Thursday, July 26, 2007

Aiming for Season Highs

A big 24 oz. mug of coffee ain't doing the trick for me this morning...I'm exhausted! Why am I so tired? A 4 hour and 52 minute marathon of a baseball game that started at 7:05 pm kept me awake way past my bedtime. It first appeared around 10 o'clock that I was going to be able to hit one of my favorite destinations (bed) at the regular time because the Phils were leading 4-2 going into the 9th. Then something ugly happened, 6-Finger-Ant came in and decided to suck. Blah, blah, blah...2 new pitchers later, score 5-4 Nats heading to the bottom of the 9th. By this time I'm pissed, and a deep fly ball by Jimmy Rollins to the LF gap looks to end the game, but no...the Nats drop the ball and J-Roll races around the bases to tie the game on an amazing play created by his hustle thus sending the game into extra innings. Blah, blah, blah...Manuel burns through his bullpen as if he believes they're like clowns spilling out of a car at the circus. Blah, blah, blah...Manuel forces one of the NL's hottest hitters to bunt unsuccessfully. Blah, blah, blah...Ryan Howard rocks Chris Booker's world for a walk-off 2-run homerun in the 14th inning. Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! Phils!

That's 5 "Phils win" in a row now, tying the season high. Phils record stands at 52-48, 4 games above .500, also tying the season high. That means a win this afternoon would set a new season high for winning streak and games above .500...lets go Phils!

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Word Up:
*Pat Burrell continues his hot July collecting yet another hit, rbi, and his favorite- 2 walks. "The Bat" is now batting .241, a far cry from .200-land he was flirting with a few weeks ago.

*I bust on Jose Mesa a lot (bad memories ya know?), but he's actually been okay for the Phils. Really, his era is a respectable 3.44 and his whip is astonishingly low with him allowing roughly on 1 base runner per inning.

*Speaking of relievers who I claim suck, Jars of Clay Condrey mysteriously stumbled into his 4th win of the season...and nary a loss, but with a 6.29 era.

*Charlie Manuel is an idiot when it comes to bullpen and bench management. He used Mike Zagurski for only 1 batter, JC Romero for 2 batters, and took Tom Gordon out of the game after only 1 inning of 8 pitches. He also managed to use 3 3rd basemen in the swing of an inning and a half, with one of them never getting an at bat (Nunez).

*Cole Hamels needs to invest in some voodoo dolls for the bullpen staff, that way he can torture them for blowing his wins without traceable evidence.

~Carson

37 comments:

BloodStripes said...

Hamels has been unlucky his last couple starts. Pitching very well without the W for reward. They will come. He is too good a pitcher.

Good thing the Phillies won. It would have been a heartbreaker if not. Clay Condrey may have taken the win but Rollins earned the save.

BloodStripes said...

Phillies up against first gamer J.Lannan today. Give him a nice welcome to the show offense and belt his ass.

GM-Carson said...

Lets roll out the red carpet for this Lannan making his MLB debut. By red carpet, I mean scoring so many runs that the baseball starts bleeding.

Jacobin said...

Gordon only threw 8 pitches, but Fuqua had him getting ready to come into the game for at least two innings before he finally brought him in. All the tosses in the bullpen add up too. But using Romero for 1 out at that point was ignorant... like I said last night, overall this was Charlie's worst managing of the year (and considering how bad he is normally, that's really awful).

michael said...

yeah having rowand bunt with runners on first and second in that situation was completely stupid.

GM-Carson said...

Don't get me wrong, I think all big leaguers should know how to bunt, but Rowand should not have been bunting in that situation. Runners 1st and 2nd with no out, let him swing away...he's done well all season. Even if he were successful, Bourn would have had to hit a deep enough sac fly, and he's more of a groundball hitter. Poor managing. Manuel later had Dobbs try to bunt as well with a man on 1st and no outs.

Corey said...

i do not think having rowand bunt was absolutely the wrongthing to do. if he is successful, the phils have 2nd/3rd with one out, the infield will come in, and it doesn't take much to get the runner home. you're options are play for a hit or move them up with a bunt and the odds of getting a runner in in that situation are are far higher than rowand getting a hit. granted, the percentage of scoring a runner from third with one out is only slightly higher than scoring a runner from 2nd with one out, but considering the batters following rowand, the fact that first base was occupied and 2 of the three batters due (rowand and ruiz) lead the phillies in grounding into double plays, i don't think manuel can be faulted. it is a fundamentally sound strategy with fundamentally-retarded execution.

the person who needs to be reprimanded is aaron rowand. his attempts were borderline pitiful and completely uncacceptable from a major league baseball player.

at the beginning of the year people were happy the phillies made an effort (at least talking about it in the media) to improve their fundamentals. this was a fundamental play that the phils notoriously have failed and must succeed if they want to win close games consistently against good teams. washington sucks and the phils were able to wait around for a walk off homer. we've seen how this strategy works against good team.

not only does manuel not need to be criticized for this one, he should be congratulated for going outside of his American League comfort zone and attempting to win a game with a strategy other than waiting around for a big hit.

Jacobin said...

If it's a man on first with no outs, the bunt is more sound in that situation because you are moving someone into scoring position. Last night you already had someone in scoring position when Fuqua called on Rowand to bunt. If it's Nunez or a pitcher up there, you bunt with no questions asked. But you have to consider that the batter is Rowand who has been having a very good offensive season and as of late has been really hot. You let him swing away because if he hits a deep fly, you're moving the runner over and if he gets a hit you win the game right then.

I don't have a problem with asking Dobbs to bunt the runner over from first, that makes sense. Having Rowand bunt in that situation made little sense. He is your number five hitter at this point -- a batting spot you expect RBI production from.

Fuqua's further genius was highlighted when the Nationals got to give Bourn an intentional walk so they could get to Clay Condrey with the bases loaded (knowing the bullpen was depleted). Not to mention that nobody was left on the bench to pinch hit other than Barajas. Going through seven pitchers in about three innings allowed that mess to happen. Using three guys at third base in an inning also contributed to this ridiculousness.

michael said...

ok, you guys make good points and i retract my statement. further more after i had just found out that manuel tried to call off the bunt after the first attempt but rowand didn't get the sign. all around it was just a bad bunt attempt.

Corey said...

i would be less likely to bunt in the situation you propose, jacobin. scoring percentage of a runner on 1st with no outs, 43%; runner on second with one out, 45%. and with less successful hitters behind him in a situation where you would still need a base hit, i would let rowand swing away. in the situation last night, a successful bunt eliminates the need for a base hit.

whether or not rowand should have been bunting last night is a very debatable topic because both strategies are basically statistically equivalent. i just prefer moving thet runner to third and putting the pressure on the pitcher and defense, and i don't think manuel should be criticized for this one. moreover, if it is true manuel tried to call off the bunt after seeing rowand's disgusting first attempt, i give him credit for making an adjustment mid-at-bat. i didn't think he could do that.

hey carson, remember last year when some douchebag argued that a manager's decision didn't really affect the outcome of the game? wonder what he would think of this debate?

check out the Cube site for today's Nat starter john lannan. dude went form a 4.7 era in a-ball last year to high a, double a, triple a (1.75 era in 6 starts) and now the majors in less than a year. pretty freaking impressive. i hope he gets rocked.

furiousBall said...

One day after I actually gave the six fingered lady credit for a decent outing he does that to me...he looked HORRIBLE last night. I have no idea how he pitches with that gut. His 4 seamer was up in the zone and fooled no one.

Mesa looked good last night, he kept the ball down to get those ground outs. Gordon pitched well too actually, got ahead early and kept the pressure on the hitter.

On the whole though the thing I noticed about ALL of the Phils pitchers is they give in to the hitters waaaaaay to easy. Even Hamels did on an early pitch sequence. After throwing three gorgeous change-ups that had the hitter jumping out of his shoes, he throws an 88 MPH meatball up in the zone to a batter clearly looking dead red. Also of note, he shook off Ruiz's first call too, which was probably another change out of the zone to mr jumpy pants. Can't do that. He knew it right away too.

But damn , J-Roll - that hit was so clutch. And Rhino, you da man. You get the Brazillian super model ball massage before the 1:05 start for sure.

Jacobin said...

According to those statistics, it is a fairly similar situation in the end. Again, I think with the makeup of this team and the totality of the situation (the particular hitter that was up to bat), it was the wrong move to have Rowand bunt.

If Fuqua called off the bunt after the first pitch, I'll cut him some slack. Trying to surprise the other team with a bunt there isn't the worst thing in the world. Sticking with it after such a feeble effort sucks, but I'll assume now that Rowand missed the sign calling off the bunt.

GM-Carson said...

In theory I understand Manuel's reasoning to having Rowand bunt. However, he has been amazing all season and is the 5 hole hitter and therefore would have rather had him swinging away. In most cases I would call for the bunt, in fact that situation I would have had (Rollins, Vic, our 3rd basemen, catchers, and of course pitchers all attempt a bunt) but in my opinion Utley, Howard, and Rowand are exempt...Burrell is left out of this equation.

goDuke said...

You're still my boy Burrell

GM-Carson said...

Adam Eaton is horrible. He's getting lit up by the lowly Nationals' offense. 5 hits in only the 2nd inning...pathetic! He was a horrible signing, and just think we still have him for 2 years after this...ugh, yuck!

GM-Carson said...

Rumor- supposedly the Phils are kicking the tires of Yanks reliever Kyle Farnsworth...ah, no thanks says I. He's erratic with a horrible contract.

GM-Carson said...

"The Bat" is back, at least for the month of July. He sucked horribly in May and June, but Burrell is collecting hits and of course still walks and is a productive member of the team right now. How long will this possibly last though? I give it 3 more weeks max.

GM-Carson said...

Brett Myers could rejoin the team as early as tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Myers, who has not pitched for the Phillies since May 23 because of a strained right shoulder, made his third rehab appearance last night for single-A Clearwater. In one inning against the Tampa Yankees, he allowed one hit and struck out one. "Eventually, Brett and Flash [Tom Gordon] will be closing out games for us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "How soon? I don't know. . . . I'd say one of them definitely will close more games than the other." Myers is expected to close more regularly than Gordon.

*Nobody on here for a day game?

GM-Carson said...

The Phillies, looking for significant pitching help that is under contract through 2008 or 2009, have scouted the Astros hard, looking at back-end bullpen pitchers Brad Lidge and Chad Qualls. The Phillies could offer outfielder Michael Bourn, a Houston native. This weekend's series against the Pirates will afford the Phils a firsthand look at bullpen cogs Shawn Chacon, Damaso Marte and Salomon Torres, the latter of whom has demanded a trade.

The Phils seem less interested daily in struggling Giants righthander Matt Morris, whom manager Charlie Manuel considers less of a sure thing than rookies Kyle Kendrick, 22, and J.D. Durbin, 25. The rookies are a combined 6-2 in 11 starts, and the Phillies are 8-3 in their starts. Morris, 32, is 0-3 with a 7.98 earned run average in his last seven starts – about the same time frame since Kendrick and Durbin began pitching in the majors.

Aaron Rowand beat the Phillies at their game. Now, they cannot win unless they sign him to a long-term contract. But if he is handed a pen right now, he is likely to fling it across the floor. "That's an easy question, it sounds like," Rowand said the other night, when asked if he is ready to give the Phillies an I-do. "But there are so many things that go into it. All the stuff that is going to go on is going to go on in the offseason, because there is not going to be anything done during the season. I'll tell you that right now. I am concentrating on these guys right now. I am concentrating on trying to win. I'll concentrate on all that stuff when it comes. I'm not thinking about that right now. I am thinking about what we can do to make the postseason."

On Tuesday, Phillies OF Aaron Rowand became the first player in 51 years to have three games with three or more extra-base hits in one month. He also had 14 doubles in his last 14 games, which hasn't been accomplished since Seattle's Edgar Martinez did it from May 11 to 28, 1996.

GM-Carson said...

Here's an interesting question I pose based on his recent return to dominance- If Ryan Howard continues his torrid hitting pace and ends up leading the league in homeruns and rbi again, could he possibly be the 2007 NL MVP?

I say yes, because before too long that avearge will be around .300 too.

GM-Carson said...

Wow, I hope people are watching this game. The rook Lannan just beaned Utley and Howard back-to-back and gets immediately tossed. No way he was throwing at him, but nonetheless blood is boiling in Philly.

michael said...

if howard continues at this pace and the phils make the playoffs it be hard not to give him the mvp if they dont make the playoffs..forget about it.
so yesterday i was cleaning out some boxes i left in my mom's garage when i moved out a few years ago and low and behold i found not only a schmidty but juan samuel starting lineup figure.. it was an excellent find.

michael said...

also it totally blows i can't watch this game, i'm forced to follow it on yahoo's gametracker its like watching the game be played on nintendo baseball.

Jacobin said...

Bases-on-Balls Burrell drives in some runs with a nice single.

GM-Carson said...

Burrell is on fire! Hell, most of the Phils lineup is on fire.

I too have a Michael Jack Schmidt Starting Lineup figure...good stuff.

Utley's hand better be alright.

Jacobin said...

Would Howard warrant the MVP? Yes, maybe he would. But Utley is having a monster year too. The trouble is with two guys on the same team doing so well, they are going to draw votes away from each other. That being said, if the Phils were to come back and make the playoffs despite the way the pitching has been, it would be hard not to hand the trophy to Utley or Howard.

GM-Carson said...

I know this is highly unlikely, but if the Phils do sneak into the playoffs and Utley continues is awesome season and Howard continues to rip the cover off the ball they'd probably finish 1st and 2nd in the MVP balloting. Jose Reyes hasn't been as hot lately, and neither has Prince Fielder. Utley and Howard are the toast of the NL right now.

Jacobin said...

I'd put Howard and Utley at 1 and 2 for MVP. I'm just not sure which one would be first and second at this point.

I just took at look at the team batting statistics for the NL. Coming into today's game, the Phillies had scored 50 more runs than the second highest scoring team in the NL (542 vs. Florida's 492). Of course, the Phils have given up 514 runs...

GM-Carson said...

Right now I rank Utley above Howard for MVP, but Howard is off to that same hot start in the 2nd half that he had last season, and if that remains the case say hello to 50+ HR and 130+ rbi again and a 2nd consecutive MVP award.

Glad Eaton settled in and started getting these Triple A players out.

GM-Carson said...

Burrell now with 3 hits on the day and gets his obligatory lift for pinch runner Bourn...the Bat!

Jacobin said...

Pat BBurrell is 3-4 today, thus raising his average to .249! Wasn't he just above .200 two weeks ago?

GM-Carson said...

F.U. very much Charlie Manuel, Wes Helms, and Mike Zagurski. Manuel mismanaging an already thin bullpen today. Pulls Eaton after only 91 pitches. Romero only goes 1/3 inning.

Helms throws a ball away...hello error!

Mike Zagurski doesn't belong in the major leagues. He's horribly erractic. He may be useful some day, but right now he's a liability. I know people like him because he looks like a mascot, but it's not so fun/funny any more.

Jacobin said...

There is no doubt this bullpen sucks, but my question is how badly is that suckage exacerbated by the pitching management of Manuel?

Jarex said...

How small do you think Helms felt trotting off the field during the pitching change after the 2 ER day?

I swear the Phightin's are doing their best to make sure they DON'T EVER SWEEP ANYONE EVER

GM-Carson said...

Winning 2 out of 3 sounds good, but not when it's against the shit-ass Nats...really, they suck! And we struggled to win the 1st 2 games.

I hate Charlie Manuel...HATE!!!

Wes Helms has been a joke this season. Think about our offseason "additions"- Eaton, Barajas, and Helms...all shitty!

Jacobin said...

Expecting Charlie Manuel to figure out how to manage one day is like being lactose intolerant and expecting to not have burning wet shit fly out of you after eating half a box of ice cream.

Jacobin said...

Oh, holy shit. Utley's hand is broken. As if today couldn't get any more miserable. My favorite player gets knocked out for who knows how long because of some rookie shit that can't control his pitches.

Rube Amaro Jr. is saying that they expect Utley to be back before the end of the season. I would assume, in light of their announcements on injuries to Gordon and Myers, that Utley will be back sometime in the 2009 season.