Ice Cold Bats

lee 0928.jpgYorman Bazardo
? Really?

The Phillies got just two hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings last night against Bazardo in an 8-2 loss to Houston at Citizens Bank Park. That would not be noteworthy, except Bazardo was 0-2 with a 9.55 ERA.

The Phillies have lost five of their last seven games, and while they certainly have problems in the bullpen the offense simply has not put teams away. Here are the pitchers the Phillies have faced in those seven games and their records and ERAs before they faced the them:

  • Monday vs. Houston: Bazardo.
  • Sunday in Milwaukee: Dave Bush (5-8, 6.22 ERA)
  • Saturday in Milwaukee: Braden Looper (13-7, 5.12 ERA)
  • Friday in Milwaukee: Manny Parra (10-10, 6.42 ERA)
  • Thursday in Milwaukee: Jeff Suppan (7-10, 4.76 ERA)
  • Wednesday in Florida: Rick VandenHurk (2-2, 4.24 ERA)
  • Tuesday in Florida: Anibal Sanchez (2-7, 4.50 ERA)

Here are the next three pitchers the Phillies face:

  • Tuesday: Wilton Lopez (0-0, 10.38 ERA)
  • Wednesday: Brian Moehler (8-10, 4.86 ERA)
  • Thursday: Felipe Paulino (2-10, 6.06 ERA)

Six of those 10 pitchers have a 5.12 ERA or higher. Five of them have a 6.06 ERA or higher. No pitcher has better than a 4.24 ERA.

The Phillies need to win just two of their final six games to clinch no worse than a tie in the National League East. They need to win just three to win outright. You have to think the Phillies can beat two of these Astros pitchers before the Marlins come to town this weekend, right?

The problem is nobody other than Ryan Howard is hot at the top of the lineup, and even he isn’t on fire. Here are the September averages for the everyday eight: Jimmy Rollins (.261), Shane Victorino (.227), Chase Utley (.222), Howard (.294), Jayson Werth (.239), Raul Ibanez (.268), Pedro Feliz (.227), Carlos Ruiz (.319) and Paul Bako (.286).

The Phillies are dragging down the stretch, which is not a good sign for the postseason. But the Astros sure are setting them up nicely with the next three pitchers they face.


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Last night’s loss was just plain embarrassing. Two hits off a pitcher who’s ERA coming into the game was 11!!?!?

I am now officially NERVOUS! I can’t see this team (at least the way they’re playing right now) get out of the 1st round of the playoffs. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

I waited in my car in the rain for an hour so that I could go in and watch that junk. I decided I’d had enough when Condrey relieved Walker and it got to 8-2. What a waste of an evening.

karen: There’s an old Drew Carey joke where he gets notice of his high school reunion in the mail and proclaims, “I’ve got two weeks to lose weight and get a new career!” These guys don’t have that kind of time.
They all look tired and could use a few days off.

muleman, I was at the game as well last night and I have seen some of the worst games in my life on the 17-game plan I have this year. It is incredibly frustrating. I am the type of person who never leaves their seat during a game and until this year never left early. I have left 75% of my games early this year. I was firing for the gate as soon as Matsui’s ball cleared the mound last night.

This team is downright flat right now and going through the motions. If I saw one more weak groundball to the right side last night my head was going to explode. They were gifted that second run last night. Can these lefties stop trying to pull the outside pitch? Please?!?!!!!

And who is the ace of this staff? I’d have to say Blanton. He has been the most consistent (yes Sunday wasn’t the best). Hamels needs to man up and shut down a team like the Astros. He was throwing well but he dodged a bullet when Berkman didn’t slide or his line would have been worse. The 0-2 pitch to Tejada was the game for me. Goodnight nurse. You can’t make that terrible of an 0-2 pitch when your team was gifted a run to cut the lead to 1. Awful. Tejada handles the high ball well and if you miss your spot like Hamels did he will make you pay. How about throwing one in the dirt? Is that too much to ask? As a pitcher you are supposed to have the upperhand. This team better wake up and wake up fast.

Agreed. This was a really flat performance. I’ve been watching nearly all of their games, and the top of the lineup has really struggled. Victorino in particular. At least Chase has continued to get on base despite not hitting all that well. Victorino used to be in the .320-range and he’s dropping quickly. There’s no momentum that builds through the line up. People manage to get a base and get stranded, or get on base with 2 outs so it’s tough to put up a crooked number on the board. Time is running out!

Charlie needs to rally this team in a heartbeat. It’s worked before and it should work again:

joed: I’m one of those “stay till the end” guys too, but last night was beyond my tolerance. The final game on my plan is Friday, and at this stage I might just skip it. Although, at this rate, it could be a key game for them.

On another note, I continue to be amazed by the popularity of this Dollar Dog thing. Presumably, people are buying a ticket to a game for the bargain-priced hot dog. The lines are deep, and I generally have one – one. I saw people buying 5 at a time. Gorging oneself for the sake of saving $2.50 makes as much sense as buying a thirty dollar ticket to get a hot dog for a buck. I know the games sell-out anyway, but since there are still tickets available for the other games in the series, I can only assume that the lure of the cheap hot dog contributed to last night’s sell out.
Nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the general public.

muleman, I was surprised with the tameness of the dollar dog crowd last night. I typically hate dollar dog games and this game was not on my regular plan. I traded in for it not knowing it was dollar dog night until later. What amazes me about the dollar dog nights is that somehow 30% of the fanbase turns into complete animals upon digesting said hot dog. The crowds at these games are typically unruly and beligerent. Last night I didn’t personally see anything but I’m sure fights were present.

joed: I’ve noticed that too, but as you said, not last night. Maybe the lackluster effort by the Local 9 permieated the stands? It’s a social phenomenon to be sure. And I’d bet that they probably still make twenty cent profit on the dogs.
I’ve seen the dogs hurled out of the stands on occasion. I guess the bargain price makes them easy to throw?
Given the great choices of food at the ballpark, hot dogs are now at the low end of the list, and I think the only time I eat one is when they’re a buck.

The starting pitching also has me worried. I know the bats will rebound, but a bad outing by Lee, Hamels and Blanton at this time of year ain’t good. Happ to rescue??! (maybe the Superwoman costume will help)

One positive from last night: Romero’s debut. Pitched a scoreless inning @ least.

muleman: loved Drew Carey’s show (great theme songs!).

The fact that people would rather discuss the merits of “Dollar Dog Night” than the performance of the Phillies speaks volumes. That being said, my stomach would probably feel better after downing a few dogs than after watching most of our recent games. I’m still amazed that everyone seems comfortable with the job Milt Thompson has done. No team has done less with more. I know a lot of people say that coaches at this level don’t really do anything, but I don’t really think that’s an acceptable justification. It is his job to help our team to do better at the plate. It hasn’t happened.

Believe it or not, five seasons in and I’ve never eaten at Bull’s. If I go on Friday I might have to try it. I remember having a Schmitter on one of my first trips to the park in ’04. Overrated and sloppy.
I’m not a big eater at the park anyway. I’m one of those oddballs who goes for the game. I keep score (in ink) 🙂 and getting up to stand in line for food usually makes me miss a batter or two. Although, the way they’re playing now that’s a side benefit.

And don’t get me started on the $2 scorecard that’s just a folded piece of cardboard. They’re a buck at Blue Rocks games and you get 5 sheets of player stats. Next year I’m bringing my own scorebook.

Yeah I think the lazy play sucked the life out of everyone. Even the Phanatic had a dud hot dog come out of his shooter. I don’t eat the dogs much at all. I had two last night because I was squeezing my budget. They were 2 of the better ones I’ve had. They were relatively warm and definitely grilled. Usually they are ice cold and pretty nasty. I’m a huge fan of Bull’s. The quality is never diluted and the line is the fastest in the park.

scottash: I think we’re a little tired of discussing the problems with the ballclub. I know I am. There are no new ideas at this stage. All that’s left is for them to start playing better. Discussing something else takes the edge off.

So, how about those Chickie’s Crab Fries?

scottash: Oh, and while we’re at it – name me 5 Major League hitting coaches. Time’s up. They’re as anonymous as it gets. Without looking it up, I’d say that a different team leads the league in hitting every year, so what kind of magic does the hitting coach wield?
As far as I can tell, being a hitting coach in the big leagues is a patronage job. A reward of sorts for being an “organization guy.” There’s probably just as much human relations skill required as there is teaching hitting.
Blaming the hitting coach for their current problems is grasping at straws. Milt might be fired at the end of the season, but it won’t guarantee an improvement in their approach.

Over the years there have been hitting coaches who have gained reputations for consistently wringing out a few extra .300 hitters out of a particular lineup just as there have been pitching coaches able to wring out a 20 game winner here and there. But what is puzzling about the Phillies is they have a hitting coach and a manager who is some kind of “hitting guru”. Why can’t Utley and Howard go the “other way” every 2o or so at bats to keep the defense honest?

I think hitting and pitching coaches are overrated in general. Over 600 at bats, the difference between hitting .275 and .300 is 15 hits.
When Joe Kerrigan was here, he was lauded as a “guru” but from what I understood the staff didn’t like him very much. Coaches and teachers are only as good as their students, and oddly, it’s the bad students that need the best teachers.
Generally, it’s the player that has to find something in the teaching that strikes a chord. When Brett Myers was in the minors last year, he spoke well of their pitching coach. Does that make Rich Dubee a dope? No, it just means Brett heard something he liked.
And for the record, 4 different teams have led the majors in hitting the past 4 seasons. The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees and Twins. Great hitting coaches or great hitters?

I think that the main job of a hitting or pitching coach is to take a guy in a slump and show him what he’s changed mechanically that is causing the slump. Just as we need someone to tell us things that we can’t see ourselves sometimes, so do the players. It may be something as simple as a pitcher has dropped his arm a fraction or is stepping towards first a bit more, or a hitter is not lifting his foot the way he was or is trying to pull the ball to hard. What I find lacking in both our coaches is they don’t seem to be able to do this. What Myers and Tachsner (sp) said about the guy in LV is that he showed them what they were doing wrong, or ways to do it better. Look at Lopes, for example, he teaches the runners how to pick up on the pitcher’s moves so he gets that extra step and therefore our stealing percentage teh past two years is so high. The new guy showed Howard a few things and his fielding has improved 100% over last year. No coach will make Ruiz a .300 hitter, or Condrey a Cy Young winner, but they should be able to help them maintain the quality that got them on teh team in the first place

Sometimes fans get paralysis by analysis. The Ice Cold bats are NOT a result of a bad hitting coach or anything else. This a team of Home Runn champions , MVPs and Gold Glove players. They are not scoring because THIS team depends too much on hitting Home Runs to score and when you have a team like that, they press to hit home runs instead of just trying to make solid contact. It’s happened 2 or 3 other times This year and last. They will be fine because they KNOW how to win and because the little guy playing shortstop comes up BIG at crunch time, almost always.
While nothing in life is a guarantee except death and taxes, I’ll take my chances with a Jimmy Rollins led team against anyone.
And make no mistake, Rollins is the leader of this team.

The Phils have shown consistantly that they can’t hit any young pitchers in MLB. At this rate, the Phils will end up playing the Dodgers. If they throw a rotation of Wolf, Kuroda, Padilla, and Garland at them, I think the Phils will win that series. IF, however, they pitch Billingsley and Kershaw, I really think the Phils will lose. I’m not being negative; just observant……As for the 2-5 record over the past week, better now then next week.

I think the Phils are just worn out from playing 28 games in 28 days this month and 41 games over the last 42 days. By the time the season ends, they will have played 34 games in 34 days and 47 games over the previous 48 days. Bud Selig couldn’t have made a tougher schedule for the Phils to go into the post-season with. The starters need to rest, so let’s go PHILS!!!! And let’s go Fish!!!!!

I think that the hitting coach probably helps hitters tinker with their swing, but Milt Thompson isn’t responsible for the Phillies general hitting philosophy, which is to hit for power. They never try to ‘situational’ hit and that leads to strikeouts and runners left on base. Charlie encourages it. He loves to talk about guys like Howard and Thome, who are generally one trick ponies.
It worked last year because their pitching was so good that all the runners they let on base didn’t kill them in the end. They scored exactly half their runs in the postseason on the long ball and Charlie is oddly proud of that.

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