Friday, April 07, 2006

Phillies Thoughts

from dave barr:
Why the Phils will be at best a .500 team again

I know a lot of people drank the Kool-Aid this year. I started to as well, but I think the Cardinals showed the world that the Phils are not ready for prime time yet. I know, I know, 0-3 leaves a lot of season, but you saw all you needed to see from those first 3 games, a pattern that will stay intact all year long and never get any better without appropriate gutsy moves. The Phils don’t do gutsy, so we’re stuck with another so-so team. I see it as a 3 pronged issue and I squarely blame 3 people. Allow me to elaborate.
  • Their pitchers are all average at best, 3 and 4 starters on most major league ball clubs. They’ll look great some nights, but many nights they’ll do what they’ve done so far, nibble at the corners, throw too many pitches per batter, walk too many people, panic with men on base and give up big hits. That said, they could still be fine with a catcher who can really direct the staff and call pitches to get them out of jams. Herein lies reason for failure number 1-Lieberthal. We all know this guy sucks at the plate. He always swings at the first pitch (nice way to end a rally in the bottom of the ninth in game 2 Mike, grounding out to 2nd) and he never hits in the clutch. I could live with that if he wasn’t such a horrible defensive catcher. He cannot manage veteran pitchers, why do you trust him with young, fragile pitchers? No one on the staff likes throwing to him, and I’d argue he costs them wins behind the plate. He also has no arm and is a guaranteed stolen base for anyone with speed above a statue. Did anyone see that overthrow into center field in the 9th inning in game 2? It is an insult to the fans to have this knucklehead back behind the plate because every single one of them knows he isn’t good enough. They lustily boo his every move, good or bad. The Phils should’ve eaten his salary, yes all $8 million of it, and gotten a good defensive catcher. I seem to remember Benji Molina being out there. This was a non decision by Gillick and he needed to make a tough, good decision here.
  • David Bell is an absolutely atrocious 3rd baseman. He is a major defensive liability. He broke open the opening day game with an error and had another gaffe yesterday. 2 errors in 3 games? At what some could argue is the key infield position (relax shortstop purists)? This just kills them. You cannot give away runs and his errant play does that night after night. And his bat is sorry too-way too inconsistent. I think he adds some leadership value, but his skills have clearly diminished to the point he is no longer an every day starter. They need to platoon him with Nunez on an almost every other day rotation. They won’t…they’ll lose.
  • Charlie Manuel is the worst manager in pro baseball! Forget about his cumbaya club house vibe or his pleasant aw shucks Southern hospitality approach, this guy is a bad baseball mind! He still doesn’t understand the National league and he still has no clue how to set a line up. He has Rowand at the 2 spot and this guy struck out over 100 times last year. He’s already struck out 5-6 times in 3 games. Move him to 8th and move Utley to the 2. At least he’ll advance the leadoff man occasionally. In addition, Manuel is touted as a great hitting instructor-I don’t see it. They are the most undisciplined team in the league at the plate. They swing at first pitches all the time, especially in situations following walks. They never stretch pitchers and cannot hit in the clutch-0 hits yesterday after the 5th inning. If this guy knows so much about hitting, then why are they so undisciplined at the plate? Keeping him employed is again an insult to all of the fans who coach little league and understand some very basic strategic principles.
That’s my beef. If the organization made some bold moves and righted some of these wrongs early, they could produce this year and take us all on a magical ride. They won’t. they’ll keep throwing the “well we were one game away from the playoffs” argument in the fans faces and do nothing. Well 3 games in and they’ve been booed off the field 3 times. The fans will stop caring and stop coming if this travesty continues.
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i can definitely see where you're coming from, but i'm going to do what i said i would do coming into the season. this is pat gillick's mulligan season. i have no expectations that they'll win (even though i am excited about baseball for the first time in a long time). if they win, it's gravy.

for now, i'm just going to let pat do his thing and hope he can change the culture of incompetence inside the phillies organization.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobby Abreu = Clutch!!!

Get of his back. He is the only player on the Phils who knows how to work a count.
-Simon

4:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

For a football guy, you make some good arguments. David Bell can't be an every day Major League third baseman, and he won't be if Charlie wants to keep his job. Give it a month. Manuel won't summon the guts to play him against left-handers only until his job is in jeopardy, but that time is sooner than you think.

Lieberthal is a liability. Each time I watch Fasano, I convince myself again that Lieby can't manage a staff.

Rowand is not a number 2 hitter. Personally, I'd bat Abreu 2nd in front of Utley, but my credibility is questionable in light of my pre-season optimism.

Try to relax and enjoy the ride. The starting pitchers are better than you think and the team will contend before it's over. Baseball is a strange game. The better teams win 6 out of ten over a 162 game schedule. The weak teams win 4 out of ten. The difference between a .300 hitter and a .260 hitter is one hit per week over six months. Patience, baby.

By the way, I ran into Pete over the weekend. His daughter is a looker, but his son looks exactly like him, head and all...

(Great to see you, Pete)

Ben

8:25 PM EDT  

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