NLDS Preview Part IV : Bench

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, September 30, 2008 12:24 PM | Comments: 8

We continue our seven-part look at the NLDS.

Part IV : Bench

LH: Greg Dobbs (.301, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 30 R, 3 SB, .824 OPS)
LH: Geoff Jenkins (.246, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 27 R, 1 SB, .693 OPS)
LH: Matt Stairs (.252, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 46 R, 1 SB, .750 OPS)
RH: Chris Coste (.263, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 28 R, 0 SB, .748 OPS)
RH: Eric Bruntlett (.217, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 37 R, 9 SB, .594 OPS)
RH: So Taguchi (.220, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 18 R, 3 SB, .580 OPS)

LH: Mike Lamb (.235, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 22 R, 0 SB, .596 OPS)
LH: Russell Branyan (.250, 12 HR, 20 RBI, 24 R, 1 SB, .925 OPS)
RH: Rickie Weeks (.234, 14 HR, 46 RBI, 89 R, 19 SB, .740 OPS)
RH: Bill Hall (.225, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 50 R, 5 SB, .689 OPS)
RH: Mike Rivera (.306, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R, 2 SB, .812 OPS)

The Brewers play with a couple platoons. One is the second base platoon between Ray Durham (singles, doubles) and Weeks (homers, steals). They also move Hall around and start him a lot at third base, though he has sat considerably lately for Craig Counsell. Both Weeks and Hall can pop the ball out of the yard. Weeks is also dangerous as a stolen base threat, so he can be a very versatile option for the Brewers.

Of course, both Weeks and Hall aren’t really contact hitters, so the Phils can feel lucky about that. The lefties on the bench are the same. Lamb is more of a last-gasp piece, while Branyan is one Phillie fans know well from 2007. He’ll do exactly what you’d think — hit a home run, or walk, or strike out. That’s it. He’ll get spots with men on base against righties. JC Romero will be ready to face him.

Rivera is the backup catcher, and will be used as such. Kendall plays practically every game.

The Phillies will go with a six-man bench. Dobbs is the big bat, the one who will get the first look with men on and a righty on the mound. The Brewers should try to disable him with Brian Shouse. After Dobbs, it’s more or less famine. Stairs is a nice option if you want instant pop, much like Branyan. Jenkins provides instant not-much-at-all, much like Hall, but is capable of a homer, much like Hall.

On the right side, the Phils are even more empty. Bruntlett might be the first man off the bench because of his versatility and knack for the single-and-steal. But something tells me Charlie Manuel might go with Taguchi first, as his experience outweighs seemingly everything else, including statistics. He hasn’t hit well this season, but could very easily get a big hit or two.

Coste is the backup catcher and may be used as a pinch hitter, considering he has the most pop from the right side.

Analysis: The Brewers have a little more home run power off the bench, so I have to give them a slight advantage. If Branyan gets five tries in the series, one of them will be a home run. Hall, while not a real astute hitter, can also rip one. I like Weeks’ versatility as a hitter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s used in bunt situations.

I’m not too worried about the lefties, though. Branyan probably won’t get five tries, and Lamb isn’t that tough. Romero and Eyre will be used against Fielder and Counsell, but besides them? I see Madson and Durbin being more important in this series.

The Phils bench lacks right-handed pop, which could hurt considering the Brewers will be toting Shouse and Mitch Stetter against lefties. I’m afraid Dobbs won’t get his chance against a righty — all he really needs is one chance. There’s not much worse than seeing Brunlett or even Coste at the plate in a deciding situation late, because there are no other righty bench players.

It’s possible Manuel starts Dobbs, considering Milwaukee has just one lefty starter. That gives Manuel at least the option of Pedro Feliz on the bench. Hopefully he thinks about that. As for Jenkins and Stairs, I’m not completely sold on either, though I still think Jenkins has a big hit in him.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Joey

    Will Coste continue to catch Myers or will it be Ruiz hereonin?

  • Posts: 0 Peter

    Lamb will not be on the postseason roster fyi wasn’t claimed until Sept 10th. Most likely Joe Dillon will be the guy to replace him and Tony Gwynn Jr will be the fourth outfielder.

  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Thanks Peter. Sometimes it’s hard keeping track of other teams…

  • Posts: 0 Gabriel

    first off tim – great job so far with these breakdowns
    this might be the only thing containing my excite for tomorrow… section 316 baby!!!
    something tells me that so taguchi is going to be a larger factor in this postseason than he’s led us to believe by his 162 games of errors and crap at bats.
    he has the experience and was a huge part of that cardinals team a few years ago.
    also in the last meaningless game of the year he went 3-5 w/a three bagger so maybe he plugged the holes in his bat.
    as long as we keep the ball down in the zone against their bench we should be okay, this isn’t a bench of full of carlos delgado we’re dealing with here right?

  • [...] Malcolm’s PhilliesNation NLDS preview is getting serious.  Here is the bench, but keep checking back for the seven part [...]

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    what the hell is so taguchi going to contribute to this playoff run? absolutely nothing. thats what. Greg Golson could have helped atleast a little by pinch running late in games. and i ‘m sure he could hit at least as well as taguchi and play much better defense as well. i don’t get it

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Golson CAN’T HIT at this level yet… Taguchi at least gives you a fighting chance.. I think they can adjust their roster at the start of each series?? So maybe we’ll see Golson if we advance.

  • Posts: 0 blackhat forum

    I love your website! did you create this yourself or did you outsource it? Im looking for a blog design thats similar so thats the only reason I’m asking. Either way keep up the nice work I was impressed :)

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