Thursday, April 22, 2004
Myers vs. Oliver
Finally, Myers gets his second start of the season. Myers may break out this season, and he may not, but the idea here is that he has the potential to be quite good. He has to be careful though, he is only 23 this year, but in each of the last two years he has pitched 200 innings (2002 he pitched 200 combined, majors/minors). Apparently, Bowa has forgotten to "overuse" the bullpen when Brett is on the mound. Myers (0-0, 3.86) is 1-3 lifetime against the World Champs with a pretty hefty 6.31 ERA. If you remember two weeks ago, he left the game with a 3-2 lead in a 5-3 loss against the Marlins. It was a shaky outing, 9 Fish found there way on base in 4.6 IP, but he was able to squeeze out of it mostly unharmed. Surprise! Surprise! Jeff Conine continued his success against Myers and now is 4 for 8 against him, the troublesome Pierre (5 for 12 with 2 BB) has also been a thorn in Myers' side. Overall, .272/ .346/ .402 against the Marlins in 92 at-bats.
Darren Oliver (1-1, 4.85) pitched 7 strong innings, allowing two earned runs, against Myers and the Phils. The Phillies have had mild success against Oliver in the past, this does not include Byrd or Pratt (day game) who have only faced him once. However, since Oliver is a Florida Marlin now he instantly becomes unbeatable. But realistically, the Phils should be able to hit Oliver, .288/ .339/ .490 in 104 at-bats. Also, 10 mph winds are expected tomorrow, and if I'm right, they should be blowing across the field towards right field, this all means nothing.
Robbed: Placido Polanco hits a ball to the fence where it seeming became "jammed". How could it have been truly stuck under the wall, I mean it rolled half the length of the outfield just to reach it. We will never know of course, because Jeff Conine didn't even try to remove it (he just threw his arm signaling ground-rule double), and his "attempts" after the fact didn't really do any justice. The ball being "trapped" under the fence is not part of the ground rules given at home plate, the game is under protest. Funny, Pierre didn't have much trouble getting the ball from under the fence only a few innings earlier.
Robbed: Eric Milton had a very good start tonite, only to see David Bell throw it away, literally. Ok, the inning should have been over, but the error cost them a run and also a baserunner. But the score still was only 5-2 with two outs and one on, Citizens Report favorite Roberto Hernandez and Tim Worrell rounded out the damage. Milton's good six innings become a thing of the past.
Robbed: Everyone who batted in this game; home plate ump Ted Barret was awful at best behind the plate. Of course, one doesn't normally express outrage on questionable calls against the opposing team, so I can't put a Marlins angle on this, but the Phillies strike zone was everywhere at any point during the game. Burrell's at-bat was the prime example, high and outside...strike; high and inside?...strike. In the bottom of the 12th balls and inch low and outside became strikes. This summed it up best:
Chris Wheeler: Barrett hasn't been consistent tonite at all.
Larry Anderson: He hasn't been consistent at all in an inning.
Robbed: Ryan Madson in the top of the twelth continues to amaze me with the assortment of pitches he is willing to throw during any count. He looks like a kid, he's a kid because he's younger than me, who has no fear. 3-1 counts, saw changeups as often as you would see fastballs. You could read Conine's lips after he popped out, "Fucking changeup". Oh yeah, the robbed part, he was doing a decent job of trying to hold Pierre on first with his pickoffs. His first pitch to home was actually a pitch-out, and knowing Lieberthal's arm, normally would have been a close play. But Lieberthal blew it, first he catches the ball with his right arm (throwing arm) completely behind his body; he then has to reach up to grab the ball out of his glove and complete his throwing motion. Normally, a catcher would have his throwing hand up in front of his body, near the glove, so there is little wasted movement in retrieving the ball from the glove. So Lieberthal is already at a disadvantage prior to the throw, Pierre is really fast and he threw the ball to Marlon Byrd anyway. Everyone steals on Lieberthal the past two years, and this from a guy who won the GG award in 1999. He needs to hit, alot, or he, like Bell and Rollins, will look very replaceable in the near future.
Robbed: Pat Burrell should teach Lieberthal how to gun down people, because he does it frequently. Pierre was on third, off of Lieberthal's throwing error. Burrell caught a shallow fly and made a dead on throw to home plate, too bad Pierre was hit by the ball, because it was going to come down to how Lieberthal applied the tag.
Robbed: The Cubs and presumably the three fans who caught Lowell's homeruns; the new CBP tradition, and very old Cub tradition, of throwing the ball back seems to be alive and well. I don't care if it's a "Cubs" thing, it's sorta neat. People say, "What happens if a kid catches it, are you going to make him throw it back?"
Robbed: Yes, kid, throw the damn ball back! You can make it up by gloving fair balls down the third base line, most likely preventing a runner from scoring because of the ground rule double you cause instead. Jimmy Rollins? Yup, he was robbed.
Robbed: Ricky Ledee, Chase Utley, and Philadelphia Phillies fans. Ricky Ledee has been robbed of his at-bats, Chase Utley of a roster spot, and the fans are robbed from Glanville-less games. Ledee isn't going to hit a homerun in every pinch hitting situation, but he's just plain better than Glanville, it was nice to see him put up a game winning homerun...only to be robbed.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Milton vs. Pavano
Eric Milton (1-0, 3.27) pitched 5 innings, allowing 2 R while striking out 3, in his first appearence against the Marlins. He actually left the game with a two run lead, but he started to get into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth. Jeff Conine continued to hit Milton, now brining his total to 6 for 8, 2 HR, 1 3B, 5 RBI; Eric would probably be better pitching around him. Pierre, Castillo, and Cabrera each had a hit off him in three at-bats each, while Mike Lowell was 2 for 2.
Carl Pavano (1-0, 1.98) faces Milton again, in a rematch of two weeks ago. The Phils, .302/ .386/ .430 vs. Pavano, who had limited success against him in the first matchup, Burrell, Thome, and Bell were responsible for 7 of the 8 hits and the two walks he allowed. I think I said it before, and I'll say it again...The Phillies should be able to beat Pavano every day.
Now there's something you don't see everyday....
How 'bout that lineup last night? A thing of beauty if you ask me. I understand giving rest days and all, but two on the same night (and against the Marlins at that)?
Hey Bowa, did you see Juan Pierre out there tonite? Did you see Jimmy Rollins? Do you see any resemblance? Good, we lost, now put Byrd back at the top of the lineup.
Here was the batting order tonite
It's pretty ugly, and we can only hope we don't incur injuries to Byrd and Abreu. Glanville has been getting his at-bats, so I would have thrown Ledee out there for the night to give him a go round. But if we are to field that lineup, this is how I would have ordered it:
Glanville, CF; Glanville can always get around on the inside fastball, and Willis likes to throw them
Fianl Innings: Roberto Hernandez
Roberto had three more outings this week (and for two of them I was in attendence, you could only imagine my joy), and they favored considerably better than his previous three. Good job Roberto!
Roberto entered the game in the sixth inning against the Reds trailing 4-2, this is what I would of considered prime meltdown time. Oh, how wrong I was. His fastball found new life, and he was able to hold them off until the Phils rallied for a 6-4 lead.
2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K
He made his second appearence of the week against the Expos, this time with a 5-3 lead. A lead? Roberto Hernandez? This was uncharted territory for the Fightins'. Another unscathed inning, setting up a save for the Sandman.
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K
He comes into the game trailing 2-1 with runners on first (Castillo) and second (Pierre) with one out. Things don't look good as far as preventing at least one run, and he doesn't. But really, it wasn't that bad of an outing.
.2 IP, 1 IHR, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (Castillo and Cabrera stole 2nd and 3rd, respectively, following the strikeout)
Ok Ok, Roberto I give you credit for walking only one batter in seven innings thus far, while striking out seven. But you still have a long way to go before I can believe that when Hernandez comes into the game that all will be good.
Phillies Top Ten Seasons: First Base
Here's a fun project, go to Frank Thomas' Baseball-Reference page, then take out his ten best seasons. Finally, compare it to this list. I figure about seven or eight of them would be here, one point I'm making is that Frank Thomas is damn good. (I stumbled upon this while arguing whether the Big Hurt should be in the HOF) Another, and more importantly, is that traditionally Phillies first baseman have been pretty bad.
It was relatively hard to put together the list, there was three seasons that stuck out, another three that belonged, and the final four could be shuffled around or out of the list completely. There are alot of pre-1950 seasons on the list, espically 1930's, and it was hard to guage them against each other, as far as competive balance and such.
10. Ed Delahanty, 1900
Ah, I remember it just like it was yesterday...This is actually one of Delahanty's worst years, and when your a Hall of Famer that's probably not such a bad season.
.323/ .378/ .430 with 82 R, 32 2B, 10 3B, 2 HR, 109 RBI, 16 SB, and 41 BB in 539 AB (131 G)
9. Pete Rose, 1979
Because of his 1981 season he received more accolades, such as top ten in the MVP voting, but his 1979 was better; mostly because he played 60 more games. And what you'll tend to realise in these lists, is that I won't favor shortened seasons.
.331/ .418/ .430 with 90 R, 40 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 59 RBI, 20 SB, 95 BB, and 32 K's in 628 AB (163 G)
8. Mike Schmidt, 1985
Schmidt played one full year at first, and while it wasn't his best, it was still pretty good.
.277/ .375/ .532 with 89 R, 31 2B, 5 3B, 33 HR, 93 RBI, 87 BB, and 117 K's in 549 AB (158 G)
7. John Kruk, 1993
I loved Kruk, but to think he was probably the best first baseman the Phils have had in thirty years really blows me over. This season, of course, is from the year they almost won it all.
.316/ .430/ .475 with 100 R, 33 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB, 111 BB, and 87 K's in 535 AB (150 G)
6. Don Hurst, 1929
Don Hurst's second year in the league, he put up this:
.304/ .390/ .525 with 100 R, 29 2B, 4 3B, 31 HR, 125 RBI, 10 SB, 80 BB, and 36 K's in 589 AB (154 G)
5. Fred Luderus, 1915
This is the absolute putting it into context season; Phils lost to the Red Sox in the World Series and Luderus was top ten in alot of offense categories. Luderus was 6th in the league in homeruns, Hurst, fourteen years later with 31 HR, was also 6th. The difference a few years makes.
.315/ .376/ .457 with 55 R, 36 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB, 42 BB, and 36 K's in 499 AB (141 G)
4. Dolph Camilli, 1936
.315/ .441/ .577 with 106 R, 29 2B, 13 3B, 28 HR, 102 RBI, 116 BB, and 84 K's in 530 AB (151 G)
3. Dolph Camilli, 1937On of two people on this list, 20 G's less than 1936. In 1941 he would become MVP...for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
.339/ .446/ .587 with 101 R, 23 2B, 7 3B, 27 HR, 80 RBI, 90 BB, and 82 K's in 475 AB (131 G)
2. Jim Thome, 2003
I'm pretty sure if I did this list next year, he would have two seasons on here. I'm very thankful for last years....
.266/ .385/ .573 with 111 R, 30 2B, 3 3B, 47 HR, 131 RBI, 111 BB, and 182 K's in 578 AB (158 G)
1. Don Hurst, 1932
What a difference a year makes; in 1932 Hurst posts almost top league wide numbers, then in 1933 he saw a huge decrease across the board. He never played after 1934, he was only 28.
.339/ .412/ .547 with 109 R, 41 2B, 4 3B, 24 HR, 143 RBI, 10 SB, 65 BB, and 27 K's in 579 AB's (150 G)
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Gammons screwed up...
Peter Gammons recently held a chat session, and the following question/answer appeared midway through it.
Joe (Washington, NJ): Do Larry Bowa & the Phillies finally have it together, or should we phillies phans continue to be prepared for the worst?
Peter Gammons: I would wait and see. They need to first start getting guys on base at the top of the order and not strike out as much. Too many guys swinging and missing too often. Thome and Abreau started to hit this weekend though.
Thome and Abreu started hitting this weekend? Hmmm, Thome's been hitting well for certain, but Abreu? He was 1 for 6 this weekend, and if you include Friday he is 1 for 9. I dunno Peter, that doesn't look like someone who is waking up to me. But then again any hit right now would constitute as "started to hit" for Abreu. Either way Abreu is still getting tons of walks, so it's probably just a matter of time, but it certianly wasn't this past weekend.
Padilla vs. Willis
This series is about as big as they get in April for a Phils fan. The Marlins are looking to rebound, and the Phillies need to prove they can beat the Marlins.
Vincente Padilla (0-1, 4.91) is 3-3 (2.98) in his last 6 starts vs. the Fish, and has handled everyone quite well in their lineup. The only dark spot on his resume would be Miguel Cabrera (3 for 5), who seems destined to be trouble for everyone who pitches him. Otherwise, Padilla has had very good success across the board. This is how it looks: .198/ .277/ .366 in 101 AB's striking out 18. He has given up homers to Choi, Gonzalez, and of course Cabrera.
Dontrelle Willis (2-0, 0.00) has no decisions in three starts against the Phils with a 3.86 ERA. And off the top of my head, I believe they worked him over pretty well in his last two starts against them. In limited AB's Abreu fares best agaisnt him (3 for 6 with a walk) and everyone else has a hit or two in about 7 AB's. Willis has been dominating thus far, but in all fairness, both of his starts were against the Expos. Phils vs. Willis: .224/ .333/ .403 in 67 AB's striking out 16 times.
It's a pretty safe bet Willis lets up a run this game, and if he doesn't, let's hope all the leg kicks tire him out in the second half of the season.
Phillies Weekly Review
Pitcher of the Week: Billy Wagner. Four innings won't qualify many people for this, but Wagner ranks as something different. Wagner, so far, has become the closer we have been waiting for (Sorry Mitch and Jose) and has turned the 9th inning at CBP into somewhat of a spectacle. When "Enter Sandman" plays the place goes crazy, everyone watches in azmazement has tosses his 100+ fastball over the plate, and dissapoints when he only hits 98 or 99. So far 8 100+ pitches have brought the crowd to it's feet. He probably shouldn't have pitched on Sunday, but he didn't slow down. The line: 4 IP, 2 H, 5 K's with 3 S.
Batter of the Week: Jim Thome. I don't want to say I was the one who lit a fire under his ass, so I won't. Burrell had another good week, but it was Thome who hit at a break-neck pace the last seven days. The line: 10 for 20, 6 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR with 4 K's, surprisingly no walks for the big guy this week.
Farm System Pitcher of the Week: Gavin Floyd. See a trend yet? If he is here in the two following weeks I will officially change the name to the Gavin Floyd Award, boy isn't Hamels missing out. Kudos to Brian Powell (Scranton-WB) and Keith Bucktrot (Reading) for their good outings this week, as well as to Greg Kubes (Scranton-WB) for his innings of relief. But Gavin continues to mow down the opposition, and the way things are going he may be movin up soon. The line: 5 IP, 0 H, 1 BB (what was he thinking?) and 6 K's.
Farm System Batter of the Week: Chase Utley. Big week for the Phillies 26th man, weeks like this make you hate Doug Glanville every day of the week except Sundays. The only knock is the number of strikeouts. The line: 8 for 22, 9 RBI, 8 R, 3 BB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 1 3B, 3 BB with 6 K's.
What the Hell? Phillie of the Week: Jimmy Rollins. Like you didn't see this one coming, and if you didn't then your blind. Everyone was so intent on improving his game before the season began, when the only real problem I had with J-Roll was his strikeouts. I thought if he could just take some more pitches he would improve his stock at SS. Sure, everyone would like a '03 Juan Pierre in our lineup, but he just isn't that type of player. Right now everyone would just like the return of '03 Rollins. The leadoff hitting line: 1 for 11, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K. The total line: 1 for 15, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
Abreu and Lieberthal both miss out for the second week, and they have another one like the last two, they will most definately be here.