The Phillies Can Pitch, Too

pedro 0903.jpgThe Phillies lead the National League, averaging 5.1 runs per game, despite the fact they have scored just 13 runs and hit just .227 in their past seven games.

Other noteworthy NL teams in runs per game:

2) Rockies (5.00)
4) Dodgers (4.77)
5) Marlins (4.73)
6) Braves (4.55)
8) Cardinals (4.49)
15) Giants (3.99)

The Phillies generally are known as an offensive team — again, despite the fact they have averaged just 4.0 runs per game since July 26. And perhaps because of that there has been some apprehension about who they might face in the best-of-five National League Division Series. We heard it quite a bit this week with the Giants in town: Oh, the Giants would be brutal with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

And they would be.

But the Phillies proved this week they can pitch, too. They rank sixth in the league with a 4.10 ERA, and lead the league with a 3.12 ERA since the All-Star break.

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, who threw a shutout Tuesday, in Games 1 and 2? They could neutralize the Giants or any other team, even if the Phillies bats aren’t hitting.

“It goes without saying that we can beat people a lot of different ways,” Jayson Werth said. “Our starting pitching has definitely been upgraded. We’ve got some guys coming back, too, to bolster up the pen. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to be tough down the stretch. And hopefully when it gets down to the playoffs we’ll be tough again this year.”

“I think last year it showed in the playoffs that pitching and defense can win you a lot of games,” Chase Utley said. “You’re not going to score every single night. You’re bound to run into a tough pitcher occasionally. But if you have good pitchers on your side and play good defense, it’s going to be a good game.”

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Is it time for Raul Ibanez to sit a couple games, much like Jimmy Rollins sat in June? Ibanez has hit .133 (8-for-60) with no homers, one RBI and 19 strikeouts since Aug. 13 and .174 (19-for-109) with one homer, five RBIs and 34 strikeouts since July 27.

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The magic number is 22.

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45 Comments

Ibanez needs to sit for a bit. I’d give him the whole weekend off and let Francisco and Stairs get some at-bats. Stairs in particular needs to see if he can get his bat speed back.

Todd, what’s up with Dobbs? Is he working out yet? It looks like they will be needing his bat ASAP.

It’s time to staop looking at games as single entities and begin to break them down into parts. Ibanez should start every game, but should be pulled after 2 ABs to give Stairs/Fancisco/Dobbs/Brunlett playing time leading up to playoffs. Same thing for Werth and Victorino. If after the 5th or 6th the game is close and we need the regulers, that’s one thing, but otherwise, the bench needs to play a few innings.

I’d also like to see the guys in the pen who aren’t getting many innings (Moyer/Kendrick/Tyler etc get a few more as we head into the post season. Worse case, give one of the twin bills over to the pen to start. I don’t remember the last Bullpen game we had.

Now is the time to get everyone ready for October and the drive to repeat

It’s time to staop looking at games as single entities and begin to break them down into parts. Ibanez should start every game, but should be pulled after 2 ABs to give Stairs/Fancisco/Dobbs/Brunlett playing time leading up to playoffs. Same thing for Werth and Victorino. If after the 5th or 6th the game is close and we need the regulers, that’s one thing, but otherwise, the bench needs to play a few innings.

I’d also like to see the guys in the pen who aren’t getting many innings (Moyer/Kendrick/Tyler etc get a few more as we head into the post season. Worse case, give one of the twin bills over to the pen to start. I don’t remember the last Bullpen game we had.

Now is the time to get everyone ready for October and the drive to repeat

sorry for the double post

Allegedly Dobbs has been improving every day and will be activated tomorrow (Sep. 5th). That was the word on August 30th anyway.

Heck of a game last night! Great to see Pedro get in the groove. As for Ibanez, he just looks very, very tired and worn down. His bat is practically moving in slow motion. Maybe he should rest for a bit; give Francisco a few starts and maybe Stairs so he get his bat going again.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I thought it was decided that Moyer was going to start the 2 day/night DHs they have coming up?
I thought Charlie would sit Ibanez in one of those Giants games.
If bench guys are going to play, I’d rather see them start rather than come in mid-game. Get them in the flow from the start. If they’re going to rest starters, I’d like to see them actually rest. It’s good to sit and watch once in a while.
I don’t like to mess with “bullpen games” or goofy crap like that. Just play baseball.

Bench players have to start occasionally. And regulars need to rest. It’s pointless to think that you are resting regulars by starting them and pulling them midway through a game.

Absolutely phan. I’d tell a guy, “You’re watching the game today” and unless they got into an extra-inning jam, he’d sit the entire time.
Interesting stuff about the pitching, Todd. I’m hearing a lot of opinions about fearing the Giants and/or Cardinals pitching, but I would guess that around the league other fans are saying the same thing about the Phillies. The way they’re pitching now, who would want to face Hamels, Lee, Happ and/or Blanton in a 5-game series?
Nobody, mon ami.
I credit Ruiz for some of it too. I like him more every day. He’s awesome behind the plate, and I don’t particularly care what his batting average is. On this team, he just needs to catch and handle the pitching staff, and he does that very well. He could be a staple here for years. It’s probably a big part of the reason they felt they could trade Marson.

Ibanez seems looks tired or helpless to try and correct his current slump. Each time he and Stairs come to the plate, T-Mac & Wheels (and myself included) say “He’s do!”. Wheels mentioned that Charlie is caught in a catch-22 btwn wanting to rest Ibanez and give his bench players some playing time and trying to get Ibanez going.

karen: Absolutely, but maybe the best way to get Ibanez going is to stop him! They only have one off-day in September and a couple of day/night doubleheaders, so rest might be imperative for a lot of guys, especially Raul, going into the playoffs.
As I’ve said here before, Stairs’ “swing hard in case I hit it” approach is charming, but he has to hit the ball occasionally, otherwise it’s annoying.
He’s been due for over a month.

I like Ruiz too, muleman. How about how he was keeping those Lidge sliders in front of him last night? Priceless.
I go to Reading a few times a year (nice little park and the kids like it) and I remember going a few years back when Ryan Howard was setting minor league records with his HR’s. I distinctly remember pointing at Carlos and telling my wife, ‘there’s a minor league lifer for you. He’ll never sniff the show’. How wrong could I be?

Phan: Ha! I have a partial season plan for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC’s single-A affiliate) and I remember seeing Glendon Rusch blow guys away – 8 or 10 strikeouts a game. I thought he looked like the next Steve Carlton. Turns out he bounced around the majors for a while (still playing?) and never really amounted to much.
Of course, I also saw Johnny Damon and Mike Sweeney on those teams too, so it wasn’t all bad. This year they have a kid named Danny Duffy (pitching tomorrow) and he’s lights-out too, but I’ll withhold my Hall of Fame nomination for him until (if) he gets to the majors.
I can clearly understand how teams make mistakes with young players. It’s hard to tell, especially with pitchers, what kind of player they’ll become.
One of the few things you can accurately judge is fielding. Other than that, it’s a crap shoot sometimes.

If Ibanez continues this funk ( and he just may ) got to consider playing Francisco more often to get him ready for the playoffs. Charlie needs to forget that Righty / lefty match-up stuff with Raul, at least for now, because Ibanez can’t hit anybody . He looks OLD and TIRED. And for next year, if Taylor is invited to Spring training and does well, he NEEDS to be considered for Stairs’ roster spot ( as Dobbs should be on the roster as a LEFTY off of the Bench) and Michael could platoon with ibanez with the idea of phasing Raul out and trading him Back to the AL as a DH. Lets start phasing younger players in sooner so that these guys don’t all get old, or leave via free agency,together. Re-tool now and stay fresh.

And on the subject of sitting Rollins (at the end of Todd’s article) I’ll run this out and see what kind of reaction I get:

It’s my impression that Charlie treats Jimmy differently than he treats other players. Chase has had slumps, but keeps playing. The impression is that he “works hard,” and he does, but a slump is a slump. Jimmy’s indescretions and batting slumps seem to be a reason for change and/or discipline where other players skate.
Even Brett Myers started that game in Boston immediately after being accused of fighting with his wife. Now Raul continues to play, and I suspect if it were Jimmy he’d have been sat or moved in the lineup.
Am I alone in this impression, or do others see it too?

Muleman…………….I completely agree with your observation because these are the same as mine. There is a double standard at work here. Jimmy is the only player I can remember who Charlie benched for not legging out a ground ball, as if he is the only one who hasn’t done it.

Thanks pherrisphain. Glad I’m not on an island with that. I’ve run it past my buddy at the games and he’s seen it too.

Chase Utley is the best hitter on the team, you don’t sit him unless you’re suicidal/he’s injured. Rollins’ slump was on a whole other level than Utley’s occasional slumps, although if Ibanez keeps this up, his will be comparable. And he didn’t just fail to leg out a ground ball that time he got benched, he literally stopped 1/4 way up the baseline.

Interesting take on J.A. Happ from espn.com’s Keith Law:

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4441684&name=law_keith

I can’t get the whole article but I agree with what’s written there. I don’t think Happ’s Kyle Kendrick redux but he’s not nearly as good as his W/L and ERA.

muleman, I see your point. And I kind of agree that there is a double standard at work. But I think the double/triple standard is because Charlie has had a working relationship with Jimmy and Chase for 4 years, but only a few months with Raul. If anything I would guess that Charlie hasn’t benched or moved Raul down in the line-up because he doesn’t know the man well enough to determine whether such a move would be harmful or beneficial in the long run. Also, I agree with what “phylan” posted about Chase.

phylan: Your impression is that Chase is the best hitter on the team, but a slump is a slump, right? Regardless of who is slumping, the treatment should be the same.
We are a nation of laws, not a nation of men – Abe Lincoln.

Sorry – too deep for a baseball blog.

Fair enough.

zach58, I wrote a post on my blog similar to Keith about Happ’s BABIP: http://firerubenamaro.net/2009/09/02/happbip/

Wow. An entire blog devoted to firing Ruben? Me no sabby.

nice post and analysis phylan

Looks like we could have used Halladay tonight.

So Phylan, in the worst named blog since “Don’t let Babe Ruth hit ever again” spends hundreds of words to tell us that Happ has that anoying habbit of getting batters out when there are men on base. If that wasn’t enough, he’s at his best the closer to scoring the other team is, and at his absolute best with two outs and men in scoring posistion. Seems to be to be a good thing for a pitcher to do, get the other guys out!!

Phylan, your blog is a waste of space

f-i-j, phylan’s assessment of Happ is pretty much the consensus among baseball people. His deceptive delivery is keeping people off balance for now, but he is projected as no better than a #4 or 5, even with his impressive season to date. He’s a bulldog and he’s not Kendrick redux, but don’t get caught up just yet.
Don’t be surprised if Pedro begins to put pressure on the coaching staff to use him as the #4 in the pstseason in place of Happ. The Phillies may be better off with a better lefty-righty mix anyway, especially against the likes of the Cardinals. And Happ has shown that he can pitch out of the ‘pen. They may need a lefty there anyway.

Phan, I would be pleasently surprosed if Happ was ever anything above a #3, but I figure a #3 who can give you 7 innings on a regular basis with a ERA hovering around 3.70 . This does not have anything to do with Phylan’s blog titled “fire ruban amero”. This years front office has been more willing to spend money, more willing to eat bad contracts, more willing to get the lacking pieces and more successful at all of the above then any other front office Phila. has ever seen. Ibanez, despite the slump was a great sighing. Getting Park has proven to be a master stroke. Allowing Happ to mature, getting Pedro, eating multi million dollar contracts of Eaton and Jenkins. Basically eating Moyer’s contract. Playing the minors perfectly to provide a #5 starter after Myers went down, and get a brilliant result from that revolving door. The Lee trade (and getting Francisco will be equally as important.) ETC. anyone who calls for his firing either A) doesn’t understand anything about baseball or B) just enjoys bitching and isn’t worth reading.
Phan’s fancy stats etc dont change what anyone can see: Happ is having a great rookie year, and bassically carried the starting rotation on his shoulders until Lee showed up. What will be next year will be, but right now he’s arguably the #2 on this team.

Happ isn’t even close to being the #2 on this team. Lee and Hamels are 1 and 1A, while Blanton has been the most consistent pitcher on the team since early June and is the lock #3 guy. As I said, if Pedro continues to pitch like he did the other night, he will probably push Happ into the bullpen for the playoffs. That’s not a knock on Happ, but a testament to the focus of an experienced HOF pitcher who can still bring it.
BTW, if you open phylan’s blog, you will see that the title page has been changed.

I wish the unity and solidarity of this team did not include slumping together….

God i hope i done see pedro as a starting pitcher in the playoffs. who wants to see 5 innings 5 hits 3 walks and 4 runs allowed in a playoff game? I certainly dont. And i also know how lucky Happ has been with runners in scoring position and etc but Happ being lucky is better than Pedro going 5 innings.

Pedro has walked a total of 3 hitters since he’s been up so I find it hard to believe that he would walk 3 in five innings. And he just outpitched the best pitcher in the NL. I’ll take my chances with him.
But that’s it for Lidge. Chollie has to pull the plug.

I like Happ for one reason: He’s 5th in the NL in ERA! How can you take him out of a playoff rotation for a washed-up veteran who had one good start? I understand that he’s not the “Top Prospect” but when you get to the playoffs you have to play the guys that are getting the job done for you, and Happ gets the job done. Agreed on Lidge. Myers showed that he can get major leaguers out, he’s my new closer.

Oh I forgot to come back and refresh after making my shameless plug. Thanks phan and everybody. f_i_j, I think you missed the point harder than Shaq at the freethrow line but whatever, it’s been discussed.

Not much else to say other than BRAD LIDGE, GODDAMNIT

Lidge,

Thanks a million for last year, it was great! On the topic of this year – not sure if you have been keeping up with current events but you suck. You have the potential to singlehandedly ruin this season for this team, the fans and the city. Please get out.

Thanks again

Don’t you love the way that Lidge has continued to tell us that he feels great? All season, we’ve heard how his arm feels great, he thinks he’s throwing well, etc.
Last night, before the disaster, McCarthy told us AGAIN that Brad said he “feels great.” (The best he has felt all season, I think is what it was)
I feel great too, but I can’t pitch either.

Yeah seriously. I am SO happy for him that he feels great! Just hope he knows that he is making us all feel awful.

Some folks appear to not understand the statement…”if Pedro continues to pitch like he did the other night”…, and seem to think that I am ceding the #4 spot to him as we speak. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played.

I guess our differences are in understanding what Pedro Martinez is all about. They appear to think that he is the injured player from last season who couldn’t get past the 5th inning for a demoralized team, as opposed to the veteran HOF player who just outpitched the best young pitcher in MLB for the World Champions.

I’m not sure “outpitched” is the right word for that game, but God forbid we start another semantic discussion.

Multiple choice time! Lidge will lose the closer role…

a) the next time he blows a save
b) after his next two blown saves
c) after his first blown save in the playoffs
d) he won’t lose the closer role
e) he’s already lost the closer role

I took a lot out of Charlie’s body language after the loss on Saturday. He hung on the dugout railing while the team filed past. I could only imagine what was rolling through his mind.
Is it too late to make a change? Can Myers re-claim the closer role? Will they split duty between the two?
All this and more, As the World Turns.

On this episode of “As the WFC’s Turn:

I would think they would want to have Myers pitch a couple of more times before handing him the keys to the closer role. However, they need to do something REALLY soon. Anyone know what’s up with Madson?

Also where in the world is our offense???? A bright spot was Ibanez getting a couple of hits, our bench players getting some hits, and Chooch’s 8 game hitting streak.

Meanwhile, it looks as though Todd has taken a holiday and left us to fend for ourselves.

It does look that way, muleman

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