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Monday, September 17, 2012

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Well, at least we don't have to worry about the need to finagle a way to get Aumont on the postseason roster...even if we make the postseason!

Aumont has a lusty 7.0 BB/9.

As advertised, I guess.

4 games out with 15 to play. A couple weeks ago, we would have given our first born to be that much in the mix. This morning, we consider it a sign the season is over.

The truth is, the season is over. A sweep in Houston puts us just 1 game out. Going 3-1 puts us just 2 games out. Even a sweep means treading water. Instead, we saw our season end.

As Jason wrote, I'm glad the Phillies kept my attention until the football season really got going. I didn't think that possible back in July!

I guess he has a toolsy fastball at 95 mph.

Matt Gelb, Why U NO open your eyes?

KAS, there a LOT of things for which I would give my first born, but being 4 out with 15 to play isn't one of them.

Also, how would be 1 out right now have meant "treading water"? Being 1 out with 15 to play, with the head-to-head tie breaker over the team right in front of you (and we'd only have the Cardinals ahead of us at that point) would have an AWESOME position.

But the Phils completely and utterly blew that opportunity.

I think you pretty well summed up the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies.

Roy Halladay, hasn’t been himself this entire campaign...we noticed something was off.

Cole Hamels: good, not great.

Cliff Lee: good, not great.

Defense: below average.

Bullpen: inexperienced.

Lineup: old and IronPigish. (Old and IronPoorSluggish?)

I'll add; Way too many injuries.

"Monday: Through adversity, Phillies remain relevant"

Really?????

Fatalotti: From context, I assume KAS meant "a split means treading water."

This team doesn't deserve to make the playoffs (though they still might, with ~1% probability), but man, it stings to think that with a sweep of this awful, awful team they'd be 1 game out.

A footnote to yesterday's game: the Phillies' run of 5 straight NL East titles is officially over. As a result of yesterday's loss, they have been mathematically eliminated from the divisional race.

These past 4 games, each one increasingly more "must-win," than the last told me that the one guy who didn't pitch is the guy I'd want on the mound in a "one and done" scenario that will likely not happen this year. Then Hamels...

Hope Doc trains like his usual fiend self this off-season and comes back truly healthy in 2013. Guile and guts will only get you so far if your arm/body is unsound.

"Cole Hamels: good, not great."

Cole Hamels has been closer to great than good this year.

At the very least this team provided some slight optimism to take into the off season and channel toward next year. That's something I wasn't so sure about a couple months ago.

It will soon fall into RAJ's hands to find a fix for 3B the outfield and our bullpen. Outside of that, we just have to hope that Doc, Lee and Hamels come back more closely resembling the guys who were handed $20M+/year.

KAS: "4 games out with 15 to play. A couple weeks ago, we would have given our first born to be that much in the mix."

Fatalotti: "there a LOT of things for which I would give my first born, but being 4 out with 15 to play isn't one of them."

I'm gonna take a wild guess that neither KAS nor Fatalotti has any kids. As one who does have a kid, to whom I am fairly partial, I can assure you that there is no way I would give him up for something so utterly and completely frivolous as being 4 games out with 15 to play. I'd hold out for at least a 5-game division lead and nothing less.

BAP, correct. I have no (nor do I ever desire any) children, but if by some grandiose mistake, I ever have a child, I would clearly use such a valuable piece of currency much better than on a DEFICIT in the playoff standings with 15 games to play.

"I can assure you that there is no way I would give him up for something so utterly and completely frivolous as being 4 games out with 15 to play. I'd hold out for at least a 5-game division lead and nothing less."

All I can say is "wow." You have something truly special there, BAP. I'd unload my kid for a .500 record. Hoping it doesn't come to that...

Have to admit I thought they would win 3 of 4 this weekend and have a puncher's chance if they were just 2 back going into this Mets' series.

Oh well. I have to admit with so much else going on right now I am going to tune out the last 2 weeks. Might listen a bit on the radio but that is about it.

Fat ... that is too bad. Kids are the best, you have to have your own to realize it. As for the Phils .... 2012 = RIP.

In a perverse way, I think this is good for them. If they snuck into the WC, then made it to say the LCS - does Ruben make aggressive moves or does he tinker around the edges and blame it on injuries?

At this point missing the post-season may be the best thing to happen for the 2013 Phillies ....

Iceman:

What I'll say about Cole is that the Phils have actually done something weird and unusual this year - they given him good run support (somewhere around 4.8 RPG).

I seem to recall what seems like a few wins he left on the table because he couldn't hold the lead (like he normally does, and sure the bullpen didn't help). But a guy like 'normal' Doc, does hold those leads, and that is great not good. Myself, I'd give him a Good+, rather than a Great-

"Oh well. I have to admit with so much else going on right now I am going to tune out the last 2 weeks. Might listen a bit on the radio but that is about it."

It's worth just listening on the radio just so you don't have to listen to TMac babble on about nothing.

Well put JW. I'm thankful for the meaningful baseball this late in the season, given how bad it got in the middle there.

Doc's going to make it interesting on that 2014 vesting option ($20M) if he remains (becomes?) healthy next season. He'll probably finish around 170 IP if he makes his remaining starts this year. That means he'll need about 245 IP in 2014 to vest the option. For what it's worth, Doc averaged 242.3 IP from 2008-2011.

Hamels, among NL pitchers, is

-5th in pitching WAR
-8th in ERA
-6th in WHIP
-9th in K/9
-5th in IP
-2nd in CGSO
-8th in K/BB
-8th in ERA+
-(shudders) 4th in Wins (I hate that stat...)

He's had a very good year. I don't know where you draw the line between good/great/elite, but he's definitely been what we expected of him this year, as all his numbers are right in line with what he did in 2010 and 2011.

"In a perverse way, I think this is good for them. If they snuck into the WC, then made it to say the LCS - does Ruben make aggressive moves or does he tinker around the edges and blame it on injuries?"

I've had the same thought. Not that I wouldn't have liked them to sneak into the playoffs. But it would have created false illusions: that most of the team's problems stemmed from the first-half injuries; that the bullpen is fine going forward because Aumont and DeFratus and Diekman are up and coming and Bastardo has turned it around; that Kevin Frandsen/Mini Mart is an ok third base combination; that Dom Brown is an adequate replacement for Hunter Pence, etc.

I'll still be watching, but more out of just being a dumb Phillies fan and with an eye toward next year than out of hope the Phils will squirm into the WC.

I think we have a decent idea now of what we can expect out of Utley and Howard next year barring further injury.

What we've seen over the recent few weeks plus the time left will help in making decent decisions going forward for the gaps to be filled. It's still a bit of a cloudy picture, but by the end of the season, a knowledgeable GM and manager really should have a good blueprint of what will be needed for next year.

With one huge exception. Have no idea what to expect from Doc. No real indication as to whether (1) he just had a "down/lost year" (Lee had what I would call a "down/lost" year - I expect a bounceback from him) and should bounce back given his intelligence and training program; (2) he's hit a bit of a wall age-wise and probably will continue to taper off; (3) he was never really right physically this year and ought to be fine next year; or (4) if there is a combination of these in play.

Most disheartening thing this weekend was watching Howard flail away and play poorly in the field. Said when he came back that I would give him a pass this year.

Fans seem like they have generally too. He has heard a few boos but not too many this year at the several games I have been at since he came back.

I really hope that he rebounds next year to even 80-85% of what he was because otherwise the Phils will be stuck with the worst contract in MLB & it could get really ugly with the fans even by this team next year if he continues to really scuffle.

BAP, I'm with you 100%. I would have of course rooted for our boys to pull off a miracle, but sometimes you have to take a step or two backwards (we've taken a step backwards every year since 2008 some would argue) to take those big steps forward.

One positive is that the Dodgers made a lot of moves and committed a lot of dollars already, they might not be the players in FA that they could have been .... Amaro usually "gets his man" when he goes after them, we just have to hope he goes after the right ones for a change this year.

Season really has played out like '06 in many regards. Underperforming team that leads to a massive selloff at the trade deadline, streak of really hot baseball in August through early Sept only to fade by the middle of Sept.

Difference is that team had Howard's monster breakout season to captivate people & had some really promising young hitters who just needed better starting pitching to contend.

Geez... has no one heard of exaggeration for effect? Of course no one would give up their first born. In fact, I can't think of something any parent would give up their first born for. But it's nice to know parsing is alive and well on Beerleaguer!

(And thanks DH Phils for nothing the split vs. sweep issue.)

Howard has to bounce back to a 125 OPS+ hitter who isn't a complete liability in the field and on the basepaths or the Phils will need to figure out how to get out of the rest of his contract.

I'm hoping for a Howard rebound also, both for the team and for him. I fear, like MG, if he continues to flail it could get ugly next year. And would hate to see that; I really like the big piece.

KAS, I'm sure no one here took your "first born" remark even remotely seriously.

It's not that Beerleaguer posters take obvious hyperbole literally. It's that Beerleaguer posters like to take obvious hyperbole and run with it.

Actually, I'd very quickly trade my first born for not much more than a book of stamps and a player to be named later.

They won't platoon Howard outright - not with 4 years and $100M remaining on his contract - but I wouldn't be surprised next year if Manuel gives him a fair number of off-days that happen to be when the Phils face lefties, using the Achilles recovery as the official reason.

The earlier discussion of Ruiz at 3B was farfetched, but getting him comfortable enough to make spot starts at 1B might work. That would let them use Kratz and Ruiz in the lineup against lefties when Howard gets a day off. Ruf's also an option, but unless he can play LF passably, I doubt they'll carry him on the roster next season solely as a 1B.

I suppose the most frustrating part of this weekend is that, while the Phillies at no point controlled their own destiny, things fell in line for them to make noise simply if they'd have beaten a team that they should have (98 losses going into the series...).

It's not so much that I had high expectations that they'd make a serious playoff run, since they really did have to have a lot of other things go their way. The frustration is more around losing to a AAA team when the games actually mattered. To be fair, though, I suppose you can't be too upset when the lineup/bullpen consistently trots out it's own AAA caliber talent for the series.

"Phillies remain relevant"

And that's pretty astounding.

Crashburn Alley has a nice article on Ryan Howard's historic season.

You know it's to bad teams don't start paying players with incentive money, instead of just handing these guys millions and millions.Yea give them big money if they earn it.Injuries yea you still have to pay them that just some thng at happens nothing you can do about that. It just doesn't make sense to me to give these guys 15-25 million and have them smile and say it's been great and sorry I just didn't have it this year

2013: Starting at third base...me.

This here's a story about Fatalotti and BAP
Two Beerleaguer posters with nothin' better to do
Than troll around the blog, make jokes, and piss off the literati
And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

They headed down the blog to an old KAS rant
That's where they ran into a great big embellishment
Fatalotti took KAS' post and started to have some fun
BAP decided to take the hyperbole and run

Go on take the hyperbole and run
Go on take the hyperbole and run
Go on take the hyperbole and run
Go on take the hyperbole and run

Brilliant point, fastpuppy! And after a meal at a restaurant I'll decide how much it was worth. Also, my car hasn't been lived up to my expectations so I shouldn't have to make payments on it anymore.

Crashburn kicking Howard when he's down? I don't believe it.

"They won't platoon Howard outright - not with 4 years and $100M remaining on his contract"

And that's the problem with the game in general. Too many decisions are made in an attempt to justify salary. Sometimes, it seems as if winning the game is a secondary concern.

The Phillies are no longer "relevant"

Fatalotti: Excellent! I already find myself singing it to the tune of the Steve Miller song.

so gobaystars. If you just came off a great year they gave you a 10 million contract and said if you play the same way next year we'll give you another 10. I think you could make your car payment or at least trade it in and get one that did preform. I also know if teams operated this way we wouldn't have anything to complain about when someone is getting over paid and underperforming. Then what would we do with our spare time?

And that is why I stopped reading Crashburn.

Howard's struggles are obvious. But reading that blog, you'd think Howard was worse than Mini Mart. I have to think he will be better next year. How much better? That's yet to be seen.

Baer is a worm. I think that's been established this season.

The Phillies have played 63 games since Howard came back from injury. Howard has played in 61 of them. He has started 57 of them. In those 57 starts, he finished all but 5. [the numbers are about equal for Utley]

By Game 40, Howard had a decent split for a guy returning from injury: .257/.340/.472/.812. Since:
.177/.253/.304/.557 with just 2 HR. He hasn't homered since August 31. A 60 At bat drought, which i'm going to go out on a limb may be his biggest drought of his career.

Yet... Manuel continued to put this guy in the lineup. I get it... He's old school. And Howard has always been a gamer... Toughing it out on a bad wheel... laying out for foul balls like Jeter... is all quite admirable.

I get that Manuel is just trying to win ballgames... and get back close to the playoffs. But resting Howard (especially against a left hander or two) maybe would have given Howard a lift and maybe this weekend might not have been the disaster it was] But he's out there drowning and Manuel's just letting him (like that guy who Phil Collins didn't really sing about but eminem does).

I understand there weren't a lot of great options with all of the other injuries taking Howard's bat out of the line up who would have stepped up? Even in that awful september, no one else knocked in more than Howard. Not Rollins. Not Utley. Not Mayberry.

So I understand why Manuel continued to put him out there. It just was wrong. For crying out loud, the Astros MGR himself wanted to pitch to Howard. HE WANTED TO PITCH TO HOWARD.

Now... its probably time to start the Howard rest cycle. Let Ruf play against lefties the rest of the way. There's no harm in letting Ruf caddy for Howard the rest of the season.

Yeah, didn't find his work on Howard all that enlightening. It showed us that in a half-season off of serious surgery, Howard's production has suffered dramatically. I can't believe it took so many words to say that.

"Yeah, didn't find his work on Howard all that enlightening."

I disagree with you. There are still many Beerleaguer posters who think that Howard has had a substantial positive impact on the team in 2012 because he has 40 RBIs. Given the prevalence of this view, it is not unenlightening to have someone carefully lay out the reasons why that argument is sheer rubbish.

I don't care for Baer either, but I think that was actually one of his better pieces.

One major question I have for this is season that I have is why did Mike Fontenot get dropped just to bring mini mart up? I know it is the least important question on the season but it is something that I have been wondering since it happened and cannot find one good reason.

Like I said, I didn't find it all that enlightening. Those that did either have ignored reality because of their fandom and will disagree with the piece or they don't understand advanced baseball metrics and will disregard the piece.

It's a preaching to the choir piece that was a lot longer than it needed to be. But, then again, Baer has never been much of a Howard fan, so piling on probably comes easy to him.

AlexRosie: Mike Fontenot couldn't play OF. Not saying it's a good reason, but it's the reason.

I'll bite fastpuppy, what motivation would any player have for accepting less than he could get elsewhere and putting his salary up in the air every season?
And even if a player agreed to such terms why would any of them choose to play in Philadelphia instead of San Diego or maybe their home town?

The problem with sitting Howard against lefties is that you wouldn't get Ruf; you'd get Wigginton.

@sil -- agreed... but we know what Wiggy has... and if Manuel is going to come around to sitting Howard at this point... he should go with rookie.

2012 Numbers v. LHP:

Wigginton: .225/.356/.423/.779
Howard: .165/.212/.304/.516

2011 Numbers v. LHP:

Wigginton: .259/.370/.426/.796
Howard: .224/.286/.347/.634

Personally I don't think Manuel will sit Howard. He never really has, even in times when Howard was beat and had nothing (as he is now, in fact). I don't think UC is a bad manager, but sometimes, his relentless refusal to stray from the "this is just what we do" mentality is frustrating.

KAS: That's half the reason. The other half is that Cholly believed Fontenot couldn't play the infield either, after he had two awful games in early June.

And the third half of the reason is that Mini-Mart is versatile!

Now is the bullpen inexperienced or just not good. Which came first the chicken or the egg? You can be inexperienced but good at the same time. The 2 good hand in hand there is a difference. Take the 2010 Braves bullpen for a example. Rube and company need to determine which of these guys Aumont, Rosemberg, Savery , Diekman etc etc are going to stick.

Generally speaking, Cholly is a firm believer in hitting your way out of a slump. The only time I can remember him benching a slumping "star" is J-Roll, and that had more to do with hustle than hitting.

The problem is that (1) Howard's a lousy hitter against lefties under the best of circumstances and (2) now he's trying to hit on one leg, which makes everything much more difficult. He's gassed and frustrated at this point. We might as well give Ruf a few starts - including all games against LHP - and see what happens.

FAT: I'm suing your @$$ for copyright infringement. You'll be hearing from my attorney at B.A.P. in the near future....

"Rube and company need to determine which of these guys Aumont, Rosemberg, Savery , Diekman etc etc are going to stick."

If there's one thing we should have learned after our experiences with Dom Brown and the 2012 Phillies bullpen, it's: when it comes to rookies or unproven players, hope for the best; plan for the worst.

In fairness, Crashburn kicks Howard when he's up, too. I wonder if Jack is the pseudonym for the blogmaster there.

In fairness, clout kicks everyone.

All the time.

I can only say that dropping 3 of 4 to Houston really eptomizes what was wrong with the team all year. Other than injuries, which took a substantial toll, the pieces that were brought in didn't fit, although there were some bright spots (Pierre, Kratz, Freddie).

Lee has pitched much better than his record indicates. And Cole has been very good. KK has shown at times he can be a viable back-end starter. Chooch has been phenomenal.

But one can only hope that RAJ got the meesage and corrects the team's flaws. At times they've shown they can still play.

RAJ has to realize that you just can't patch it together, and you can't give 3-year contracts to aging players who are hurt a lot (Polly). Also you can't give away $$ to relief pitchers who can no longer pitch (Contreras, Qualls).

The games you play early are just as impotant as the ones you play later, and this team was not equiped to handle the injuries to Ryan and Chase. There's major work to be done. With the trading of Pence, we still need a big RH bat. RAJ has no choice now. And I hope he doesn't throw 5/75 at Bourn.

I can tell you, the Nats & Braves aren't going away any time soon. And it'll be very difficult to get back to the top of the mountain.

Baumann is worse than Baer. Oh god. So much worse.

Cholly told me I'm platooning with Howard the rest of the year. Suck it, bitches!

Fatalotti: I don't discriminate. And only when it's well deserved.

Baer has been on my case ever since I explained to him that my RBI and HR production are at all-time levels, and my OBI% has consistently been near the top of the league since I've been in the majors.

He hates that, because he has to keep holding on to his ridiculous argument that RBI are meaningless and only a product of the runners on base in front of me. OBI% controls for that fact (at least to some degree) - but suddenly a stat man isn't interested in stats. Funny how that works, isn't it? See it a lot here at BLer, also.

Dude's just a hater. What else can I say?

Well Deserved (adj): Clout has his panties in a bunch over his failings off of the computer and feels the need to take out his frustrations on total strangers with the same three amateur hour taunts with slightly different wording.

His annoyance isn't limited to is ability to be factually accurate. It's not really about that to me.

I got bored, so I did a little calculating - I believe Howard will make $20 mil this season; unless he gets rested, he is on track for 315 PAs - that is about $63,500 every time he steps to the plate. At his current pace, the Phillies will pay him $6.6 mil to strike out this year. They will pay him $444,000 to hit into double-plays. I couldn't figure out how to calculate how much he gets paid for every time he swipes at a throw from another infielder with his eyes closed (at least I hope they're closed, he can't be THAT bad with them open; can he?)

There have been many disappointments this year; but Howard offends me the most because of his salary.

P.S - Howard has a lot of things to work on in the off-season; but the first should maybe be to lose about 40 lbs.

Howard is playing lame... having trouble swinging, running, and fielding. I'd like to see Howard sit (and get needed rest)and platoon Ruf and Wiggington at first for the remainder of the season.

To be fair, there is an awful lot to hate about Ryan Howard's play over the past month or so.

We're running out of time for me to get starts at 1st, catcher and pitching. Call Cholly now and lean on him. I could die happy if I could tie Jose Oquendo's record, dudes!

Why would you platoon Ruf and Wigginton? They are both right handed.

That was going to be my response, as well, Fat. I actually don't think that jonnyd. understands that platooning means a righty-lefty rotation based on the handedness of the pitcher. Oh, well.

Jeff Passan over at Yahoo sports has an article lamenting the second wild card and the fact that a "sub .500" team like the Phillies are in the discussion. It appears to me he waited until the Phils fell below .500 (albeit by one game) to post that article.

Perhaps he just used the word "platoon" as a short-hand for "split time."

I have a pretty good feeling that Howard only came back this season, or at least as early as he did, because of how pathetic this team finished the first half of the season.

Phils tried squeezing a miracle out of him, and now his long list of haters have fuel to burn him for putting his body on the line to try and help their peice of garbage baseball team not finish in last place while far from being recovered.

Yes, Howard played poorly and likely didn't improve this team's chance to win much at all. Theres no defending his actual performance, but he was far from the reason why this team is eliminated from their division race with double digit games to still play.

Anyone who doesn't recognize the caveat of Howard's year is just bitter about how bad the Phillies sucked ass this year, and are likely tired of blasting the 80% of the roster who are responsible.

"Anyone who doesn't recognize the caveat of Howard's year is just bitter about how bad the Phillies sucked ass this year, and are likely tired of blasting the 80% of the roster who are responsible."

Lore~ Who put the roster together? Not many people are calling that guy on the carpet. Yes, Howard has played poorly, (to be expected, given his injury) but it's just short of a miracle he's playing this year at all. He's gonna wind up with 50+ RBI. Currently he has 46, which is more than Wiggy's 43, and he's played in 50+ more games. Goes back to my point earlier that you just can't patch it together, whicj RAJ tried to do.

Amaro misread the entire state of the team iin the off-season. I hope he doesn't repeat that mistake. The accountability starts with him. And even though the players are the ones who actually have to perform, due to the nature of things, many were asked to more than they were capable of. As a result, the pitchers tried to be too fine, tried to carry the load, etc. We all know what happened.

SLO Phan: I imagine Passan had an article in 2005 lamenting the inclusion of the National League West in the playoffs. It was pretty ugly watching the Padres stumble their way to an 82-80 division crown. In fact, they had to win 5 of their last 6 games to get above .500. Here's the lineup the Padres beat on the last day to stay above .500:

Dodgers
Willy Aybar, 2B
Jason Repko, CF
Antonio Perez, SS
Mike Edwards, 3B
Hee-Seop Choi, 1B
Jayson Werth, RF
Jason Grabowski, LF
Mike Rose, C
Elmer Dessens, P

New post up, where Jason tortures us with tales of Wild Card contenders.

These are impressive articles. Keep up the noble be successful.

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