Playing the Blame Game After Early Playoff Exit

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 10, 2011 08:07 AM | Comments: 67
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts


People are clearly upset at the way things ended for the Philadelphia Phillies. The masses are free to place blame somewhere, because the expectations were that this team was the best in the National League. So a trip to the World Series was looked at as a mere formality, even though we know that often times is not the case.

But, blame has to be put on the players who failed to perform in the series. We look at those who are guilty of falling short:

-Ryan Howard:

It has been well-documented just how bad he was in the NLDS. So there is really no need to rehash the sickening statistics Howard finished with. Adding injury to insult; Howard is likely to miss time next season after rupturing his achillies.

-Cliff Lee:

I lay some of the blame on Cliff for the Game 2 loss, but not all of it. Sure, he was given a 4-0 lead after two innings. That doesn’t mean the offense couldn’t give him a few more over the final seven. After roughing up Chris Carpenter, Phillies hitters managed just one hit the rest of the way. Not exactly backing Lee. He needed to shut down the Cardinals and did not, but that loss wasn’t completely his fault.

-Roy Oswalt:

That very well could have been the last time we see Oswalt in a Phillies uniform, and it was not the way it should have ended. He basically made two big-time mistakes to David Freese that allowed the Cardinals to take control of Game 4. Again, the offense could have done a little more, offering just three runs on seven hits. But Oswalt can’t get away without blame. He had a chance to take down a former nemesis in St. Louis and fell short.

-Placido Polanco:

He completely disappeared in the playoffs, however, he was a non-factor for the better part of the 2011 campaign. Injuries played a major role in his demise this season, but that can’t be the main excuse. He simply did not perform at even an average level. His defense was good, thankfully. A 2-for-19 series is one of the reasons, albeit minor, that the Phillies did not move on.

-Carlos Ruiz:

Chooch looked worn down, and it pains me to have to blame a guy that has been golden in the postseason for so long. I’d like to say his defense was top notch and made up for his lack of offensive production, but that just was not the case. Ruiz hit .059 (1-for-17) in the five game series. Anything out of the bottom of the order would have helped. They gave nothing.

-Shane Victorino:

He did finish the series 6-for-19, but completely disappeared in games 2, 3, and 4, going just 1-for-12. He offered little protection for Ryan Howard, with five of those hits coming in games 1 and 5.

-Hunter Pence:

Turns out, he too was dealing with a sports hernia, possibly a reason for his 4-for-19 series against St. Louis. It was an uncharacteristically bad series for Pence, who seemed to be hitting the ball pretty hard at the end of the year. They REALLY needed Pence to show up, because they got him for this very reason. He struggled and the Phillies went down.

-Chase Utley:

First-to-third heard ’round the world. His 2011 season will be remembered by a late start and a late slide. That one play probably didn’t lose the series, but it’ll stick out like a sore thumb. It overshadowed Utley’s 7-for-16 series with three extra-base hits, all because he needed that extra base. And maybe you can’t completely blame him; he might be subconsciously thinking he’ll be stuck at second with the hitters behind him struggling. Still, you can’t make that out and he did.

-Charlie Manuel:

Hindsight is 20/20, but some believe it wasn’t a great idea to keep Cliff Lee in for the seventh inning in Game 2 when he was struggling. I disagree; you want your best pitcher out there at all times and Lee was their second best pitcher this year. It was also a clear mistake not pinch-hitting for Raul Ibanez in Game 4 with John Mayberry Jr. when lefty Arthur Rhodes was brought in.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1684 articles on Phillies Nation.

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

  • Posts: 5232 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Oh please, the blame game now? There is no crying in baseball, greatest sports movie line ever. I wish you good folks would take it to heart. The great Ted Williams said ” Hitting a baseball — I’ve said it a thousand times — is the single most difficult thing to do in sport.” Now I’d argue that skating as fast as you can while stick handling a piece of hard rubber is harder, but the point is, – this game is not easy, and anyone that has ever played can attest to that.

    Please stop with the blame, no more crying, we lost, it’s over.

    Year after year 30 teams compete, and 29 lose. The Phillies team that was assembled for this season was one of the 29. There is no blame- – round bat-round ball, they lost.

    • Posts: 0 stray130

      Couldn’t agree more, if you want to blame someone, make it the Cardinals. They just played better.

    • Posts: 3113 Tracey

      Avatar of Tracey

      Agreed. You might as well blame the umpires. Or the squirrels. But I think perhaps the point of this post was to show that there was plenty of blame to go around, and you can’t pin it on any one person. A lot of people are pointing fingers at one person or another (usually Ryan Howard, who got a team-leading 6 RBIs btw). This post missed some terrible fielding: Victorino throwing a ball over his shoulder; Pence missing a couple of routine fly balls. JRoll was about the only person who did his job. The rest of the team team just didn’t play up to their potential, and you can’t blame any one person for this eearly departure.

  • Posts: 0 Brass420

    Been reading this blog for quite awhile but this is a horrible post. The blame game? This team was horrible as a whole in the NLDS. The hotter and healthier team won.

    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      No, this team was not horrible as a whole. The bullpen, for instance, was great. The bottom half of the order, for instance, was not.

      • Posts: 0 Mike

        Pat, The bullpen wasn’t great this series, Madson was great, but the bullpen as a whole was an adventure…not horrible, and certainly not the reason we lost, but I wouldn’t tag them as great.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Lefty … i think you missed the point of this article … its more or less “Reasons Why They Lost” ….. and how you can you not want to read, write, talk about that ??

    Oswalt also served up a Meatball to Lance Berkman (that Vic later slipped on)… that ball was directly down the center of the plate. Oswalt at $16 M next year, likely won’t be here. and with Worley, Kendrick, Blanton battling for the #4 and #5 rotation spots, it’s obvious that Oswalt money would be better spent elsewhere.

    • Posts: 0 JesseH

      Oswalt could be resigned without picking up his option. I think he would stay here for a couple years for $8 – $10 mil, i.e. Joe Blanton money. I think a lot of people are being sold on Worley too quickly (just like with J.A. Happ), and you never know about injuries. I’ll pass on commenting on Kyle Kendrick… that song and dance is 5 years old now. Oswalt had his worst year in a decade mostly due to injuries, and yet based on his ERA and just watching him all year, he did not have that bad of a year. He had a few starts that ballooned his ERA as well. And yet it was still not a “bad” season, unless you are comparing solely to the other 3 aces. We so quickly forget how dominant he was down the stretch in 2010. His rough 2011 gives us a chance to retain a great pitcher at a big discount.

      • Posts: 0 Don M

        Oswalt had…and has a bad back …. and earlier this season looked, and sounded like he wanted no parts of being a professional baseball player anymore.

        With lots of players that need starting pitching, and have money to spend … I can’t imagine that Oswalt would want to stick around here (where he’s seen two posteason early exits) and stay for less money . . . . the Yankees, Nats, Cubs, Rangers, Cards, Mets, Red Sox, etc… are all (and always) looking for pitching.. I can’t imagine that we could get Oswalt for anything less than $10-12 M …..and I don’t think that’s a good use of money for a #4 pitcher, with a bad back, and a declining desire to play the game

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    WTF world am I living in when “the blame game” ….. the NAME of a blog post …. is being critcized ??? This article was a must-do .. are people mad that players are being singled-out, or just because of the name of the article ??? I’m really confused here

  • Posts: 5232 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I’m not angry at anyone Don. I just really don’t think baseball can be pinned down to- (and I stole this from Philly.com but it expresses perfectly how I feel) “If Ibanez had met the ball a centimeter higher in the fourth inning, he would have had a three-run home run instead of a two-out drive to the wall. If Shane Victorino had located the cutoff man on the Rafael Furcal triple that opened the evening – well, the game would probably still be 0-0 in the 127th inning by now – but that run wouldn’t have scored. If, if, if.” —–

    But let me apologize if I was too harsh, – If the blame game is good catharsis for the rest of you then god bless and enjoy yourselves, but it’s just not for me. When we are ready to put this behind us and talk about the future, I’ll be here.

  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Come on now, are you kidding me Lefty? Title aside, is there anything wrong with what I wrote? Is there anything you do not agree with?

    All of the elements under the title came together and helped fuel a losing series for the Phillies. I don’t think anything I wrote was a stab at the players or anything more or less than the truth.

    • Posts: 5232 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Pat, there is nothing wrong with what you wrote, or what Jon wrote yesterday. I guess I heal from these wounds faster or differently that others. I’m over it, and ready to look forward. I get that you have to understand what went wrong to work toward the future, I just don’t feel the need to re-live it.

      It’s a fine piece and I am sorry if my comment bred the next comment because that one does not accurately reflect how I feel, and was not my intent. I’m simply ready to move on, let’s rate the players seasons, 25 top moments, speculate on the future, – you know the stuff we do every year. But I guess everyone else needs this, that’s fine.

      • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

        Avatar of Pat Gallen

        That’s my job, to relive it. If I don’t do this then haven’t I let everyone down by just letting tough losses go by without a peep?

      • Posts: 0 JesseH

        Lefty – maybe that’s not the case for you, but I will be reliving this series in my head for a long time, just like I did for the Giants series and the Yankees series. It is too long of a season and I love this team and baseball too much to just say “oh well, let’s start at game 1 of 162 next year”. I lose sleep over things like that Raul Ibanez should have had a chance to experience a WS championship, and now probably never will. And even more of a crime, there’s a growing chance that Roy Halladay never will. If you are able to get over it quickly, great. But I don’t see a reason to put down others who don’t feel that way.

      • Posts: 5232 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Pat, you are of course correct, again my regrets.

        JesseH, I understand how you feel and you are clearly part of the large majority. I guess my attitude on these things is to think of it as spilt milk, can’t cry over it, can’t make it go back in the carton. Time to just clean it up and move on.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Right after that game, I sent a text that read “The thing we missed the most this year was a contact-hitting thirdbaseman” …. and that wasn’t meant to be a knock on Polly (who played through injury instead of getting surgery), but it was an obvious weakness of this team.

    ……. another RH bat needs to be added to this lineup, but one that can handle Righty-pitchers.. (Mayberry vs LHP) …. I think I offer a ton to Aramis Ramirez, possibly at the cost of Madson (or maybe Rollins) … its a lot easier to find a Closer than it is to find a Gold Glove caliber SS.. I would keep Rollins, let Valdez go, have Polanco and Martinez as my utlity INF… and though it wouldn’t be populer among the fan base, I’d give serious thought to getting Lidge on a one-year deal with a 2nd year option (maybe $4-6 M per year) and letting Madson walk instead of paying him the likely $9, 10 or 12+ million he’ll seek)

    Lidge has a $12.5 M option, with a $1.5 M buyout
    Aramis Ramirez has a $16 M club option, with a $2 M buyout that *Ramirez can void (not sure what that means exactly?)

    But I would start giving thought to Ramirez, and if need be, a defensive minded SS over Rollins for a year or two until Galvis is ready

    Prefereably my lineup next year would be: Rollins, Utley, Pence, Howard, Ramirez, Victorino, Mayberry/Brown, Ruiz ….. Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton/Kendrick. and a bullpen relying again on some young arms Herndon, Stutes, Bastardo, Lidge, Schwimer/DeFratus … bench of Polanco, BACKUP CATCHER (Scnieder is a FA), Brown, Martinez, and a LH with more power than Gload (Eric Hinske?) ..

    I think its definitely a need to have a 2nd LHP from the bullpen… in place of the Blanton/Kendrick loser .. or especially if Bastardo is pegged as 8th inning Setup or Closer role instead of just to face Lefties ..

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    With the injuries to key players, we would not have advanced far anyway. It was a great season. Ryan Howard hopefully will recover. Next year will be very interesting and the Hot Stove should be exciting. Go Phils !

  • Posts: 0 Phillies fan from Germany

    What we definitely need is a platoon at first base. Howard is and always was a force against Righthanders but his stats vs. Lefthanders are truly terrible. With the Phillies owing him 125 million I doubt this will ever happen but it should be done…

  • Posts: 0 Mike

    Cliff Lee get no blame from me at all. He had a 4 – 0 lead and then LaRusso complains on national tv no less about the strike zone. Lee who lives on the corners (and they are strikes) got squeezed. The strike zone strunk and he had no choice to throw over the plate. Hitters need to adjust!! This collapse falls on hitting. Simple as that…..

  • Posts: 0 danigirl92

    Why do we have to play the blame game? Flat out we didn’t have what was needed to win! People seem to forget that these guys are human just like you and I. They can’t come out on the field EVERY game and play like God! We all need to face the fact that we just didn’t have what it took to go all the way this year. We struggled ALL YEAR offensively and put plan and simple…pitching alone CANNOT win every game!

    We all need to stay focused on what’s important here…we need to support our team and do all that we can to get em’ next year!


    I for one have always been and will always be a NUMBER ONE PHILLIES PHAN!

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Pat …. i guess if you change the title of the post from “The Blame Game” -to- “The Biggest Reasons We Lost” … people would stop complaining ???

    “We all need to face the fact that we just didn’t have what it took to go all the way this year” …..

    so basically Pat is giving the reasons why we didn’t have what it took in the playoffs … like a good blog should.

  • Posts: 4 bhatter26

    Avatar of bhatter26

    I think the contract that was given to Howard was given to him with the understanding that he would produce 30-40 homeruns a year and over 100 RBI’s which is fine. What I want to know is why does he and everyone else offensively go in the tank every postseason. We saw the same scenario against the Giants last year. The question I have is what does the hitting coach do?

    Lefty, as someone who did play baseball, I do understand how hard the game is at times but at the same time I look at guys such as Albert Pujols who consistently hit at or near .300 with the same amount if not more power production as Howard and see that while they may experience struggles through the course of the season, they step it up in the postseason and get the job done. I don’t have the confidence with Howard or any of the players in the lineup right now. I think they should say good-bye to Rollins, maybe make a play for Jose Reyes and Ramirez would not be a bad fit if they could afford him. I do not think they should keep Lidge around. He doesn’t command his slider well enough anymore and high 80′s for a fastball is not going to cut it.

    • Posts: 0 Phillies fan from Germany

      Have you followed the past postseasons? Howard was very good in the NLDS and NLCS in 2009 for example. Even last year he hit over .300 and his OPS was over .900 in the NLCS. I know, people fault him for not getting an RBI in the series against the Giants but this is as wrong (he had very few opps because nobody was on base) as it would be to praise his 6 RBI’s in only 5 games this postseason.

      By the way, since the run started in 07 we have won 6 postseason while we have lost only 4. We have to keep in perspective that the nature of the postseason is that you face very good teams in short series which means even if you have a great team yourself you will lose at least 40% of all series…

  • Posts: 0 Sandy Durso

    I think if you read through the article one point stands out pretty clear….The offense just did not show up . Yes Cliff Lee was not lights out in game two and Oswalt(who really has been struggling all year) is probably never going to be the pitcher he was but overall the reason we lost was because we didn’t hit with the exception of game 1. The problem I see is that this is not just a fluke …..we didn’t hit against the Giants last year either(though I understand their pitching is far better than the Cardinals) and in the grand scheme of things this offense has been struggling to one extent or another for two years now. I hate to say it but I feel they need to start to make some changes. I thought the addition of Pence was going to be enough to breathe some life into them and I think it helped but it wasn’t enough. The Phillies are getting older. Utley is still good but not what he once was. Rollins did the best of all of them in this series but he wants a five year deal and his stats have declined consistently over the last few years. Howard is Howard …..not sure he will ever learn to hit an outside breaking ball. I feel maybe the Phillies need to move on a little and begin to seriously look at why their offense has become so stale. It may mean having to part ways with old players and coaches we have come to love ….and who are hard to replace. Amaro has his work cut out for him because overreaction would be bad but I also feel undereaction might be bad. He somehow has to find the right balance again and that is not going to be an easy task

  • Posts: 0 JesseH

    Lee’s start in Game 2 was really bad. Ibanez gunning down a runner at the plate and Lidge stranding 1st & 3rd with nobody out prevented Lee’s outing from being of the 7 or 8 ER variety. And when you are a $25 million ace, starting ahead of a former WS MVP in the rotation, and given a 4-0 lead in a short playoff series, that cannot happen. Sure, the offense could have scored more, but I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that they put up 15 runs in a game and a half and stunk after that. Definition of a turning point.

    Also, Howard going 0 for his last 15 is bad, but he is also the only regular in the lineup who had a clutch hit all series. He’s been fighting through foot injuries for a year and a half, and I’m sure that had a lot to do with his Achilles finally popping at the end. He literally left it all out on the field, and I feel that he is being given a disproportionate share of the blame. Pence went 4 for 19, yes… and those 4 hits were ALL SINGLES, for a whopping .211 slugging pct. He was supposed to be the spark that this aging lineup needed. I don’t think it’s fair to give him a pass because of a sports hernia and not mention Howard’s injuries.

    One final note… excluded from this list is the umpiring crew. The turning point in Game 4 happened in the top of the first. Edwin Jackson was on the ropes, 2 in, no one out. If Angel Hernandez correctly calls the 3-2 pitch to Howard a ball, Jackson may not have recovered. Instead, Pence is thrown out at 2nd (on another bad call) and immediately the threat is gone. I’m not usually one to blame umpires for the ultimate outcome, but in a series this tight, things like that can be a significant factor.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Reyes can’t stay healthy, and will probably get a 6-7 year deal …. he’s not a viable option

    I want ARAMIS RAMIREZ ..

    though I think it the Cubs get Prince Fielder, they’d want a RH bat to protect him… maybe if the Cubs go after Pujols, they’d let Ramirez go (though Ramirez loves Chicago, so would maybe stay for the hometown discount.. I think he left money on the table before to choose Chicago??)

    The comarrisons to Howard and Pujols are ridiculous … Albert Pujols is one of the greatest baseball players of all time…

    • Posts: 4 bhatter26

      Avatar of bhatter26

      The comparison between Howard and Pujols is ridiculous when it comes to the numbers but when you think about the contract Howard got, I don’t think it is. Clearly the Phillies think that Howard is just as good if not better than Pujols therefore the comparison is legit. For that kind of money, I want to see more consistency out of him in the regular season and the playoffs.

      • Posts: 0 Don M

        There was/is talk of Albert Pujols getting a 10-year, $300 M contract ….. Howard’s ia 5-year, $125 M

        so while the “per year” is close, Pujols is likely to land $150 million MORE than Howard in his contract, so again, you can’t compare them …

        I’ve said it time and time again, the Phillies paid Howard to hit home runs, and drive in runs …. he does that well, and they pay him among the league-leaders in those stats … The argument is ARE RBI’s WORTH $$$$$$$$$20-25-30 per season …and lots of people will tell you NO

        And nothing about the Phillies, or their contract to Howard gives any indication that they think Howard is “as good if not better than Pujols.” ??? I’m 100000% positive that if the Phillies had the chance to sign Pujols for 5 years, and $125 M they’d take him over Ryan Howard …but you can only extend that players already in your organization, and if you bring in Free Agents, you pay out the nose and have to outbid teams

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Was just listening to Bowa on 97.5 and he blew up on Manuel, not by name of course, but fervently pointing out that sitting around waiting for the three run homer is not always the best way to win a ball game and that the Phils are woefully equipped to play any other way. Bowa proffered that Utley could be moved to first. Those were the hi-lites while I was in the car. Further, over the span of this weekend, I witnessed some of the worst coaching/managing blunders I have ever seen. Ever. Even further, I think that whoever is responsible for Howard swinging 3-0 should be punched squarely in the face.

    Speed and defense, with this pitching, will get you to the postseason. Think Cardinals 1985.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I said in a thread last night that I wan’t surprised at all that we lost this series. And a few people killed me for it…basically saying telling me that they EXPECTED the Phillies to win. I think that’s a naive and reckless mindset for the fanbase to to just assume that because a team has this player or that pitcher or whoever that they’re a lock. Baseball and especially the playoffs doesn’t work that way. The postseason is a completely different animal

    The Phillies are a very good team. You don’t win 102 games for no reason. But they ran into the hot team at the wrong time. And my gut is telling me that had they moved on they would have had a tougher time with the Brewers…a team that has “destined” written all over it.

    I also said yesterday that the only players that get a complete pass from me are:

    Chase, (except for the stupid baserunning move)
    Vic, (except for the poor route he ran in game 2 which led to runs)

    And I have to give Ben Fran an Honorable Mention.

    For me… 5 players out of 25 get no blame at all and 2 did well enough in the series that they’re on the bubble. That’s it.

    • Posts: 0 JesseH

      I agree with your list, except for Victorino. He had 5 singles and 1 double, no BBs, 2 runs, 2 RBIs = mediocre at the plate. He was disappointing in the field though. You mentioned the ball he misjudged in Gm 2… also cost Oswalt a run in Gm 4 when he slipped, and possibly cost Halladay an out at 3rd in Gm 5 by missing the cutoff man. Of course it doesn’t help my feelings that he’s been tweeting all weekend about playing golf, the nice weather, and about how I should realize that my family is more important than baseball…

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Yeah, and usually I will defend Charlie to the nth degree. But he is at fault for that green light to Howard. In his postgame interview Charlie said that Ryan has the green light whenever he wants it and that he CAN give him the take sign in certain situations.

    Memo to Charlie: THAT was one of those certain situations.

    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      For real. If it’s not that moment, then what?

    • Posts: 0 JesseH

      So if Howard walks there, he is on first with the two bad feet that he’s been hobbling on all year that finally gave out on him an hour later. And no one behind him is hitting at all (Shane had 2 hits in Gm 5 but hadn’t really hit all series before that). You really think there’s a better chance for him to walk (assuming carpenter would have even thrown him a ball) and score there than hitting a solo HR? You want your cleanup hitter looking for a mistake pitch there. Maybe he misjudged the pitch, but the approach is correct.

  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    If Howard had hit or gotten on base at least what’s half expected from your average cleanup guy, we would’ve easily won the series.

    And don’t even get me started on that 3-0 pitch he swung at.

    Lee, who was partly responsible for the loss of Game 2, pitched a good game according to most advanced stats. I wouldn’t have clapped for him, like some people at the stadium did –cause he did give up a solid lead, after all…

    Blame game: Howard is the clear winner. If JMJ can play like he did at times this season, we may not even miss Howard that much. Wasn’t he like third in OPS in the league after the break or something?

    • Posts: 0 JesseH

      LOL advanced stats… Lee’s start was awful. 5 ER, 12 hits in 6+ innings and could have been a lot worse (see my above post).

  • Posts: 0 jake

    Savery may be a good lhp in bull pen..stutes looked tired at end of sean, maybe a good off season training session..get that stamina built up. I totally agree with Rameriz at third, use brown as trade bait for closed. say bye to madson, jrol, gload, ibanez, scheidner and valez..

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy



    The Dipsy

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      Not a big Swisher fan.

      Also need more shake up. Thats the same line up minus Jimmy and waiting for Howard to come back.that has gone progressively less furthur each of the last 3 years.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    If Howard is out for a while ….. Utley to 1b, Polly to 2nd …

    Before Hunter Pence is included, our payroll for next year is something like $112 M ….
    including the Buyout amounts for any player ($1.5 M for Lidge) ..($2 M for Oswalt)

    JOSE CONTRERAS is still under contract.. for $2.5 M next season (wonder what the word on his injury is… if he’s going to return, or retire?)

    Free Agents are: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Brian Schnieder, Ross Gload

    Victorino makes $9.5 M and is then a Free Agent after next season (would likely be seeking the highest dollars as he hasn’t had a big “Free Agent contract” yet

    Joe Blanton whose 3-year, $24 M contract …. averaged out to $8 million per season, but actually paid him $10.5 M this yea … and $10.5 M next year (i’d imagine he’s got the inside track over Kendrick for the 5th starter),

    and Kendrick (under team control thru 2014) would likely start the season as the long-reliever/spot starter again

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I would be surprised if the Yankees didn’t keep Swisher.. I think for $10 M … its not that easy to replace .260, 23 HR, and 85 RBI …. despite how “average” those numbers may seem

    by WAR … he ranked 9th (Bautista, Upton, Berkman, Pence, Beltran, Stanton, Corey Hart, CarGo) … defensively, of those guys, only Upton was better

    and overall Defensively, Swisher ranked 3rd behind Upton and David DeJesus (Oakland A’s) … thoguh there is the chance that I have no idea how to read fangraphs defensive rankings correctly

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    BUT! Lest we not forget that if Ryan is out for all of 2012 (and he probably won’t be) we would probably be entitled to A) insurance on the contract; and B) credit against the cap. While I am not sure of the latter, it would only make sense to me that it would be true. While I feel it is MUCH to early for all of this, I can’t resist.

    Pence – signed
    Hamels – signed

    Everybody else – GONE!

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Nelly

    This list should be reversed. Charlie at the top; Ryan at the bottom. Charlie’s offensive philosophy does NOT match the skills of this aging team. He should not be relying on the 3-run HR to win games; he should look in the other dugouts of the teams have beat us for a good, playoff winning offensive philosophy (SF/St. Louis): get on base any way possible, move the runners along, and get the runners in. We all know how bad Ryan’s leg was now…he was out there toughing it out and doing what he (and ONLY he is supposed to do)…swing for the fences. I don’t blame him for his galliant effort. The other 7 hitters and the Manager need to get out of the post-steriod era of baseball and learn what it now takes to win in the playoffs: small ball, pitching, and defense (in THAT order).

    • Posts: 0 Don M

      Which part of our 19 ground balls!!!!!! vs Carpernter was a result of us swinging for the fences ????

      To me, guys were just trying to make good contact, and what was saw that the combination of Carpenter looking extremely sharp (zero walks, 70 of 110 pitcher for strikes)… our bats being cold … and when we did make contact it was hit right at someone. I felt like Furcal had 15 assists in Game 5 …

      The Manager can only be blamed for decisions, not results (Leaving Lee in … not pinch hitting Mayberry for Ibanez, etc.. ) .. but executing ON THE FIELD is part of being a major league ballplayer, and our guys didn’t do that at the plate in this series

      The single biggest thing I had/have issue with was the lineup change… but there’s nothing we can do about it now

  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Hey @Lefty, no need to apologize. I just wasnt doing this to tabloid-ize things. I felt it was necessary to point out where the flaws are before we move on to talking about what then needs to be done.

    And Id hardly call the bullpen an adventure. They gave up a few baserunners but got out of it for the most part. Madson was great. Bastardo looked good. Stutes struggled and Worley was up and down – give him a break, he hadn’t been out of the pen all year.

    • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Well, Pat…. looks like we’ve already started talking about what needs to be done. Should be a fun Hot Stove this winter!

    • Posts: 0 brooks


      • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

        Avatar of Pat Gallen

        Yeah thats made up.

      • Posts: 5232 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        The new word works for me.

  • Posts: 0 Carl

    There hasn’t been much talk about the club’s decision to keep the pedal down and sweep the Braves (who we stomped 12-6 in the season series) in the last three days of the regular season, ensuring that we’d see a streaking St. Louis team in the NLDS. I understand the logic of “win now, win later, win all the time,” but managing isn’t just a matter of in-game decisions. We fell down on gamesmanship, here. Why step on the throats of a team you’ve demonstrated you can beat and invite a contest with a ball club that’s smacked you around all year? The Cards beat the Phils by the same percentage as the Phils beat the Braves in the regular season. It’s courting catastrophe, is what it is; and catastrophe came calling.

    • Posts: 0 Mike

      With the way our bats dissappeared I don’t know that we would have beaten Arizona in the first round. They are more than capable of hitting on out of CBP. Then it would have been the story of we should have crushed the Braves so we would face a team with less power and a bullpen that was suspect.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    First it isnt a crap shoot.
    All the sudden in the playoffs the lesser teams dont consistantly win.
    Whats the point of fielding a team if you get the playoffs and its all dumb luck?

    Lets see what Pujos and Fielder get. It will be significantly less than what some here think.
    Which will make the contract Howard has an even harder pill to swallow.

    This pill that you have to swallow is 100% the Phillies orginazations fault. Its is 0% Ryan Howards fault. Hopefully they will learn a lesson from it.

    Someone allows him to play how he plays. Someone lets him hit vs a leftie in the 9th inning with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd down a run. Someone else allows him to hit 4th with a .347 slugging percentage vs lefties. Someone made it seem acceptable to him to swing at a 3-0 pitch in the 7th inning leading off down a run.

    Frankenstein didnt appear out of nowhere. He was built. Blame the orginazation. I also blame the people who want him to be a hero. If he walks there and the next guy hits into a DP he cant be the hero. Swinging 3-0 theres a chance hes the hero. But even if he hits a home run there its the wrong thing to do. And eventually that catches up to you.

    What Ryan Howard is now isnt his fault. Its what the orginazation and the fans wanted.
    When he does his thing and you are bounced early it doesnt suprise me anymore.

    Charlie was the right manager for this team for a long time. But I dont think its right anymore. The players dont need their egos coddled. We dont need a manager who trots out the same guys no matter what. Its not 2008. This isnt the 1927 Yankees line up. Loyalty has run its course. Put in the players in a situation that best allows the team to win.
    They dont need a Bowa type ( insane and intense). But I think the Manuel type( laid back players manager) is too far the other end. They need something in between.
    How about Terry Francona :)

    • Posts: 0 Steve

      Really? Francona? Seriously were you watching the Red Sox collapse? I hope you were just throwing that out to be funny.

    • Posts: 2069 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      Once again Andrew, I find myself agreeing with you.
      This year, more than in the past few I see that Cholly just does not seem to be the person in charge that this team needs.
      The team needs to run, move runners over and for God’s sake tell someone to hit the damn ball to the left side.

      • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

        I am always having fun. And Francona was jsut to throw out there. He did win 2 WS.
        And will be in demand. And he wouldnt be a bad fit for the Phillies at all IMO. But he too is probably a little bit too soft. The Phils need a guy not afraid to hurt a players feelings by pinch hitting for him or benching him. Why hit a guy with a .347 slugging vs a leftie?
        The Giants won a title by NOT playing their high priced sacred cows.

        @ Brooks yea I am an asshole many times but my opinions are usually pretty good. I come at it with no emotional attachment. Id trade my mother to improve the team. And bet against her in a bake off if I thought there was value in betting against her.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I don’t think its a crapshoot…. since you can control your own team! But since 1995, when the Wild Card started, 9 of the 32 teams to play in the World Series were Wild Card teams ….. 28%…. that’s a lot.

    That goes to show that the team playing well down the stretch has a decent chance to carry some of that momentum ……. in season’s past, the Phillies played great baseball in Sept and then had a day or two to rest their regulars ..

    The fact that we clinched so early was perhaps our downfall … they did the right thing in trying to get their regulars as healthy as possible (as we see now how many players need surgery, etc.)… but because we had nothing to play for, we lost intensity while gaining our health …. sometimes you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t

    Because we went back and forth on it so much, i’m really looking forward to seeing how much Fielder and Pujols get, and will count on you, as a man of your word, to quit the internet if Prince Fielder’s annual value is greater than $25 M per year …

    But in all seriousness… If I was a GM, I would not give Pujols a 9 or 10 year deal, that’s just way too long

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    A man of my word?

    This is like WWE to me I plan to retire and quit multiple times.
    Only to make triumphant returns. For the fans ( the chucks).
    I am courting getting banned. But to others its not WWE so I may not be able to come back from that.

    Have fun is my motto. And Fielder will not average 25 per.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    we’ll see… Chicago needs to put butts in their seats.. Nationals have money to spend… San Francisco needs offense (but like the Mets is rumored to be cutting payroll this season)

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Nothing you wrote Pat is wrong nothing against it. One can say our vaulted pitching failed as when we needed it the most as well. Mainly Lee unfortunately he hasnt been that great in the last 2 postseason. However i think the blame tips over slightly to the offense or lack off. Carpenter is a good pitcher but not great they could of done more. This leads to Cholly using the same tired formula when it doesnt work not deviating. Insanity is the result of doing the same thing over and over and over expecting different results. They have a tendency to make a mediocre starter look like a Cyborg version of Cy Young. If Polly would of just got the surgery to begin with could he had been ready for the postseason? Biggest surprise for me and i mentioned it before was the performance by Chooch who has been so clutch for us in the past. Larussa had a plan and that plan was to neutralize the “secret weapon” and that was Chooch.

  • Posts: 81 PhP54

    Avatar of PhP54

    I tend to agree with the consensus, that this article’s content is good, but the title is horrible. I have been coming here for years, and I am not sure the “Blame Game” is the best. Bottom line for me is that the age of this team caught up to it. This team was a great team for most of the year. In September they hit a wall with injuries – many due to what I perceive as age.

    Do I blame one person – no way. It is what it is. I actually knew, sadly, we’d never get out of the NLDS after we lost 8 in a row. That team was not the same team in April-August.

    Am I mad? No. I am disappointed. My hope is that some youth is injected and we make some good free agent signings for the other holes. I look forward to a good 2012 and am anxious to see what we will have. Go Phillies.

  • Posts: 31 Gavin

    Avatar of Gavin

    I’m sure RAJ will do a great job. He has made great decisions in the past and I’m sure he’ll do again this postseason.

    But if I was him, I would try to sign Ramirez. He’s exactly what we need; a guy who gets on base, because like we seen this NLDS, without baserunners, it’s hard to score.
    I would let JMJ play at first, play Brown in left and try to keep Rollins around for a few more years ’till Galvis is ready.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    The Cliff Lee signing was dependant on the Phillies winning a world series in year one or two. The back end of that contract is not going to be favorable.
    Maybe at 37 Lee and Halladay will be going strong. But how many premier 37 year old pitchers are there in the post steroid era?
    Then there is the contract debacle of the first baseman and Blanton.

    RAJ making good moves isnt so much a given anymore.

    Making moves to please the fans he seems really good at. But these moves dont usually equal winning a world series.

    If they sign or extend anyone over 31 who is not a bit player. Ill have a major problem with it.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    MLB is like the NCAA tournament now. The best 8 teams get in – not 2 (like it used to be) – or 4 (like it used to be). 8. One day to be 10. And then 12…16…. Economics and greed demand it. Anything that can made bigger in order to make more money, will be. Greed – for lack of a better word – is good. Greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. It captures – and crystallizes it.

    Hence, the more teams they let in, the less chance the “generic”, “in a vacuum” “best” team has of winning. Thats what you see with the Yanks and the Phils this year. Seattle won a 116 games in one year for god’s sake. So, think about the playoffs like the NCAA tournament – just worry about getting in and then take it from there.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 5232 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Well stated Mr. Gekko

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    can’t believe how easy we let lee off the hook here . the dude absolutely blew the series for us. he was terrible and got hammered. kyle kendrick could have given us a W in that game.

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