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Archive for June, 2006

Today is My Birthday

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, June 05, 2006 08:03 AM Comments: 0

The Phils, led by Chase Utley, pulled out a 6-4 win yesterday to split their series with the Dodgers.  Besides smacking a home run early, "Everyone Loves" Utley will be remembered for barreling over Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin to score the game-winning run in the eighth.  Brett Myers had another solid outing, but he does continue to show signs of weakness towards the end of games.  Don’t get me wrong he is a great pitcher, but he simply not been able to close out games effectively this season.  He’s often having to be relieved mid-inning which makes me wonder if Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee should drop the "let him pitch until he gets in trouble" mentality.  I’m not worried too much though, I find solace in Manuel’s scouting report, "Myers is getting better. He’s close. One of these days, I’m going to tell you he’s there." 

Speaking of Uncle Charlie, just before Rheal Cormier came in to relieve Myers, Vin Scully commented on how good an athlete Charlie Manuel while at school in West Virginia but that he often "struggled with the books."  He added a hilarious anecdote from Charlie’s high school basketball coach.  The coach said of the young Charlie, “He could do everything with the ball…except autograph it.”  ……Ahahahah, that is hilarious!  It kinda reminds me of Cletus from the Simpsons.

In today’s Daily News, Marcus Hayes did his best impression of Ryan Franklin’s agent, by relaying the news that Franklin is ready to help the starting rotation.

Gavin Floyd, his replacement, lefthander Eude Brito, and former bullpen standout Ryan Madson have combined to compile an 8.12 earned run average as starters.

Franklin could hardly do worse.

…He said he would need to work on his slider. He said he might give up a home run or two – he gave up 61 the past 2 years combined – but as long as they were solo shots, and as long as the Phillies score some behind him, he figures he could help the rotation.

Hmm, I’m not sure Ryan Franklin’s wishful thinking exactly qualifies for news.  Sure he has been a starting pitcher before, but not a very good one.  He also has been less than effective out of the bullpen this year.  So to say Franklin could hardly do worse than Floyd, Brito and Madson is a pretty baseless claim not to mention that it now serves as a billboard-sized invitation for Franklin to get a chance and completely blow it.

Finally, everyone must click this link and get out the All-Star vote.  Ryan Howard deserves to be an All-Star and now with Albert Pujols’ injury, he has a shot to be the starter; that is, if he can at least crack the top 5.  Another Phil who needs your vote is Chase Utley who trails Craig Biggio by 17,000 votes for the top second baseman spot.  Both these guys deserve better, let’s represent Philly!

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Key Phillies Stats

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, June 03, 2006 10:05 AM Comments: 0

As this morning’s Inquirer pointed out, key hits propelled the Phillies to a 8-6 victory last night in Los Angeles.  All year we’ve heard how the inabilty to drive in runners in scoring position has been killing the Phils.  Not a game goes by where someone doesn’t mention how the Phils are last in the NL in AVG with RISP.  On a whole though the Phillies lineup seems to be hitting well - batters 2-5 all have OPS over .900.  Yet in ‘clutch situations’ they come up short, right?  Well, looking at the table below you will see that not all Phillies are batting poorly with runners in scoring position, only the ones that have the most ABs in that situation – namely, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell.  That’s the problem with average statistics, they tend to gloss over individual data points due to outliers.  So each time you hear how bad the Phils are batting with runners in scoring position, just remember it’s not the whole team that’s batting poorly, just the guys that matter the most (and Jimmy Rollins).

Player AB w/ RISP AVG w/ RISP Pitches/PA
Jimmy Rollins

39

.179

3.43

Chase Utley

37

.351

4.04

Bobby Abreu

50

.320

4.49

Ryan Howard

56

.232

3.80

Pat Burrell

70

.229

4.22

Aaron Rowand

34

.294

3.23

Shane Victorino

26

.269

3.53

David Bell

40

.300

3.54

Mike Lieberthal

33

.273

3.03

Sal Fasano

17

.118

3.44

Next Saturday is the Phillies Nation bus trip to DC.  Tickets are $40 and we have about 5 seats still available, so if you are interested, contact us by Monday at the latest.  If you live in the Washington, DC area and would like to meet up with the group and sit among your loyal comrades, you can purchase a group ticket for $14, again just let us know by Monday. 

Don’t forget today’s game has a 4:10 EST start time.  After tearing up the minors, Eudo Brito will make his first start of the year in the bigs.  Go Phils!

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Gavin Floyd Dejected and Rejected

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, June 02, 2006 03:37 PM Comments: 0

It did not take long after Gavin Floyd’s horrendous outing last night for Pat Gillick to realize that Floyd could no longer be part of the Phillies starting rotation.  This morning Gavin was optioned back to Scranton where he spent most of last season.  It should not have come as a surprise to Gavin or anyone, especially after last night’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers after which Charlie Manuel commented, "We’ve got some weaknesses on our ball club and we need to take care of it."  Pitching coach Rich Dubee spoke more directly about Floyd saying, "I’m not sure he knows how to close out an inning."  In 23-year old’s eleven starts this season he went 7-3 with a 7.29 ERA – the highest in the National League.  Although he did officially pitch a complete game shutout (5 innings versus the Mets), he served up 14 home runs in just over 54 innings which was most on the team and seventh-most in the majors.  He ranked 490 out of 496 in VORP among all pitchers with a -11.6 mark, which essentially means almost anyone else could have done a better job than Gavin.

This of course opens a spot for Cole Hamels to seamlessly return to the rotation.  The Phils coordinated Floyd’s turn to start with Hamels’ rehab assignment last night just in case a situation such as this arose.  Cole pitched well last night in 5 and two-thirds innings giving up three hits (including a home run) while striking out three and walking two.  Most importantly he showed no signs of shoulder discomfort and is expected to start Tuesday in Arizona.  Also affected by the Floyd fallout are Eude Brito, who was called up to take Gavin’s place and will likely remain a starter for the duration of Lieber’s time on the DL, and Brian Sanches, whose potential demotion to Scranton in favor of Brito will no longer be necessary.

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Rollins Rebirth is Stillborn

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, June 01, 2006 01:22 PM Comments: 0

After the first few games of having Jimmy Rollins back in the leadoff role after a short-lived stint in the six hole, I was almost ready to claim he regained his early season confidence.  I decided to wait a few days to see if he kept up the hitting, and I’m glad I did.  After going 8-14 with 2 RBIs, 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, and a homer in his first three games back at the top, he subsequently rolled off a 1 for 8 streak in the past two.  It seems as the season progresses you’re not sure which Rollins is gonna show up – the one that’s red hot or the one’s that ice cold.  With his recent performance, I’m dumbfounded as to how he ever sustained a 38-game hit streak.  Jimmy is on pace to equal his career-high in walks (57) this season so maybe he if can just get on base his paltry average won’t be such a drain on the lineup.  If he does get to first base this series against the Dodgers, he would be wise to stay there if Russell Martin is behind the plate.  Although Dodger pitchers are not the best at holding runners, Baseball Prospectus recently wrote up Martin for his effectiveness in throwing out runners.  There’s something for Jimmy and the rest of the Phils to keep in mind; for the rest of us, here are a few more points to ponder:

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