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Friday, September 14, 2012


Someone said the other day that the Phils look at Horst as their long man since their old one is now in the rotation.

Repost from the end of the last thread:

I, too, want to know what is up with Horst. I figured he'd get a turn yesterday for at least one inning after the 3 inning Cloyd outing. Furthermore, figured that with Aumont pitching so much lately, that Bastardo would have the 8th inning.

Others have brought it up, but I don't get it either (bullpen management). Aumont was tired. Neither DeFratus or Horst got into the game, despite not having pitched the day before. I don't understand going with the tired guy with control problems. He got the first out, but after putting on the next guy, Aumont should've been out of the game (if they had to use him - I'd have preferred they did not).

Houston is where seasons go to die

We went to the game last night. The official attendance was announced at a bit over 13,000 which is stated as 30% capacity. Most seats were empty. I was in the upper deck behind home plate and there were ten people in my section. To the left, seven sections were empty until there was a section with one family sitting there. We guessed that roughly one to two thousand fans there. We thought that maybe it would be a late crowd, but no one else came. I took some empty seat photos on a prehistoric cell phone. I will try to send them to Jason.

As for the game, Cloyd can't get by with an 86 mph fastball. Rosenberg did not look good to me. Lindblom looked good. Bastardo looked good. I was all excited to see Aumont after reading all of this good stuff about him on BL. He couldn't hit the side of a barn. He was terrible. He's got a speedy fastball, but very little control. Diekman looks really awkward when he pitches. He can throw strikes, but they were hitable strikes.

The difference in the game was that the Phillies could not manufacture their two out rallies to a score, while Houston scored all their 8th inning runs from two out hits. (Aumont was pitching with two out and no one on, thanks to the caught stealing out by Kratz.)

Here's where Lake Fred was sitting.

Even before the game slipped away from us, I was admittedly shocked to see Aumont called upon considering his recent workload. That's a lot of games to appear in for a rookie relieve over a five day stretch (five appearances over that span if I'm not mistaken).

Questionable use of the bullpen to say the least. And it's not like we didn't have a comparable option in De Fratus


Thanks for the picture, Lake Fred (and Jason). TV made it look like there was no one really there. This picture makes it look even more empty. Can't say that I blame the people of Houston for not wanting to spend money to watch that team.

Which again, is just a reminder of how awful that loss was.

Agree with Lake Fred about Diekman's stuff. Cholly & Dubee have somehow convinced themselves that he has killer stuff but I think they're conflating his unorthodox delivery with his "stuff." His stuff consists of a 95 MPH straight fastball and nothing else (at least nothing else that he can get anywhere near the plate).

No doubt, his unorthodox delivery makes it incredibly tough for a left-handed hitter to pick up the ball. That would make him a good LOOGY, in the mold of a guy like Mitch Stetter, if he could ever get the ball over the plate. But for right-handed hitters, the delivery is just weird, not deceiving.

I posted something about it last night but the lighting in that park is so dreary that it almost makes it seem like they're playing in a TV studio. Tampa is the same way. And when it's empty like that it is just dreadful. That was a long game last night but it seemed absolutely interminable.

I think Charlie misses Ryan Madson. That's my own personal explanation for why he would put Aumont out there even suspecting the guy was tired, and leave him in after seeing by his pitching that he definitely looked tired. It's my explanation mostly because I don't comprehend it. Not for a rookie.

I like the complaint someone made that it's ok to ride the rookie who's prone to wildness for 4 of 5 games or 5 of 6 or 4 days in a row or whatever, rather than ride the veteran closer when we were 4 outs away from a win.

I actually kind of like Diekman. He had a bad outing last night but usually if he throws strikes he's pretty tough. I think he'd make a better loogy though. Somebody, I think it was BAP, made a great point last night about Aumont. Early detection is the key. When he doesn't have it the outcome will never be good. And it is pretty obvious when he doesn't have it. One or two batters will usually be enough to tell the tale. Jury is still out on DeFratus for me, but I am cautiously optimistic about him. I like his stuff. Just like with Aumont, if he can throw strikes consistanly he could be very effective. Rosenberg throws hard but all he has is a straight, flat fastball. He may be good enough to hang around but that's about it.

I actually liked Rosenberg as the first man out of the pen when Cloyd was out of the game. His straight fastball plays better coming after a guy with slow, moving stuff.

Interesting picture by Lake Fred, thanks. It sure did not seem like 13,000 people watching it on TV. Sadly, can't really blame the fans for not showing up, but I do have a deep respect for those who ARE staying the course and showing up.

Hopefully Charlie now has that feel of "early detection" referenced by b_a_p and his limitations as cited by numerous BLs.

I'm reposting this because it's so frustrating.

Jim Salisbury ‏@JSalisburyCSN
Thurs night's Phillies' loss was the 7th time this season they lost a game in which they were one out away from giving Pap a 9th inning lead

What BAP said last night is also frustrating - this was not just the Astros, but the game was very winnable. I really hoped the team understood that they needed to keep the pedal down, keep making the most of opportunities. I'm irritated with Charlie's use of the BP in the 8th, and I'm irritated with our offense. I felt like we were back in May or June.

I have to remind myself that bad games will happen to every team, and to hope that the team gets back on track today.

they can't put the pedal down. they don't have the offensive talent. 4 runs is about the best they can do. have you seen this lineup? they miss chooch, i can tell you that much

On the 8th inning...It seems like that is definitely the Phils curse this year. Especially pitching-wise.

Worst Pitching Innings by OPS against:
8th: .810 (87 RS)
4th: .778 (72 RS)
6th: .749 (68 RS)

Thanks GBF for that repost, really sums up the Phils' biggest issue: if they even win just 4 of those 7 games (can't expect perfection), they're tied for the WC right now.

If Cholly's still here next year, any way they can make Sandberg "Deputy Manager", with the designated task of manging the bullpen?

dubee manages the bullpen anyway.

Win the next 3...and as long as STL doesn't sweep... and we have a net GAIN in the standings.

I am completely unsurprised that the Phillies managed to lose to the Astros. And tell the truth, you all felt the same way. And it's very likely they'll lose at least one more to this wretched collection of minor leaguers. And that will very likely be the epitaph to this season when it's written. "Couldn't beat the bleeping Astros, even after they'd sold off the entire team."

I suppose this series will lube us all up for the upcoming Mets debacle to follow.

If Horst is the long man, why wasn't he put into a game where the starting pitcher is chased in the fourth inning?

He's our best LHP this year. It makes no sense to use the abominable BJ Rosenberg as the long man if Horst IS the long man- and then not allow Horst to pitch because the situation wasn't tailored for his specific 'role.'

Far be it for me to parrot what MG says every other day, but Cholly is clueless without a bullpen that is paint by numbers, and if it's not paint by numbers, he will try to force it to be, to the team's detriment. You saw that with his refusal to use Horst as anything but a long man, and using Aumont when he had pitched in four games in the last four days.

donc, you are right about the lighting and it being a long game. You can see in the photo center top, the line of the fireld lights. In front of the lights, the seats are in brightness, behind the lights, you are sitting in the dark. Despite that, Minute Maid Park is a great stadium. I really like it. Parking was also cheap. We parked right across the street from the stadium for $5!

The length of the game was due to the slow pitching of the Houston starter, Harrell. Driving home, the radio guys were talking about poor communication between Harrell and his catcher. Maybe Castro doesn't speak much English. I've witnessed that many times going to restaurants in Houston. Your waiter will know what you want if you point it out on the menu, but spoken English is a problem.

I also sent Jason a fairly clear photo of the lower deck behind the Phillies dugout and you can see that even the best seats were empty. Before the game, they have these enthusiastic employees launching T-shirts into the stands, but there was no one there to catch the shirts!

I blame Houston management and Bud Selig for stripping the Astros team of all of its stars and running off to the AL next year. If sissy Selig had any PEDs in his system, he would have blocked some of those trades, like other more manly commissioners had done in the past.

Diekman is a timebomb, ready to exploded at any second, allowing base runners here, there, and everywhere. In 22.2 innings, he allowed 17 runs (12 earned) and has a WHIP of 1.68.

I do not question Manuel's desire to win. I do question his "gut instincts" when it comes to bullpen management. This was a game they should have won and most likely needed to win. This was a bad loss that ruined the positive momentum the team had steamrolled into Houston with. Not to mention, they're now 4 back of the Wild Card.

The 'Stros tv announcers tried to keep up a brave face last night on the franchise issues....afterall, as they mentioned, the Nats were a terrible team just a couple years ago.

Granted there are no Harpers or Strasburg's available next June...

I'm sure we'd like to sulk some more about last night's loss. I know I won't "get over" it until we win tonight (being positive by assuming we will).

Just thought this was interesting: "Worst player in baseball" = Francoeur. But Wiggy's #5 on the list. Mini-Mart wasn't in the running because he hasn't played enough (although I know most of us feel he's played too much).

NEPP: Luckily for the Astros, they'll get the top player available in June '14, June '15, and June '16 too.

Sorry, Wigginton's only #6 on the list.

" Not to mention, they're now 4 back of the Wild Card."

Again...they win the next 3 (good chance) and as long as STL doesn't sweep (they probably won't) ...and there is a net GAIN in the standings.

If there was a loss in that series, it was last night, given the pitching matchups. The Phillies should be heavy favorites in the next 3 (-210 tonight).

The MLB should have an expansion draft for the Astros.

Lake Fred: Thanks for your observations. In between bouts of Phillies angst I couldn't help but feel bad for the state of the Houston franchise. Such a rich history for a (relatively) "new" franchise, & for it to be reduced to a nearly empty ballpark ... it's sad. Bud Selig should be ashamed.

Wiggy shouldn't have enough at-bats to qualify for that lowest WAR list. The fact that he does says a lot about where this team was for the bulk of this season.

I love seeing Wiggy on that list. He's been as bad as many of us suspected.

Seeing Michael Young on there is pretty sad. He was a very good player last year. Glad we didn't trade for him, I guess?

Reading how Aumont talks about how he has to 'step up' is unfortunate.

It isn't his fault. The human body has its limitations. Cholly tried to pile too much on him and ignored options like DeFratus (I didn't even think about him at the time, he hasn't pitched since September 10th) and Horst. Aumont has been great and last night should be wiped off his record, as far as I'm concerned.

By the way, am I the only one that thinks the Brewers should be the team headed to the AL? At least they have a history there. I've been around long enough that it still rubs me the wrong way that they are in the NL. I'm sure Bud Selig doesn't want to lose the rivalries for his own club, so he stuck it to some weakling new owner on his way in the door. Of course, it's the fans that get the shaft.

Agreed Ice. I'm sure as hell not blaming Aumont for last night.

dubee manages the bullpen anyway.

Do we know that for sure? Is he really the one that makes the decision as to when to pull guys and what guys warm up? To me that sounds like a manager's job.

Honest questions, by the way.

Aumont did his best but he had nothing. Its on the Manager to recognize it and pull him. We all saw it well before the fatal hit, how didnt UC?

No, you're not the only one who thinks the Brewers should be the team to move, donc.

And I feel bad for Astros' fans, too, GTown. Less than a decade ago, they went to the WS. Now one of their star pitchers from that year may come back to pitch in sad circumstances, they're moving leagues, and they have been terrible since peaking in '05.

Thanks for the report, Lake Fred. Maybe you should go back to see the Phillies win. I'm sure tickets can be had for cheaply.

aksmith, I have that dread inside, that the Phillies will stink it up v. the 'Stros and Mets. I'm trying not to give in to those feelings. We should win both series - and if we don't, then it's our own fault & we don't deserve a shot at the postseason.

Aumont did well to speak of stepping up, Ice. It shows accountability. Even though I agree with you that he shouldn't have been used when tired, I would have been displeased with him saying that because he was tired, it wasn't his fault.

NEPP: In 7+ years, he very rarely saw it.

That's the first time I've ever heard that Dubee manages the bullpen. If so, all the more reason to fire him at the end of the season.

What bap said.

The frustrating part is that they had a big lead, didn't hold it, and didn't score more when they had the chance.

They didn't put the game away.

Iceman: I've never heard that either. I imagine it's Dubee's job to work on the pitchers' mechanics, pitches, conditioning, strategy, etc., but it would be the manager's job to decide what guys to use and when to pull them.

It would be analogous to Greg Gross determining when to PH and what guy to use. I can't imagine he does that.

Remember back in early July, when the Phillies were 10 games under .500 and the Yankees were asking about Ty Wigginton, but RAJ didn't want to trade him because he thought we might still get back in contention? And remember how, 4 weeks later, he did in fact decide to give up on the season by trading 2 starting outfielders and a starting pitcher? Now, here we are in September and -- lo and behold -- his first instinct was right & we ARE in contention. And Ty Wigginton is still here, but Pence, Vic, and Blanton are not.

The word "irony" is the most misused word in the English language, but I'm pretty sure there's some irony in there somewhere.

GBrett- yeah I agree, I do like the attitude of accountability. Kind of flies in the face of "I kept us in the game" Kendrick (though to his credit, he has seemed to really turn a corner since that comment).

I just hope it's not something that weighs on his confidence. I think part of the reason he has been great right away is because he had instant success in overmatching MLB hitters, giving him the confidence that he could succeed (not like Schwimmer, who was teed off on as soon as he stepped on the mound). He looked very composed and confident on the mound until last night, when he couldn't physically get the job done.

I trust he'll shake it off, but I hope he doesn't beat himself up too much over it, because it was the manager's responsibility to protect him from overuse in the first place.

I can't imagine Greg Gross doing much of anything except taking a nap in the dugout.

I do agree that the bullpen management left something to be desired, but I do wonder why we're all so quick to point Aumont's failures to fatigue. Manual pushed him in the last week but we're talking about a player with a 6.9 BB9 in AAA this year who, until last night, managed to walk just 4 batters of the 34 he faced. What he did last night isn't something Aumont reserves for his more fatigued outings.

I fault the manager for leaving Aumont in probably one batter too long rather than faulting him for using Aumont at all.

Didn't have a problem with Diekman given Lowrie's sub .200 BA against lefties this year.

Just a regrettable team loss despite plenty of opportunities and second chances (men left on as well as spoiling what appeared to be a game saving throw by Kratz).

Wish this had been the third game of the series cos then the "can't win them all" feeling would be more dominant.

Our best pitcher pitching tonight against an AAA lineup. They are countering with some jabroni named Edgar Gonzalez who has toiled in the majors and Mexican leagues for years. Been on four MLB teams and is awful. His first two starts after being promoted were solid (1 ER in each), but he says he is 'shocked' by his success.

I hesitate to call any game a must-win, but this game is a must-win, if they're serious about making a run.

Is Horst dead?

Something could be up with Horst. Has throw 2 pitches since the 2nd of the month.

I don't recall if Horst has warmed up in the 'pen in that time.

"They are countering with some jabroni named Edgar Gonzalez who has toiled in the majors and Mexican leagues for years."

Ugh. We are toast.

Thanks, Lake Fred. It’s always fascinating to hear about other ballparks and their fans.

With this loss there is much discussion about the talent/lack of talent in the ‘pen and the strategic choices of Cholly. But in my book, responsibility should have more to do with whether a key player lives up to the role he is expected to fill. (We’re back to debating whether salary is a factor in assessing players, I know.)

But especially in a bullpen-pitched game, and especially when the lineup has its share of Frandsens and Kratzes, it should fall to the highly-paid regulars who are starting in their normal positions (Utley, Howard, Rollins) to carry the team. I for one was more disappointed with the runners left on base by Chase Utley than I was any floundering by Cloyd or the bullpen callups.

RAJ might be right about Cloyd. I know it was dinks and dunks before he grooved one to Dominguez, but don't know if he has the stuff to put batters away as often as you need to in MLB.

Missed Raul Valdes AND Horst last night. I know why one wasn't out there, but not why the other guy wasn't.

NEPP, not only is his job to recognize when to pull him, but also to understand when to have him in the damn game in the first place. The former is probably the bigger sin here, but both are equally maddening

Wigginton has been terrible and hasn't gotten his due. If the Phils had picked up a better utility man (say Scott Hairston of Betemit the guy I wanted them to sign) they might have won another game or two this year instead.

Betemit is a butcher with the glove too but he has at least been moderately offensive productive. Wigginton has been brutal since May.

Phils are MASSIVE favorites tonight. Opened at -170 and now at -215 to -220.

Most they have been favored since April I think.

That's a lot of action on a team to move a line that quickly too.

Worried that Jeremy Horst is hurting because he hasn't pitched since Sept. 2?

Don't be. He's just fine.

Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee are walking a fine line with Horst. With Raul Valdes having had his knee scoped Monday, Horst is the only real long man in the bullpen, and it's forcing Manuel and Dubee to think long and hard about when they should give the ball to Horst.

"We've looked up and if we put him in there, then who are we going to have for two innings if we run short?" Manuel said. "We have a lot of guys who throw one inning. All of a sudden, [if] you use two of those guys for one inning and then you're searching for pitchers. When we DL'd Valdes, that cut us off a pitcher."

Allentown Morning call...

I'm totally giving Cloyd a pass on last night's performance. He was asked to do something he had never done before, and which most pitchers can't do. He didn't get hammered because he couldn't put batters away. He got hammered because, after 2 very effective innings, he started falling behind every hitter. That is the sign of someone who is tired.

The jury is still out on whether he can be a serviceable major league starter. But last night's game should not enter into the analysis. It should be cast aside, like Ryan Braun's drug test results.

EFF: The journalist doing that interview neglected to ask the obvious follow-up question: if you're short a reliever, and rosters have expanded, and you've got a guy at LV who can pitch multiple innings (Savery), why hasn't he been called up?

Don't forget that Cloyd got dinked and dunked all the way. Easily 3 balls that turned into hits without any kind of solid contact.

I was wondering about Savery as well. I know he's bad, but so is Diekman. If you're going to let a guy waste away in the pen as the designated "long man," why not have it be someone you actually wouldn't use except in that situation. I think Horst has shown he's capable of at least a little more than that.

Please belabor the point counselor.

Does anyone believe those chumps the Dodgers will win a game against the Cards?

I think one of my favorite developments of this season has been Iceman's commandeering of the word "jabroni" from MG. He doesn't use it too often, but when he does, it's with great effect, and always makes me smirk.

While the Philadelphia beat writers were d8cking around like 8th graders on Twitter, the Allentown Morning Call gets the answer to the obvious question.

Also, that answer makes no sense. If Horst is the long man, why didn't they use him last night? How often do the Phillies have a starter get knocked out before Cloyd did last night? Are they saving Horst in case Hamels gets knocked out in the 2nd?

To follow up on my 1:12 post . . . I think Savery is terrible. It's not that I would have wanted him pitching in the 8th inning instead of Diekman. It's that, if he had been on the roster, he would have provided a fail-safe which would have freed up Cholly to use Horst.

There has been some egregiously bad roster management by the Phillies at times this year. I mean, stuff that has absolutely no plausible explanation, like suddenly dumping Fontenot, or carrying 5 left-handed hitters and no right-handers on the bench, or optioning Valdes instead of Savery during that 3-week period in July, or all the shenanigans with Mini-Mart, or not calling up a 9th reliever when we've got the roster space & our manager is telling the media that he was worried about running out of bullpen arms. All of these things are minor, standing alone. But taken together, they add up and have cost us ballgames -- including, potentially, last night's.

I rarely ever tire of a discussion (and this post is in no way meant to dissuade others from discussing this topic), but discusses the inconsistency and flat-out idiocy with which Manuel handles a bullpen (and a pitching staff in general), just wears me out.

It's either his intransigent refusal to buck rote traditional bullpen usage with his closer, or his inability to remove the starter when it's clear he's got nothing left, or just simply calling on the wrong players, or putting players in spots in which they are unlikely to succeed (JC Romero for 4 years, anyone?)

It's maddening, and it's cost the Phillies some games this year, I'm sure of it.

And Sophist may be right. Maybe Aumont was just wild last night because Aumont is a pitcher that's wont to get wild every so often. But pitching a young kid with control problems on his 3rd day in a row and his 5th appearance in the last 5 days (he had an off-day on the 10th, but pitched twice on the 9th)?? Just a god-awful decision, and a certain invitation for trouble.

Last night's game was a classic bullpen game. I knew Cloyd wasn't going to last long, and Rube and Charlie should have also known. And that means they needed to either bring up another reliever who could go multiple innings or a starter from the AA team who had pitched recently enough to be stretched out. I suggested Ethan Martin. But even Pettibone would have been better than marching Cloyd out there on short rest.

It seemed clear looking forward, and a couple of posters here recognized that. At times this year, roster management has been baffling. This was possibly the worst example of not paying attention we've seen all season, though.

And once again, I have to point out the ration of crap that those of us who hated the Wigginton move got before the season began. I like the guy a little. He always seems to be doing his best. But it was clear before and it's very clear now, his upside was Wes Helms. And his downside is exactly what we've seen.

I mean, we all agree last night's loss was on the offense, right? Not the bullpen? Right?

Speaking of Scott Hairston, well sort of, I may be a little late with this so I apologize if that's the case:

I have seats in the Hall of Fame section and during Saturday's interminable rain delay,Frantzkie was wandering around there and I asked him about this. He sounded pretty embarrassed, but chuckled when I told him it was what we've all been thinking and were proud of him for saying it....

Cyclic, both are allowed to be culpable. It's one of the most ridiculous assertions on here (and across baseball fandom), that there can't be shared culpability.

The offense sucked after the early innings, to be sure, but they did hand the team a 4 run lead. They could have and should have done much better, but the bullpen's ineffectiveness and Charlie's management thereof left me more disgusted.

You know why? Because the offense is doing the best it can, and just not producing. Charlie is not doing the best he can, even though his issues are easily remediable, though they've never been fixed, and likely never will. Offense will have good nights and bad nights, but Charlie's steadfast refusal to alter his approach doesn't change.

They are worried about having a long man even with expanded rosters? WTF.

Roster and injury management have been lacking just about all year and the front office/training staff have to take some blame this offseason. Wonder if you will see a little shuffling around of positions and a few changes.

Fatalotti - I agree with your post. I'm only pointing out the possibility that fatigue didn't play a role because, fatigue or no, we were eventually going to see this from Aumont. I just think there's a tendency to oversimplify cause/effect here in an effort to find a good scapegoat for what really was a team loss. Given their recent run of success, Cloyd's start on short rest, the alternatives under consideration (Pettibone, Horst, De Fratus) we can't pretend like there were any easy answers. I'm not defending the choices Manual made, though. And I am pretty persuaded by BAP's post re roster mismanagement. But this isn't an exact science.

Wigginton was a mistake because he didn't give the Phils a good enough contingency plan if Howard's DL trip were to extended (it was). I objected to the Wes Helms comparison because their careers are, in fact, very different. Wigginton is actually provided *exactly* his OPS+ output from 2011, so it's not like he's been a surprisingly bad player. He's been as expected. For the 4 prime years of his career, though, he was a 114 OPS+ player with 3 20+ HR seasons. He's 34 now. Wes Helms went in the tank at 31 after a career year at 30. Just a totally different story.

Good points, Fatal. But didn't they only manage 2 hits against the Houston bullpen?

I mean, that is pretty stunning.

Wigginton's age 31-32-33 seasons: 86, 98, 86 OPS+, respectively. OBP between .312 and .315 every year. .127-.175 ISO (highest in the last year).

2012: 85 OPS+, .311 OBP, .145.

The guy's basically as advertised. Shouldn't have surprised anyone. This isn't his "downside" it's who he is.

I'd be more apt to give Cloyd a pass if he hadn't pitched poorly against Colorado last Sunday on full rest. 8 hits in 4 innings and yet another 3-run bomb.

But will grant you that we were asking a lot of him last night. Some overachievers rise to challenges like that...others maybe cain't.

For much of the year, we've struggled with SP, BP & scoring RISP. Last night reminded us of those problems.

With Hamels starting tonight, then a suddenly terrific KK, hopefully we'll be ok for the next few games. I'm not really sure what to expect from Doc on Sunday. But we need to win regardless.

Then, Cliff Lee has to face Dickey on Monday.

So the Phils have to take one of the better relievers (Horst) and plug him into the long man role which he really has done much of lately?

If the long-man role in Sept is because you need a guy to take a beating and spare wear & tear on your bullpen, why isn't Savery up on this team? Or Schwimmer? Or even JC Ramirez? All of them are already on the 40-man roster.

One of the Phils' beat writers need to ask Amaro this puzzling question.

Helms age 31-33: 71 OPS+, 13 HR, .107 ISO
Wigginton age 31-33: 90 OPS+, 48 HR, .157 ISO

This is way I argued with you, aksmith, before the year. Wigginton was an okay sign if all things didn't point to almost 80 starts. 46 at 1B.

This one will obviously sting a lot less if we take the next three.

But I do think we need to make up for it by sweeping one of our remaining series.

Seems like Lee has to face the opponent's best pitcher every series. Not going any deeper; just an observation.

I understand the overreaction being a lifelong phillies fan of 35+ years, however, I would really be pissed if we gave Hammels a 4 run lead and lost the game ...afterall we've got an unproven AAA guy pitching on short rest vs a guy (albeit mentally unstable) who's made nearly 30 total 2012 starts in MLB with a 2.26 era at home seemingly on the verge of imploding every inning...Sometimes you need to give a little credit to the pitcher (yes, I know we hear that a lot when our offense sputters). If Doc gave up 4 early runs then gave up nothing after we wouldn't be saying they just shut it down, rather Doc settled down and got into his rhythm. we'll get em tonight! Go Dodgers!

" I just think there's a tendency to oversimplify cause/effect here in an effort to find a good scapegoat for what really was a team loss. "

At BLer?

Say it ain't so!

One last add:

G'Town Dave kind of got mocked when he said that losing Valdes really hurt them. It did. He would have been potentially been another long guy freeing up Horst as the 2nd situational LHP. Additionally, Valdes had pitched adequately for the Phils this season.

Now, it means that Horst is stuck in the long-man role apparently (Amaro forget he can call up other relievers I guess) and it means we see 2 of the Phils' worst relievers a lot more than we should. Rosenberg as a guy who can pitch multiple innings and Diekman as the 2nd situational lefty. Both have been mediocre-to-poor this year.

Losing Valdes wasn't a big deal it was more of the domino effect it might have on the rest of the bullpen especially Rosenberg & Diekman will get more innings in key spots down the stretch.

Oddly enough, actually, Wigginton's played well at the plate when he started at 1B. Here's the split ordered by PA:

Howard: 235 PA, .227/.306/.415
Wigginton: 197 PA, .253/.325/.427
Mayberry: 79 PA, .240/.278/.347
Luna: 41 PA, .256/.293/.359
Nix: 34 PA, .313/.353/.594
Thome: 13 PA, .200/.385/.200

It looks like my theory about Wigginton's overexposure may be a little off. He's definitely been overused. No sub 90 OPS+ player should get so many starts (who isn't an up the middle defender). ... He's just been awful at 3B.

Savery should be on the roster for the same reason that we call up a 3rd catcher every September. It's not that I can ever imagine a scenario in which I'd want Steven Lerud catching or hitting, or Joe Savery pitching. It's that I want Chooch or Kratz available to pinch hit, rather than having to be held back in case we need an emergency catcher. And I want Horst available to pitch to a batter or two, rather than having to be held back in case a long reliever is needed. I know I just said this same thing 5 minutes ago, but it's a point that I'm particularly proud of coming up with, so I'm going to keep saying it.

Valdes allowed 1 run in all of August in 9.2 IP, .097 BAA. He inherited 11 runners and allowed 0 to score. Would be nice to have an option who's capable of something like that. Phils have had lots go their way over the last few weeks, but this has been far from a dream season on many fronts.

Phils need to still sign at least 1-2 RHP relievers this offseason including a guy they can use in higher leverage spots. If they need to go 'cheap' and spare some dollars, let Diekman/Horst duke it out in camp for the 2nd lefty spot.

The reality is and was that we never controlled our own destiny, so there's no real margin for error. Yeah, we can lose a few and no more, and hopefully last night was just that - one of the "few."

The bigger concern isn't the bullpen that surrendered those runs (L.A. was calling for Aumont to be yanked batters earlier when it was evident that he couldn't throw a strike). Lee should be able to handle this lineup tonight. The concern is related to the offense. They went to sleep and looked pretty bad after the early innings. Though, that's to be expected when you field a lineup consisting of so many guys who wore Iron Pigs uniforms for most of the season. Essentially you're evening the playing field when playing against another team consisting primarily of minor leaguers.

It's probably unrealistic to change the expectations on the likes of Kratz, Brown, Frandsen, Cloyd, etc. They came up to get MLB experience and to "see what we have for the future." You can't blame them because they're not able to contribute to what would equate to a very unlikely and improbably playoff run.

I'm going back to focusing on hoping to see some good baseball. No sense scoreboard watching or expecting the Iron Pigs to play out the end of a Hollywood movie. If it comes to pass it will be all that more special. Until then, I just hope to see solid fundamental baseball and no Michael Martinez.

There is no question the Phils should be using every roster spot available. But I look at Horst's use over the last few weeks, and the status of the game yesterday (exactly when a longman is needed), and I wonder if something is up with the guy. Seems like their hesitancy to use him extends beyond opportunity costs. Last night, any point after the 3rd inning, was just the opportunity you're waiting for.

BAP, great point. Calling up the likes of Savery/Larud essentially moves everyone up in the pecking order, thereby allowing you to use the current "emergency guys" in roles where they could make a difference. Well put.

Klaus - If you're reading this, I think I just saw that MLB is offering a deal for MLB.TV for the rest of the year ($9.99)

Sophist: I think I agree. The non-use of Horst is too weird to be explained by mere mismanagement.

Utley came up small in some key spots last night. He gets one more hit in one of those opportunities with runners on, I bet the game comes out differently.

And yes, we do miss Valdes, as weird as it is to say that.

Some possibly telling numbers with Utley

Man on first: .383/.431/.617
Man on second: .188/.480/.188

He's hitting .231/.417/.365 w RISP. Suggests to me he's getting pitched around.

He's got an .850 OPS over the last ~50 games.

Watching Manuel utilize his bull pen is akin to playing in a band with a drummer who has no rhythm.

Frankly, I don't quite know what game Manuel was watching, but even Stevie Wonder could have noticed that Aumont was pitching poorly, yet Manuel left him in until he screwed the pooch.

I recognize what Manuel was up to; providing rookie Aumont with some "toughening up time," but that is the task of a high school coach intent on making men out of 16 year old boys, and it has little place in Major League Baseball.

MG: Thanks for the shout-out. I didn't feel like arguing w/ those who disagreed, but an effective reliever is an effective reliever. Valdes was good more often than not this season, & it isn't hard to imagine him pitching an inning or two in last night's game (immediately following Cloyd's departure), thereby making the 8th inning mess if not a moot point, at least more easily navigable.

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EST. 2005

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