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I hear you on this. That lineup, with injuries to most of its starters last year, finished third in the league in runs. Not that the Phils' lineup isn't primed for decline, but this borderline revisionist wishcasting is a little much.
Domonic Brown could very well be ready to play in the show by the time that Werth's due a raise.
If you want Ryan Howard's mid-30s, have at 'em.
I drink the Kool-Aid here every day and as such I agree with this analysis. But I also get most of my Phillies news from the Inquirer, and I think the characterization here of their coverage is not quite accurate. Yes, they've got columnists (Frank Fitzpatrick, who's generally a football guy; John Gonzalez, who's more like the paper's resident jester) publishing some embarrassing pieces and that's, y'know, an unfortunate byproduct of producing material for a mass market. But the guys who do the majority of their baseball reporting and analysis — Martino and Salisbury — tend to be pretty solid and avoid a lot of the tropes that get rightly batted around here. Salisbury's mostly been a breath of fresh air after taking over for Jayson Stark and his baseball/numerology beat. Martino was coming to the defense of Salisbury who, while imperfect, I think got unfairly lumped in by Neyer with the Bill Conlins of the world.
That said, I'm curious to hear your take on Hamels' pitch count splits this year. Last year, he seemed to get stronger as the game went on, posting better aggregate numbers in pitches 76-100 than 1-25. This season he seemed to hit a wall around pitch 50, with his Ks remaining steady, his walks going way down, and his hits, xbh and babip skyrocketing. Is this too small a sample size to be useful?
what a fuzzy way of responding you have. obfuscations are enjoyed by the obfuscationists.
I had lunch with a very old friend who was never a sports fan growing up but has gotten into sports through the NFL. He's in the field of operations research, so he's fairly versed in statistical analysis, just not so much related to sports.
In discussing the the recent World Series outcome (in which he'd become interested mostly because I'm a rabid Phillies fan and also because here in Philly, it's been sort of unavoidable), I made a somewhat neutral remark about payrolls ("not bad considering they spent $80 million more than we did) and he said, quite in earnest, "Wait, there's no limit on what baseball teams can spend?" and I said, "Well, no. There's a luxury tax, but the Yankees can afford that."
His response was, basically: "Well, that's no fun."
I don't know if there's a takeaway lesson in that or not — I just don't know how sophisticated the average newfan is — but the idea (if not the absolute reality) of parity — regardless of how clumsily it's enacted — seems fairly ingrained in every other sport. I wonder to what degree a fighting chance is a prerequisite for newfandom of the "local sporting franchise."
Seems doubtful. His newfound clutchiness (to borrow a Colbert trope) notwithstanding, he remains an aloof, unlikable, not-quite-human sort — a skinjob straight out of the Leoben mold for any BSG fans in the audience — at least outside the New York media sphere. I suspect his next embarrassing celebrity relationship or extended slump will be pounced on as it has been in the past. I endorse this.
It's either a sense of irony or a complete lack of self-awareness.
The first base ump — calling what he appeared to think was a play on the batter — made a safe call, ostensibly because he also thought Howard's foot was pulled off the bag. The replay suggests that, had the play actually been on the batter, Howard did hold the bag.
Yeah, I saw that and thank god Manuel's finally willing to look elsewhere. His lack of faith in his bullpen had driven him to stretch his starters and then ONLY use Lidge and Madson. Though he's intimated as much before, short of naming names anyway.
That's funny, I thought I was putting a lot of emphasis in watching Ryan Madson (aka a single alternative) become a shrinking violet over two separate stints as closer and consistently blow games in the ninth at a higher clip than Lidge (aka epic fail). But you're right, it is a pretty small sample size.
What people who condemn Charlie Manuel's bullpen usage (which, don't get me wrong, very much deserves condemnation) tend to fail to overlook is that Ryan Madson, second on the team in WXLR (1.908) and the consensus closer in waiting, has been much worse in the 9th inning than in the 8th.
Lidge's 11 blown saves are well known and inexcusable, but Madson has 6 of his own, and 4 of those were in 9th inning duty.
And Madson's opponents slug a full .128 better in the 9th against him than they have in the 8th (and yes, small sample size caveats noted). He's got a better K/BB ratio in the 9th, which could indicate he's trying to put a little extra on his fastball and it's flattening out as a result, leading to an uptick in Ks and hard-hit balls.
So what I'm saying is that just because the rest of the bullpen has a 9 WXLR, doesn't mean that the obvious replacements are working out. I'm no advocate of the 9th inning mystique, but for whatever reason, Madson's not getting the job done — and consistently — in the 9th.
Before he blew a tire, I wanted them to try — and I shudder as I say this — Chan Ho Park in a save situation or two.
I only see the \"logic\" from the Rays\' perspective.
Right. Because the Rays numbers being down is a function of them performing poorly, not of the Phillies performing well.
Yes, it was a tough call for the ump to make. I don\'t think anyone is disputing that. But as much as I like Joe\'s writing, he has to know that for him to write about the play as if multiple replays didn\'t show that Crawford was out, as if that blown call didn\'t lead to two Rays runs, and to *then* use the play as a peg for an article about the glories of speed, leaves the door wide open for claims of bias.
Never mind. I was wrong. I found the rule:
Rule 6.05 (k) calls the batter out if, \"in running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire\'s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead.\"
Please quote the rule that states this. Only thing I can find in the official rule book about the baseline is this:
7.08 Any runner is out when—
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; or
I think \"blatant as you\'ll ever see\" is a bit of a stretch. It was certainly a questionable non-call, but Hamels\' right leg never crossed behind his left, nor did his right toe ever point toward home plate. His right foot came down a bit forward, which is questionable.
The applicable rule is:
\"(c) The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base;\"
Did Hamels step directly toward first base? I honestly don\'t know.
I believe Burrell has three feet on either side of the baseline, as per the rule book. Didn\'t see anything about the runner having to stay in foul territory.
Yes, but that combined 12.3 VORP is right in the middle of the order. The Phillies 5-6 slots have combined for 66.8 of VORP.
So essentially — with a .002 differential between the starting 9s\' EQAs — there is not a giant mismatch between the Rays and Phillies lineups.
I don\'t quite understand why the Rays\' starting lineup is considered so much better than the Phillies\'. Yes, Feliz and Ruiz are black holes at the bottom of the order. Why aren\'t Crawford (7.1 VORP in left field) and Aybar (5.2 VORP at DH) considered a 5-6 sinkhole? Why isn\'t the fact that the Phillies\' boast three players with VORPs higher than the Rays\' best hitter considered? Nor the fact that the Phils\' starting lineup\'s VORP is 76.7 points higher than the Rays\' even with the Phillies\' total including a pinch hitter\'s VORP at DH? I know that Utley and Howard are lesser players against lefties, but those numbers above include at-bats against lefties. Maddon can\'t possibly go to his bullpen each time Utley/Howard come up and expect to win. He\'s going to have to try to let his righty starters take their chances.
Can someone rip McCarver and Buck for their obvious Dodger bias? As a Phillies fan, it\'s practically intolerable. It sounded like a funeral in the Fox booth when Victorino and Stairs went deep in teh 8th last night.