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Friday, July 05, 2013


Now that Hudson (RHP + Howard slumpbuster) got pushed back a day and Maholm (LHP) is pitching today, I wonder if Chollie will give Howard's knees one more day to heal.

Jack- nobody is cherry-picking relievers. I wanted to sign all three of those guys specifically (though I was fine with Adams over Uehara after the fact, I just wanted one of them. Salaries being what they are, obviously Uehara's contract is better- I'd have offered him another million to pry him from Boston). I believe MG wanted at least two of them.

We had this discussion in the off-season about how there is a tier above the Rauch/Lyon's of the world that were much more of a sure bet to perform well. Nothing is a lock, but these guys were simply better and more consistent. It even spurred a bet (of which I can't remember the terms) with BAP about Howell, because I wanted him and put him on that list.

The point is that it's not that hard to identify relievers that are more than just fungible, and Amaro could've gotten three guys at one year deals for under $10 million this year. Instead of Howell, he went with Horst. Instead of Lindstrom, he went with Aumont. These were very easy fixes that could have occurred and had a tangible effect on the team's W-L record to this point.

It would be pointless to go out and try to find guys like this now, but it would've been nice if Amaro would've recognized the clear problem in the off-season and committed to fixing it.

Doesn't Kendrick also own the Braves?

If we take the first two, I think it's an essential sweep

Guess they had to get Ruiz a day off. Should of sat Howard down and gave Frandsden another start.

Iceman: Fair enough. I'm not gonna fight you on the fact that Amaro stinks at his job.

I just tend to think that a failure to sign veteran middle relievers is among his lesser offenses. I can't disagree that signing Lindstrom and J.P. Howell would have been better than Aumont and Horst. I do disagree that we can pinpoint the season's failures on that mistake.

This season's failures were mostly set in place a long time ago, beginning with the Howard extension.

Call me crazy, but I think the Phils will sweep this series. I have nothing to support that notion other than a gut feeling.

And because it's just like the Phils to sweep the Braves, think they have a chance, become buyers at the deadline, get rid of whatever "prospects" they have for rentals and then not make the playoffs.

But, it's more the guy feeling thing.

R. Billingsly - You're crazy :)

P.S. I hope you're right!

jake/rock: absolutely agree the team's record would be better with a better bullpen.

I am in general agreement that the team is '5 wins' better with a good bullpen. But I dont agree you can just apply that to their record and start turning losses into wins.

they have a below average offense, starting pitching and bullpen. Turning one of those things into an average or even a slightly above average team doesn't create a formula where the team should all of sudden be above .500

One game at a time boys. Tonight we got our ace throwing. Gotta score 3-4 runs and let him do the rest. Tomorrow doesn't exist. Win today.

tti: you're quote about Villar making plays that almost no one the majors can make - while blowing a routine play the next inning - is the quintessential tools vs skills quote.

There is absolutely no way to suggest otherwise.

lorecore - You sort of contradicted yourself there. If you agree that a good bullpen would translate into about 5 more wins, than yes it does turn a .500 team into one that is 6 games over and in contention, even with the other deficiencies.

I love the header, gives me image of a junkyard owner letting his doberman off the chain after an intruder.

I guess a junkyard is a good metaphor for this team's clubhouse.

Jake: I dont take the phrase '5 wins better' as literal wins on paper. I simply mean they would perform at a level that would be worth that many wins if they pitched in a vacuum of the league's average leverage situations.

You can have a "5 win" bullpen only actually win you 2 extra games, or maybe even 15. I'm speaking strictly in terms of average performance - not "if bullpen didn't give up X runs that day, we woulda won".

I'm resigned to the fact that Ruben Amaro probably won't go out and get a good setup man. My only hope then, is for the youngsters to settle into roles and mature into reliable pitchers. Either way, I don't want this team blown up, because that would give them no chance of contending for this bad division.

To me it comes down to this series right here. It doesn't matter how mediocre the Braves are if the Phillies can't beat them head to head. However if they can play good clean games and come out with a series win, it will further convince me that they should keep fighting and not blow it up.

lorecore - Now I understand what you meant, but I believe there are at least 5 games this year that were lost strictly because the bullpen couldn't hold a 2 run lead for 2 innings. Granted, even good bullpens have bad nights, but I wasn't saying the Phillies could theoretically be 5 wins better with a good bullpen, I'm saying they would actually have 5 more wins if the bullpen did what it's supposed to do (eg. hold a 2 run lead for 2 innings).

P.S. When I say "hold a 2 run lead for 2 innings" I really mean 1 inning because Papelbon has been reliable. How many times have the Phillies taken a 3-1, 3-2, or 4-2 game into the 8th and it never gets to Papelbon. Seems like a lot.

Anyone else deep down hoping we get swept? We have a 6% chance at making the playoffs, I'd hate RAJ to be tricked into not selling. Could set us back another year.

Braves are 20-23 on the road. Let's make it 20-24 tonight.

Otto - The only thing worse than RAJ selling the farm to improve this team, would be RAJ selling the team to improve the farm.

No one should be rooting for the Phillies to get swept here. No one that calls him/herself a Phillies fan that is.

The idea that Amaro is disappointed in Howard because he's a "very expensive platoon player" is laughable. Anyone with a brain saw it coming before the extension was even signed.

It's one thing to make a mistake. It's another to publicly blame someone else for your mistake and ask them to be someone they're not, when they're the ones actually trying to do something. I'm fairly positive Howard would hit lefties better if he could. I don't think it's a lack of effort.

I, for one, can't wait for the Amaro regime to be over. How much longer do we have to wait? A year? Two years?

Lee's last start as a Phillie.

Ha ha, just kidding.

FWIW, I agree with Jack on Villar. He has terrific range and a cannon for an arm. You can put up with a lot of errors with a guy like that.

I recall that Shawon Dunston made 30+ errors in his first full season, Royce Clayton did too. Both were considered among the best shortstops in baseball defensively.

Of course today that wouldn't happen since official scorers no longer charge errors except in the most extreme cases so Villar's sloppiness on dropped balls and bad throws will go down as hits for the other team.

I wish the Phils still had him. He is by far a superior prospect to Galvis. One red flag: His K rate needs to come down, but at age 22 in Trip A, that's not a killer yet.

Jake- I disagree. This overpriced .500 team is getting really stale to watch. If RAJ stands pat there is a good chance we end up wasting another year (2014) being .500. IMO, this is our best chance to pick up legit assets moving forward, and really get the rebuilding process in motion. This is a golden opportunity IMO.

There is no way to just keep patching up the roster and hoping it works, they need to try to actually get a plan, and some young talent to build around. I'd be devastated if they don't sell at the deadline, and if you want their future to be any bit bright, you should be too.

Speaking of Jon Rauch...why not take a shot with him now that he's a FA again? If he sucks, you just cut him loose but he might have an okay 3 months in the tank. Can't hurt to try given our pathetic bullpen.

lorecore: Again- why would poor body control be a skill?

Don't you want good body control?

Also, a good tool to have at your disposal is to be able to stay mentally in a game and be consistent. He seems to have issues with that.

Anyway this is a dumbass debate that the DWOS started because he presupposed my opinion on something which he is known to do. I never said his glove would keep him from the majors. Just said his defensive prowess does not seem to have progressed and is still an issue. I don't know, nor would I profess to know, if it keeps him from the majors.

Frankly, I'd like to see what Howard could do if he started taking the ball the other way. If he killed the shift it would add 20 points to his BA. I suspect the lost HRs would end up as doubles.

Amaro and Charlie want him swinging for the fences, but with his injuries, that may not be the smart approach.

***Frankly, I'd like to see what Howard could do if he started taking the ball the other way. If he killed the shift it would add 20 points to his BA. I suspect the lost HRs would end up as doubles.***

I'd imagine that if he were capable of doing that, he already would have done so. Not everyone is Ted Williams.

If RAJ stands pat there is a good chance we end up wasting another year (2014)
Lee & Utley will give you a MUCH better chance in 2014, than anyone you would get for Lee & Utley.

"If he sucks, you just cut him loose"

wait let me replay the tape

"If he sucks, you just cut him loose"

I'm not sure if i heard it right but.... I feel like if I play this a 3rd time, Durbin comes out of a mirror and tries to stab me. (and miss low in the dirt)
But that's just silly superstition.. I mean what could go wrong? Let me try

"If he sucks, you just cut him loose"


lorecore: Since you favor the all-prospect route and you won't get Castellanos for Papelbon, how about Danry Vasquez?

Never ever make a Low A guy the premier return for a established MLB guy. You get guys with upside near the majors (ie AA/AAA)

There is no way to just keep patching up the roster and hoping it works
On this I agree. The Phillies had a golden opportunity to build a young productive outfield to gradually take the reigns as the aging infield declined. Instead we are left with an aging infield and 1 outfielder. I hope Revere turns out to be as good as he looked in June, but that doesn't save RAJ's job if you ask me, he needs to go.

I would rather give this team a chance to make a run, and if they go nowhere, at least there is a chance RAJ is fired at the end of the year. A rebuild means RAJ's job will probably be safe for another 3-4 years. Is that what we want?

I'd imagine that if he were capable of doing that, he already would have done so. Not everyone is Ted Williams. - NEPP
When Howard was hitting home runs, he wasn't going to sacrifice at-bats to try and bloop one the opposite way and beat the shift (maybe he should have, but that's a different conversation). Now that his knee is killing his home run swing, it would be a good time to try going the opposite way. He wouldn't be sacrificing his power potential, because he has no power right now.

I always root for the team to try and win games, regardless. Anything else seems contrary to sport and to being a fan.

And, as Jake just pointed out, if the team is worse based on RAJ's moves, turning into a seller isn't going to save 2014 for us.

I'm happy to move guys if we get good returns, but you can't just start tossing guys like Lee and Utley because we're "sellers". Whether or not we're selling or buying, you have to have a return that justifies the loss. Otherwise you're just turning a losing, selling team into a worse team.

Actually, TTI, you said Villar's "defense sucks." That's fine if that's your opinion. No need to backtrack from it now. You should own it.

But don't pretend I somehow started this. You said the guy's defense sucks, and I merely said, actually, I think his defense isn't an issue, and won't be at the major-league level. Unlike many SS in the minors, he actually projects to stick there in the majors.

There's nothing more to this than that. You're right it's a stupid debate. You should stop mischaracterizing it and just move on.

I've heard that Villar is actually a very solid defender at SS regardless of the current errors (which he's been improving anyway as he goes through the minors).

He'll probably be in the majors next year.

NEPP: I don't know if I'd qualify him as necessarily improving on the errors (which again- yes are very subjective)

He had 36 errors in 128 games in 2011 and 24 in 85 games last year. 17 in 82 this year. Those numbers could all be in relative correlation when all is said and done.

But again- I don't have any rooting interest in or against Villar.

You guys see how my thoughts were contorted there from the initial comments.

Again- discuss things with JTroll at your own peril. He is a blockhead.

I'm just going to be a fan this weekend and watch the games hoping they win.

***NEPP: I don't know if I'd qualify him as necessarily improving on the errors (which again- yes are very subjective)***

Fielding Percentage:

2010: .913%
2011: .931%
2012: .938%
2013: .957%

Looks like pretty solid improvement to me personally. Especially when you realize he's gone from Low A ball to AAA in those 4 seasons.

On an unrelated note, how about this great split:

Justin Upton By Month:

Apr: 1.136 OPS
May: .654 OPS
Jun: .616 OPS
Jul: .724 OPS

Did he start taking hitting instruction from his brother?

He also had fewer chances as the years went on.

In order for me to seriously entertain the idea that this team can still be a contender, they have to sweep this series. Period. 2 out of 3 won't cut it. Not when you're 9 games out in the loss column on July 5. Sweeping the Braves will still leave us 6 out in the loss column, and will certainly not convince me that the Phillies should consider themselves a real contender. But it would at least convince me that we should wait a week or two, and see where we stand, before we start the firesale.

I will never root against them, even if it is the long-term best interest of the team. Period.

That being said, a sweep here and an 8-1 or even a 7-2 record in the next 9 games would not be in the long-term best interests of the team.

Revere with a .373 OBP since May 1st, .356 OBP vs LHP (.800 OPS), batting 7th. F off Manuel.

Clout and NEPP: We already have a knowledge base to know what Howard would do taking the ball the other way. Remember all those opposite field homers he used to hit? I don't know how to look at his ground ball data, but I would think he also used to hit the occasional grounder to the left side too.

The day Charlie started working with Howard on "turnin' on the ball" is the day Howard started the inevitable road to what he is now. It's difficult to believe that Howard can't backtrack a little and start letting the ball get deeper in the zone before making contact, but the evidence is just that. So, our hitting guru may have actually destroyed Howard by changing his natural opposite field swing and getting him to pull more balls.
***Frankly, I'd like to see what Howard could do if he started taking the ball the other way. If he killed the shift it would add 20 points to his BA. I suspect the lost HRs would end up as doubles.***

I'd imagine that if he were capable of doing that, he already would have done so. Not everyone is Ted Williams.

Iceman: I'm not sure why Charlie feels the need to use an unconventional leadoff hitter when he has a purely conventional leadoff hitter in Revere. But hitting the guy 7th is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. So, that makes sense for Charlie.

I have always liked Charlie Manuel, but a team this flawed truly needs a creative manager and that is surely not him.

Villar Chances:

2010: 4.95 per game
2011: 4.09 per game
2012: 4.59 per game
2013: 4.80 per game

How is that "going down" every year?

Sure, there was a drop off from 2010-2011 but its almost back up to the rate he had in 2010 this year.

UC tried Revere as a leadoff guy during April and he sucked...therefore, UC will NEVER try him there again.

It doesn't matter if Revere hits .375 the rest of the season, he'll still bat 7th or 8th.

I am available for your right fielding needs.

I'd even be fine with 2nd or 9th (which obviously will never happen) for Revere. 7th is basically the worst place you can put a guy who is getting on base 37% of the time.

He obviously won't keep up this pace forever, but it's long past time to try him at the top of the lineup again. It's not a coincidence that he barely scored any runs in LA despite getting on base 50% of the time. Put him at the top of the order so he's on base for someone beside Quintero and the pitcher.

Actually, TTI, Jimmy played 137 games in AAA, 4 games in 1999 and 133 in 2000 (I only mentioned the stats for his 2000 season because that's what I found originally and was too lazy to change). The data more or less stays the same and makes my point that we shouldn't say that Villar's glove is a weakness just by pointing to minor league error totals.

*which was what you seemed to be doing originally. Obviously, you've posted some scouting reports since then.

He had a similar run last year too:

May 17th - Aug 6th (65 G, 311 PA): .334 AVG/.364 OBP/.757 OPS

The May 17th isn't arbitrary on my part, that was simply his first game in May after he came off the DL...the Aug 6th is quite arbitrary however as it was his high-water mark of the year with a .750 OPS.

From there on out, he hit .236 AVG/.291 OBP/.562 OPS.

I am available for your right fielding needs.

Posted by: Jeff Francoeur "The Natural" | Friday, July 05, 2013 at 06:07 PM

Best SI cover ever...and a tribute to the Braves reputation during that period when it came to prospects. Talk about overhyped.

I am just as good.

Maholm on the mound.

If the team falls into his trap (and let's face it, they will), there will be a few GIDP tonight and many runners left on base.

I like their chances tonight though if Lee is on his game.

Maybe Rube should be both a buyer and a seller. Sell off guys where we have a decent replacement and buy players that would fill holes in the team.

Maybe Rube should be both a buyer and a seller. Sell off guys where we have a decent replacement and buy players that would fill holes in the team.
Novel idea. If only Amaro and the Bearleaguers thought more along these lines.

Novel idea. If only Amaro and the Bearleaguers thought more along these lines.

Posted by: Phanatic | Friday, July 05, 2013 at 06:58 PM

Just because clout tries to frame everything as a black and white argument, doesn't make it so.


Looks like I'll have move Michael Young GIDP closer towards the center of my bingo card.

Also probably obligatory to have "bullpen allows inherited runner to score" on there somewhere. When it's 3-2 in the 7th, Lee gets to 110 pitches, lets a couple of guys on base...

5 of 8 bravos are batting below nl average. 2 of those below the mendoza line.

Not looking forward to seeing Howard's 3-4 ABs tonight.



Damnit Dom.

This team looks like a certain 1998 Mets squad I knew and loved.

Howard has an .822 OPS since April 9th.

Seems like that's pretty much what he is at this point.

Nice almost HR there by Quintero.

Lovely, just lovely.

the mighty quint.

Nevermind then...gameday has it as a HR.

Definitely a HR on the replay.

"...the ball is really carrying. Maybe Ben Revere is even thinking 'This could be my night'..."

That was funny.

Young's 2-2 on would-have-been GIDP's if someone was on first.

If Amaro trades for a setup man and gives up a very good prospect package, then he is an idiot.

Yeah it is his fault big time on why the bullpen is a clusterf@ck. he was so confident in the bullpen's depth that he traded away Schwimmer for nothing.

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 21s

I'm pretty sure the fans cheered Gerald Laird for arguing with Angel Hernandez.

In case you were curious, MYoung's GB/FB ratio of 2.36 is the highest of his career.

Awesome. If my lip-reading is up to snuff, the words immediately after he rung him up were "That's fucking horsesh!t". Like to see that horse instead of bull there, shows a bit of variety.

Hopefully, Clifton can hold a lead'd be nice if he could.

Oh, Jimmy. Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.

Ok, Jroll...


Yikes. He put a charge into that one.

When Howard gets all of one, he REALLY gets all of it.

The Big Piece! Good to see!

Horseshat is a quality word.
O god here we go again.

Get ready for the "HE IS BACK!"

Its awesome that Howard is crushing a LHP tonight...the downside is that it likely means he won't be platooned going forward because UC will look at this game as proof that he can hit LHP.

That's right, corn. I'm baaacckkk...

This looks like a throw away game for Atl. Guess they thought they couldn't hit Cliff anyway. Saved Hudson for KK


Chipper Jones ‏@RealCJ10 4m

I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it! Nite

I'm sure Phils management is delighted that there are reasons for folks to buy tickets for the next few series, regardless of how the season plays out afterward.

Laird was not upset at 2 high strikes called on Revere earlier so F him.

TBag really does take odd delight in all things Phanatic....from today's stuffed models to the hats in the stands on cooler days.

Can u imagine the Phils with BJ Upton and his .190 batting avg and huge contract?

Which Jason Heyward is the real one?

2010: 131 OPS+
2011: 93 OPS+
2012: 117 OPS+
2013: 88 OPS+

Such an odd career so far.

McCann will hit HR when he finally comes up - write it down.

McCann is actually not a Phillie Killer...

Career: .828 OPS
vs. PHL: .809 OPS

I just think he'll homer because he wasn't supposed to play.

That's a distinct possibility.

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