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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Comments

Really looking forward to next year!

If there's ever a need for a three game sweep in April, this is it. Installing a little confidence in themselves and the fanbase would be nice. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

"Really looking forward to next year!"

Then enjoy the Kendrick, Pettibone, Hamels rotation this series. Those are your top 3 starters next year.

Surround 8 highly paid declining stars with 17 random guys and this is what it looks like.

33,443 at the park this afternoon. I believe I read somewhere that the only team w/ a higher per-game avg. decrease in attendance thus far is the Marlins. Home series such as this one will not help matters.

I don't know, the sad thing is that RAJ most likely believes that he gave Charlie a competitive team this year. He'll view it as Charlie's fault that the team is not "producing"

David Murphy ‏@HighCheese

Attendance 33k today. Last 3 days combined attendance under 99,000, smallest three-game stretch at CBP since 2007.

--------------------------------------------

I don't subscribe to the notion that a team on the decline is going to necessarily impact the upcoming TV deal, but I would be curious to see what ratings this April look like versus last year, and especially the year before.

Well it's clear who the best team in PA is right now.
Glad the Pirates are not in our division.

WP, the reason attendance is down is that they're just not competitive. It's no fun to watch this kind of baseball.

Sadly, the lethargy seems to be affecting even Utley, who has uncharacteristically made several blunders in the last week.

Chooch cannot return soon enough. I know he's only one players, but the insertion of his bat into the order will impact other spots as well.

Chooch
Utley
MYoung
Howard
Brown
Rollins
Nixberry
P
Revere

But Charlie just won't.

Never would have believed we'd finish below the Mets this year...but now it's looking like a good bet. Eeeesh!

Boy 2011 was our last shot. Rube you know what you have to do. Since you can't can yourself. Go ahead start the process.considering some of the packages lately for players. I think we could get lucky. Esp when desperate teams need a player or two with expiring contracts for the one run they are on. Hint cards since they are loaded with talent start with them....

3 games ahead of the Mar;ins with a big 4 game series comimng up next weekend.
The battle for last place should cause those attendance numbers to surge.

awh: Chooch batting first seems like a pretty bad idea... Slow, no stealing ability, and his best OBP comes from his time in the 8-slot where managers didn't mind walking him to get to the pitcher.

Bubba: I think fans are holding out for Wistar Institute Melanoma Awareness Day, presented by Independence Blue Cross and Citizens Bank.

his best OBP comes from his time in the 8-slot where managers didn't mind walking him to get to the pitcher.

Terrific analysis, completely unburdened by fact. Chooch's OBP by slot in the order:

4th: .420
5th: .358
6th: .428
7th: .376
8th: .350

It was a poor draw, and the failures on the field definitely bear the lion's share of the guilt, but I think we can blame part of that on today's start time.

Everybody hates BPS games, except people who can afford to skip out of work.

The Phils were well above .500 when they got healthy last year. What's the problem now? I don't know I'm asking - aside from the obvious.

Gtown- I hope thats a night game.
Floppy hat or not, 9 out of 10 dermatologists would recommend a night game.

Colonel Tom: Maybe you didn't actually look at the source of that OBP? You know, dug a little deeper?

Like the fact that, over the last 3 years, his OBP in the 8-slot is actually a full 114 points higher than his BA? Indicating lots of walks.

In the 6-slot (142 ABs, compared to 293 at 8), the difference is 108, which is the next closest.

Or, you know, you could just pretend that I obviously didn't do any research, since my point lies in contravention to what you apparently believe yourself. Either one's good.

"gut wrenching" fits with my reaction to today's late inning results.

I understand that the decline in attendance is notable but, for some perspective, the crowds at each game in this series exceed every home crowd for the Pirates this year (12 dates so far), except opening day. Last Wednesday, fewer than 10,000 bought tix to witness Burnett and co. throw a 1 hitter against St. Louis, a division rival.

buster: Chooch's OBP by lineup spot:

4th: .420 (138 PAs)
5th: .358 (134 PAs)
6th: .428 (173 PAs)
7th: .376 (623 PAs)
8th: .350 (1,393 PAs)
9th: .291 (118 PAs)

I didn't list his OBP in the 1, 2, and 3 hole because he only has 6 career PAs in those spots. This, of course, is due to the obscure rule that the catcher may not bat near the top of the order unless a magistrate first makes a finding of "absolute necessity."

Bubba: Sunday, 1.35PM.

"Everybody hates BPS games, except people who can afford to skip out of work."

I've always thought they should call those afternoon games "Unemployed Losers Living Off Dad's Inheritance" Specials.

3-5 homestand just doesn't cut it. Starting pitching was very solid only the offense went to sleep & bullpen failed them in a couple of big games.

BAP: See my response to Colonel Tom.

Chooch's BA has been steadily increasing, which has led to an improved OBP, but he's been taking fewer walks, and his speed is so low that I would expect almost as many GiDPs from him hitting before Chase/Young as I do with Young hitting after Howard.

He was hit by fewer pitches, but (over the past 3 years - pretty tough to use stats older than that if we're going to judge everyone else on the team by "what have you done for me lately") drew more BB/PA by far when batting 8th.

39% of his walks came when batting 8th, while only 25% of his ABs came when batting 8th.

What is the Phils record in BPS games at CBP? I would bet it is at or below a .400 winning pct.

Thankfully, I was way too busy at work today to follow this game. But, we took a large group of guys to the game in one of our limos with the obligatory detour by a strip club or two before taking them home. They'll run a nice high 3 figure/low 4 figure tab with all of that. Saturday night money on a Thursday afternoon. Hated the game as a Phan, but loving it as a limo guy.

I just figured it out ... b_a_p is Lee Elia!

GTown, I thought that was "Mother's Appreciation Day," or is that the following Sunday?

Either way, I can't think of a better way to tell you mom "Thanks for nothing" than taking her to a Phillies game for 3 hours.

BAP: Lots of housewives and househusbands go to BPS games, right?

Right?

We still beat old #Natitude attendance most nights

#WINNING

Preacher: Yeah, but she gets a Chase Utley Tote bag! That's on May 5th, by the way. The other is scheduled for May 19.

I love businessman's specials. No lines. No work. Can smoke on the concourse.

Chooch's Walk Rate by batting order position:

Batting 4th 0.043
Batting 5th 0.082
Batting 6th 0.116
Batting 7th 0.085
Batting 8th 0.125
Batting 9th 0.051

I'm excited for Chooch's return, but not because I think it means that anything is going to change markedly with the offense (though even a slight upgrade will be appreciated).

I'm excited about how he handles this staff. These dudes absolutely LOVE the guy, and there must be a reason for that. After all of the knob-slobbing over Molina the other night, I stopped to think about the report that Chooch has with his pitchers. It's one of those things that won't ever show up in any stat, but I feel like he can call a game and manage the best out of the likes of Doc, Hamels, et al that will put to bed (or confirm) the speculation of their demise.

Not to say that he's going to fix that awful bullpen tendency to give up early leads, but hey, I'm grasping for straws here.

Thinking about Utley and Rollins mental errors in the last week, I'm wondering if it is a matter of pressing because of the teams struggles, trying to do too much. Or if it just happen to be part and parcel of when the ship goes down, these things kind of happen.

And on the plus side on the game... Brown and Howard had good games after getting killed here the last couple of days and we walked 3 times. And we didn't hit into a double play.

Of course that's mostly attributable to Young and Revere not starting.

The Phillies went 2-16 w/ RISP today.

Two. For. Sixteen.

I never really understood why a sac fly WRiSP counts against you when talking about hitting WRiSP stats.

I mean, logically I do understand it, but it seems counter-intuitive - like we should think a sac fly is a bad result.

I'm hoping for Chooch mostly because I'm just hoping for any boost this team can get and he's the last boost coming for a while lol

2 things would make me lose any small shred of respect I have for Amaro as a GM and/or person.

1.) Panicking and selling everything off because you are 9-14 in April.

2.) Blaming Charlie and canning him at any point this season.

TTI: Definitely impossible to blame Charlie for this year's team/record.

However, I could see Ruben doing some behind-the-scenes maneuverings, a la Doug Collins' totally self-made decision to retire from coaching, which was totally self-made and not at all influenced by a single person other than coach Collins himself.

On the other hand, I could also see Charlie getting so out of sorts that his doctor advises him to give up coaching before he gives himself an aneurism.

What might be more likely is firing Charlie to appease an apathetic fanbase... maybe you catch some lightening for a while and put people back in the seats...

Although it would likely take at least till July to happen... unless we lose 20 games in May

I won't be the least bit sorry to see Charlie leave. That said, firing Charlie shouldn't appease anyone, whenever (if ever) it happens. r00b made this current mess, & he's the one who needs to get the axe. Otherwise it will be years more of the same downward spiral.

Phillippe Aumont is a joke - he is not a major-league pitcher. They keep going to him in tight, late-inning situations and keep getting burned. It wasn't quite foreseen that Durbin would be so godawful, but why would the Phillies think they had a legit short reliever in Aumont? Lots of guys throw the ball hard. Big deal. That's just wishful thinking and poor planning. The front end of this bullpen is absolutely atrocious.

I've seen enough. This is a bad team. They best they can aspire to is mediocrity.

Hamm: I still don't think it's likely. I would wager you good money that more people who pay for tickets like Charlie than dislike him.

He broke the championship curse for the entire city. He's been at the helm of a team that's had the best post-season record of any Philly sports team in recent memory. He's a pretty likeable dude - like you'd want to sit down and have a drink with him while he regaled you with stories of days as a power hitter in the JLeagues.

TTI, While I'm firming in the thinking that it's likely we see SOME semblance of a "fire sale," it won't be any time soon. Closer to the deadline will allow to help drive the prices up on these guys (when "buyers" need certain pieces) and also allows RAJ to play his "we gave it our best shot" card.

Similarly, I am highly doubtful that Charlie gets fired at all in his walk year. Even with Sandberg already under contract, they'd be paying Charlie not to coach. That defies this team's history. If they did let him go, I also think it would be around the same time as waving the white flag via trade offs. You see a lot of comments from Charlie about intending to coach this team past this year, but there's a reason that you don't see anything from RAJ and, more so, that an extension hasn't been signed already.

This team is at a crossroads, as the link to awh indicates. If they don't get something special together soon, it's likely that planning for the future will take precedent. While it might suck to lose some very likable players, those players aren't bringing what it is this team needs and likely won't due to their age. The thing that will suck even worse than that, however, is that the mastermind behind identifying and negotiating the plan for the next iteration of this team is the same guy who put them in this position to begin with.

RSB: Durbin has definitely been bad, but he's actually been pretty ok the last week+. He only allowed 1 inherited runner to score in that 2nd/3rd, 1-out situation, and he's cleaned up his own messes before they've hurt the team.

This does not apply to early-season Durbin, however, and I still think he's primarily a mop-up guy.

Also, on Charlie, I think even RAJ would have a tough time trying to find a spin that puts any semblance of this team's performance on the manager. I cannot imagine the backlash RAJ would receive if he seriously stepped up to a podium saying that all this team needs is a change in manager.

Cesar h and Cody still raking. After slowwww start Cody up to 300 and starting to pile up EB hits. Might see these two sooner rather then later.

The party we took to the game just arrived at Show & Tell. This is going to be a 12 hour or longer limo rental. Ca-ching!

Only the classiest strip joints!

limoguy: I'm glad someone will get something out of this afternoon. For whatever reason today's loss is really sticking in my craw.

I dont see UC making it till July...maybe not till June.

Rube will make him take the fall regardless of him deserving it.

Vern nose wells another hr.

Durbin & Horst (why do I keep wanting to call him Qualls?) are abysmal but they're still further from the chopping block than Aumont. Horst merits some small degree of slack because: (a) he was good last year; and (b) lefties always get more slack. Durbin merits no slack but he benefits from the rule of thumb that, when choosing between 2 players equally deserving of demotion, demote the one who can be optioned. Besides, the usage of Durbin is sort of self-policing: his stuff is so crappy that even Cholly seems to realize that he should mostly be used only in those moments when it's appropriate to use your worst reliever. Aumont, on the other hand, has the ability to seduce Cholly (and fans) with his stuff. So he ends up pitching in tied games in the 8th inning.

Unwatchable. Plain and simple.

Things are so off kilter that we were thrown out at home, in a non-force situation, 3 times in one series. To boot, our Ace tried to steal a base on his own, and our best player tried to bunt for a hit down 3 in the 8th. It's not just on Charlie at this point, despite making a long list of poor decisions that have probably cost us runs and games this season. The players have to begin to make fewer mental errors for us to even have a modicum of a chance at competing this year.

Also, I love Chase Utley, and consider him the best Philly athlete of my lifetime, but his play in this series was largely awful, even though he was still our most productive hitter (doesn't say much anymore). He cost us runs with poor defense and baserunning. I really never thought I'd say that.

Harper just hit his 8th HR...on pace for 58 HRs this year as a 20 year old.

Generally saying what I'm thinking sneed @ 757

All you need to know is that if the bullpen actually did its job in this series, they win 3 of 4. The 2011 Phils win this series.

While the bullpen deserves the blame specifically for the game, big-picture, the bullpen is entirely on Amaro. He's been here 5 seasons now and this bullpen is entirely of his making. And like the rest of the team, he's built a top-heavy arsenal of arms that he's paying more than any other team pays its bullpen collectively (any other bullpen paying its staff more than $20 million? I'd be interested to know)- yet still has 3-4 guys that most teams wouldn't entertain putting on their rosters.

The bullpen is the biggest failing of this front-office the last two years, especially considering the payroll. It continues to cost the team wins, with no group of young studs in AAA on the horizon.

Maybe paying a closer $13 million a year when you can never take a lead into the 9th was kinda a waste, eh?

Completely disagree with the suggestion that firing Charlie is a hard sell. He adds nothing to the team's on-the-field-success. He cannot think outside any boxes. He literally has no feel for the game as it's being played.

What was Nix doing in right field late in those two games where he botched plays? Why was Durbin automatically tabbed to pitch in tight spots earlier in the season (because it was the 6th inning???)? Why are the best relievers repeatedly left on the bench in late-game tie situations? These decisions cost games, and a manager with a better feel for his own team and its needs doesn't simply make rote decisions like that.

The fan base understands his limitations. He's not beloved. Ruben has to fire him in part BECAUSE Ruben has assembled a subpar team. The point is to win as many games as possible, and a GM can't afford to spare the manager because the GM could have done a better job putting together the team. Unfair? Yes. But that's life. With all of the late leads and tie games this team has been in, 9-14 is unacceptable.

I would give him 10 games after chooch is back. If there's no rebound by that time, see ya. Can't wait any longer than that.

Maybe paying a closer $13 million a year when you can never take a lead into the 9th was kinda a waste, eh?

Well yeah, but who could have predicted such a thing?

I mean aside from myself, & thousands of other baseball fans, that is.

I must be high because I agreed with the last half dozen posts on Beerleaguer.

Iceman: The 2011 Phils never used the bullpen. They had pitchers throwing CG all the time and relied on Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras beyond that. I think that 'pen pitched the fewest innings in the majors that year, taking an already small sample of performance down even smaller. The 2011 Phils won a lot of games by having historically great SP and average or above performance everywhere else.

It has nothing to do with the bullpen actually. How many teams would win 3 of 4 games scoring no more than 4 runs in any of those games and scoring 9 runs total. Total! The offense is the biggest problem, followed by our defense and our baserunner, both areas costing us multiple runs both ways. It's easy to put it all on the pen but it's just wrong - the rest of the team gave the pen a razor thin margin for error, and the manager erased that margin with a few poor choices.

Lastly, on the bullpen. In any of these 3, late inning losses, did Jonathan Papelbon pitch? I leave you with that.

Lastly, on the bullpen. In any of these 3, late inning losses, did Jonathan Papelbon pitch?

Hell no! Who do you think is managing this team, anyway?

This team has a bad bullpen AND a bad offense, coupled with an average to below average defense.

Unless the starting pitching is otherworldly, this team is not going to win more than 81 games.

bittel, I'm not saying that Cholly is adding any value, but this fan base is sure a hell smart enough to know that he's not the reason that the team is losing. To fire him because he doesn't "add value," when all you need to do is wait him out a few months of a losing season, makes about zero sense. If that was the line of thinking they'd have fired him long ago, even well before he earned this team it's only WS win in how many decades.

Basically, if RAJ were to fire Cholly, rather that just ride this season out with an eye on the future, it was be for no other reason than to deflect blame from himself for putting this abyssmal product on the field. When Galvis, Carrera, Mayberry, et al, play a predominant role on your team's success, that isn't the coach's fault.

Not to say it won't happen, but if it does, it will be effing pathetic on Rube's part. Let the old man ride into the sunset in October. Thanks for the WS.

Went back and looked today at the 8th and Dubee gave Aumont his 'you disgust face' after Aumont gave up his 3rd hit.

Sorry you don't have to be a baseball fan/expert in reading people to know when somebody gives that kind of face to someone else & what it means.

It used to just be reserved for KK.

It might be time for the Phillies to re-think the way they go about acquiring relievers -- since it seems to be failing over and over again. RAJ largely follows the old Ed Wade philosophy of acquiring "proven veteran arms." And, most of the time, it has worked out about as well as most of Ed Wade's bullpen acquisitions. In the meantime, all their home-grown options (Bastardo excluded) seem to fail for one reason or another.

Among low-cost FA relievers, RAJ has had some of his best success when he has targeted former starters like Park & Contreras (also Durbin -- though that was Gillick). Among our home-grown guys, we've also had our best (if not ONLY) success with guys like Madson & Bastardo, who were starters up to the day they entered the big leagues. There's a reason. Starting pitchers just tend to have a greater range of pitches than dedicated relievers.

I wouldn't necessarily do it this year but, in 2014, the Phillies should think about calling up some of these starting pitching prospects & using them in relief roles. Most of them are going to end up in relief roles anyhow. And it's a good way to get some live young arms into your pen, while also giving these guys valuable big league experience. If a guy does well in a bullpen role, you can always convert him to a starter role later on.

Sneed- yeah, you're right. The fact that the bullpen gave up six runs in the 8th and 9th innings today & yesterday against a below-average lineup has nothing to do with anything. Don't know what I was thinking. It's all on the offense.

Fata's right.

I agree w/ GBrettfan on agreeing w/ Fatalotti.

Lee didn't do his job either. The team got an insurance run for him he couldn't hold the 3-1 lead at home.

***It might be time for the Phillies to re-think the way they go about acquiring relievers -- since it seems to be failing over and over again. RAJ largely follows the old Ed Wade philosophy of acquiring "proven veteran arms." And, most of the time, it has worked out about as well as most of Ed Wade's bullpen acquisitions. In the meantime, all their home-grown options (Bastardo excluded) seem to fail for one reason or another.****

Hey, who's a special advisor to RAJ these days again? Oh, Ed Fvcking Wade. Hey, who did RAJ work under for years? Ed Fvcking Wade.

bap - you know as well as anybody that relief pitching is the most difficult area to predict. Lidge was awful after a perfect season. And ultimately we lost that trade with Houston (seems a familiar refrain now). I think you're overstating it. Normally, Bastardo to Adams to Paps is going to work. It didn't this week. Cliff Lee blew the game in the 7th, and Charlie by proxy for leaving him in to throw 120 pitches in mid-April. I think you're overstating it.

I do agree with your third paragraph; moreover, there's no reason not to give Justin DeFratus a shot soon.

This effort to weigh the relative responsibility for team badness between the offense and the bullpen is fruitless. Neither are good -- that is to say, neither is good enough to overcome the deficiencies of the other. The offense isn't talented enough to score enough runs to provide a bad bullpen a useful cushion; and the bullpen isn't good enough to hold the slender leads -- if leads we have -- generated by our sub-average offense. The badness of the one underscores the badness of the other, and in tandem they work to make the team bad.

Entirely off-topic, but at long last the Eagles made a pick they were expected to make, rather than trying to be clever by choosing some guy no one has ever heard of before. A small victory for Philly sports, but I'll take it.

Iceman - Cliff Lee gave up the tying runs today. He's not in the pen. Last night, Mike Adams blew the game. Should we take that move back? He had 12K in 8 IP before last night and has been overused lately by our stubborn manager.
What about that dropped ball by Utley last night? That's a play a good defensive second baseman makes, and an error, not a triple in another park.

My point was that you are casting too much of it on the bullpen. It's the optics of a few late inning, blown losses that are obfuscating baserunning mistakes, the inability to score with a man on 2nd, nobody out multiple times this week, 3 non-force outs at the plate in 3 days, poor late inning defense and poor pitching selections by the manager. It's everything, but it's primarily that this team is just below average offensively and defensively. The things we used to do well, the things we all took for granted, we no longer do even slightly well. The team is worse than the numbers even reflect, in my opinion. At least right now. Hopefully our pitchers never try to take 2nd unannounced again.

Where do you find relief? Not in the Phils' pen:

Here is a list of the relievers who were drafted/signed by the Phils and have appeared since 2000. Madson is obvious so I won't list him but here are the rest:

Bastardo (06-09): 11-6, 138 IP, 3.39 ERA, +110 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, 2.8 K/BB

bWAR: 2.0 WAR

Geary (03-07): 13-4, 267 1/3 IP, 3.94 ERA, +116 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, 2.0 K/BB

bWAR: 1.1 WAR

Silva (03-04): 8-1, 171 1/3 IP, 3.83 ERA, +103 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 4.7 K/9, 1.5 K/BB

bRef: 0.9 WAR

That's a pretty short list.

I understand that you keep your best arms for the rotation but to have only developed 2 back-end relievers (4 total who pitched more than 1 yr) since 2000 and I would bet has to be as bad as anyone in MLB over that stretch.

Bastardo should be (09-13) even though he only had 1 bullpen appearance in '09.

I was too lazy to back out Silva's 1 GS either in '04.

"Normally, Bastardo to Adams to Paps is going to work."

Maybe. But how often will we even be in position for it to work, when our offense can't score the runs needed to give us a lead, our other relievers can't hold the few leads we get, and our manager has to leave in his obviously-fading starter because he can't trust our middle relievers to hold a 2-run lead?

We're paying $19M for Papelbon & Adams. Meanwhile, we just dropped 3 of 4 to a team which has 2 equally lights-out relievers (one of whom we got rid of), making a total of around $4M. We're also 7 games behind a team which has an even better 1-2 punch of relievers than we do, and whom they're paying a total of around $5M. Last year, the Nats won 98 games with a 1-2 bullpen punch that made around $2M -- and that was despite playing half the year without their home-grown closer who was making just $500K.

Papelbon & Adams are good pitchers but they're no better than a lot of other 1-2 bullpen punches & we're paying through the nose for them. On a team which has weaknesses everywhere you look, it would sure be nice to have a closer and setup man that cost between, say, $2M and $6M. That would give us another $13 to $17M to spend in other areas.

Our payroll is lower than last year. I don't buy your argument, bap, that Adams precluded Ruben from signing an impact bat this offseason. He was unusually prudent, and probably for good reason. Even though Swisher or Hamilton would help us a lot right now, they would just be too more aging players with long term deals. We had no choice to give young, cheap players a shot. The shame is that we haven't developed any good ones.

And my point was that it's hard for me to get too worked up over Bastardo and Adams having their first bad appearances in the same night. They're good relievers. In the future, I predict we will have many successful 7-8-9 transitions, but I agree with you that there won't be nearly enough of them to make the playoffs.

sneed: I can only judge the budget by what the payroll actually is.

Anyway, my original point was not about whether the Papelbon & Adams signings were prudent. You could certainly make a case that Adams was -- and even Papelbon is debatable.

But my original point, in my 8:32 post, was that, if the Phillies did a better job at developing relievers internally and/or identifying low-cost, high-upside relievers on the FA market, then they might not have been in a position in which they felt it necessary to throw $19M at Adams & Papelbon. Whatever the Phillies are doing to try to find cheap relievers, it isn't working. Which is why I think they ought to consider converting more starters (their own minor leaguers or other teams' starters) to bullpen duty. That is a strategy that has generally worked pretty well for them in the past, yet they have gotten away from it over the last few years.

Adams $6M this year didn't prevent the Phils from getting an impact OF bat. That got posted on a couple of Phils' blogs but if you go back & look at when players were signed & what they signed for you will see it isn't true.

Now if you want to make an argument that $19M the Phils are paying Papelbon and Adams together is a poor value (the Phils have to get slightly over 3 WAR to make it even economically a breakeven) & the Phils would have been better be able to spend that money elsewhere you get no argument from me.

If the Phillies are struggling still at the deadline, Adams and Paps should be trade #1 & #2 as they should return the greatest value vis a vis their actual value to the team, especially a rebuilding team, and they are the most easily replaced positions in a offseason.

Phillibuster:

There's no question that teams pitched around Chooch in the #8 slot, and that he walked more there than elsewhere in the lineup. But you said - in arguing that Chooch in the leadoff slot was a "pretty bad idea" - that he posted his best OBP in the #8 slot. That's flat-out wrong, and it's not just semantics. OBP isn't just walks. Ruiz's batting average in those five lineup slots:

4th: .365
5th: .261
6th: .322
7th: .308
8th: .248

When teams give him something to hit - i.e., when they aren't pitching around him in the #8 slot - Ruiz hits for a much higher average.
He has hit .248 in the #8 slot and .306 anywhere else in the order. The jump in batting average more than offsets the decline in walk rate.

In other words, Chooch will get on base wherever you put him, which is why hitting him leadoff isn't an absurd idea, especially when the team's been using guys who struggle to put up a .300 OBP.

Early season updates:

AAA Round Rock (PCL)

Bonilla: 6 G, 9 1/3 IP, 7.71 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 6 BBs, 14 Ks

Lindblom: 4 G (3 GS), 17 IP, 2-0, 1.06 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 4 BB, 18 Ks

Lindblom got converted into a starter and is having a little success early on. Wonder what he is throwing but I didn't care in the least the Phils moved him. If the Rangers manage to tweak his delivery and get him to throw something effective offspeed and learn a decent fastball variation (e.g., cutter), tip of the cap to their coaching staff and organization.

Bonilla is a guy I am interested to see how he pans out this year. Probably would have gotten a shot to pitch here in Philly this year given the lack of RHP relief talent in this organization at the upper levels and and MLB club in middle relief.

AA New Britain (Eastern)

May: 4 GS, 21 1/3 IP, 1-1, 2.11 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 13 BB, 23 Ks

May is picking up where he left off last year with 1 really good start (CG) and a couple of short outings mired by control issues.

The one funny moment in today's game was how hard Charlie had to work to get thrown out of the game.
The HP ump was just letting him go ' he wouldn't give Charlie the satisfaction of an ejection. Eventually the crew chief took mercy and gave him the hook.

You could almost hear Charlie saying "come on Dan, toss me. I can't light a fire under this __'in team. Maybe if I'm tossed it will help"

Proponents of the fire sale:

Phils got 2 prospects for Pence/Vic last year:

Martin: 3 GS, 13 1/3 IP, 1-1, 8.10 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 10 BB, 15 Ks, 2 HBPs

Horrible fastball command to start the year.

Joseph: .182/.234/.341 (.575 OPS) with 2 HRs in 44 ABs

Joseph is only 21 and I am curious to see if he for a little power and gives the Phils a .750 OPs. If he performs adequately, he might get a call up in August if the Phils decide to move Chooch at the deadline (definitely a distinct possibility).

Decent chance Chooch is the most valuable trade commodity the Phils have at the deadline this year with Halladay a close 2nd if the 'Sinker King' continues to be an effective starter.

Cosart is off to a really nice start with Oklahoma City and there is a decent chance he comes up in May/June given that the 3-4-5 for the Astros is Humber-Peacock-Bedard right now.

Why does it matter if the score is 10-9 or 3-1? Is there a certain number of runs the team needs to score for the offense to be off the hook?

If a bullpen can't hold a one or two run lead, yeah, it's a problem. When they can't string together consecutive scoreless innings, it's a problem. Yeah, the offense is mediocre- it has been since 2011. But when it hands the bullpen a lead, its job is to hold that lead. There are precisely 2 guys in the bullpen qualified to do that. I'm sorry, but that's an enormous problem, and the difference between a 3-5 home stand and a 5-3 home stand.

Phils defense:

Def eff: .705 (5th in NL)
Fld Pct: .987 (t-5th in NL)
rtot/yr: 1 (t-8th in NL)
rDRS/yr: 0 (8th in NL)
UZR/150: -3.1 (10th in NL)
RZR: .829 (9th in NL)

So the Phils are basically an average defensive team. I have to admit that surprises me a bit. I would have fought they would have been 10th or worse in almost every metric except Fld Pct.

Utley and JRoll haven't fairly well defensively but Brown has been far and away the worst defender on the team.

He's down near the bottom of the pack in MLB with the likes of Ibanez, Willingham, A. Soriano, and C. Carter in LF.

"Brown has been far and away the worst defender on the team."

And we kept Ruf away from LF because he's not even that good.

The weak links on this team are the middle relief and the entire outfield. Both are the fault of Amaro, not Manuel. Amaro's job is to get the horses. Amaro failed!

Not to let him off the hook, but just to be fair to Amaro, was this the time for ownership to tighten the purse-strings on Amaro? Think about it. Was this the worse time to go cheap when you have an aging, core group of players who are obviously on their last chance for another WS? Either go all-in or bail, instead ownership went halfway and that never works. Got a feeling that the fans are already voting on this losing strategy with their feet.

If/when this teams makes a run, the lineup should look something like:

Rollins
Utley
Chooch
Howard
Ruf/Delmon
Brown
Revere
Young
P

One can hope:

--Carrera is gone in a week
--Mayberry (let's be real) needs to go soon after (Up comes Ruf)
--Hard to see Valdes, Durbin, and Aumont all surviving until ASB (up comes Defratus, and/or Diekman, and/or Stutes)
--This configuation give you a LH bat with some pop off the bench (Nix), and RH bat with some pop off the bench (Ruf or D. Young), and acknowledges the complete lack of power resting with the singles-hitting M. Young. A problem is the lack of an outfield defensive replacement, but I think Galvis is an upgrade over any OF aside from (perhaps) Revere.

Rest assured: with Charlie, you don't get anywhere near this lineup.

If you took $100 and bet on the Pirates to beat Cole Hamels, and then let that amount ride on the Pirates to beat Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee - you'd have $1252 in your pocket right now.

Carrera will be gone when D. Young is ready (although Jack has said the latter won't be an upgrade on the former)

I do think they need to find a way to get Ruf up here too but I don't know exactly who you move. Mayberry is out of options and someone would claim him on waivers. Maybe you could try and move him for a low level prospect.

I don't think having Young bat 8th is a great idea either because he can ground into double plays and you would be in a spot where you may not be turning the lineup over enough. That would be unless you turn Revere loose on the basepaths quite a bit. But by process of elimination Young may have to bat eighth.

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EST. 2005

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