR/150, 13 Rdrs/yr, 5 Rtot/yr

Still a compelling argument that Utley is one of the best defensive second baseman in the game, purely due to his superior positioning, great footwork and instincts

Baserunning:
Cano
3 stolen bases, 2 CS, -0.8 BSR on Fangraphs
Utley
9 stolen bases, 1 CS, 2.5 BSR on Fangraphs

WAR (everyone's favorite!):
Cano
6.2 (6.81 per 700 PA)
Utley
3.2 (7.07 per 700 PA)

I would still go with Cano, but like I said, "when healthy, there's an ARGUMENT that he's still the best (if not a CLOSE SECOND) 2B in the game."

Ugh, Cano's UZR/150 is 6.7, not 10.4

"awh, do I really expect KK to get better than his last n (how ever many) games? No."

'mundo, neither do I. When you ask whether I expect him to get better than his last "n" games - I would say "No way". AAMOF, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay won't get better than KK in his last "n" games.

How good has KK been?

On June 28th he had pitched 74 innings and his ERA sttod at 5.35. Opponents were .298/.369/.488 against him and he looked like a bust, giving up 86 hits, 10 HR, and 29 BB to only 52 Ks.

Then, after a spot start in the beginning of July where he pitched 7 innings of shutout baseball against 'who else but the Braves' (Freddy Freeman, were you at that game?), he proceeded to pitch another 8 innings of relief in July and not give up a run.

Since becomming a "full-time" starter at teh beginning of August he has pitched to a 3.08 ERA, a span of 10 starts, 61.1 IP, and has only given up 3 or more runs 3 times. His K/BB is 46/11, and opponents are .224/.260/.364 against him.


'mundo, if you count July as part of his turnaround here's what he's done:

18 G, 11 GS, 76.1 IP, 2.48 ERA, opponents .211/.259/.329 against and a solid 59/17 K/BB.

So, I stand by my comment above. I son't expect Hamels, Lee or Halladay to pitch to a 2.48 ERA.

I'll be happy if KK pitches to an ERA in the 3.50 - 4.00 range going forward, and can last 6 - 7 IP/start.

If he does that he'll be a #3-4 level pitcher, not a #5.

Oh, and one more thing:

Ass-u-ming Worley returns to form in 2013 and Halladay recovers from an injury that is obviously still lingering, the Phils rotation in 2013 will look like this:

1-2-3 Halladay/Hamels/Lee (does it matter what order?)
4 Worley
5 KK (and KK does pitch to 3.50 - 4.00)

If they get any type of performance out of middle relief (i.e. not "crap to Pap"), and Howard return to form, they will contend for the division again and IMHO win it.

The Cano talk reminds me of a Tweet I saw awhile back that struck me as both funny, & very Philly:

"I just hung up on a girl I was dating on account of her insisting Robinson Cano is a better 2B than Chase Utley. F*ck you, b*tch."

Plus, Utley absolutely handed Cano his own ass in the '09 World Series. I would've hung up on her, too.

Gelb: "Weird to think: If Phillies had won two more in Houston, they are one game back and only trailing STL today."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

awh, if I could condense what you are saying in a word, "Health" will dictate what 2013 looks like. :)

Late Afternoon Lineup: Rollins (SS), Pierre (LF), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Ruiz (C), Mayberry (CF), Brown (RF), Frandsen (3B), Halladay (P).

Doc needs to ditch the Tears For Fears & bring back Zeppelin, or he will continue to suck.

I think any younger pitcher being around the Phillies three aces over a period of time could provide untold benefits with their knowledge of pitching, their work ethic, their emotional maturity. They sort of set a standard for how to pitch in the majors.

Gio on the mound for gnats v. Beermakers so, that's good.

Team hits 19 singles one night, then comes a cvnt hair short of 5 solo homers in five hits the next. Baseball is still fun.

Where has LA been the last 2 days?

If the Brewers win today after being down 9-0, they're a lock for the WFC.

These Cubs are alright by me.

(The Cubs take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th against the Cardinals after being down 3-1, that is.)

Over on Beerleaguer St Louis, fans are livid they couldn't beat the lowly Cubs yesterday and are losing to them today.

If the Cards manage to lose again, this game today becomes pretty important.

Ugh. BS Cubs.

F*cking Cubs. Useless franchise.

Yo, new thread

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