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Berks Phillies Fans



Baseball forum hosted and updated daily by Philadelphia Phillies fans living in Berks County.



Updated: 2012-04-15T19:58:20.759-04:00

 



A word from Ferris

2005-05-21T07:49:56.410-04:00

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BPF moves to Beerleaguer.com!

2005-05-17T00:40:50.326-04:00

Today I'm pleased to announce the launch of my new Web site, Beerleaguer.com.

Though the name has changed, you'll find the same great Phillies features you've come to expect on Berks Phillies Fans, which concludes with this final post. The old girl did me well, but I'm confident you'll like the new site even better.

So come along, update your links and RSS feeds, spread the word and enjoy!

- Jason Weitzel
Beerleaguer.com



New site launches tomorrow!

2005-05-16T10:45:45.173-04:00

The BPF is pleased to announce some rather big news.

Tomorrow morning, Berks Phillies Fans is going live with a new Web site, including a complete design makeover, URL and, most importantly, a name change. I worked a long, sleepless weekend to finalize the project and I’m extremely excited to unveil it.

I’ll have more details tomorrow. For now, enjoy the Phillies day off and say goodbye to BPF as you now know it!



Note to BPF readers

2005-05-15T00:38:59.020-04:00

Due to some major site reconstruction, which should be completed by Monday morning, I will be on posting hiatus for the next few days. Check back Monday for my thoughts on the Phils, their Saturday night loss, and the Marlon Byrd, Endy Chavez trade.

Thanks!



Did you know?

2005-05-13T13:40:15.930-04:00

If former Astros General Manager Gerry Hunsicker replaces Ed Wade, he will be reunited with the player that represents perhaps his poorest move with Houston – losing Bobby Abreu to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1997 expansion draft.

In a bit, I’ll have a full report card of the man many people desire as the Phils new GM.



Tidbits from the Phlogosphere

2005-05-13T14:36:29.243-04:00

Today's best stuff from elitist Phillies nerds and their computers.The incredible dedication of the BPFLast night, I saw, heard and read about the Phils game five different ways, all live: Watching it on a hospital TV, listening to 830-AM radio then switching to 1210 AM radio, reading about it on Balls Sticks & Stuff live in-game chat, and concluding my evening by watching them lose on my television at home.In addition, I experienced the game in four different counties: Lehigh, Berks, Montgomery and Chester.Lastly, I witnessed the game in two different states of being: awake and asleep.Base runningWhat stood out most in yesterday’s 7-5 loss, other than the general fact they lost a game at home to the Reds even with Jon Lieber on the mound, were the base running mistakes that seem to be happening with great frequency this season.Tom Goodman from Swing and a Miss today:Atrocious. There is no other word to describe the Phillies base running.Playing aggressively is fine…if you can pull it off. The Phillies can’t. Being thrown out at the plate is not the end of the world…once in a while. But the Phillies are routinely being thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles. Furthermore, with increasingly rare exception they are being thrown out stealing. Worst of all, they are being picked off at an astonishing rate. Hapless? Hardly. Wretched? Definitely. This team cannot do many things right, especially the fundamentals.Marc Bombard and Bill Dancy, veteran minor league managers but rookies coaching first and third base, can share some of the blame. Burrell was out by a good 10 feet or more trying to stretch out a double yesterday. Minor league catcher goofsCharlie Manuel isn’t the only one making mistakes when it comes to the Phillies these days. And when it comes to flubs about minor league catchers, it hits the BPF especially hard.Brain Peoples at the Philling Station points out two pretty big goofs in today’s Philly papers that make this blog look pretty good.The first is a bad one. Bill Conlin wrote today in his Daily News column "Deconstruction Project" the Phillies should consider trading Jim Thome and his big salary to the Yankees for catching prospect Dioner Navarro. I'd be all for that move, if Navarro wasn’t traded to the D-Backs in the blockbuster Randy Johnson deal this winter, and then subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in the blockbuster Shawn Green deal. The veteran writer also spelled “Dioner” wrong.The next isn't nearly as bad. Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer brings up BPF favorite Carlos Ruiz as possible replacements for Mike Lieberthal. Ruiz sustained a broken leg in a home plate collision a week ago.Both catchers were reported accurately this week on the BPF, with the Navarro trade first reported in my December 18 blog, where, like Conlin, I spelled "Dioner" wrong.Hey, we're only human.On GMFinally, Tom G. at Balls Sticks & Stuff sums up my feelings perfectly on selecting the right general manager, commenting on rumors Ed Wade could be fired:My only criteria would be that the eventual general manager would have a proven winning philosophy. It can be of the number crunching variety or the Twins-ish scouting variety or somewhere in between, but he has to come from a lineage that has a winning history.The concept Tom and I both agree on is there is no single correct philosophy to build a winning team. Stat heads, like Theo Epstein in Boston, or scout heads, like John Schuerholz in Atlanta, are both great models to emulate because they are both proven winners.[...]



Phils-Brewers wrap: Manuel feeling heat

2005-05-12T11:15:02.156-04:00

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As the Phillies pass the symbolic 35 game mark, the Brewers series will be remembered as the point Phillies fans added Charlie Manuel to the list.

Yesterday's 5-2 loss was preceded by Manuel's reported comments to the media revealing his ignorance managing in the National League, and also admitting he needed to play Chase Utley more. Manuel followed up by sitting Utley yesterday, and then kept Cory Lidle in the game too long, outlasting his usefulness by the eighth inning.

The loss put the Phils 6 1/2 back of first-place Atlanta as the Phils wasted a career-high 11 strikeouts from Lidle.

As the downward spiral continues, words repeatedly heard on sports radio to describe Manuel include "buffoon," "overmatched," and the always popular “worst manager in franchise history." Even I was feeling downright nostalgic for Larry Bowa yesterday, looking comparatively eloquent and upper-crust in his new gig on Baseball Tonight.

To the defense of both men, the team bestowed upon them is no prize. This is no small point: A team that has David Bell (.224 BA, .313 SLG) batting out of the five-hole is a bad baseball team. A team that has Jimmy Rollins (.237 BA, .289 OBP) as a leadoff hitter is a bad baseball team. The fact that Bowa managed to get better than .500 ball out of this lot should have warranted a lifetime contract instead of a pink slip.

When so many parts are playing this poorly, it tells me there's something wrong with the heart and passion of the team. Under Bowa, a fearless competitor and perfectionist, the team often came up flat, but seem to be playing with even less desire under jolly Cholly.

Compounding the issue, there hasn’t been much rhyme or reason to his decision making, aside from his steadfast use of, among other things, Tim Worrell in the set-up role and Jose Offerman getting all the pinch-hit chances. After a mostly favorable review the first week or two, his gut instinct has been mostly wrong since – pulling pitchers too soon, leaving them in too long, pinch hitting with the wrong guy, and the list goes on.

These decisions are open to speculation, and regarding the platoon issue, I maintain Placido Polanco will hit LHP better than Chase Utley. The gripe now, of course, is Utley's bat has been the most consistent all season, and a lineup that features both Polanco and David Bell gives the Phils one too many light-hitting bats. With Pat Burrell hitting .211 in May, there are plenty of those to go around.

At this point, all the possibilities have been thoroughly exhausted (Howard, Byrd, Floyd) except one: a trade.

It's important for the Phils to deal Polanco sooner rather than later. Why? The answer is the same as the answer to Manuel's question: What is this team about 35 games into the season?

It's about Polanco, forcing him into the lineup, and a ridiculous, lingering distraction over a player who shouldn't have been on the team in the first place.



Ex-Phil report: Nick Punto

2005-05-11T14:56:38.513-04:00

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The former Phillie, part of the Eric Mitlon trade last winter, was recently named Minnesota’s official starting second baseman.

In the his first game since replacing Luis Rivas at second yesterday, he got a key infield single in the eighth inning with the Twins down 4-3, stole second base, advanced to third on passed ball, and crossed home with the tying run on a sac fly. The Twins went on to beat the Orioles 6-4.

Punto was never considered a top prospect coming through the Phils system, following a path similar to fellow switch-hitting utilityman Tomas Perez. The 27-year-old played parts of three seasons (2001-03) with the Phils before the Milton trade that also sent pitcher Carlos Silva to the Twins.

In 68 ABs this season, Punto is batting .235, .313 OBP, .324 SLG.



Pitching for breakfast

2005-05-11T12:37:47.163-04:00

A few pitching morsels to start your day.

Phils face junkball LHP Davis today
The Phillies can still salvage a series win tonight against the Brewers but need to beat tough left-hander Doug Davis.

Davis, a lifetime 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two career outings against the Phils, is exactly the type of pitcher the Phils struggle against – a southpaw who mixes off-speed pitches with a tough cutter inside to right-handers.

Davis (3-4) has had a tough start to the season, with an ERA of 5.40, 22 walks and seven homers.

His opponent today has given up just one homer this season, Cory Lidle, who’s coming off his best outing – a four-hit, one-run game against Chicago.

It should be a great matchup this afternoon featuring two unheralded pitchers.

Millwood proving worth
What do Brett Myers and Kevin Millwood have in common?

Answer: They’re both walking examples of why win/loss records don't measure a pitcher's true worth.

Phillies bloggers universally agreed this winter that Kevin Millwood would have a pretty good season somewhere, and have better success than free agent counterpart Eric Milton. On Monday night, Millwood (1-3) finally got his first win, holding the Angels to one hit in eight innings.

Though his record doesn't reflect it, the former Phils ace has been steady for the Tribe. Like the Phils behind Myers, the Indians haven’t offered much support with the lumber, averaging 3.3 runs in games Millwood has started.

According to Sheldon Ocker of the Beacon Journal, Millwood has targeted his pitches accurately all season, and sixty-five percent of his pitches have been thrown for strikes, which some baseball people will say is the ideal figure.

Meanwhile, Milton has been dreadful for the Reds, posting a 6.18 ERA and surrendering 13 HRs already. Milton isn’t the kind of guy you want pitching at Great American Ballpark. So why did the Reds sign him to a three-year, $25.5 million contract?

Who the hell knows?



BPF sheds chooch-sized tear

2005-05-10T15:23:58.710-04:00

Passing along information for those of you that don't know: BPF favorite, catcher Carlos Ruiz, suffered a broken leg in a home-plate collision with Mike Kinkade during Friday night's loss to Buffalo.

Strangely enough, the collision represented an weird, cosmic clashing of two players my stepfather and I like for odd reasons: Ruiz and Kinkade.

Ruiz is neat because he's tiny, unheralded, but can also slug and throw out base runners. Martin likes Kinkade because he spent the good part of a Japanese baseball vacation with Kinkade's family, who were visiting the former Dodger utility man while he played for the Hanshin Tigers last season.



Polanco, Howard to Dodgers?

2005-05-10T14:46:20.363-04:00

Tom Goyne at Balls Sticks & Stuff (no doubt listening to the new Dave Matthews Band CD at this very moment) has passed along a report in the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers may be exploring a deal with the Phils for Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard.

The Times reported the Dodgers have grown increasingly dissatisfied with their defense at the hot corner, since Jose Valentin has been sidelined with a knee injury, and GM Paul DePodesta has embarked on a search for a proven veteran.

BPF Take
No matter what deal is made, the Phillies must get deeper and younger in certain areas. There’s no way the Phils won’t receive a third base prospect should this deal happen, addressing perhaps their weakest area throughout the organization. The Times reported the Dodgers have several excellent prospects at third base: Willie Aybar, Joel Guzman, Andy LaRoche and Blake Dewitt.

Pitcher Edwin Jackson, the Dodgers No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, and Dioner Navarro, a 2004 No. 1 catching prospect with the Yankees, are the two prospects that jumped to my mind first. Both players are struggling this season in Triple-A Las Vegas, so DePodesta could bite on a deal to include one of those two. Young catching is always at a premium, and though Navarro’s stock has dropped, a deal for the switch-hitter would be a major boost.

Though critics might argue the Phils would be conceding the season by making this deal, even contending teams make deals for prospects from time to time, something the Phils haven't done in quite a while.

Thanks for the tip, Tom, and enjoy your Dave album.



Play the Phillies blame game

2005-05-10T11:39:53.683-04:00

Who deserves most of the blame for the Phillies slow start? Voting has already started on the new Phils instant poll, with early signs indicating there's plenty of blame to go around.

Share your thoughts in the comments thread below. This one should be interesting.



Phils-Cubs series wrap

2005-05-09T13:01:02.366-04:00

The Phillies fall to Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs Sunday, but exit Wrigley with a 2-1 series win. The Phils look to build on great pitching from Cory Lidle, Jon Lieber and Brett Myers, and hope to improve their frazzled offense when they open a series tonight in Milwaukee. PitchingYesterday marked the first time I’ve seen Carlos Zambrano outside of SportCenter highlights, and he couldn’t have been more impressive. The worst mismatch was Zambrano vs. Ryan Howard. Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Howard. Zambrano got the kid to chase several outside breaking pitches, resulting in weak Steve Jeltz-like dribblers. No need to call on your bullpen when you have a guy like Zambrano – 138 pitches, 88 of them for strikes. The performance was just what the doctor ordered to snap the Cubbies 7-game skid.Brett Myers continues to be a walking-talking example of why win/loss records don’t measure a pitcher’s true worth. Myers is 2-2, and pitched brilliantly yet again, proving his hot start is no fluke.Counting yesterday’s performance, I’d put Myers on the short list of the best pitchers in the NL this season, including Mike Hampton, Dontrelle Willis, Roger Clemens, Tim Hudson, John Patterson, A.J. Burnett and teammate Jon Lieber.With even an average offense, I’m certain the Phillies would be right in the NL mix, but ...The offense stinksAmong teams in the NL:OBP (.331, 12th)SLG (.362, 16th, last behind Pittsburgh with .382)Runs (127, 14th)AVG (.245, 16th, last behind Astros with .246)HR (24, 14th)AVG w/ scoring position (.238, 13th)SLG w/ scoring position (.357, last, among leaders in this category early in season)BB (126, 3rd!, as they wait for the PERFECT pitch to hit into play ... less than 25 percent of the time).Here’s the lineup Zambrano and the Cubs needed to beat yesterday:J. Rollins (.237) C. Utley(.300) P. Polanco (.241) B. Abreu (.278) D. Bell (.229) R. Howard (.071) M. Byrd (.500) T. Pratt (.174) B. MyersPolancoDon’t think for a second that Charlie Manuel’s decision to play Placido Polanco in left and bat him third yesterday was a random act. The Phillies made every effort to showcase Poly in front of the Cubs this series, a possible suitor for the displaced and disgruntled second baseman.After a red-hot spring, Polanco hasn’t carried that momentum forward. He was robbed a number of times this series, but overall, his general lack of power – a measly .280 SLG – isn’t what I’d call a solid option to hit third or even second.In our Polanco / Utley poll, I voted in favor of the platoon, but right now I’d vote for additional ABs for Chase Utley against LHP, unless it's Mike Hampton or someone of that caliber. I still think Polanco is a better option against most LHP, but Manuel should move to get Utley more ABs because he's basically their third-best power option right now.The restLike Poly, there are too many others in this lineup, top to bottom, putting up anemic numbers, providing no power whatsoever and not driving in runners on base. How’s this for a stat: David Bell has nine extra-base hits this season, but only nine runs.The wasteful ABs start at the top. Jimmy Rollins has been a poor table-setter, only reaching base to the tune of .285 OBP. Earlier I asked readers which NL East shortstop would have the best season, and the majority voted for J-Roll. Right now, he’s tied with Rafael Furcal in VORP with a 4.2 rating. They’re both not getting their fleet rear-ends on base, with Furcal posting a slightly better .295 OBP.HealthThe Phillies need Jim Thome back, and I’m hoping his early struggles were due to this isolated back injury. I’m a Howard supporter, but I’ll reiterate my position on the big slugging prospect: Jim Thome is unquestionably the bes[...]



Baby steps

2005-05-08T13:45:45.663-04:00

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Benefiting from back-to-back strong outings from Cory Lidle and Jon Lieber, the last-place Phillies get exacly what they needed - two wins against the struggling Cubs, losers of their last seven.

The bad news for the Phils: They've gained no ground in the NL East, where every team is riding a two-game winning streak or more.

But the Phightins know they must start somewhere. Exploiting the Cubs weakness - their bullpen - has been the logical first step.

Meanwhile, the Phils pen has been the as-advertised strength, as the new set-up / closer combo of Ryan Madson and Billy Wagner looks ... not perfect, but formidable. Madson, in particular, was money yesterday, notching two key strikeouts and bailing the Phils out of a tight spot in the eighth.

With Mads and Wags in back, the Phils can proceed with confidence to win close games. Who knew removing Tim Worrell from the equation could be such a simple answer? With Cormier back in the fold, they have three solid options.

Cory Lidle and Jon Lieber
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I don't have the opportunity to use my Lidle paragraph template because he pitched longer than six innings Friday. He was excellent, baffling Cubs hitters with his changeup and sinker. Lidle has only allowed one home run all season, and with the wind blowing out at Wrigley, his performance was even more remarkable.

If Lidle is a "No. 5," he's among the best fives in baseball, earning about $3 million this season, also making him one of the better bargains out there.

As for Jon Lieber, he was just as good yesterday, surrendering only a homer to Cory Patterson in the first inning.

Unlike Lidle, Lieber has given up an unusually high amount of homers (8), but it's hard to complain. The way he bores down on left-handers inside is amazing, and it's a treat watching a pitcher work as fast as he does.

Offense
The biggest concern is still their offense, and though they've won two straight, they continue to display some disconcerting trends. Namely, Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell are striking out a lot. It's pretty simple: If the heart of the order strikeouts out, the offense will struggle to score runs.

I've rarely seen a player look like he's thinking more at the plate than Pat the Bat, and when it looks like he's laboring, that's when you get Ks like the one he took in his last AB yesterday. Geesh. Even my back hurt after watching that wrenching cut.



Robinson Tejeda by the numbers

2005-05-08T15:03:08.163-04:00

The 23-year-old pitcher gets the call from Scranton as Tim Worrell will spend 15 days on the DL.

● Tejeda is definitely a strikeout pitcher, trying to shake off control problems that have haunted him over his career. He ranked fourth in the Eastern League in strikeouts last season with 133, but also surrendered the fifth-most walks with 59.

● Prone to give up the long ball. He set a Reading club record by allowing 29 homers, which also lead the Eastern League.

● He’s young, 23, but is in his seventh season with the organization and is one of several R-Phils that emerged from relative obscurity last season. He originally signed with the Phils as an amateur free agent in 1998.

● Having a very good season so far in Triple-A Scranton, posting a 2.22 ERA, but more importantly, has a 28-13 strikeout to walk ratio and has surrendered no home runs for the Barons.



... and falling to pieces

2005-05-06T15:42:09.303-04:00

The AP is reporting that reliever Tim Worrell asked the Philadelphia Phillies to place him on the 15-day disabled list because of "personal psychological issues."

The wish was granted by general manager Ed Wade. His spot will be replaced by righthander Robinson Tejeda, who pitched in Reading last season.

In a statement released by the team, the move opens the door to speculation.

"I called Ed Wade last night to tell him that I am dealing with some personal psychological issues that I need to resolve," Worrell said. "They are affecting my family life and my ability to do my job. I am going to deal with these issues and I hope to resolve them as quickly as possible. I appreciate the Phillies' understanding and their pledge of confidentiality."

In 11 innings, Worrell has an ERA of 9.82. He gave up three runs in one inning of relief in his most recent outing.

BPF take
Worrell’s self-removal gives the Phillies a better chance to win games.



An organization in shambles

2005-05-06T13:25:40.916-04:00

Instead of a Mets series recap, I'd rather talk about the issue on everyone's mind, the overall state of the Phillies organization. Here's my take:General managerRewarding home-grown talent like Pat Burrell, Mike Lieberthal and Randy Wolf with lucrative, overreaching, overly-loyal, long-term deals will become Ed Wade's bitter legacy with the Phillies. Along with spending big money for established, older veterans, like Jim Thome, David Bell and Jon Lieber, Wade's formula built a dinosaur that's stagnating, falling further past its prime, and giving young players, like Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins, reason to follow Scott Rolen out of town.If rebuilding is the answer - as we should know if it is by the end of this month - the long-term deals have handcuffed immediate efforts to transition to that stage, as teams like the Oakland Athletics are able to do frequently. With payroll at an all-time high $93 million, and with attendance at their new state-of-art facility dropping nightly by the thousands, baring a miraculous turnaround, things may only get worse. Farm systemWhat goes unnoticed is a farm system largely devoid of major-league talent, as a handful of prospects - Marlon Byrd and others - have failed to transition to the next level. In Double-A Reading, they're fielding a squad of older retreads. Aside from a hidden gem or two, the strategy runs a high risk of creating a huge talent void for the next two seasons, perhaps more.May 6The rest of this road trip is vitally important. Day to day, the biggest concern is which aspect of their game will fail them next. Will it be the offense, averaging around three runs a game, or will a starting pitcher, like Padilla or Wolf, open the floodgates? Maybe the bullpen, ranking second worst in the National League with an ERA of 6.06, will fail them tonight.At 12-17, they are 5 1/2 games out of first-place Atlanta, a team that's really starting to click. Between the cellar and ceiling are three capable teams.RebuildingThis offseason, I thought if they could get a legitimate number one starter they had a shot to contend this season, otherwise, they should move aggressively to shed their big contracts. Jon Lieber has lived up to that billing. The problem is, the staff is getting about two and a half quality starts each turn through the rotation, along with the rest of the problems I mentioned before.An asset they have this season they haven't had in the past are expendable chips other teams covet. The problem: the teams willing to spend don't have the goods to give in return.Off to their worst start since 1991, the Yankees could really use a versatile infielder (Placido Polanco) and a left-handed starter (Randy Wolf). What the Phils could use most, in my estimation, is a third base prospect, with Bell getting older and the team losing confidence in one-time top prospect Juan Richardson.The Cubs offense is a real mess, and the two teams have already talked about a deal involving Placido Polanco. There's rumor the Phils are holding on to Polanco to make a major deadline package move with Ryan Howard. Unless they're two games in back of Atlanta for first, any deal for Howard should include third base, shortstop or catching prospects. The Phils should have a contingency plan if J-Roll decides to leave, and the tandem of Lieberthal and Pratt are the oldest in the league. I see two problems standing in the way of a full rebuilding effort. First and foremost, the long-term contracts, and second, if Wade sticks to his guns and continues to believe this team is built to win a championship.Either way, the grace period is over. The road trip continues 3:05 p.m. in C[...]



Seo embarrassing

2005-05-05T07:08:40.393-04:00

Back-to-back ninth-inning homers aside, the Phillies came within a David Bell single and a couple walks from hitting absolute rock bottom, as they lose to the Mets 3-2 in embarrassing fashion.

The Phillies delivered just one hit – Bell’s – over seven innings against fringe pitcher Jae Seo, who recorded a career-best eight strikeouts. (Update - following the game, Seo was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Kris Benson returing from the DL.)

Last night’s loss represented a chronic trend of following an offensive explosion with futility, generating three hits and two runs after Tuesday’s 10-3 win. The Phils waited until the ninth inning to get on the board, with back-to-back home runs by Chase Utley and Bobby Abreu off closer Braden Looper. Pat Burrell and Jason Michaels each had a chance to keep the rally alive but struck out.

Cliff Floyd still holds the hottest bat in the National League, smashing a head-high pitch off Randy Wolf for a round-tripper in the sixth. Then in the seventh, Floyd made a highlight-reel grab in left robbing Michaels of a two-run homer.

Completely healthy for the first time in years, Floyd is making this fantasy baseball owner kick himself, since I had Floyd last year hoping for this kind of comeback, and then passed on him this season.

I’ll have more venomous thoughts tomorrow. Until then, if you hear a loud scream roundabout the Pottstown way, just go back to bed.



Last chance to vote Utley / Polanco

2005-05-04T16:02:10.530-04:00

The poll asking whether you agree with the current Phillies second base platoon between Placido Polanco and Chase Utley will come down tomorrow, so this is your last chance to chime in on the Phillies hot-button issue.

Come on ... the answer I selected needs your vote!



Worrell degenerating earlier than expected

2005-05-04T12:45:23.540-04:00

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The 37-year-old setup man has been given a number of low-pressure situations, such as last night, to right the ship, but he appears to be sailing way off course. Is it a fluke, or a sign of the inevitable?

Leading analysts, such as Baseball Prospectus, didn’t target 2005 as a year of sharp collapse for the veteran right-hander. They did, however, target next season as Worrell’s decline year, going from a projected 12.9 VORP in 2005 to a 3.3 VORP in 2006. It certainly appears that his degeneration is ahead of schedule. (*see below for an explanation of VORP)

Using PECOTA, a system that compares players to similar players over the history of baseball to draw conclusions about their future performance, Prospectus generated a 2005 projection for Worrell of around 61 innings and a 3.69 ERA.

In nine innings, Worrell has been far from reliable, allowing 17 hits for an 8.00 ERA, earning a little better defense-independent ERA of around 7.22.

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The most amazing part of all this is how eerily similar his season has been to another struggling reliever, 40-year-old Steve Reed in Baltimore. Reed ranks number one on Worrell’s list of most comparable pitchers, and like Worrell, he wasn’t expected to have rapid decline until next season. (12.7 2005 VORP, and a 6.2 2006 VORP)

Here are their general stats side-by-side. It’s almost like the two got together and decided to pack it in.

2004 Steve Reed: 65 G, 3.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .281 BAA
2004 Tim Worrell: 77 G, 3.68 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .254 BAA

2005 Steve Reed: 9 G, 8.68 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, .341 BAA
2005 Tim Worrell: 9 G, 8.10 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, .404 BAA

Any way you crunch his future projections, the present Phillies cannot go forward with a setup man that’s allowing opponents to bat .404 against him.
VORP: Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense.



Epic battle spoiled

2005-05-03T10:12:18.836-04:00

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Like two Jedi on opposite sides of the force, Jon Lieber and Pedro Martinez engaged in an epic battle between good and evil last night at Shea. The problem is, Charlie Manuel is no George Lucas.

Instead of letting the action resolve, finding out which warrior would prevail, he handed the lightsaber to the understudy, Terry Adams, who proved to be no Mark Hamill. With the score tied 1-1, Adams gave up a three-run blast to Carlos Beltran.

It’s a good thing some excellent summer movies are on tap, because Manuel is directing a summer stink bomb.

Tom Goyne at Balls Sticks and Stuff scripted a winner this morning. Here’s Tom’s game recap:
During the top of the seventh inning, the Phillies had a little rally going, managing to score their only run due to some aggressive base-running by Chase Utley ...

However, with two outs and a runner on second, Charlie Manuel elected to pinch-hit for Jon Lieber in an attempt to break the 1-1 tie. Jose Offerman, the pinch-hitter, failed to drive the run in, and Terry Adams was brought in to face the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

Adams then proceeded to give up a single, a walk, and then a home-run to Carlos Beltran, making it 4-1, Mets. Manuel waited for Adams to give up a single to the next batter, Cliff Floyd, before pulling Adams in favor of Geoff Geary. Geary then proceeded to let several more Mets reach base and when it didn't look like they would score, he threw a wild pitch, allowing Floyd to come home. 5-1 Mets and the Phillies never sniffed a scoring opportunity again.

After 78 pitches and matching Pedro pitch for pitch, I’m sure many Phans are wondering this morning why Manual didn’t give his ace the chance to outlast him.

By pinch hitting, they basically put the game in the hands of Offerman and the B-list bullpen, and boy did it turn into an unhappy ending. I can't imagine how Manuel thought that was going to work. With two outs, why not see if Lieber can knock in the runner from second. Crazy things happen when pitchers face pitchers in tight games.

Instead, Offerman ends the inning, and it's up to Adams or Geary (the dark side of the Phorce) to hold it, not exactly an Obi-Wan / Qui-Gon combo that has the Mets shaking in their shoes.

From Tom Goyne:
Let's face it, the Phillies bullpen is quite bad right now. Handing them a tie game in the bottom of the seventh and expecting them to hold it and get nine more scoreless outs from the opposition is unrealistic. I certainly see the temptation to drive that runner in from second, because in a pitcher's duel, every run is precious. But, when you remove Lieber for Terry Adams ... well, it's not a pitcher's duel anymore is it?

Offerman off his game
In 16 PH ABs, the pinch hit specialist Offerman is batting .188, .235 OBP and .375 SLG.



The downward spiral of Dutch

2005-05-02T12:39:58.856-04:00

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My boss and fellow blogger Mike Zielinski offers a great piece on Darren Daulton today on Zeke’s Blog.

Zeke was a long-time sports writer for the Reading Eagle and continues to write online columns on pop culture, current events and sports.

Today, he writes about Dautlon's demise after the former Phillies all-star catcher was arrested recently for failure to appear in court on a probation violation. Dutch was also arrested in 2003 on a domestic battery charge.

A week later, his buddy Lenny Dykstra was accused of using steroids and gambling illegally during his baseball career.

On top of 10-14 April, it’s really been a month the Phils would rather forget, hasn't it?

Anyway, check out Zeke's site and tell him I sent you so I can earn some brownie points.



Phils-Marlins series wrap

2005-05-02T10:50:44.853-04:00

One for the road: Benefiting from a clutch five-out save from Billy Wagner, the Phillies pick up a 8-6 win at Citizen's Bank Park Sunday. Though they lost the series 2-1, the Phils created a positive springboard as they open up a 10-game road trip tonight in Queens. (AP Photo)Picking a winnerSunday was a great game to attend live, as I lucked into seeing best home game of the year. The weather was a little chilly and parking was a nightmare with the Sixers tipping off a half-hour earlier, but five quick runs calmed those nerves and allowed us to sit back and enjoy. You wouldn’t have known the Phils entered the game in the NL East basement from the positive attitude of the crowd. It was a great time.The big story yesterday were some great first-inning ABs to help knock Josh Beckett out of the game early. The best was Bobby Abreu’s three-run homer, following about five 3-2 foul balls. Ironically, I had just said to my friend "Bobby likes to have the ball in a certain spot, otherwise he’ll foul off pitches by just lunging at them." The very next pitch was right in the basket and he slung it to the upper deck. That was Bobby's best AB of the season from what I saw.The rest of the lineup showed the same patience that first inning, batting around, drawing walks, and getting hits deep into the count. With the Marlins bullpen battered, they couldn’t have picked a better time to knock a starter out early.Perez and PrattThe Phils fielded their Sunday afternoon favorites, Todd Pratt and Tomas Perez, and like always, they capitalized on the opportunity. Perez in particular had a career game, going 3-4 with 3 RBIs filling in for Jim Thome at first. After the second inning, the Phillies showed a Tomas Perez career highlight reel on the big screen. I caught Tomas watching it as he slowly rolled grounders to the infield, with a little smile on his face. My sense is when he retires, fans will look back fondly on his career. As for Pratty, he went 1-4, but more importantly, they’re now 4-0 in games he’s started. There’s certainly no reason to groan when the bench gets the call.Cory LidleAs for Cory Lidle ... give me a sec to go back in my achieves to copy what I wrote last week ... ah yes ... here it is: Cory Lidle is giving the Phils exactly what was expected from him this season – about five good innings each start. Like his previous outings, things became a little unraveled in the sixth, but so far, he hasn’t been badly burned.That about covers it.Enter SandmanI was certain Tim Worrell would turn it around, but yesterday was likely his last as a set-up man. Relieving Ryan Madson, who pitched two strong and will likely take over eighth-inning duties, Worrell nearly cost them the game again, giving up a double, a single and an RBI single until it was Billy Wagner time, trotting out of the bullpen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." It took the Sandman about four pitches to get Mike Lowell to hit into an inning-ending double play. Then he took a rare turn at bat in the bottom half and laced a single to right. In the ninth, he delivered the dagger for save number six.Ladies and Gentlemen, the Sandman is back. Fishy observations on a stinky team * Mike Lowell is really struggling, grounding into two costly double plays yesterday. They had him batting seventh. Not to imply anything, but to the casual eye he looks a little leaner this season.* Paul LoDuca is my least-favorite type of player, a total slap hitter with a high BA. He reached[...]



May 1 going on October 1

2005-05-01T10:51:33.840-04:00

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Larry's last laugh: Scouts said the Phillies played tight under Larry Bowa, but this season they're laboring even more.

The hardcore award for yesterday goes to the 50 or so phans that stuck around CBP after the final two-hour delay. They must have been bloggers.

I wasn't quite as rugged, dry and at home in bed, falling asleep through the UPN-57 filler programming, including reruns of "Martin" and the "Tim McCarver Show." The game was called around midnight, ending with a 2-1 loss. In between, I flipped on "SportsCenter," watching highlights of this new and exciting baseball achievement they're calling a "home run." It's really something.

Six innings was enough to make Dontrelle Willis (5-0) baseball's first five-game winner. He hasn't given the Phils an inch this season.

Meanwhile, Vicente Padilla (0-3) had his best outing of 2005, but still looks far from the strikeout pitcher of the past, wracking up seven Ks in three starts.

So it wasn't your classic night of baseball. Even more miserable than the rain was news that Jim Thome left the game with back spasms. There's a chance he could go on the DL with rookie Ryan Howard called up to replace him. Any way you spin it, losing Thome can only mean tougher odds of winning ballgames.

One month of play feels like six. The Phils are five games back in a division that's showing early separation. Today they have their hands full when they face Josh Beckett and have a great chance to go six down before the day is over.

The challenge now, as a writer, is balancing rational thinking with impatience and emotion. Yes, the season is early, but they've done this to us before.

One reason not to panic is knowing slow starts are nothing new to many of the key players – Thome, Bobby Abreu and David Bell.

But there's something a little different this season. The excuses have been thoroughly exhausted. Larry Bowa, the most convenient excuse for underachieving, is gone, and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan is gone.

One central theme I wanted to carry forth in 2005 was the idea that winning rests squarely on the shoulders of the players. This is basically the same team picked to win the division last year, and picked by some to win it this season.

No matter what critics say about the job GM Ed Wade has done assembling the parts, the Phils are fielding a core group that should compete, one that should average more than three runs a game, playing under the field boss they wanted. While Wade is sure to be gone if they fail to reach the postseason, 2005 is all about Thome, Abreu, Burrell, Rollins, Lieberthal and Bell.

I've been wrong on a number of preseason statements, but none more than this one: Under Charlie Manuel, the Phillies will stay loose all season.

With fans taking no prisoners, they’re even tighter, and playing even worse, and not even Charlie can save them.



Killing time with stats

2005-04-29T16:16:00.523-04:00

Watching the clock and waiting to go home? Join the club. Here are some stats to make the time go faster. Read them twice, there's only four of them.

* Bobby Abreu has the lowest double play rate in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus. He hasn’t hit into one this season, earning a –2.98 rating, whatever that means. Plenty of other hitters haven’t hit into DPs this season, but according to their numbers, the way Abreu is playing he has the best chance at not hitting into one.

* Rheal Cormier has faced the third best collection of hitters this season, with hitters averaging 0.298 BA, 0.369 OBP, 0.467 SLG.

* Former Phillie Carlos Silva is ranked second best in baseball in double play rate for pitchers, according to Baseball Prospectus. He’s gotten hitters to hit into six of them.

* If the season would end today, Colorado’s Clint Barmes would be a unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year. He’s pulling a 15.3 VORP, with the next best Victor Diaz of the Mets with 10.9.