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APRIL Showers Bring MAYbe too Much Doubt

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, April 28, 2011 09:08 PM | Comments: 32
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Here is the first post by our new contributor, former All-Star commenter Donald McGettigan. You know him as Don M. on the commenting threads. Welcome him in with open arms, he’ll now be part of Phillies Nation as a writer, putting that journalism degree to good use!

————–

So today is an off day, a rainy one… and no Flyers either, damn!

Our Fightin Phils managed to escape Arizona with a win to avoid the series sweep, and pull off a trip to the West Coast with a 5-2 record.  Regardless of the opponent, I’ll take that every time!  The big news of the day was the departure of Roy Oswalt and Carlos Ruiz, and our Pat Gallen dove into that yesterday.  Oswalt’s departure turned out to be precautionary, family-related.  Ruiz’s exit was due to “back pain,” and said after the game that he expects it to be day-to-day, hopefully preventing a trip to Disabled List (as we all keep our fingers crossed).

Even with all that going on, what I found more interesting yesterday was that people were ready to get the trade talks going… ready to release and find replacements for Ibanez, Rollins, Francisco, etc… but then J-Roll (3 RBI) and Benny Fresh (2 RBI) had games that helped carry us to victory.  Their production was enough to quiet some critics for a few hours, but before it starts again, I wanted to just throw this out there: It’s just TOO EARLY to get carried away with stats!

If stats in April mattered, San Diego’s Aaron Harang (4 wins, 3.90 ERA) and St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse (4 wins, 1.64 ERA) would be two of the top pitchers in baseball, since their stats are better than that of Phillies ace Cliff Lee (2 wins, 4.18 ERA).  …If stats in April really mattered, then “Hoagie-Joe” Blanton would be viewed as a lousy pitcher with 0 wins, and 5.92 ERA (ouch, that really is pretty crappy). (Note: Joe Blanton was sent to the DL after this post was written and put into the queue, FYI).

The point is, we’ve seen this over, and over again… fans jumping from the wagon, calling for trades, and generally OVERREACTING.  It’s great to care, it’s great to be passionate, but it’s a problem to magnify things this early in the season.  The time will come when our biggest problems will be addressed, but we all know that time is not now.

It’s not yet May, we’re without our #3 hitter, our closer, and even our backup-closer is now out for who knows how long.  Yes, we’ve got multiple guys not playing to their full potential, a manager being questioned about the use and over use of his pitching staff – and yet, we’re sitting at 16-8… not running away with anything, not yet!

In my opinion, it’s just too early to worry and time to keep a little Phaith.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1674 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 4955 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Congrats Don M.

     
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Don M! Good to see you here friend.
    Don’t forget now to add JB to that MIA list, along with Ruiz – man, rough April health wise but the Phils are having a spectacular month all said n’ done.
    Any idea if Cholly is getting someone to backup Schneider? I think Andrew said it a while back, we need a backup catcher. Even if Schneider stays healthy, he is NOT an answer.

     
  • Posts: 909 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    Really Don, a voice of reason in the blog o sphere, I thought I was the only sane one left. LIviiving in Vermont myself, you should of heard the Red Sox fans jumping off the band wagon two weeks into the season. This offense with it faults is good enough to win 93-98 games as long as the 4 top pitchers in the rotation can start 30-32 starts apiece. Look at last year the guys they brought in or up from the minors. Like Sweeny, and all start no, at full time player even no. But did he help them win some games yes. Still think if he would have batted in game 6 the out come against the Giants would have been different. That is me in la la land it know.. But those are the moves this team will make in Juy and August. JRoll will get his extension and depending how Chase does when he comes back and how Dom does if he makes it up for significant time their may not be major changes at all. I love this team and I know there is a lot of passion out there it just seems to me when they are going good many overreact, but not as bad or with as much pessimism when they lose 3 or 4 out of 6 games. If Raul is still hitting under .200 at the end of May they may have to eat his money and look for someone to step up in Left. But if he goes on a 7-8 game runs where he has 10-12 hits and 6 Rbis and a game winning “Lucky ground ball” for a hit I want each of you to come on here and say how right we were to have a little faith in May

     
  • Posts: 2968 Chuck A.

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    Nice article, Don. Well said. Hopefully, people will begin to realize….and truly appreciate….what the Phillies are doing (with their 16-8 record)….and stop bitching and moaning so much. It’s great to want more, but we all just need to stop and be thankful that we have a team like this to root for.

     
  • Posts: 521 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    I certainly agree with Don M that is April and much too early for those who want to push the panic button with talks of trades and name dropping of desired candidates for the team. As Don M pointed out, with all the injuries that put certain key players (and now Joe Blanton with elbow injury) on the DL and a contributory factor for their anemic offense, the team’s record of 16-8 is astonishing. It is a tribute to their fortitude, talent and confidence and combined that with the elite pitching of their starters and surprisingly a very effective bullpen.

    Their 16 wins, as most of you probably know by now, is just one win away form tying a team record for most wins in April. Sure, there are worries about this team with offensive problems and key injuries and a looming schedule that will feature quality opposition. However, this team can ride on the coattails of their superlative pitching and will continue to scrap and fight for every run (smallball anyone?) until they get their players healthy again. It’s no small coincidence that the Manager having experienced those troubled times before (remember last year’s plague of injuries?), continued to confound his critics as he has provided solutions with his handling of the lineup and making the right calls in game situations. That is another factor for those 16 wins as he continued to confound his critics (especially the uninformed fans) who are so reluctant to give him credit.

     
    • Posts: 521 Bruce

      Avatar of Bruce

      Sorry for the repetition of words..”continued to confound his critics..” as it is late and too tired to proofread my comments.

       
  • Posts: 193 bfo_33

    Avatar of

    Nice column Don. I agree that there is no need to panic, and 1 month of stats are pretty much useless. Sometimes, though, the stats match the eye test. Even though you are a big Raul fan, you’ve got to admit he looks bad at the plate, especially against lefties. He’s not a dead pull power hitter, so I don’t think he lost the basic skills, but his timing looks way off. A platoon situation may help him out. Mayberry isn’t your guy (and I understand the reasoning), but would give him a shot against lefties. If he doesn’t pan out, bring up Young.

    They brought up Worley to replace Blanton, but still don’t see a move at catcher. With Schneider’s injury history, I’d be real surprised if they don’t make a move today.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I wouldnt say Panic but a step before. The injuries are just crazy right now. If Chooch is hurt that leaves Schneider an they have to call up Sardinha an the other dude Kraztz or something. They dont have many options as far as catcher and are very thin on that front. Not only the injuries but Ibanez struggling mighty. The armor is thick but how many dents can it take before it caves. Moving on Herndon should be set down in favor of Mathieson. Herndon needs more work an Mathieson should be giving his due he has already proven himself in every level time an time again to at least deserve a shot. After this latest Dl stint Blanton trade bait stock has gone way down. I think we are stuck with him till his contract is up unless another teams gets real desperate.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Well, we bitched about the offense all last season – how the O didn’t play right, how some players didn’t perform well, how some players were too old.

    As it turned out, the offense was stymied in the post season – again.

    While as a general proposition I agree with not looking to make changes in April, especially when a team is in first place, we have the same players that have shown that they can not provide enough O to succeed in the post season. These players aren’t strangers – they’re known quantities. We have seen their body of work and they’re not good enough.

    Can we all agree on this?

    The Dipsy

    P.S. – Nice article, Don. Have you considered a pen name?

     
    • Posts: 2069 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      No Dipsy, I do not agree with this. I don’t believe Cholly will keep with Raul, as much fun as it has been watching Valdez, I cannot wait for Utley’s return and there is a Brown sighting on the horizon. Chooch is NOT as bad as he has shown (lately) and yet the Phils have posted a 10-5 record with what we are saying is a less than adequate offense since the O slipped.

      The Phils are in first place! Some have said look at the caliber of the competition so far but the Phils are winning games they’re supposed to be winning. Remember last years record vs teams like the Stros?

      Point is, the O has been good enough and will perform better and more importantly, the pitching is living up to the hype (so far).

       
    • Posts: 0 Andy

      Yep.

       
    • Posts: 909 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      I do not agree with that dipsy, if Utley can come back and be effective, you key parts of this offense did win a WS yes they are three years older, but in 08 you had guys like Jenkins and Bartlett getting hit in key
      situations. So this offense is capable of gtetting 3 or 4 runs against anyone and that is all you will need if the rotation stays healthy

       
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I agree with Bacardi: no one should jump off the ledge, they are 16-8. But people should be on alert, especially with the injuries to Blanton and Ruiz. They have the tools to keep going as players go in and out of the lineup, but really you can only take so much. If anything, this reiterates the fact that this team has to get younger moving forward.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    Pat, is there any way to disable the custom text on the headers of each post? I prefer regular faced font over cursive, some may like it so I am curious if there is a way to just disable it for myself (settings anywhere)?

     
    • Posts: 579 Brian Michael

      Avatar of Brian Michael

      Yes, I agree. We’ll take care of it.

      Thanks for your feedback.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Brooks – I hope that Chase comes back but I am very skeptical. The man has no cartilage in his knee. I’m no doctor, but I have a hard time understanding how therapy can help someone with this affliction. The problem with the O is the failure of Rollins and Victorino to get on base. I love the triples. I love the inside the park home runs. But quite frankly, we need more walks and singles. A bunt? Their speed is only a plus offensively only when they are on base to use it. We need to swap out Vic for a player with a different skill set and different offensive priorities (see: BUTLER, Brett; PODSEDNIK, Scott; DAMON, Johnny). I, for one, don’t need another three months to assess our O’s strengths and shortcomings.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 147 Don M

    Avatar of Don M

    I think we would all like to see them get younger . . . but they need guys to TAKE these jobs.. they wanted to give it to Brown, but his Fall Ball and Spring Training was nothing short of terrible .. and while I think he will be a very good player .. it was always going to take him time to adjust. I think some fans just assumed he was going to be the next Buster Posey, Mike Stanton, Jayson Heyward – and the reality is that those guys are FREAKS.. Their teams needed them to produce, or they would’ve been .500 clubs last year. . The Phillies are in the position to let their regulars do their thing, and whenever the younger guys have forced their way to the Majors, you worry about who they take over for

     
    • Posts: 2069 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      Don, don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to ‘give’ the job to anyone. That being said, the only thing that can be done with someone like Raul and what he is going through is to sit him down for a spell or at least a few games a week. Then, let Mayberry or DB have a shot at bringning some life into the O – To let the regulars do their thing, does that mean to sit back and let the Z boys go 1 for 71? Or should Cholly do his thing and MANAGE the team?

      I thought the plan from the beggining was to have D Brown, Mayberry and Ben swap up with Raul and see what filters out. The cream will rise (my momma told me that).

       
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    Why is everyone freaking out we are ranked best team I’n baseball with one of the best records

     
    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Dan, I wouldn’t call it a freakout, more of taking caution in what we are seeing. It is a long season and right now they have one of the best records in baseball. But May is a tough month and there are obvious issues with the offense that they’ll need to take care of. So while its good, it’s still not as good and it could/should be overall. They are skating by on pitching and that won’t always happen, in my opinion.

       
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Don M – I think that you’re giving up on Dom Brown a little too soon… Why can’t he be the next Posey/Heyward/Stanton (with one good season under their belts, I guess those guys have made it… I guess)? He had one subpar half of a season in a pinch-hit role… you preach patience; be patient with the young fella. He has slightly different tools than Posey/Stanton (who have more power) and Heyward seems to have an otherworldly talent for getting on base which sets him apart but I think that Dom might be more well-rounded than any of them; he has three well-above average tools (arm, power, average) and two average tools (speed and range/fielding).

    Brown hit another massive HR yesterday…

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/120943919.html

     
  • Posts: 426 Publius

    Avatar of Publius

    You say to not get carried away with stats….yet you don’t use any actual stats in this work, other than context-driven RBI and the oft-maligned ERA and WINS (seriously? Wins?). I’m confused.

    Something that we SHOULD be concerned about? Howsabout the fact that Raul Ibanez is, by WAR, currently the worst position player in all of baseball. Not just at LF. Not just in the NL. But IN ALL OF BASEBALL (check this out here: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0)Just terrifying.

     
  • Posts: 147 Don M

    Avatar of Don M

    I don’t think my saying “I think (Brown) will be a very good player” . . . counts as me giving up on him?

    I just think that we’re always too quick to need the next superstar.. people had his jersey last year.. the same people that had Jason Donald and Lou Marson gear a few years ago. Everyone wants to be the first of their friends to be the biggest fan of the next big thing, etc … and in the case with Brown.. he’s still got a lot of raw talent and needs to grow into his power a little bit. I think by 2013-2014 we could be looking at an All-Star player (but it might be playing behind Halladay, Oswalt, etc.. )

    Brown will be up when healthy, most likely to platoon – and i HOPE that he pushes Francisco to LF …
    but I think that people always set their expectations too high, and then are disappointed with what is otherwise pretty good production.. my whole point is exactly that… Patience .. with Ibanez, with Brown, with Charlie, etc…

     
    • Posts: 147 Don M

      Avatar of Don M

      *** but it might NOT be playing behind Halladay, Oswalt, etc..

       
    • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

      I think you’re selling Brown short… we haven’t had a prospect like Brown in a while. Donald and Marson were “nice” players. I don’t think anyone ever projected them to be superstars… Jason Donald was a career .283 hitting in the minors and he never projected power. Marson was a nice defensive backstop. Domonic Brown is a top 5 BA prospect… they don’t miss on these guys.

       
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        Im really confused as to how/why you think I’m selling Brown short?… By saying that people need to relax their expectations a little, and that he won’t be the world’s great player right away. .

         
      • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

        The problem is that if you don’t think that he’s an every day player now (which you said that you think he’s a platoon guy) you’ve put a limit on what he’s capable of. Look at what the Braves have done with Heyward/Freeman, the Marlins with Stanton and the Giants with Posey… they were handed the keys to the car without a curfew. All of those players have dealt with bumps in the road but they will all be better because of it.

        You said that he’s not the next Posey/Heyward/Stanton – Dom Brown is certainly on that level… he has the talent. Mike Stanton is batting .267 with 2 HR this season. Posey is hitting .259. Heyward is hitting .256. All I’m saying is don’t limit your expectations because that will lead to doubts when he does hit his bumps… he is on that level and he deserves the keys to the car.

         
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Don – I don’t think Brown platoons now. I think he goes directly to RF and BenFran to LF.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 147 Don M

    Avatar of Don M

    Pub,
    Lets go by WAR then . . . since Carl Crawford is the 3rd WORST IN ALL OF BASEBALL.. I’ll go ahead and say its too early to worry about stats

    I used those basic stats because they’ve been the measuring sticks since the early days of baseball…and the average fan knows what they mean. AND…. Since people’s main objection to Jimmy Rollins is that he “ONLY HAS (had) 2 RBI !!!!” …. I put them in the mix..

    and since people are very concerned wtih 20 win seasons by pitchers.. I threw in a stat that proved just how little that stat actually means.

    Holla back

     
    • Posts: 426 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      Ah ok, gotcha there….but don’t be beholden to writing “down” to your audience. Feel free to make them learn a little :)

      And I know that Crawford’s name is up there with the third worst in all of baseball, but his past experience leads me to believe that this is simply an aberration. Plus, the dude’s BABIP is .184. .184!!! His career norms are about .300, so the guy is due for some wicked regression to the mean. Now granted, Raul’s BABIP is ~.225, so some regression is due to happen for him too, but due to his age, slow bat speed and horrendous fielding, I don’t see him bringing that awful WAR number too much higher.

       
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Don: you beat me to the punch. I saw that Crawford is 3rd worst… and you also have among the very “worst” the following players: Markakis, Reynolds, Loney, Rios, Pierre, CRAWFORD (!!), Huff, and Ibanez.

      Which goes back to reinforce Don’s main idea: It’s just APRIL! And it is too early to panic about the offense (or lack thereof); cautious, yes. But at this point it should be “tweak and adjust.” None of those guys will end up where they are right now in terms of WAR by the end of the season. Guaranteed.

       
  • Posts: 122 Jay aka Phillyboy

    Avatar of Jay aka Phillyboy

    One thing i will say that is not TO EARLY to judge is raul,he is just done……Their comes a time when everyone has to realize they are done,his bat is slow(can not catch up to major league fastballs)and 3 hops any throw to home! I for one can not wait for brown to get back!!!!!!

     
 
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