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Friday, June 06, 2014


The Pirates rank in the bottom-half of pretty much every pitching-related stat in MLB, though I think the two most noteworthy are FIP (26th), xFIP (19th), ERA+ (26th), and WAR (30th). All of which point towards them indeed being terrible off the hill.

The Phils aren't content to let the Pirates be the worst-pitching team in Pennsylvania, though, which is why the Phils' own a 2014 ERA+ of 89 to the Pirates' 93.

One of the (many) things the Phillies are missing is an offensive standout.

Surprisingly, a lot of the everyday Phillies are having above-average, actually good offensive seasons so far. (Rollins, Asche, Byrd, Ruiz, Utley, all OPS+ above 110) But they don't have a standout. Utley, who's having a great season actually, is the closest, 139, but no one else is above 122.

ATL: J Upton 151
WAS: LaRoche 156
MIA: Stanton 166
MIL: Gomez 153
LA: Puig 183

Maybe with a couple of hot streaks, those 110-120s can become 130-140s.

I bet Rollins and Asche (whenever he comes back) have probably topped out though, so hopefully while they decline, Ryan Howard (remember him?) or Domonic Brown (who?) can do some damage and start to heat up.

Pitching and defense.

If there was ever a mantra that rings hollow, it is that mantra applied to the 2014 Phils.

The Pirates pitching staff overachieved last year and they lost Burnett in the off-season with zero replacement. Granted Burnett has been iffy this year for us but he was a rock in their rotation last year.

Cheap and shortsighted of them to not invest more money in that rotation given that they really have a good young offense.

Funny how the weak links in the offense of other teams have like 85-95 OPS+, and not, say, I don't know 63 or 76.

Marte has been disappointing for them so far too...and the talk has been that Harrison would get ABs over him in the OF while he's still swinging well. With Neil Walker on the DL now, Harrison will play 2B for now but when Walker is healthy again, they will probably try to make Harrison a super-utility guy that spot starts quite a bit for them to help the offense.

Their rotation, notably Liriano (who was great last year), Wandy Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez have all been just really really awful.

Funny how the weak links in the offense of other teams have like 85-95 OPS+, and not, say, I don't know 63 or 76.

Posted by: Cyclic | Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 02:57 PM

The Pirates have an utter blackhole at SS in Jordy Mercer with a 62 OPS+. The backup is Clint Barmes and his shiny 56 OPS+

RIP Bob Welch, Cy Young in 90 and owner of a devastating split finger pitch.

Funny how it's not that big an issue when a) it's only ONE black hole and b) you have a standout like McCutchen putting up a 163 OPS+.

Very true, Cyclic. Having McCutchen in CF makes up quite a bit for their less than ideal production at the corner OF spots.

They also had Jeff Locke last year who came out of absolute nowhere to pitch to a 3.52 era and 101 era+.

Mostly fueled by a ludicrous first half that saw hitters only have a .231 Bapip against him, which corrected to a .357 bapip in the 2nd half.

Suffice to say they don't have Jeff Locke magic in a bottle this year.

Interesting post at 2:44, Cyclic, about standouts and the difference they can make.

It seems like Amaro is always counting on Howard to be that guy, the old "Get me to the plate, boys" Howard who can carry a team. Probably thought that between him and Utley, it would suffice - and maybe hoped to throw in some hot streaks from Brown and Byrd as well. I wonder when/if Amaro will ever realize that these guys just don't have it in them anymore to carry a team on their back. It isn't for lack of trying that they aren't stepping up, IMO, as much as from lack of ability.

"It isn't for lack of trying that they aren't stepping up, IMO, as much as from lack of ability."


As for Murphy's piece on Utley, lorecore, I agree it would be nice to read some ideas for who on the CA teams might be procured in an Utley trade and what they could do for the Phillies.

I would love it if Weitzel would write 2 posts for us: one on who the Phillies could realistically target in trades this summer, and one on the recent draftees.

But I would also hope that those BL'rs who follow or read up on farm systems and other teams might also offer their 2-cents on the matter. We heard from BAP yesterday that in his opinion, a trade with the Giants wouldn't be worth it, for example.

Lineup for tonight's potentially soggy game, Burnett and his hernia v. Ian Kennedy:


from "probable pitchers" page:

Kennedy allowed two runs on five hits over six innings in his last start against the Pirates. He walked one and struck out seven. Kennedy's ERA is currently about 1 1/2 runs lower than it was a year ago with the D-backs and Padres.

If Burnett can't handle the Padres' lineup, there's no hope for him but to get that surgery he's been postponing.

I almost forgot.

Phillies OPS+ 11th in NL

Phillies ERA+ 14th in NL

The gap is narrowing, but pitching still sucks the most (although you won't read anything about that on BL.)

Assuming you could get him to agree to a trade, you could get quality in return for Utley.

That's it, folks.

More joyful Phillies news:

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 4m
There is fraying in Mike Adams’ labrum. No rotator cuff damage. He’ll be injected with cortisone later this week. No throwing for 10 days.

* * *

So, he's done and won't be tradeable. Disappointing for him and for us.

All's I can say is I thank God everyday for the Mets being in our division.

Of course, that's heavily dependent on how willing Utley is to go places. If he were to tell the team "I will only play in SF", they'd be hard pressed to get any return of value for him.

Trades can involve more than two teams, correct?

Since clout brought up pitching again, it's worth mentioning that Adams' absence will almost certainly bring our BP back down to the crappiness from which it had temporarily risen.

There is fraying in Mike Adams’ labrum. No rotator cuff damage. He’ll be injected with cortisone later this week. No throwing for 10 days.

Well that treatment worked really well with Halladay. I'm sure he'll be totally effective when he comes back in a month or two.

A shame that Adams' labrum is fraying. This could be a career-breaker for him, as it was the labrum in his pitching shoulder that was causing him problems last year, too. Unless he rehabs his way through this and returns to being lights-out in July and stays healthy the rest of the year, hard to see anybody offering him much next off-season on the free agent market. (Or the Phils exercising their team option, for that matter.)

It's also a killer because was Adams poised to be our best trade piece, between the lack of attachment to the franchise, lack of no-trade protection, and his possessing an attractive potential extra year of team control at a reasonable rate if he kept being dominant. Some years it just feels like the Powers That Be are conspiring against you.

Another way of ranking things:

Team Offensive fWAR:

14th in NL, 29th in Majors

Team Pitching fWAR:

11th in NL, 26th in Majors

Meanwhile, on the other injury fronts....

Chris Branch ‏@ChrisBranchTNJ 4m
Cliff is “very close to picking up a ball,” according to Ryno. Asche is starting simulated game activity.

Cliff is “very close to picking up a ball

And once he does, he's only got a few more weeks before he'll start a rehab stint. Woohoo!!!

Close to picking up a ball? Well that's comforting. When will he be close to throwing a ball without pain?

We will be informed he's close to throwing a ball without pain approximately six hours before we get an announcement that his left arm has fallen off.

The press release will also, invariably, portray this as a good thing, for Cliff Lee as an RHP will improve his platoon match-up against the bulk of MLB as a result of becoming a right-handed hurler.

Step 1: Pick up ball
Step 2: Twirl
Step 3: Pitch

He's already 1/3 of the way through his rehab!

At least he can look at the ball without wincing in pain. Picking it up will be next. Watching the Phillies play without wincing in pain will take years longer.

Picking it up is the easy part. Throwing it is the part I always worry about.

Did the Phils say where Nola is going to start out? I guess Clearwater but I hope he makes it up to Reading by August. Really interested in seeing him pitch.

"first you address the ball. hello, ball !!" --ed norton

"Watching the Phillies play without wincing in pain will take years longer."

That requires more than just an arm twirl. It requires a full head twirl -- as in, twirling your head around and looking the opposite way of the tv/computer screen.

Ahh yes, the Phillies arm twirl test. Dr. James Andrews hasn't even caught onto the arm twirl yet.

Im playing Bases Loaded on the NES...Simulated Baseball Activity..

I would actually think that Rollins, should he be willing to waive his 10-and-5 rights would be quite attractive to a number of teams out there.

I'd think anybody other than the Rockies, both colors of Sox, the Angels and maybe the Dodgers (although Hanley's such a butcher in the field that he probably gives back at least half his offensive value) would want him over their current starting SS.

If you can get 1.5 years of him for $16.5MM, that's far from a bad deal if he keeps putting up the numbers he has been.

the padres series open thread should go up any minute now.

and there it is.

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Funny thing about the arm twirl comments. A few years ago i fell down the steps and on impact hit the wall and damaged some ligaments on my shoulder. I was rushed to ER in that room since i was dazed in excruciating pain. I couldnt move my arm for about 2 weeks. I was then checked and referred to a Ortho. I was able to move and twirl my arm sooner than the Ortho Dr thought would be possible. He told me he could operate but it really wasnt necessary. Well he then me to physical therapy. Which pretty much involved me just twirling my arm around. I went about 3 times then stopped.

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