What Wild Card Worry?

Last night’s rainout was a bit of a disappointment, but on the plus side the makeup game on September 25th will add to the limited number home games left on the tail-end of the Phillies schedule.  With a Padres win last night, the Phils are now a full two games back in the Wild Card.  San Diego is streaking, winning 12 of their last 15, and is now challenging Los Angeles for first place in the NL West.  The Dodgers, who have lost their last 3 after coming off a 7-game winning streak, are battling the Mets and could easily drop into the Wild Card race by the week’s end.  Thus this begs the question whom would the Phils rather be fighting an uphill battle against, the Padres or the Dodgers?  Although the Dodgers have dropped their last few games, stoppers Derek Lowe and Brad Penny will likely turn them around with starts tonight and tomorrow.  With the addition of Greg Maddux at the trading deadline, it seems LA is better suited to close out the season with quality starting pitching.  The only starter on the Padres with a winning record is Chris Young at 10-5, while Jake Peavy sits at an underachieving 8-13.  Four out of the last six Padres wins have been garnered by their relievers which suggests either the starters haven’t been going deep into games or the Padres have been forced to play come-from-behind baseball.  Neither scenario are represents a sustainable strategy to make it to the playoffs.  Although any team can get hot and lucky for a while – as the Padres are now – I wouldn’t worry that their gradually increasing Wild Card lead will become insurmountable.  As for the Phils, they can do only one thing: win games.

Much has been said this year about the poor fielding of the Phillies relative to their superb 2005 season.  Our friend Tom over at is putting together his annual Scouting Report on fielding and needs your help.  You may recall a few years ago we used his "When to Walk Bonds" chart to evaluate how Larry Bowa chose to pitch to the slugger.  The philosophy behind this current project is that baseball fans can forecast the performance of players as well as guys with rather sophisticated forecasting engines.  Therefore he is looking for volunteers to complete this simple survey measuring the fielding characteristics of various Phillies.  There has been an unusually low response by Phillies fans, so what better way to kill a few minutes at work and help a good cause than by completing a scouting report on the team you know best.

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