Tuesday, April 18, 2006


The Phillies fall to 5-8 on the season after going down to the Washington Nationals in the first game of a three game set in South Philly by a score of 10-3. Not many positives to talk about after this loss, but we'll do our best to sort out some bright spots:
  • Starting pitcher Cory Lidle wasn't great, but he pitched well enough to keep the team in the game. Again, this is who Cory Lidle is - if you don't like the way he pitched tonight, you don't like Cory Lidle (which is fine, of course, but as a general rule I do question anybody who doesn't like a guy named Cory). Lidle slots in nicely as the fourth or fifth starter on a contending team - with Myers, Lieber, and Madson in the rotation with him, that is exactly where he stands at the moment.
  • Mike Lieberthal keeps on hitting - his batting average is at .364 with an OPS of .898. Isn't it time to swap him with David Bell in the lineup? He'll probably be a better hitter over the course of the season, but, even if he isn't, he is definitely the hotter bat right now. Charlie Manuel would be wise to milk Lieberthal's strong start for all that it's worth.
  • Pat Burrell had a sexy statistical night (see how confident I am in my masculinity to admit that?) - hitting homers (number 6 on the year) and gunning down runners on the base paths are undoubtedly two of Burrell's favorite things to do on the field. Of course, they don't compare to the fun of bottle cap baseball with JMike off the field...
  • Bobby Abreu had an action packed game in right field (not really a positive, but work with me), but still managed to get on base three times in four plate appearances. See how few positives there were from this game?
Now for the fun part...the negatives:
  • I have no idea how this URL address has not been snapped up yet...if it wasn't such a trendy way to title a blog, I'd definitely consider it as the new name to this site. I mean, come on, 'Phillies Baseball.' That's one terrible name. Sure, people know what they are getting, but it's so darn unoriginal. I think a change needs to be made at some point and Fire Bill Dancy does have a nice ring to it...
  • Bill Dancy really does need to go though - the decision to send Jimmy Rollins in the first inning tonight was one of the worse he has made yet...and that's really saying something. Alfonso Soriano should never, ever throw you out. Never. Ever.
  • First guessing time - why in the world did Manuel yank Lidle in favor of a pinch hitter in the seventh inning when the only job he wanted out of said pinch hitter was a sacrifice bunt? Manuel sent Abe Nunez in to bat for Lidle with nobody out and Mike Lieberthal on first in a one run game in the bottom of the seventh. If Nunez is up there to bunt, why not leave Lidle in to try it himself? He was only at 87 pitches on the night and still looked relatively strong in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings (though I'll concede Schneider's double in the 7th may have been an indicator that he was finished). This wasn't a major blunder, but it was still a bad decision that showed a lack of understanding of how to best manage one's resources at hand.
  • The bullpen is a mess right now - Arthur Rhodes looks bad, Geoff Geary looks especially bad, Julio Santana is bad (always has been too), and Aaron Fultz seems to be well on his way to his inevitable regression to the mean (in a very bad, crash and burn kind of way). My feelings about the badness of Ryan Franklin (bad in a bad way, not the cool, hip way the kids use it...or at least used it 15 years ago) are well documented. That leaves a two man bullpen of non-badness - Rheal Cormier and Tom Gordon. That's bad.
  • My use of bad every possible space there was for an adjective - good.
  • Ryan Zimmerman...this guy, Miguel Cabrera, and David Wright are going to make Phillies fans incredibly jealous over the next half decade or so (at least). Chipper Jones is obviously still doing his thing for the Braves and, even with Andy Marte gone, they appear to have a decent in-house replacement ready to play third down the road (Eric Campbell). The Phillies are pinning their hopes on Mike Costanzo and Welinson Baez - both good prospects in their own right, but not nearly on the level of the three young NL East third basemen already in the majors.
Jim Bowden, the Nationals GM, is terrible at what he does. The fact that Ryan Church was in AAA the first two weeks of the season is just another piece of evidence to support that. Brandon Watson is not a major leaguer...maybe a fifth outfielder, but I'm not even personally convinced of that. Church can and will hit big league pitching as both his above rookie average numbers in 2005 and, sorry I just had to point this out (small sample size be damned) his grand slam in the ninth inning highlighted. He can hit, he can play a decent centerfield, he has a solid ballplayer name...how soon before Bowden trades him for a package including one of Ruben Mateo, Alex Escobar, and Ruben Rivera?

Oh yeah, the Phillies also played some games in Colorado this past weekend...a pretty good weekend if memory serves. Brett Myers career numbers at Coors Field are phenomenal - of all the Phillies players that had memorable weekends, he deserves the special mention. The weekend seems so far in the past right now, I think it is somewhat pointless recapping all the games...so I won't. All in all, winning four out of six on the road against the Braves and Rockies made for a positive week...too bad the Phils couldn't build on that success to open the series against the Nats, but there is always tomorrow, right?


Anonymous (a very frustrated) oper33 said...

You should definitely rename the blog. Bill Dancy lost this game for the Phillies right there in the 1st inning. Terrible terrible decision. I was so mad, I couldn’t think straight. I don’t know a lot about baseball but it seems to me that you want men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs with the heart of the order coming up. There is no reason to take that risk sending Rollins home, and a dozen or so reasons not to send him. After last nights, game I have serious worries about the coaching and the bullpen. Good point about Nunez pinch hitting, with the bullpen pitching the way it has Charlie has leave the starters in as long as he can. Hell with the way the bench is hitting he might as well let the pitchers hit, they can get out just as good as anybody off the bench. I can’t say anything nice so I am just going to stop bitching, but I do want to ask you if you think the Mets are for real?

3:33 AM  
Blogger XXX said...

Hopefully this second game against the Nats can help calm us all down a bit after that dreadful series opener. Baseball really is a great game, chock full of ups and downs - Ryan Howard definitely provided a big time up last night. Anyway, thanks for the comment and as for your question on the Mets...it's a damn good question and something I know a lot of people out there (and seemingly every major media sports outlet) has been pondering the past few days. I think there may very well be enough to say about it that it deserves a post all to itself. Thanks for the inspiration!

(By the way, the quick answer to the question is a definitive NO!, but that is just the Phillies fan in me talking...I think the real answer may unfortunately be a tad more complicated than that)

1:09 AM  

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