Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have a few random game notes scratched out on computer paper from the Astros series, but they hardly seem relevant with so much time having passed since the last Phillies game. In an effort to provide some big league content (and not just focus on the minors), I'll share some of the random, big picture thoughts that I gleaned from watching this past weekend's abbreviated series...

It's time to think about playing around with the lineup a little bit. I know, I know...lineup construction is pretty much meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it's one of the few old school baseball traditions that I think is worth preserving, for the interesting discussion it sparks if nothing else. I don't have any concrete plan on what the new lineup ought to look like, but I'll provide some jumping off points: Jimmy Rollins, aka the best shortstop in baseball these days, might be best served hitting in the middle of the lineup than at the top; Aaron Rowand's shocking .458 OBP might look alright higher in the lineup (leadoff? 2-hole?) if he keeps it up; it's finally time to split up the two lefties in the middle of the lineup, no? If you'd prefer to see Rollins stay at the top of the lineup, then what's wrong with giving Pat Burrell at shot batting cleanup for a while?

If you want to worry about Ryan Howard's "slow" start, I won't try to talk you out of it. That said, I'm not in the least bit worried about the '06 MVP...sure, he's had a slower start than I'm sure many would have liked to see, but he really looked like the light came back on for him this past weekend against Houston. Watching him go the other way consistently is the easiest thing a fan can do to figure out whether he's going good or not - I'm hardly an expert on swing mechanics, but I expect big things in the coming week out of the big man based on what I saw this past weekend.

It was an absolute joke to see Michael Bourn sent on to the field on Saturday to run for Pat Burrell in the sixth inning of a tight ballgame. Burrell had just hit an RBI single and was standing on first base with two outs and a baserunner ahead of him when Charlie Manuel lifted him from the game. The potential advantage of such a move is so slight, it's almost not worth making at all...but when you consider the downside, it becomes 100% indefensible. The very next inning (bottom 7), Ryan Howard was intentionally walked to load the bases with 2 outs for...defensive sub extraordinare Michael Bourn. Bourn looked horribly overmatched as he struck out on 3 pitches. The temptation for Charlie should be removed, Bourn should be sent down (up?) to Canada to play everyday...and Chris Coste, a better bench bat, should get promoted. As long as Coste hits, he stays...if/when he goes cold, you can try again with another AAA bat.

Last but not least, Francisco Rosario made his Phillies debut on Saturday...the kid looked good. It was fastball after fastball (I saw 93-95...though I've heard some guns had him as high as 98), but it worked. He blew three fastballs right by Lance Berkman to strike him out in a huge situation in the 7th. Throwing the heater on 2-0, 3-1, and then 3-2 is a risky proposition, but when you are hitting 94/95, you can make it work. Rosario's progress will be fun to watch this year.

My word verification for this particular post - UTOOL. What's Blogger trying to tell me?


Anonymous ob said...

also not all that worried about howard, he kinda did the same thing at the start of last year in that he had a lot of balls he tried to pull and wasn't hitting well then shortly you could see him start to go oppo and started to just get into a groove. i think he had a pretty ok year last year.
can't agree more on burrell/ bourn. the way the phillies have used any excuse possible to get burrell out of the game has been killing me so far. too many times in close games michael bourn has came up with a chance to do something and it should have been burrell. if you want to take burrell out do it in the 9th inning when you are winning not in the 6th or 7th inning when your are going to need more runs. you don't see boston taking manny out in the 6th inning to be pinch ran for or have a defensive substitution. thats because they realize how valuable he is to the lineup and how small of a percentage of a time that that sub will come in and be able to do something that the starter couldn't do. its like the perfect storm when that occasion happens. not to say there is never a situation where he should be taken out or to compare burrell to manny cause obviously manny is much better but still there are similarities.
as for the lineup i think something needs to change, not saying that the lineup doesn't end up exactly where it is now at the end of the year but how about mixing things up a bit, going with the hot hand at the moment or something. still like vic but how about him or even rowand as you suggested leading off utley second, jroll third, howard fourth burrell fifth and so on. just try something at this point to stir something up in somebody cause obviously whatever they are doing right now isn't working all that well for whatever reason.
overall im not too worried about individual players but i am worried about digging too deep of a hole. this is too good of a division to keep giving games away like this and expect to come back and make the playoffs.
last thought. the bullpen, we keep signing guys that are not bad and i don't argue any of the signings but when i look at the bullpen i really only see 2 guys that i look at and im like these guys are or could be really good and thats gordon and madson. and both of those are sorta iffy but pretty much everyone else in the pen i look at as being very average at best in terms of production for this year. basically what im rambling about is how i want someone with some kind of upside in there or at least good consistency. or something, i don't know. welp thats enough for me for today.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous malphie said...

Uncle Cholly's days: Numbered.
Malphie is in: Panic mode.

11:38 AM  

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