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Saturday, July 20, 2013


Ho hum, just another game where one of the AAA relievers gives up what ends up being the deciding run.

I like Lee's chances tomorrow to dominate this lineup and scrape a few together against Harvey. It's a shame that they couldn't take advantage of Wheeler's extreme wildest, but not surprising. The most baffling pitch for most of this lineup is a fastball, no matter where it's pitched.

Kratz loves fastballs. Why wasn't he starting since it was a day game after a night game?

If Ruf's going be filling in for Howard, he's going to have to learn to strike out in that situation, instead of hitting a hard line drive.

Posted by: Brooklyn Phillies
Right, because Ruf has such difficulty striking out.

Again no mention of JRoll with a decent game for JRoll including a 2-5 day with a leadoff HR.

Ditto Chooch who had another miserable day at the plate failing to plate a runner in 2 ABs and a hideous AB in the 6th where he struck out on 3 pitches while looking incredibly unsure what he even wanted to at the plate the entire AB.

It was the little things that did the Phils in today though besides what was mentioned in the header.

- M. Young's inability to turn a quick relay throw to 2nd to start a GIDP and prevent the 3rd run in the 1st outing.

- Cholly's decision to pitch JC Ramirez for a 2nd inning despite the fact the Phils were only down 2 runs and JC Ramirez has been a single inning guy for the entire year.

JC Ramirez looked gas and promptly walked 2 guys.

Nobody on this team should be able to swing 3-0 again.

Brown's AB was the turning point of the game.

Hope this really is the start of Rollins' power surge.

As for Ruf, he had a tough day at the plate but I could care less if he strikes out as long as he keeps taking BBs and owrking counts.

His defense at 1B has also been a huge improvement over Howard. Throws to 2nd well and just has a lot more movement around the bag.

Remains to be seen whether he is going to make the adjustments to RHP as opposing teams get a better idea on his weaknesses but he's given them an overall lift since Howard was out.

Phils haven't missed the '13 version of Halladay before he went on the shelf. Ditto Howard so far.

MG-- Good post on Ruf. Nice to see him hit the ball hard in his last AB. Would have been so sweet if that found a hole. His on base streak continues.

Three hits from DYoung today, too right?

I know it's irrational to blame a single element of the game for a loss, but Hamels really let them down today.

Is the "green light" actually used by teams on a regular basis? I know commentators bring it up in just about every 3-0 or even 2-0 count.

There are obviously situations where you want the hitter to do a specific thing, i.e. take a pitch no matter what, hit-and-run, etc.

But the hitter is up there to hit the ball. He works a 3-0 count. If you give him the "green light" he can swing away if he wants or take a pitch if he doesn't like it. How is that different then what he would have done anyways?

If the Phils don't want to really trade any of their younger talent that is up with MLB club or MLB ready or move Papelbon because they want to try to contend for a playoff spot, I wish Amaro would make a couple of bold moves along the lines of Garcia.

- Bring up Susdorf and DFA/trade Nix is anyone will take him.

I posted the numbers on Nix in the last thread. Nix has been horrendous since he came back last July 22 with a sub .200 AVG/.550 OPS while striking over 40% of the time.

Gotten so ridiculous that Cholly realizes to use him except as a LH bat to PH which Nix is now mired in a 1-16 slump with 8 Ks. If you want a contact bat off the bench to PH who is LH, Susdorf fits the bill to a T.

- Turn Martin into a reliever and stretch him out a bit so he can be brought up for August.

This is a lot more difficult for several reasons not to mention the fact that the organization would definitely get more value out of Martin as a starter & it might seriously disrupt his development.

If the Phils were going to do this, they should have made this move a week ago. Bullpen desperately needs a RHP reliever who can give them a boost. No reason not to try with Martin.

They don't miss a guy pitching hurt with a 8.60 ERA in just over 30 innings? That's some crack analysis right there. Thought it might be tough to upgrade from something like that.

Iceman - Go back and read the posts when Halladay got hurt initially.

Overpaying for a reliever would be a mistake at the deadline especially for a guy like Gregg or Axford which is exactly what I can see Amaro doing.

Only way I wouldn't mind one of those guys landing here is if M. Young is used as a main chip in a 3-way deal. Another reason why I want M. Young moved too is that I have a strong feeling that if he stays Amaro will resign him to be the starting 3B next year too to a 1-year deal with an option or even a 2-year deal.

I would also love to see this team move Papelbon and really don't even care if they get an 'elite prospect' in return as long as they can move his salary.

Moving Papelbon though means that the Phils are waving the white flag and it would also be an admission by Amaro that he made a huge mistake in signing him in the first place.

Don't see the biggest obstacle being the teams in front of the Phils or even the limitations of the current roster as their biggest challenge.

It is Amaro's ability to make a few moves to round out the roster and really help the club down the stretch though 2-3 moves at the deadline.

Iceman: Ho hum, just another game where a bad defensive play by Michael Young leads to what ends up being the winning run.

Does that work too?


Mayberry didn't misplay any balls in CF today but it wasn't a good matchup for him either against a hard-throwing RHP (1-2 vs Wheeler with a K).

Missed Revere's ability to make something happen on the basepaths with his speed. Phils have 56 SBs this year but Revere has 22 of them with nobody else in double digits. JRoll only has 9 SBs. Utley has 7 SBs.

Mets ran all day long on Hamels today (2 SBs, 2 CS but Byrd was safe on a blown call) and it was how they manufactured a run in the 5th.

@Jack: Almost. It'd work better if one of the middle relievers drew two walks and scored a run.

Their only job is to stop runs from scoring and they're pretty awful at it. Though, to your point, the offense could have won this game for us, it was never out of reach.

They were better at preventing runs today than Hamels...

Phillies v. power pitchers: .192/.272/.600

League v. power pitchers: .228/.307/.667

Almost the exact same walk rate as the league, but 36 points of average and 67 points of OPS.

Who are the main culprit? DYak plays a role, with his .427 OPS against power pitchers. I'd say he should sit in favor of Mayberry and his decent #s against them, but with him being forced to play CF (for a guy with above league average AVG/OBP against power), it isn't an option. Normally you'd have a guy on your bench that can help with that, but their fourth OF has an OPS barely over .300 and wasn't much better last year. RF is a position you'd hope to get some power from high velocity/high K pitchers, but it is a significant weakness for this team and will be until Yak is dumped or Revere gets healthy.

Rollins has a .150 average/.601 OPS against power. His walk rate skyrockets- he knows he can't handle heat anymore and is being more selective against those types of guys. Ruiz: .338 OPS (.805 last year). Howard: .514 OPS (Ruf can only be an upgrade in this department). Michael Young has a league average OPS, but a sub-.200 average.

Basically the only positions they can expect average to above average production, relative to the league, against power pitchers, is 2B and LF. And there's nowhere much to turn- Kratz has dreadful numbers this year against them, but he does have reverse platoon splits. And Frandsen has good numbers in a small sample size this year, but pretty bad for his career- plus, to get him in the game, you'd have to bench MYoung, who's been one of the better hitters against them (not saying much).

I guess you could give Kratz a try against hard throwing righties, with Frandsen at 3rd, MYoung to first, Ruf to LF and Brown to RF. That might give them a fighting chance. Until they change managers, that won't happen, and there's going to be a whole lot of nothing against power pitchers. It just isn't there anymore for this team.

For comparison's sake, their 2011 OPS was .705.

Jack- yeah, they have AAA pitchers throwing in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings of close games now. Their third most trusted reliever was styling hair a few months ago. Would have been nice to have MLB pitchers in those innings when they coughed up a run, wouldn't you say?

You are literally the only person alive that doesn't think this is the biggest problem for the team right now.

Funny day to harp on the bullpen thing...

MG- it was the same thing being said before the season. Without a healthy and productive Roy, they're probably f'ed.

Turns out he wasn't healthy. So would you say an 8.60 ERA was productive?

Bobby Drake must be having a really bad day

Cyclic- who gave up the fifth run? Was it a major league pitcher?

I know nobody here likes to assign blame after losses if it can't be blamed on the offense entirely. But Hamels crapped the bed against a mediocre lineup, and they lost a game in which they scored 4 runs because a pitcher that should be in Triple A gave up an insurance run.

Hope you feel better soon, man

@Iceman: Great numbers, and pretty depressing review of the options to fix the problem. MYoung, like Rollins, seem to realize what's happening and be able to work walks. I'm still holding out for Ruiz to start hitting again. Other than that, let's just hope we don't see too many power pitchers.

Iceman - Nice review and I noticed that too earlier this year.

This lineup struggles against hard-throws (guys who are routinely at 93+) and don't handle fastballs anywhere near they used to.

Been a nice way to make some cash this year when wagering.

MG- you had mentioned something earlier this year and I hadn't started noticing it until the Bauer start. Since then I've been paying attention to it and the numbers definitely bear that out.

The depressing thing is that there's basically nowhere to turn on the bench (Nix is worse than the regulars, Frandsen is poor against them historically, Kratz whiffs as much as anyone). The only glimmer of hope is that Ruf continues to hit them at a consistent rate and that guys like Ruiz turn it around.

I thought the most interesting thing was Rollins' walk rate against power pitchers. It makes me think he'll continue to get more selective against all pitchers in the years to come in an effort to prolong his career a bit. He knows he can't get around anymore (the HR off Wheeler was shocking) and is way more selective as a result.

Iceman - Yeah I noticed it a bit last year and a couple of times earlier this year.

It is compounded by the fact that even when you have a hard-throwing pitcher who is erratic like Wheeler that this isn't a very selective lineup that takes pitches & BBs. Plus, besides Brown right now there really isn't an everyday power threat.

Only other player right now to finish on pace with more than 20 HRs is Utley (21).

Not a terrible lineup overall but one that is pretty mediocre that doesn't particularly do anything well. Adding Ruf so far has helped and it is a team though that has a couple of guys who have historically tended to hit much better in the 2nd half including JRoll, Chooch, and Mayberry.

Offense hasn't been an issue for this team since the end of May really. It's the pathetic middle relief (4 non MLB-caliber arms in Diekman, Savery, JC Ramirez, and Garcia) and a crummy performance from De Fratus with no help on the horizon and the defense that are the biggest issues for this club right now. Ruf has helped at 1st but OF defense is a huge issue as is the defense at 3B with M. Young.

"Would have been nice to have MLB pitchers in those innings when they coughed up a run, wouldn't you say?"

Yes it would. Too bad that Adams and Stutes got hurt and Durbin was done when Roob signed him.

The Phils bullpen gave up 1 run in 3 innings today. They lost the game because their HEALTHY multi-multi million dollar starting pitcher didn't get it done (and left with a 4-2 deficit). Enough with blaming the bullpen everytime the team loses a game.

In a game where its Hamels versus a kid making his 8th major league start, you expect to win the pitching matchup and win the game. You didn't. Case closed.

I was surprised that Chooch started a day game after nite game, especially in this heat. Cholly's thinking could be that he just had 4 days off, and another on Monday. Or it could have been Cole's preference.
But Franske and LA inferred that Kratz isn't ready to catch, which brings up the question of why he was activated. If it was for PH duty, they didn't use him for 3 games so far.

@Conway Twitty:

Just goes to show why we need a 4th catcher on the roster.

"You are literally the only person alive that doesn't think this is the biggest problem for the team right now."

Yes, its a problem. Far from the only problem. Hence the reason this is a .500 team and likely to stay that way. Yes, middle relief is the "biggest" problem. But it becomes that way when your starters aren't anything more then league average. And besides Lee, this staff has largely been league average most of this year.

When you pay a huge chunk of your budget to Howard and Halladay and they miss more games then they play and you have NO flexibility to do anything constructive, what exactly are you bitching about? We have lost our 2nd/3rd starter, our cleanup hitter, our 8th inning man and our CF/leadoff hitter. You take those 4 elements away from ANY team and you got major problems.

You mortgage your future for several years in a row and don't exactly get the ultimate out of it, then don't be surprised when eventually it comes back to bite you. Hard to build a great bullpen, when 5 or 6 guys are hogging up most of the payroll and you have gutted your farm system chasing the blue ring the past few years.

Its why there is no use complaining about it. This team was built upon the "Big 3", Snarling Jonny Pap and the 4 infielders. Its where most of the payroll lies. Just fill in the rest of the roster with low dollar guys and kids and reclamation projects. It hasn't worked the past 2 years. Which is why many are saying a new way to build the team is needed. Some of the big payroll guys aren't coming close to getting it done (at least this year) and some of the fringe pieces aren't either. Its frustrating but its the way it is.

The amazing part of it is that Atlanta is falling apart physically and Washington has been in a funk all year. The Phils, even as strangely constructed as they are now, could still win the division. 85 wins might be good enough to win the East, when its all said-and-done.

And one last point...

Nix needs to go. Its one thing to not get a hit when coming off the bench. That's a tough job. But this guy can barely make contact anymore. He has become almost an automatic strikeout. And on a team with only 1 LH hitter on the pine most nights, not even worthy of late inning duties anymore with Cholly.

Plus, Nix adds literally nothing from a fielding viewpoint or nothing from a speed standpoint. So he's basically worthless. He's become this year's Ross Gload or Greg Dobbs. Someone who suddenly loses it and becomes useless on the roster.

People are harping on Roob to try and add a relief pitcher or possibly another OF who can help out in CF (good luck with either of those propositions). But someone to replace Nix as a LH hitter off the pine would be nice too. I'd like to see Susdorf get a shot at it because he couldn't be any worse then Nix has been. Plus he'd likely at least put the ball in play, which Layncer doesn't do very often.

A bench with 2 catchers, Nix and Wheels McDonald leaves Cholly seriously short-handed. Even the Marlins would laugh at that bench construction.

My guess is that Roob makes a couple of roster moves by Monday afternoon. He almost has to.

Hamels is on pace to lose 20 games after his 12 L today.

He has been a hard-luck loser in a couple of games this year but today was the 7th time he had given up 4+ ER this year. Hamels did that 12 times in '09.

Desperately hope today was just a hickup after a bit of a longer rest and that he pitches down the stretch like he was the last few starts. No chance otherwise to be a meaningful team in late Sept.

I think the starters are better than league average, so I did a few numbers. We're 10th in the NL with a starter ERA of 3.95; that would be closer to 3.8 if our bullpen didn't allow so many inherited runners to score (I adjusted took down the % of inherited runners scoring to league average, then bump it up a little since some of those are inherited from other bullpen guys).

That would put our starters at 8th in the NL in terms of ERA. I still think they are above average simply given that we lead the NL in IP by starters (614), 2nd in quality starts. It's not a stretch to assume that we're leaving guys in there even when they are losing their stuff simply because our bullpen has the worst ERA in the NL (4.39) and is tied for worst in the majors in % of inherited runners that score.

There is a point though that for what we are paying our starting pitching, we should be near the top of the NL there and we aren't. Hamels has been a disappointment, obviously Halladay's year has been an even bigger one.

Bitch all you want about Hamels, middle relief and defense, but this is 100% on Charlie. Again, he shows his typical lack of baseball acumen with the following two dumb ass moves which IMO cost us the game:
1) letting Dom swing away 3-0. Just effing stupid. No feel for the situation or the pitcher, who had no command.
2) pitching to wright with a guy on third given his career numbers and situation.

Wah, cry me a river Chollie. So concerned about hurting their feelings or how they might react next time? Give me a f-ing break and manage for the moment. Stupid.

Another depressing stat. Pythagorean W/L is basically just a formula based on runs scored and runs allowed - supposedly predicts a teams winning percentage.

Here are the Pythagorean's followed by actuals for some teams (I just picked a bunch at random)

Team Actual PytWL
BAL 54-43 51-46
BOS 59-39 58-40
CHW 37-56 40-53
COL 46-51 48-49
KCR 44-49 46-47
LAD 48-47 46-49
MIA 35-59 36-58
NYM 41-51 43-49
SEA 44-52 42-54
TBR 56-41 55-42
WSN 48-48 46-50

The only teams whose Pythagoreans are more than 3 off their actual records are:

DET 52-43 56-39
TEX 54-42 50-46
PHI 49-48 44-53

So over the course of time, Detroit should win more games, and the Rangers and Phillies should lose more. And these are as of yesterday evening after we put up 13 runs.

Meh, apologies for the crappy formatting.

I like dennyb riding that high horse about there being 'no use complaining' about the team, then spending 500 words bitching about Laynce Nix.

Every time I read his stuff I just remember back in 2010 when he was appalled by the Oswalt trade, in part because he was among the league leaders in losses that year. 'Case closed.'

rock- two good posts, especially the second. Some stats every fan should take a look at.

I'd be interested to know the starter ERA without Halladay's terrible 7 starts. Probably not an enormous difference, but tangibly different in terms of league ranking.

Halladay gave up 33 of our 266 ER in 34.1 innings.

Without that the starter's ERA would be 3.66 instead of 3.95, and good for 6th in the NL.
Again...knock out the crappy bullpen and we wouldn't be far from the top.

Pblunts: It's impossible to know if those moves costs us the game but pitching to Wright was completely idiotic (even though Byrd was having a good game). And I've never understood the idea that there's some sort of inherent benefit in trusting your hitters with 3-0 green lights. Even if my hitter were Miguel Cabrera, I am hard-pressed to think of a situation in which I would ever want him swinging on a 3-0 pitch with less than 2 outs in the inning. And if you never want the hitter to be swinging in that situation, exactly what is the benefit of giving him the leeway to do it? In point of fact, many of our hitters have proven over and over again that they can't be trusted to use good judgment on 3-0. Howard, of course, is the worst culprit; he thinks a green light means that he MUST swing.

@bap: Just asked the same sort of question about the "green light". Especially with inexperienced or bad hitters, or hitters where a GIDP is a risk and the guy on deck is a better matchup, etc. etc. - you may certainly want to give the guy a sign to NOT swing.

But why would you ever give a guy a sign that encourages him to swing (apart from a hit and run or similar), as opposed to no sign at all.
He's already got it to 3-0 and is sitting on a meatball.

SSS You can complain about non MLB players in the pen,but how many MLB pitchers can you name with a lower ERA then Garcia.

rock, buddy, you do realize that every team would have a better team ERA if you eliminate each teams worst performers?

jr., buddy, the team ERA is 4.08 which is good for 12th in the NL. I don't remember bringing that up though...

And, just to address a point that Hugh made in the last thread: yes, of course, Delmon Young's pathetic bases-loaded strikeout was a more direct cause of the 5th inning failure than Dom swinging on 3-0. If Dom had taken that pitch, it would have likely been a called strike 1. We have no idea what would have happened after that. Maybe he would have walked on the next pitch or maybe he would have made an out & nothing would have changed. So it's certainly disingenuous to say that Dom swinging 3-0 was the cause of that 5th inning flame-out.

That said, there's a reason why people are harping on it. Delmon striking out is a physical failure. There isn't much to say about it, other than you wish he wouldn't have struck out. On the other hand, letting a guy swing 3-0 with 1 out and 2 men on base is something which led to a bad result and which didn't need to happen. You don't need to prove that a bad decision altered the outcome of the game, in order to be miffed about that bad decision.

Iceman: You are right that I don't think the middle relievers are the biggest problem facing the team.

I think the team is thoroughly mediocre in every aspect of the game. The starting pitching is the best part of the team, and as someone else noted, theyre basically average. The offense is below-average, the bullpen is atrocious, and the defense is just embarrassingly bad. Oh, and they have a bad bench and poor roster management too.

I think the bullpen is horrible, don't get me wrong. My issue is pretending like the team is good otherwise--they're not.

The last move I saw was that Revere went on the DL and Kratz was recalled.

Am I to believe that the Phillies are carrying Humberto Quintero as a 3rd catcher on purpose?

Can anyone explain that, without pointing out the obvious reason that they are a terrible FO?

Because Kratz isn't actually ready to catch yet, but the thought is he can PH??

Today's bench:

Kevin Frandsen
Laynce Nix
Erik Kratz
John McDonald
Humberto Quintero

I can hit Harvey what is Rube waiting for to DFa Nix?

@lorecore: BL consensus is that we're going to try out Humberto in CF at some point.

I think the green light @3-0 is an announcer phrase not an actual signal.
i.e. It is the absence of a take sign.

@Bubba: Yeah, that's what I thought. I still don't really understand it outside of a guy stealing or some other situation. Just seems like something the hitters should know along with trying to hit a pop-up for a sacrifice, when to pull or go opposite if needed, etc.

I'm sure there are times for it but it seems like a big deal is always made of the "green light" sign, when that's probably what happens on most ABs in those situations.

Q man will be sent down after the trade line chill folks...

Jack- they are bad in every aspect of the game except one- in which they're average- and yet they're .500?

They really must be one of the luckiest teams in the history of the game.

What I'm getting at is: I think the starting pitching is better than average. And the hitting the last two months has been average.

The defense and bullpen are embarrassing. The bullpen is the worst I've ever seen on an MLB team.

Used to be that most hitters would automatically take on that count, but you're right, not so much now.

Kratz supposedly isn't ready to catch yet supposedly so I imagine it will be Quintero behind the plate tomorrow.

We come to play baseball, we drink water, we play good.

"1) letting Dom swing away 3-0. Just effing stupid. No feel for the situation or the pitcher, who had no command."

I'm sorry but this is stupid. I think Manuel's free reign on 3-0 counts is an issue but, Brown swung at the optimum pitch. RH power pitcher with 4 varieties was at like 100 pitches, ducks were on the pond, he couldn't locate at all and he gave in. He gave in. Period. Brown missed it. The right-handed strike out machines who came after Brown shouldn't have taken that opportunity from him. Period. Stupid complaint. Stupid.

Nats just lost, so with the Braves' earlier loss we didn't lose any ground. Going into the Mets series I thought today's game would be the one most likely to be a bust. So good luck, Cliff!

b_a_p: "If Dom had taken that pitch, it would have likely been a called strike 1. We have no idea what would have happened after that" I'm sorry, I'm just catching up. I agree it's all conjecture but, there is no way it wouldn't have been called strike 1. It was the best pitch he saw all day. You (and I) want him to swing at that. Period. People are complaining about the process but, their real bitch is about the result. If he had the take sign, it would have been a missed opportunity. 2 men were on, 3 strikeout targets were on deck, in the hole and hoping to not face Wheeler. I want Brown swinging at that pitch. It was a cookie.

@hugh argue all you want but when you evaluate the sitution, letting him swing 3-0 is indefensible. How you can say otherwise is crazy. Think about everything that was happening at that point of the game. Seriously.

"indefensible" is pretty absolute. I don't need to debate that proposition. Brown swinging at a good pitch is not why they lost. Among the reasons they lost is that Brown couldn't catch up to Wheeler. If you think Brown shouldn't have tried, you ignore the numbers against RHP of Ruf, Young and Mayberry. You had base runners. You needed a hit, preferably off or over the wall. Brown was your best chance for one.


Iceman: Considering the Phillies are .500 with a run differential of -41, yes, they are quite lucky actually.

Hugh, I'm really surprised at how daft you're being. You made the best argument against yourself in your own reply:

"he couldn't locate at all"

That seals it, friend. Wheeler throws 96 with movement. There IS NO "ideal pitch" he can throw. His "optimum pitch" is better than most pitchers! You take it, and then hit 3-1.

Yes, at some point, someone is probably going to have to swing. But there's no rule. Always make the pitcher prove he can throw strikes, particularly when he's at 100 pitches on a 95 degree day, and is in the process of showing you he CAN'T THROW THEM.

Except he did, Bittel. He threw Brown a pitch to hit. Threw it straight down the middle and said "hit it". If he walked Brown there, or Brown got a hit, that was likely going to be the last guy he faced. What makes you think a 3-1 pitch would be a better one to hit than the one Brown hit? Can we be done with this, now? You would have had your best hitter let the cookie pass and hope for a walk so a minor leaguer in his 20th big league game, a gimpy free swinger and a platoon outfielder could try their hands against a tiring but same-handed fireballer or a ROOGY. I would have given the lefty slugger with a good eye and 24 HRs the option of swinging to try and get a lead.

Painful, painful loss. Hard to believe if Hamels pitches to a .500 record, this team would have 4 more wins and be nipping at the Braves.

It's really tragic how the smallest irritation reduces Hamels to a puddle of sweaty frustration. I know that it's "uber-fashionalbe" to unambiguously declare that Hamels is a "tough guy", and that his competitiveness can't be questioned due to a series of well-pitched games. In 2008.

Face it, folks. This team desperately needs a bulldog in the spot in the rotation where Hamels pitches. Instead - in '13 - we have a Shih Tzu.

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