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Archive for April, 2006

Why Manuel Hasn’t Been Fired

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, April 16, 2006 09:21 PM Comments: 0

Jayson Stark attempted to clear up a few matters related to Charlie Manuel recently in his ESPN Insider column, "Rumblings and Grumblings."  With a constant buzz calling for Manuel’s firing after a horrendous homestand to start the season, Stark believes the fact that no action has been taken simply because Pat Gillick has only seen his manager on the job for two weeks.  That may be the true, but it certainly leaves the door open for Gillick to give him the boot later this season once the poor in-game decisions start rivaling attendance figures.  Here are two quotes from the Phillies GM:

"Charlie is a very positive guy, and I think that’s what this club needs.  The one thing I’ve seen so far is that this club has played hard and hustled and hasn’t backed off. … And I think that’s important.

"[T]he feeling I get, on the field and in the clubhouse, is that Charlie’s got these guys in the proper frame of mind."

While these compliments are likely true, it still doesn’t mean the Phillies can’t have a manager with these qualities and avoids managerial mistakes.  One should note that there is precedent for Gillick firing a manager in the middle of the season.  In 1989 with the Blue Jays, he sacked Jimmy Williams in favor of Cito Gaston after the team started the season with a 12-24 record.

But maybe with the victory today we should be a bit nicer to Mr. Manuel; eventhough he maybe should have pinch hit for Brett Myers in the top of the eighth today.  The Phillies won 1-0 in Colorado after splitting the first two slugfests to take the series and improve to 5-7.  Ryan Howard’s second home run of the season was all the Phillies needed in today’s pitchers duel.  To his credit, Myers was throwing the ball well as he recorded five strikeouts and just a single walk in his first outing lasting over five innings this year.

Slowly but surely the Phillies are coming around to the 2006 season, but since the Mets are off to a franchise best start, they have a long way to go.  The 10-game homestand starting Tuesday against the troubled Nationals – and also featuring the Marlins and Rockies – should give the Phillies a pretty good chance to make up some ground, finish April with a respectable record, and get Jon Lieber his first win of the season. 

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The Phillies are Fun, Here’s Proof

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, April 15, 2006 12:20 AM Comments: 0

A nice game tonight, I think we can all agree - a great start by Ryan Madson, securing the longest outing by a Phillies pitcher so far this season, and an offensive explosion (in a Coors Field of all places) with homeruns for Pat Burrell (4), Aaron Rowand (2) and two for Chase Utley (4), one of them a grand slam.  It got a little too close for comfort there at the end, but yes, the Phillies have reeled off a three game winning streak, but just like last week, let’s not get too emotional.  I still don’t agree with Charlie Manuel’s decision-making, but as it’s been said many times before, winning cures everything. 

Thanks again for all those who came out on Opening Day and took part in the tailgate party.  If you haven’t seen the pictures yet, click the image below for a slideshow.  If you have seen the pictures, click the picture anyway because about 20 more photos were added, including a few from the first game of the Dodgers doubleheader (a.k.a. the Phillies first win.)

Opening ceremonies at Citizen's Bank Ballpark

So building on the fun and success of our first Phillies Nation event, I wanted to inform everyone about some tentative plans for upcoming parties.  The first one while officially billed as College Night is open to everyone and will take place next Thursday, April 20.  A new promotion of the Phillies, College Nights honor local colleges with special introductions, giveaways, events & promotions.  All students, faculty & alumni are invited to enjoy a $7 discount off $35-$15 regular price tickets purchased online for the dates listed below.  Besides the dates being College Nights, there are extra promotions going on to lure you to the party, not the least of which our second tailgate party next Thursday.

  • Wednesday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Washington Nationals – Dollar Dog Day
  • Thursday, April 20 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Washington Nationals – JRoll beanie hat (ages 15 and over) & Phillies Nation tailgate Party!
  • Monday, April 24 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies – Dollar Dog Day
  • Wednesday, April 26 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies 
  • Thursday, April 27 at 3:05 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies – Businessperson’s Special
  • Thursday, May 4 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves

Now if that wasn’t enough we’re got two more schemes up our three-quarter length sleeves.  The 3rd Phillies Nation tailgate party is scheduled for May 20th versus the Red Sox (which also has WB Mason Delivery Trucks for fans 14 and under).  We are planning to hook up with Smokin’ Dave and his mouth-watering BBQ experience complete with pulled pork sandwiches, brisket, burgers, dogs….the works!  The festivities start at 1 pm in the Jetro parking lot. 

The following month’s event is being billed as the biggest one yet – a road trip to see the Phillies take on the Washington Nationals on June 10th at 1:05.  We plan on taking 50 of the most fanatical (or first responding) Phillies fans for a bus trip down I-95 to visit the nation’s capital and see the NL east matchup.  The day will start at CBP around 8 or 9 in the morning and, barring extra innings or traffic, return to the park around 8pm that night.  Tickets for the game and bus should run somewhere between $40 and $50.  We are also planning on meeting up with the Washington, DC branch of Phillies Nation for another great tailgate experience at RFK Stadium.

More information on these fun events will be provided as the dates near, but if you are interested, please leave a comment or send us an email so we can start estimating numbers.  Even if the Phillies aren’t always winning inside the ballpark, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun outside!

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Fake News on Jimmy Rollins

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, April 13, 2006 10:28 AM Comments: 0

From The Onion today:

Jimmy Rollins Extends Non-Sequential-Game Hit Streak
April 13, 2006 | Onion Sports
ATLANTA—With his 3-for-4 performance in Monday night’s game against the Braves, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins extended his non-sequential-game hit streak to 748 non-consecutive games, the only recorded, and therefore longest, streak of its kind in major-league history. "The key reason my streak has gone on as long as it has is that I’m not just trying to go out there and get a hit in every at bat, or even in every game," Rollins said. "And oftentimes I don’t. But you’ve just got to move on, count the hits you do get, and have confidence that, be it the next game or the next series, eventually another hit will drop in to keep the streak alive." Rollins also pointed out that his consecutive-game hit streak actually stands at 801 if you take the extra ones he got in multi-hit games and distribute them among the games in which he was hitless.

I have a wise uncle who often tells me, "Many a truth is said in jest," and I believe that phrase relevant here.  While we all lament the fact that JRoll’s hitting streak ended at 38 games, we must be simultaneously encouraged by his overall offensive performance this year.  So far he is batting .394/.417/.515 with 13 hits and 7 runs in 33 ABs.  Most impressive however, is his relatively low strikeout count - just two.  On his career he averages a strikeout in 14% of ABs, whereas early in this season the rate is just 6% (note: some salt must be taken with analysis based on such a small sample size). 

I’m starting to believe all the hype about the positive effects of Jimmy’s new swing approach and training regiment.  He praised the merits of Bobby Abreu’s tip to get comfortable by hitting 100 balls tossed by a teammate into a net.  I only wonder why in the six years of playing alongside each other, they hadn’t already exchanged this advice – not to mention the fact that the drill is pretty routine even at the high school level.  Nonetheless, between the end of last year and the beginning of this one, it appears Jimmy is starting to turn a corner offensively.  He still will probably never be the prototypical leadoff hitter; but at his current production, for the Phillies, he’ll certainly do.

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And here’s to you Charlie Manuel

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, April 12, 2006 05:49 AM Comments: 0

Well, we should all rejoice in the fact that the Phillies did not lose last night.  Tonight they look to avoid their worst start since going 1-8 in 1987 as Cory Lidle takes the mound against Jorge Sosa and the Braves.  In the last spring training meeting between the two clubs, the Phillies tagged the righty for 4 runs off 5 hits including a monstrous 3-run homer by Ryan Howard.  But alas, this is obviously not spring training anymore, if were, the Phillies would probably be winning at a rate of more than once a week.  Yes, things are looking down for the Fightins’ and statistics have been flashed everywhere explaining the poor performance - paltry average with RISP, low run production, opposing pitchers hitting the ball well, just to name a few.  To add insult to underachieving, these stats all converge to give the Phillies the penultimate position in Baseball Prospectus’ first power rankings.  All this bad news notwithstanding, I hope everyone retains confidence that the Phillies will turn it around, they are a much better team that what we have seen the past week.

The numbers will improve, but can the same be said for the on-field decision-making?  I’m not ready to start calling for Charlie Manuel to be fired…wait…on second though, yes I am.  After the litany of questionable calls on opening day, we’ve seen more of the same from the manager – the decision to sit Rowand, Burrell, and Howard during the second game of the Dodgers doubleheader, not pinch hitting Dellucci for Bell against a righty in the first game – the list continues to grow.  And that’s the sad thing, Charlie entered the season with this stigma attached knowing he would be scrutinized and he’s not helping his cause. 

In regards to the Bell situation mentioned above, Manuel said he thought about pinch-hitting, but decided against it because he was down to two extra players.  Well not surprisingly, the beleaguered third baseman grounded into a double-play in the at bat.  Everyone knows he’s awful against right-handed pitching and this was an at bat with the game on the line, that’s the only information you need to make that call, anything else is second guessing.  That right there is the crux of the issue.  I wholeheartedly believe when you peel back all the layers of Charlie Manuel there is a decent manager, but his major malfunction is that he constantly outthinks himself.  I’m not talking the crazy Darren Daulton outthinking or the overly tactical Tony LaRussa or Terry Francona kind, it’s other factors including player loyalty and always heeding the unwritten rules of baseball.  That’s why we call him "Charlie from Mayberry" and "Uncle Charlie," because he manages with his heart and not his brain.  Anyone who has been as baseball as long as he has can’t help but pick up a wealth of knowledge, the problem with Charlie is just that he doesn’t know how to use it.  It’s one thing for an opposing team to beat the Phils outright, on any given day one team can be physically better than another; but to lose games due to factors that can be controlled - like managerial decisions – is something I cannot tolerate.  Unfortunately I have no faith that this issue will resolve itself, rather only debilitate the club as the season progresses – they’re already wasted too many games.  For that reason, I feel it’s time for Manuel to go.

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Never too early for trade rumors

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 10, 2006 07:38 PM Comments: 0

Judging by the results of the latest poll, most of you have not given up on the Phils just yet.  With only a single victory and 3.5 game hole in the standings to show for the first week, things still couldn’t be much worse.  Thankfully the boys at Baseball Prospectus have some reassuring words, "The most important point I can make on April 10: everyone, calm the hell down. We’ve watched about 4% of the season…"  While it may be true, it’s never too early to mull over some appetizing trade rumors.

The first one comes via, the Beaver County Times and claims that the Fightins’ are interested in Pirates prospect Ronny Paulino, who is currently playing AAA ball in Indianapolis.  The soon to be 25-year old did well in his 5 plate appearances with the Pirates last season (2 hits, a walk and a run scored) but I am curious as to why the Phils would be pursuing a young catcher with so many already in the kitty.  A few months ago we profiled the potential replacements for Lieberthal, who’s contract expires after this season, and Carlos Ruiz or Jason Jaramillo seem likely candidates for the job.  Still though, if the Phils are in the market for a catcher it would make more sense to try and fill a short-term void, i.e. someone to play out the season since Lieberthal is offensively and defensively challenged.

Another player due to be granted free agency after this season is the Orioles All-Star third baseman, Melvin Mora.  He and the O’s have been unable to agree on a 3-year contract extension:  Mora wants $27 million and the team is offering $24 million.  The Washington Post claims, "One source close to Mora said he would welcome the opportunity to play for the Philadelphia Phillies if they came calling. Not only are the Phillies located close to Baltimore, Mora would be playing alongside Bobby Abreu, one of his best friends in baseball."  Again, like the catcher rumors this wouldn’t solve the short-term David Bell issue.  Besides, although Abraham Nunez might not be the best choice to be the Phillies third baseman of the future, he is signed through 2007 and thus decreases the urgency for finding a replacement for Bell.

Essentially though, any truth to these rumors would have little effect on the current state of the Phillies.  Unless a blockbuster deal is in the works – and Pat Gillick says it’s not – the team you’re watching on ESPN tonight is likely the one you’ll be seeing all season.

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The City Line

Posted by Jim Amato, Sat, April 08, 2006 11:59 AM Comments: 0

I think Charlie Manuel said it best last night after the Phils fell to 0-4 with a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers.  In his post game press conference Charlie, using only the vocabulary and twang that has endeared him so much to this town and its fans, said, "Basically, if you look at us after four games, we pretty much stink."  Charlie is frustrated, as are the fans, but it is only for games.  What is disturbing is that all four games have been at home and the fact that the entire Phillies team, from front office, to managers and coaches, to players preached to us how important it was to get off to a good April.  The team is 0-4 for the first time since 1987 and if they lose today against the Dodgers (weather permitting) they will be 0-5 for the first time since 1934 when they started off the season 0-7.  The question is, how has this happened?  The answer is mostly due to what all were worried about going into the season.  Even with Gillick at the reins these are the same old Phillies.  The starting pitching has been atrocious, they still can not get a clutch hit with runners in scoring position, the catcher and third baseman look overmatched and overpaid, and Charlie Manuel continues to make questionable decisions. 

The Phillies starting staff ERA at this moment is over 9 and so far none of the 4 starters have lasted more than 5 innings.  Surprisingly, the bullpen (aside from Tom Gordon in the ninth against the Cardinals) has been a nice surprise.  For example the combination of Santana, Fultz, and Franklin pitched 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball after Floyd self combusted in 2 and 2/3 to at least give the Phils a fighting chance to come back.  The stats are ugly, 21.6?  10.12? Are those ERA’s for real? 

The pitching is the obvious reason for the Phils, slow start, but to blame it solely on the starting staff would be a mistake.  The Phillies are having trouble getting runs batted in and have yet to have that "big" 4-5 run inning that really puts a dagger in the opponents heart.  Charlie’s inconsistency in setting the line up has something to do with the slow start.  Rowand can not bat #2, not until he starts hitting, which honestly he may only be a .260 batter who is a defensive stud.  The Phillies do not have a #2 batter.  Utley is too talented to bat #2.  Rowand is not good enough.  Bell, possible, but not likely.  Who then?  Abreu would make sense.  

     1. Rollins
     2. Abreu
     3. Utley
     4. Burrell
     5. Howard
     6. Rowand
     7. Bell/Nunez
     8. Lieberthal/Fassano        

This lineup would also correct the problem of Howard batting sixth right now.  Abreu was willing to play CF and bat lead off for the Venezuelan national team, he should be more than willing to do it for the team that is paying him millions of dollars, alas I realize that is most likely not true. 

Finally, while the season is only four games old, one more disturbing trend from years past seems to be rearing its ugly head.  No player on this team seems to care about losing.  There is no urgency in their faces, or their actions.  They walk/run around The Money Pit as if it was a private country club and it should be the fans pleasure and honor to watch them play baseball.  Guys, its only a pleasure when you win, or at least put out maximum effort in a loss. 

That’s the story from The City Line

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Cardinals sweep Phillies, Rollins goes hitless

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, April 06, 2006 08:08 PM Comments: 0

Sigh…how quickly we forget what it feels to be a Phillies fan.  "I wish there weren’t an offseason, that way I wouldn’t forget what this feels like."  I penned that sentence on April 25 of last season, but it’s sure just as applicable today.  Of course, its only three games and no one’s giving up on the Phils anytime soon, it’s just frustrating having to watch the club lose and lose and lose this week.  The Phils only managed 5 hits today, all off Jason Marquis – the bane of my existence. 

Bobby Abreu had two of those hits, but continues to get jeered by the Phillies faithful at CBP.  The Abreu bashing has really entered a new level beginning with his mid-to-late season slump last year.  I realize he doesn’t always hustle and seems like a complacent player in general, but the Phillies would be no where without his offensive numbers.  Check out his average production over 162 games, .303/.411/.512, 23 HR, 95 RBI, 29 SB, 107 BB, 28 Win Shares.  Sure he might not have deserved that gold glove last year, but I’m not sure all this venom against the guy is completely warranted.

As an added helping of salt in the wounds, Jimmy Rollins’ hitting streak ended today at 38 games as he went 0-4.  A few weeks ago our poll asked when you thought the streak would end and to the 39% plurality who voted after two games but within the first week, congratulations you guessed right.  Perhaps now he will take a few more pitches in an attempt to draw walks.  Usually when you ask J-Roll about why he doesn’t take more pitches, he claims that’s just not his style of play, he’s the aggressive type.  He’ll often point to the fact that he’s regularly at the top of the table in runs scored, as well.  But not even his own mother can convince him to swing a little less.  As we’ve seen in the slew of interviews leading up to the season, J-Roll thoroughly enjoys the spotlight and relishes in the pressure to get hits and get on base.  However, in this opinion he’s borderline selfish.  He should be up there helping out his teammates batting behind him by taking pitches, drawing walks, fouling balls off, and in general tiring the opposing pitcher and exposing his stuff.  There’s a slim chance that with the attention off him for a while he’ll start thinking more along these lines, but again, those chances are indeed slim.

Sure things looking bad now - along with everything mentioned above, you can add David Bell’s awful performance today and the fact that Mike Lieberthal ending the game for the second time in two nights.  But there’s still hope.  To find the last team to start the season 0-3 and still make the playoffs you only need to go as far back as 2003 when our own division-mates, the Atlanta Braves did it.  If that doesn’t cheer you up, maybe you can recall the scene from today’s game of Charlie Manuel in the dugout.  Just as the camera panned onto our fearless leader, the gum he was chewing popped right out of his mouth and onto his jacket.  Word on the street is he was trying to think and chew at the same time and things got just a bit too complicated.

If you’re still depressed about the start of the season, click on the picture below to witness the fun that can still by Phillies fans.  These are the photos from the Phillies Nation Opening Day tailgate party.  A big thanks goes out to all that attended as well as to Rob for putting it all together – thanks!  There are plenty of more fun events planned no matter the Phillies record, but let’s all hope they can go out tomorrow behind Gavin Floyd and secure the first win of the season.  Go Phils!  

 

Fun outside the Park, sadness within

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Phillies Finances

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, April 05, 2006 12:40 PM Comments: 0

Published today was the annual list of Phillies player salaries, but for complete listing of Phillies contract lengths and annual payouts here is a better resource, also linked to in the "salaries" box on the right.  Once again the Phils are there near the top of the list at around $95 million – depending how you classify the $22 million being spent on Jim Thome.  Player salaries are certainly a highly debatable subject, with millions of hours spent, databases filled and calculators punched to determine the proper value of players.  So is the current Phillies squad worth the money?  Well, that’s an even more contentious question.  With the current average salary per player standing at $2.87 million, a team of 25 players would average about $71 million.  Of course that’s the average – blown out by the Yankees and a handful of other superstars - not the median.

You look at a team like the Yankees or Mets who print their own money thanks to lucrative team-owned television station and they have no problem overpaying players no matter their actual value (see Billy Wagner).  Even the Orioles are cashing in on the action with the launch of MASN.  The new channel not only covers the O’s but the Nationals as well; which, when combined, accounts for the third largest television market in the country.  The poor Nationals will only see 10-25% of that money with the rest lining the pockets of Peter Angelos – another concession granted to him by MLB in exchange for moving the Expos to DC.  At this point, is anyone wondering the Phils don’t have their own station?  Well, the do partly.  Comcast SportsNet is in fact a joint venture between Comcast-Spectacor and the Philadelphia Phillies, so in exchange for broadcasting rights, they are receiving a kick-back there.  How much? I don’t know, but I am investigating it.

Besides the TV deal and the equity garnered by the new ballpark, a lot of accounts receivable obviously comes from you and me.  Team Marketing Report has just released their latest survey of Fan Cost Index (full 2006 report not yet available online, but here’s 2005), which tracks the cost of attendance for a family of four. The FCI includes: two adult average price tickets; two child average price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.  The Phillies FCI came in at $193.71, which sounds pretty pricey.  But when you look at all the factors which they measure, I don’t think a family really purchases all that much stuff each game it attends.  The good people at Baseball Prospectus too have a running complaint with the way FCI is calculated.  So think what you want about the Phillies financials (just don’t call it "phinancials"), there isn’t much of an argument put forth today, I just wanted to showcase the 2006 numbers.  More to come after the Phils look to rebound tonight against Mudler and the Red Birds…Go Phils!

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Opening Day 2006 – Citizen’s Bank Park

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 03, 2006 10:04 PM Comments: 0

Thanks to Brandon Boyd, Maria Pratt, Alex Herrera for the pictures.

Click for slideshow

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Don’t worry, 161-1 is still possible

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 03, 2006 09:05 PM Comments: 0

Where do you even begin talking about today’s game?  You wait six months for the happiest day of the year and then bam!  It’s waking up on Christmas morning and realizing the Grinch stole all your presents.  Of course, the silver lining for today was the fact that Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 37 games.  As for the rest of the game, well, they have an expression here in England that when things go bad, they say it "went pear shaped."  In the fourth inning, things certainly went pear shaped for Jon Lieber and the Phils.  As any novice golfer knows, you gotta keep the snowman (8) off the scorecard.  As I watched the game while hanging out at the PhilliesPhans.com message board, I said in the second inning, "Gotta be impressed with 3 Ks. I’m just worried the second time around the Cards lineup will hone in on Lieber since he’s throwing all strikes. We have a great defense, but they cant keep the ball in the park."  Yikes!!

I’m not going to completely deride Lieber just yet, saying we saw the "real" Lieber today.  Let’s just hope after a great end to last season, followed by a poor spring he just needs a couple starts under his belt to get going.  Still, the Phils can’t afford to throw any games away, especially coming off a season that was one game away from the playoffs. 

Offensively, Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard kicked off the season with home runs as every Phillies starter recorded a hit.  That would be good news if not for the counterargument that over the course of two innings every Cardinal starter took a turn crossing home plate.  Chase Utley’s double off the top of the new left-field wall in the ninth would certainly have been a home run last year.  Like we’ve said before, the new wall’s supposed to save some home runs, but half (or probably more) would have been hit by the Phillies.

I’m glad JRoll got his hit, it certainly salvaged the day for the fans who toughed it out in the raining while watching the home club get thrashed.  I just hope the streak doesn’t affect the way the game is played or managed.  Should Jimmy have swung at a 3-0 pitch?  Well, in the context of a 36-game hitting streak on the line with your team getting blown out, sure no problem, swing away.  But what if the score was 3-2?  According to Jimmy, "If he had thrown a ball and I couldn’t get to it, I wouldn’t have swung.  I wasn’t going to give the at-bat away."  I can only hope that from now on, Jimmy gets all his hits early in the game as to get the streak business out of the way so everyone can focus clearly.

All in all, there’s no point in trying to extrapolate today’s horrendous performance into any armageddon scenario for the entire season.  It’s only one game.  However one thing I do want to make note of are some questionable moves by manager Charlie Manuel.  I’m going to be real nit-picky, some calls are really minor points or even highly debatable, but they’re all at least questionable and given his track record, I figure its something to mention.

  • Should Lieber have started over Myers?
  • Should Sal Fasano, Lieber’s battery mate, have started over Lieberthal and his Opening Day streak?
  • Should Nunez, with his lifetime .248 AVG /.314 OBP /.326 SLG, have been batting second?
  • Why he wait until Lieber went 1-0 to Pujols before bringing in Santana?
  • Should Franklin have been brought in for long relief in the fourth?
  • On that note, are the "good" relievers (Franklin, Rhodes, Gordon) only saved for close games, while today saw just the "scrubs"?
  • Was it smart to intentionally walk Jim Edmonds to load the bases for Scott Rolen even if hindsight wasn’t 20/20?
  • With 2 men on and 2 outs in the bottom of the fourth was right-hander Alex Gonzalez the best choice to pinch hit against the righty pitcher with lefty Dellucci and switch-hitting Victorino also on the bench?
  • Why didn’t Pujols and Rolen receive HBPs everytime they approached the plate?

Ok, the last one was kinda brutal, but it definitely would have mitigated some of the damage.  So, would reversals of any of these managerial decisions have made a difference today?  Who knows?  I realize I’m being overly critical of Manuel on just the opening day, but with a loss as bad as this I’m leaving no stone unturned.  It’s been said before that blowout losses are easier to forget than close hard-fought losses.  Hopefully this is true and the Phillies don’t harp on today’s debacle during their day off tomorrow.  There’s 161 games left, everyone take a step back from the ledge.

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