Friday, September 15, 2006

Phillies @ Braves - DH Recap

A little late and a little irrelevant by now (Blogger sucks), but here's what I saw while watching the Braves-Phillies doubleheader on Wednesday night (Phils swept the doubleheader, by the way, 6-5 and 7-2...unfortunately Chuck James held the bats in check as the Braves salvaged the last game of the series last night by a score of 4-1):


I really hate to be a pain, but I honestly believe that Randy Wolf has no business pitching in the major leagues right now. It’s nothing personal (I’m a huge Wolf fan), but the poor guy rushed himself to come back from Tommy John surgery and it shows. I predicted prior to the season that Wolf wouldn’t pitch at all in 2006; I later amended that to say that if he does come back, he’ll be a shell of his former self. The typical rule of thumb with injuries to pitchers is this: if it is the shoulder that has been hurt, the pitcher will have a hard time getting his velocity back; if it is the elbow that has been hurt, the pitcher will have a harder time with his control. Wolf’s velocity has been fine…it’s his bad location that has done him in. All that being said (and knowing what we know about how pitchers typically respond to TJ surgery), Wolf seems like a very good bet to bounce back in 2007. Based on everything I’ve read and heard, Randy will be a highly sought after free agent pitcher this offseason. I think a pitching hungry team (and there are plenty) will give him the new going rate for middle of the rotation starting pitchers: 3 years/21 million dollars.

1st inning: great at bat by Howard, he is showing Abreu-esque patience at the plate these days…

1st inning - Why in the world is Conine hitting 5th? Conine was a fine addition to the ballclub, but he is now being stretched beyond what his current abilities as a player ought to allow. Getting good players is the goal of any GM…but the manager’s job is to put his good players in the best possible position to succeed for the greater good of the team. This isn’t happening when Conine hits 5th. Maybe I’m wrong…

1st inning: Wolf can not locate at all, disastrous 2-run error by Utley, 3-0 Braves. This may have been a bad start, but it was early enough in the game to not get too down.

3rd inning: Howard with another great at bat…got ahead with a 3-1 count after letting two low changeups pass by…just misses a homerun with a 3-1 deep foul ball (not close to being fair, but an opposite field homer kind of swing)…just misses a grandslam (on second look, maybe it would have been a double) when Andruw Jones makes a leaping grab at the wall…good at bat nonetheless

3rd inning: Huge hit for Jeff Conine in the inning, it looks like I was absolutely wrong…for this one night anyway…

Apparently Rick White has a 5.1 inning scoreless streak Turner Field…what an arbitrary stat…

8th inning huge: top of the order up

  1. Very heads up baserunning by Rollins on his leadoff single…Francouer bobbled it just enough for JRoll to take off for second (E-9)
  2. Victorino follows with a single to right…RBI…best part…”Phils still have Utley and Howard to come” – what a comforting feeling for a Phillies fan although I could hear the fear in the Braves announcer’s voice as he said it…(both Victorino and Rollins hits were to the opposite field by the way)
  3. The homeplate ump kept calling low strikes on Utley…for some reason, he simply didn’t adjust
  4. Howard K’s swinging…even in defeat he looked a little like Abreu in that at bat…I wish I could explain what I mean better, it’s just something in his approach that I can describe
  5. Conine getting on with a first pitch single is perfect because it sets up…
  6. The matchup I wanted all along – David Dellucci against a righty he can handle…is this the most important at bat of the year for the Phils? Dellucci hit a slicing liner to left field that completely turned Matt Diaz around…hitters tend to hit balls that slice towards the lines when they go the other way (like Dellucci did here)…Diaz looked like he wasn’t aware of that fact on that ball…

Jeff Torborg, a former big league catcher (and a horrible one at that), is one of the Braves announcers. He is horrible at his job. On top of that, he is freaking obsessed with catching. He singled out at least 10 Todd Pratt picks of balls in the dirt and attempted to break down the technique he used (poorly I might add). Former players can bring a lot to a broadcast, but not those with tunnel vision – we get it Jeff, you were a catcher. You know catching. There are eight other guys on the field, maybe you ought to try talking about them sometime, hmm?

Utley and Rollins are both getting way too pull happy, Abe Nunez is the worst player in the world, closely following right behind Nunez: Danny Sandoval. Sandoval should never be used to pinch hit…ever.

“Brayan Pena had an outstanding season for the Richmond Braves” – this may be a weird quote to take exception with, but I did find it a bit curious. True, Pena hit .302 in AAA this year…sounds good, right? Well, he finished the season with a .302/.342/.372 line…good for a 714 OPS. That’s hardly a good year. Jason Jaramillo had a disappointing year in AA in my estimation…but he finished with an OPS of 708. By Braves announcing standards, Jaramillo and Pena both had outstanding minor league seasons. No way is that true.

Rick White was hitting 94 MPH on the gun…I can’t say that I’m not impressed.


1st Inning - Jimmy Rollins with a great at bat to leadoff the game (down 0-2, drew a walk)…sign of good things to come?

1st Inning - Jeff Francoeur has one heck of an arm…he gunned Rollins at home in the first with just about as perfect a throw as you’ll ever see – I suppose the logical question is why would Bill Dancy send the runner with Ryan Howard waiting on deck to hit (1st and 3rd with 1 out being the alternative if you hold him)?

2nd Inning - 20th homer of the year for Rollins…phenomenal year for the Phillies shortstop (he is the ultimate “worry about what he can do, not what he can’t” player in my mind). With this homer, Rollins and Utley have become the first double play combo in Phillies history with 20 homers apiece. Fun fact.

3rd Inning - Carlos Ruiz’ laser beam homer to left…when Ruiz hits the ball hard or has a good at bat, I am genuinely happy for him…I know that makes me sound a bit like a weirdo, but I am really really pulling for the guy

Great defensive night all around – Nunez and Rollins both made excellent plays in the third and Rollins and Howard turned a nifty 3-6-3 double play in the second

No respect for Pat Burrell…pinch hit for in the ninth inning for Randall Simon…I just don’t get where the Phillies are coming from with a move like this…it isn’t a good baseball move, so that can’t be it…are they really trying that hard to send a message to poor Pat?

Credit is due for the game Abraham Nunez had…he played a fantastic game two (the Braves announcer called him “arguably the weakest hitter in the lineup” at one point…how diplomatic of him)


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