Living In the Past, Living In the Now

I’m in Denver for the first time since Game 4 of the 2009 National League Division Series.

You remember that one, don’t you?

The Phillies turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit in the eighth inning, erasing a fine start by Cliff Lee, only to come back in incredible fashion in the ninth inning to win the game, 5-4, and clinch the series. Remember Chase Utley almost catching Shane Victorino rounding third base as Utley scored the tying run? Remember Ryan Howard making it happen with a double to right? Remember Jayson Werth‘s flare to right-center that scored Howard to retake the lead? And Brad Lidge picking up the save?

Ah, but that’s the past. Let’s talk about the present.

Live in the now, man!

The Phillies have won 8 of 11 (.727) since losing to the Giants on April 27, which is the best record in baseball. They’ve scored 58 runs in that span, their 5.27 runs per game tied for third in the league. Their .817 OPS is best, which is boosted with a league-best 17 homers. Their 3.09 ERA ranks third.

Werth ranks fourth in the league with a 1.261 OPS. Carlos Ruiz ranks 11th (1.107) and Utley ranks 17th (1.039). It’s easier to score when you have three of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last 11 games. Werth also is tied for the lead with 15 RBIs, which is making fans even more antsy that the Phillies need to resign Werth.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

19 Comments

What a great serries!! Lidge gets his first save, The HRs keep coming (and not by by Howard, wait until he gets going). Ruiz is hitting over .300 and is pretending May is October. The pitching is shaping up, despite Cole’s shaky outing last night. All in all, it is a great time to watch the Phillies

Lidge’s performance was fool’s gold because, without the wind, that game would have been tied. Infante’s shot in particular looked like it was headed 20 rows back, but the wind held it up.

His slider is as good as ever, but his fastball still lacks velocity and is nothing better than a batting practice pitch, topping out at around 90. I hope he gets that worked out because Coors Field won’t keep those shots in play.

I am sooo glad I was at Sunday’s game! (Despite the cold, that made us feel like we were at an Eagles game!) It totally wiped out the abysmal Saturday game, that I was at. The darn wind kept a couple of Chase’s ball’s in the yard, too. And probably the two, that were hit against Lidge. It was great to see him throw an eight pitch save! The first time in several years, that we’ve won on Mothers Day!

I was there yesterday too (and Friday) and I thought the ball to left was going to go. I had a pretty good view from section 234.
Cole’s 40-pitch 5th inning was ridiculous, and that combined with Lidge’s ugly save got me thinking:

We always hear about the effect of wind on batted balls, but what about its effect on pitched balls? The wind is blowing just as hard near the mound as it is in left field, and I’d guess that a guy trying to throw a slider might not be able to get the bite on it that he would get under normal circumstances.

Oh … and VOTE FOR CARLOS!

You may have a point about the wind having an effect on pitching, muleman, but Lidge’s slider was as unhittable as ever. It was his fastball that was lacking yesterday.
However, the wind may have had an effect on Cole’s changeup. Plus, Cole is tall and slight and he may have had a hard time with his overall balance. I’ll give Cole a pass on yesterday, for now. But Lidge needs to get his fastball up into the mid-90’s to be effective.

guys, unless the wind suddenly picked up in the 9th (tell me if this is the case Norma and Mule) stop with the “lucky there was wind or Lidge would have blown it” ****. We managed to hit three HRs with the same wind! He came in and got the job done. How he did it, whether due to, or in spite of the weather, is irrelevent. We put up another W and Lidge got the save. Let’s not be overly critical. As I saw someone post today, only in Phila can you have the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day

f-i-j, did you see the game? Did you see Lidge drop his head at the crack of Infante’s bat, with the knowledge that the ball was probably headed out? Werth’s HR was the only one that defied the wind. Polanco’s was under the wind (Which happens because of the scoreboard) and was a classic CBP HR, while Victorino’s rode the wind out to RF.
The bottom line is that Lidge cannot be effective with just his slider. I like what I see with his slider because it is better than it was at any time in 2009, but If he doesn’t up his velocity he will be a failure at closer. It’s not debatable. His 90 MPH fastball is a batting practice pitch.

I’m not arguing that the wind effected the two fly balls in the 9th, but the wind also affected balls we hit. In other words, both teams played under the same conditions. (not like in the WS game 5-part 1 in 2008 when the downpour contributed to the rays tying the game). It amazes me that we try to find excuses why our team won. How about we were just the better team that day?

BTW, the line aboiut the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it is atributed to Mike Schmidt

BTW, the line aboiut the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it is atributed to Mike Schmidt

muleman…..I totally agree about the wind affecting pitches. I mentioned the exact ame thing, during Saturday’s game. Lots of low balls being thrown.

FIJ….I doubt that the wind *suddenly* picked up in the 9th. It was a pretty sustained wind, through the whole game. But there were several pretty strong gusts. The wind was pretty much out to right-center.
And I’m not complaining at all about the Win! Just that the wind definitely affected both Sat. & Sun’s games. For both sides.

From my perch the wind seemed consistent throughout the game on Sunday. You could read the years on the division-winning flags all day.

I realize that science and baseball don’t always mix, but I’d like to see a detailed study of the wind’s effects on batted and thrown balls. If anyone knows of a link to a study, I’d love to read it. Otherwise, I think it’s a topic for thsoe “Mythbusters” guys.
I’d be curious to know what wind speed actually influences a ball off the bat, and how much it is “knocked down.” What we hear from TV commentators is speculation, nothing based on fact.

Yesterday and Saturday’s conditions were extreme, and I’d imagine that balls were influenced. Normally, a 5 to 10 mph wind probably doesn’t have enough effect to turn a 10th row home run into a warning track fly ball. There is probably too much force off the bat.
But again, it’s my opinion and I’d like to read something factual, if we could cloud the issue with facts. :-)

I don’t know how much this covers wind with regards to batted balls, but it’s pretty fun to mess around with anyway: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/baseball/index.html.

You can also search for studies with Google Scholar (and request the articles through your library’s interlibrary loan program).

FIJ….The sins of the past will always haunt us. “Negadelphia”, even in good times! LOL!

norma, I am far from a Negadelphian. I just know a batting practice pitch when I see one, and that’s what Lidge threw Infante. An eight pitch save looks great in the linescore, as that is what f-i-j sees from his overseas perch.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

phan52…..I hope you didn’t think that *Neagdelphia* comment was aimed at you! It wasn’t at all! Pretty much aimed at every sports fan in the city, including myself. LOL!

Back in the day, I learned that ” a bit-ching sailor is a happy sailor”. When Phillie fans fail this litmus test, we know the Phillies are in trouble.

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