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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

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Can we activate Sandberg and Bowa and make Howard manager and Ashe a bench player.
Utley 1B
Sandberg 2B
Bowa SS
Rollins 3B'

This follows two long standing BL recommendations
Rollins to 3B started the not tall enough debate.
Utley and his balky knees to 1B was born of ST lawn chair fame.

Better yet, make Howard a Special Advisor to Rube, perhaps on the subject of when to extend contracts.

Address Bullpen Now:
Lincoln down, Rosin claimed on waivers
Defratus down when Adams ready, consider Giles in the mean time.

Can't let the bullpen go for months like before.

Bring back Seth Rosin.

Championship!!!!!

RAJ prioritized defense this off-season. That's why he went out and upgraded at the all-important defensive position of right field.

Still rather have Byrd than Delmon.

"Still rather have Byrd than Delmon."

Well, fair enough. But that's like saying, "I'd rather have crabs than gonnorrhea."

Marlon's more like mild eczema. You can talk about him in polite conversation with mixed company.

Have no fear, by the end of this home-stand they will be a .500 club, just like they will, give or take a game or two, at the end of the season. This is not a bad club. This is, thanks to Ruben, a very flawed club whose strengths are negated by its weaknesses.

Unfortunately, mediocrity might be enough to buy Amaro yet another year to "fix" the team.

Come one lets salvage at least one.

Dragon: "This is not a bad club."

I take exception to this statement.

Byrd=Good Defense
Young=Worst RF defense ever witnessed by man.

I stand by my 80-82 prediction.

I can't believe nobody took advantage of Matt Garza's mental block. He basically has Steve Sax syndrome.

@Haudricourt · 12 hours ago
The only reason the #Brewers needed to challenge is because pitcher Matt Garza can't throw to a base. It's an amazing mental block.

Two years ago when the Cubs played the Phillies, Juan Pierre abused Garza with several bunts to get on base, taking advantage of Garza's yips. You'd think teams would do this against him all the time.

I was 5 rows off the dugout last night. 3 observations:

1.) Ryan Howard is slow. Like scary slow. Evening jogging out of the dugout looks laborious for him. There is no way that he has anymore than this season left in the tank on the defensive side of the ball.

2.) The attendance was ~31,000. Second game of the year, tee shirt give away, and only 70% full? Tons of cheap tickets will be available this year me thinks.

3.) The ushers at CBP aren't keeping the trash out of the lower levels like they used to. Had some really drunk idiots in front of me acting stupid and bringing their friends down to the section who clearly didn't have tickets to be there. They were eventually kicked out, but for $65 a pop, I expect that only those paying that money are in that section.

1.) Ryan Howard is slow. Like scary slow. Evening jogging out of the dugout looks laborious for him. There is no way that he has anymore than this season left in the tank on the defensive side of the ball.
*****************************

I think its a pretty safe bet that he's simply never going to regain his previous range of motion that he had pre-surgery. Its been over 2 years since the surgery and he's just not even 75% back. He's pretty clearly in that 10-15% of guys that blow their Achilles and never fully recover. He looks like Dan Marino post-Achilles out there at 1B. Unfortunately, Marino didnt need to be mobile for his career (greatest pocket passer in NFL history) so it wasnt a huge deal. For Howard, its drastically affecting his defense at 1B and its likely affecting him at the plate too.

I had a brain fart a few days ago actually thought Howards contract was up next year. D'oh

Remember when phlipper the dope tried to make the argument that Howard "always looks like hes in pain when he runs" as a reason to not be concerned about the health of his legs?

Its freaking 1 week into the season and his terrible legs are already costing the team a handful of outs.

NEPP: 80-82 seems incredibly optimistic.

Sure, let's harp over the lineup, the moves that need to be made, the product on the field.

But if you're going to do that, PLEASE be able to identify the root of the problem: Mr. David Montgomery.

It is time for David Montgomery to step down as majority partner.

#montgomeryOUT

Unfortunately Dom Brown looks worse in the OF then he did last year. I've seeen little leaguers with better fundamentals...

Not so bold prediction:

The Phillies bullpen will improve just in time for the offense to regress.

If anybody knows what it's like to not even sniff mediocrity it's Mini-Mart. Your 2014 Phillies -- terrible defense, terrible bullpen and 1 hitter. Please don't insult mediocrities everywhere by calling these Phillies mediocre.

re: Brown

He doesn't seem to hustle. Balls are getting to the wall for automatic doubles. It's like he's not even trying to cut it off.

Howard's clearly a DH, stuck playing a position in the NL with an untradeable contract.

Pretty good, back away from the cliff article on Crashburn about the Phils bullpen

I have to believe at least some parts of the bullpen will get better. Can't really see it getting worse. But it is early...

http://crashburnalley.com/2014/04/10/patience-required-with-phillies-young-bullpen/

Ah, I bet Heartbleed was the reason I was getting that security error when attempting to login to Typepad.

Lore, I remember that. I recall watching Howard in ST, and a few times when he was rounding the bases he seemed to be in a tremendous amount of pain. I thought it was a pretty bad sign, especially since he dropped a lot of weight in the offseason to alleviate the pressure on his legs. It's sad but this is probably the best we're going to get from Howard mobility-wise. He's a big guy with lower leg issues, not a good combination.


Howard's clearly a DH, stuck playing a position in the NL with an untradeable contract.

Posted by: Paco | Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM

There are 15 hypothetical "DH" positions in baseball right now...and probably half of those are more of a rotation of the veteran hitters rather than a full-time DH. The ones that actually are full-time DHs are pretty much really good hitters like David Ortiz or Victor Martinez.

In a sport which usually takes 50 to 100 games before things start sorting themselves out, it's actually kind of impressive that the Phillies have wasted so little time establishing themselves near the bottom of the league.

HR Rate for Roberto Hernandez:

2013: 24 GS, 151 IP, 24 HR
2014: 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 2 HR

So far, he's still averaging 1 HR per outing. Last year, he also had 8 relief appearances for 32 total G so it wasn't technically 1 HR per GS like it almost looks. So far, in a tiny sample size, he's actually outdoing himself on HR rate as its 1 every 5 IP instead of 1 every 6 IP (roughly).

I'm sure it'll normalize soon, right?

So is the Phillies offense impressive for establishing itself near the top of the league? Or does it not matter when the Phillies do well at something because it doesn't fit the narrative?

BAP: I wouldn't say that. Yet.

They can certainly still get there, but the Brewers are simply on fire right now. They frittered away two games they probably should have won in Texas, but even if we expect Papelbon to be bad we shouldn't expect him to be that bad on a regular basis.

Also, this article is no longer accurate. The Marlins and Dodgers both have 11 errors, which would put the Phillies at 3rd-most in the NL. FLDG%-wise the Phillies have the 3rd-worst in baseball, but still second-worst in the NL to Miami, and only .001 worse than the Dodgers.

Yes, this is a "tallest little person" argument, but it's early, we have a number of younger players, and we're far from the only team showing poorly in the field at the moment.

"Pretty good, back away from the cliff article on Crashburn about the Phils bullpen."

This is the third straight year that Baer has been telling us that the bullpen problems are due to small sample sizes and that, with patience, there will eventually be a correction. I wonder if he has entertained the possibility that these guys just suck, and that, if you ran the same bullpen out there 10 years in a row, it would suck 10 years in a row?

Cyclic: "Or does it not matter when the Phillies do well at something because it doesn't fit the narrative?"

That's a basic rule for BAP, NEPP and most other posters here. That and paying no attention to small sample size issues.

"So is the Phillies offense impressive for establishing itself near the top of the league?"

They're 8th in a 15-team league in runs scored, and 6th in OPS. That is certainly higher than where I expect them to end up, but it hardly qualifies as "near the top of the league."

BAP: Meanwhile, they're 3rd in the NL in both BA and OBP, tied for 9th-most in SOs (two of the teams have more games played, but they're far enough behind them in Ks that it likely wouldn't affect the rankings), and 7th in the league in doubles (again, affected by number of games played, but this one we'd have a chance to catch up to the DBacks, who have 4 more doubles through 2 extra games).

Essentially, the only category we're lagging in is HRs, and by "lagging" I mean "tied for 14th in a 30-team sport."

I'm all for being realistic about the offense, BAP, but you're going intentionally pessimistic here, even when the numbers don't bear that out.

I'm fairly sure they were higher in both those categories before yesterday. I remember them showing a graphic on the broadcast.

Hmmm... funny how their position relative to the league can change so quickly early on. Almost like we don't have a large enough sample to draw conclusions from.

Oh, and 8 of those teams with as many or more HRs have played more games than the Phillies (DBacks again catchable, with 2 more HRs over 2 more games), and the O's and Reds both have the same number as the Phils through one more game.


That's a basic rule for BAP, NEPP and most other posters here. That and paying no attention to small sample size issues.

Posted by: clout | Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Small sample sizes...like noting that the offense has been good which is, in and of itself, a tiny sample of 8 games. Or the bullpen or the pitching or anythign right now as we dont have enough data to make anything other than "Wow, that sucked" or "ooh, nice play!" type of comments right now.

"I'm all for being realistic about the offense, BAP, but you're going intentionally pessimistic here, even when the numbers don't bear that out."

Um, not really. I merely said that being 8th in the NL in runs does not qualify as "near the top of the league." Nor does being 6th in OPS or 7th in doubles. 3rd in BA & OBP certainly puts them near the top of the league in those 2 categories, but you actually have to score those runners to claim that you're near the top of the league in "offense," which was what Cyclic said.

NEPP: Definitely. However, that has to go both ways, then.

If the SSS doesn't matter, then the BP's awfulness is only a potential issue, and not a guaranteed one. If the SSS does matter, then the offense should be lauded for being among the best in baseball at the moment.

ruf is probably glad that he isn't sitting on the bench watching howard fail. can you imagine the death stares he would be getting?

BAP: It's all well and good to talk the league, but they're also 8th out of 30 teams in OPS (in the league traditionally worse at offense), which, yes, puts them "near the top."

I don't know whether the choice to only include NL teams in your evaluation was intentional, and I give you the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't, but to argue that they're not among the better offensive teams thus far is a losing argument - even if that puts them closer to middle of the pack in the NL.

Interestingly, the Phillies are also tied for 7th-most walks in the MLB (5th-most in the NL). The Marlins and Dodgers share that tie, but have 1 and 2 more games played, respectively. The Cardinals have 1 more through 1 more game, and the Rays have 4 more through 2 more games.

At their current rate of 3.875 BB/game, the Phillies should surpass all of those teams by the time they hit 10 games - putting them 5th in MLB, and 2nd in the NL (barely behind the Pirates).

buster: "it's early, we have a number of younger players"

Yes, we do have a number younger players. That number happens to be the lowest in the entire league.

Philli: I picked the NL because it's customary to compare offensive numbers by league. Which reminds me that the Phillies, I believe, are also the only team in the NL to play 3 games with a DH -- and that DH has substantially bolstered their overall offensive numbers (not so much because of the DH himself, but because of the "backup" position player who otherwise would have been on the bench).

As I said, their offense has been better than I expected. I'd leave it at that. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say it has been good. They had one great game. They have also scored 3 or fewer runs in exactly half their games. This argument will all be moot soon enough, when they'll be near the bottom of the majors in practically every important offensive stat.

LorecorE: So you're saying those players have contributed disproportionately to the number of errors committed on this team?

I won't argue with you there (especially since I still believe that Asche, not Howard, should have gotten the error on that terrible throw the other night).

NEPP: I agree with you on the small sample size. Glad you recognize the flaw. With regard to the bullpen, it's essentially the same as last year's, so the sample size there is quite large and it fails to support your thesis that the bullpen will cost the team few, if any, wins this year.

BAP: See, this is why it's hard to take your commentary on the subject seriously. You're making predictions based on your personal belief that the offense is bad, when their overall numbers thus far (yes, SSS, but you have to give the BP the same leeway) haven't borne that out.

Also, your argument about the DH rings pretty hollow. Phillies DHs are hitting a lusty .231/.231/.462 (2 singles, 1 HR), which actually lowers the team's overall average in every offensive category except number of HRs.

It is true that they're one of only 3 NL teams to have any DH appearances yet, however.

An extremely large percent of the 2014 Phillies were 2013 Phillies.

If the 2013 Phillies had a terrible bullpen and terrible defense, and the 2014 Phillies already are showing signs of being a terrible bullpen with terrible defense - then it is a very logical conclusion to suggest that the 2014 Phillies will continue having a terrible bullpen and defense.

Philli: The argument about the DH only "rings hollow" because you didn't pay attention to it. I said their numbers have benefited "not so much because of the DH himself, but because of the "backup" position player who otherwise would have been on the bench."

Game 1: Brown DHs, and goes 1 for 5. Mayberry & Gwynn play LF & go a combined 1 for 3 with a walk, a double & 2 RBIs.

Game 2: Utley DHs, and goes 1 for 4. Cesar plays 2nd and goes 2 for 3.

Game 3: Howard DHs, and goes 1 for 4 with a homer and 2 RBIs. Mayberry plays 1st base and goes 1 for 3 with a walk.

Their offensive numbers have benefited from the extra bat in the lineup. It's a fact. This isn't subject to any reasonable dispute.

i hate this team, and i hate j weitzel.

if revere had been playing braun deeper as barkan suggested, and he actually got his glove to where the ball struck the WT, his momentum would have had him sliding headfirst into the wall. very very dangerous. i really don't want to see him diving towards the base of the wall, ever.

In a sport which usually takes 50 to 100 games before things start sorting themselves out, it's actually kind of impressive that the Phillies have wasted so little time establishing themselves near the bottom of the league. - BAP
-
This statement contradicts itself. First you suggest that it takes 50+ games to judge a team, then you promptly conclude that the Phillies suck, after 8 games.

Small sample size AND stastistical cherry picking, but if you take out the 14 run opener, this team is averaging 3.57 RPG. Last year they averaged 3.77.

Jake: Sheesh, I was just having a little fun. You guys take every statement so seriously. That said, do you actually think the Phillies are a good team which is just going through a few early season hiccups? If so, what is your evidence for this proposition?

Small sample size AND stastistical cherry picking, but if you take out the 14 run opener, this team is averaging 3.57 RPG. Last year they averaged 3.77.
*****************************

I wonder what would happen to that 2013 number if you took out the top 12.5% highest scoring games too...

BAP - I'm optimistic that Sandberg will manage this team very differently than Charlie did last year, and they will improve as the season progresses.

Since I'm on my lunch break and really, really bored, I decided to crunch those numbers...taking out the Phillies highest 20 scoring games (roughly 1/8th of the games), they scored 431 runs in 142 games or 3.04 runs per game in the remaining 7/8th of their schedule. So the offense is still "better" than it was last year...so far.

Sorry SSS arguments don't wash, since this team is essentially last years team. Wake me when you see the 2014 crew sustainlng something different than last year.

In what ways will Sandberg manage differently than Charlie that would cause improvement as the season moves along?

His bullpen management seems to be very similar. His 'Rollins in the two hole' mandate reeks of something Charlie would stubbornly latch on to.

And removing all of those unearned runs puts us only .33 runs/game worse than last year's team ERA.

Unfortunately, I don't think they let you do that, so we're stuck with our staff 5.75 runs/game allowed versus the entire 2013 4.62 runs/game.

You know what else makes BAP hard to take seriously?

Everything he has said in his time here. The dude is an ambulance chasing moron who does a disservice to the intelligence normally needed to practice law. He must have tricked whatever law school had the misfortune of accepting him.

thanks, NEPP. is it spring yet in vermont?

Sure...its a balmy 53 out but with a brisk wind. Its definitely Spring though...as most of the snow has been melted off finally.

We had lots of Jakes here last summer, but i'm guessing the Jake who imagines that Sandberg will work miracles is the same one who predicted 50 hrs for Howard this year. That kind of optimism in the face of reality is hard to duplicate.

Clout, what do you think of Severino Gonzalez?

He continues to impress in his first 2 starts in Reading this year

I am firmly in the camp that Howard is not even a shell of his former self and the team would be better served to come up with a succession plan ASAP. However, I'm still giving him 100 PA's before formally declaring that he can add no value whatsover and is totally cooked.

Would he be better served as a DH? Absolutely. Can he move like he used to? Not a damn chance. Has he learned any more plate disciplne? No effing way.

All that said, this is a team who cast Pat Burrell as the face of its team, and he also couldn't run or play defense (and had some pretty nauseating plate discipline himself). And Ross Gload played a prominent role as a "hitter only/please-don't-ask-him-to-run-or-pick-up-a-glove" guy.

Yeah, I'd like a lot more out of such a substantial monetary investment, but the money is a sunk cost. And even when Ruf is back, it's not like he's blocking a potential superstar in the waiting (Ruf, really? And Franco is still a couple years away and not a natural 1B either).

All that said, he's got 63 more PA's or so to get his act together, or I'll happily pile on with the rest of the peanut gallery.

Clout, what do you think of Severino Gonzalez?

Seems he's off to an impressive start in Reading this year.

Sorry, that post kept vanishing...

Re: Howard

If you're a pitcher why would you even bother to do anything else...given that the ump will either give you the borderline call or he will chase the pitch low and away.

Cyclic: time frame?

Cyclic - we all could have drawn that chart from memory.

Sure...its a balmy 53 out but with a brisk wind. Its definitely Spring though...as most of the snow has been melted off finally.

Posted by: NEPP | Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Technically it's still mud season, not yet Spring.

I assume this season?

I don't know. Crashburn didn't say. "No caption necessary"

http://crashburnalley.com/2014/04/09/pitchers-approaching-ryan-howard-just-how-you-thought/

In what ways will Sandberg manage differently than Charlie
-
Ruiz in the 2 hole, Howard in the 5 hole, pulling a starter for a LOOGY after only 73 pitches, baptism by fire for Hollands -- just a few examples after 8 games.

Does anyone know what Charlie Manuel is supposed to be doing?
He signed a contract with the Phils and is getting paid but I havent seen or heard anything since they hired them.
Maybe he is just staying home in fla, collecting and laughing his butt off.
Phillies are starting to acquire a stable of people on the payroll who aren't doing anything.
Insert your own joke about Ruben here...

Was it Moyer or LA who was talking about how Manship could have gone 3 innings?

But nope. Diekman is my 7th inning guy. Bastardo is my 8th inning guy.

Same as it ever was.

Jake - you do realize that the best manager in the world isn't good for more than a couple extra wins? It always come down to talent. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/most-managers-are-headed-to-the-hall-of-mediocrity/

It was Sandberg suggesting that if Manship were to get the Saturday start that he would be good for about 3 innings. It's a moot point, however, as with last night's appearance, we're staring down the barrel of a Saturday Pettibone masterpiece.

And I'm "in" on Diekman. Let's see if he can eradicate the LOOGY tag and become more of a legit full inning setup/closer type. He's got the stuff. Bastardo was able to shake off the "left only" caveat.

1 inning on Wednesday prevents a bullpen guy from going 3 innings on a Saturday?

"Does anyone know what Charlie Manuel is supposed to be doing?"

I don't think it necessarily matters. He's getting the Dallas Green treatment. On the payroll simply as a favor for his previous service and to offer any value they can get every so often (appearances and the like). If nothing else, it keeps him from going to another team and embarrassing the Phils in the process (as you know he'd just somehow catch on and take a team to the playoffs on the back of an offensive juggernaut. That's just how things break for the Phils).

Same boat with Wheeler. Candidly, there's not a whole lot that they can offer to the club in terms of their respective "skill sets." And I'm not one who worries too much about the Phillies getting a return on invested human capital from non-roster talent. Cholly earned what essentially amounts to a lofty pension, and if he can generate any sort of value to the Phils at all, that's just a bonus.

"1 inning on Wednesday prevents a bullpen guy from going 3 innings on a Saturday?"

That's the prevailing wisdom, yes...

Austin Laymance ‏@JALaymance 16h

Pettibone almost certain to start Saturday now that Manship is pitching tonight http://atmlb.com/1mYstDh #phillies

- Charlie raised Chooch in the lineup in both 2012 and 2013.

- Charlie also sat Howard vs LH starters a decent amount last season. It was masked by the low % of LH starts the Phillies faced, but at once point I believe he "rested" for about 7-8 consecutive LHP starts.

- OK, Sandberg has a quicker hook on his starters. Good luck with that with this bullpen.

- Baptism by fire..how'd that work out?

People getting on bap for being too pessimistic are pretty funny given that, over the last couple seasons, pessimism about this team has generally been correct. Nothing has changed this season either.

Thanks, WP.

Curt - That article was posted here before & discussed. In short, its nonsense.

Jake - lol. I don't think anyone has disagreed with the conclusion for 20 years, but feel free to imagine Sandberg will work miracles with this crew.

Jake: As I recall, you thought Cholly was a great manager too. Yet the Phillies lost 89 games last year with essentially this same collection of players.

before this goes any further, I simply asked Jake why Sandberg managing instead of Manuel is a reason the team will improve as the season progresses.

He gave me 4 points, which I specifically addressed.

This isn't poor old optimistic Jake being lectured by bully pessimists - its purely him saying stuff with 0 facts or relevant information.

This team remains difficult to watch. I get on the elliptical trainer and turn the game on on my ROKU box, using the mlbtv app. I do the elliptical for anywhere from half an hour to one hour, depending on how bad the game is. And I find myself constantly turning away from the game to watch stuff I want to delete off my dvr. This has been going on for a couple of seasons now and it's becoming more frequent. The team is less and less interesing. And they're bad at, you know, baseball. Only a couple of weeks ago people were musing about their imminent 7-3 start. I think it's a particularly American thing, this ability for self delusion. We don't torture and the Phillies are going to be fine stick out in recent memory. In fact, maybe forcing possible terrorists to watch Phillies games could be used instead of waterboarding. I'd probably admit to ten things I never did just to switch the channel. Unless Cliffie is pitching, or Cold when he gets back.

Sorry, Cole, not Cold.

BAP - I did think Charlie was a good manager, but he lost the clubhouse last year during the post-ASB skid. It's a new season with a new coaching staff. I'll hold off on drawing conclusions about 2014 (after 8 games) based on 2013.

"I did think Charlie was a good manager, but he lost the clubhouse last year during the post-ASB skid."

My problem with these kinds of assertions is that they're completely unprovable. We have no idea: (1) if Cholly "lost the clubhouse; (2) what exactly it means to lose the clubhouse; (3) whether "losing the clubhouse" -- whatever it means -- translates to bad on-field results and, if so, to what degree; (4) whether having the clubhouse in your corner translates to good on-field results and, if so, to what degree; and (5) whether Sandberg has regained the clubhouse that was supposedly lost. Anecdotally, however, I've noticed an incredibly high correlation between managers whose teams lose a lot of games and managers who are claimed to have lost the clubhouse. You're undoubtedly going to tell me that losing the clubhouse is somehow the cause (or at least one cause) of losing all those games, rather than vice-versa. But if an argument can't be supported by any factual data, it's not really an argument. It's just an assertion of blind faith.

Still Baer is still talking about 'reversion to mean' and kind of pushing the bogus 'average replacement reliever' concept just without directly stating that.

Still Baer is still talking about 'reversion to mean' and kind of pushing the bogus 'average replacement reliever' concept just without directly stating that.

Posted by: MG | Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 02:50 PM

He's also quite the racer baiter so there's that.

Losing the clubhouse happens when the team starts losing lots of games and falls out of the pennant race and the players get discouraged.

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