Week In Review: To hit or not to hit – Phillies Nation
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Week In Review: To hit or not to hit

This is not raising the red flag, just merely raising awareness.

It’s almost one fourth of the way into the 2011 Major League Baseball season and all seems well atop the National League East standings.

Right?

The Phillies are in first place.  They are leading the division by two games over the Florida Marlins.  And even after dropping two of three in Atlanta, they still hold a 3.5 game lead over the Braves.  The Phillies were the first team to 25 wins, and have the second best winning percentage (.641) in the majors.

So again I ask, all is well in Philadelphia right?

There is a dark cloud looming over the horizon for Phillies fans.  It is the unavoidable notion that our pitching staff, alone, will not take us to the promise land.  The greatest pitching staff ever?  Maybe.  A historic season from one rotation?  Possibly.  But you ask any of the four aces and none of the numbers mean anything unless they are wearing jewelry come November.

The Phillies are winning, yes, but it hasn’t been pretty thus far into the season.  Despite having the highest batting average in the National League East at .256, they are only managing to score 4.2 runs a game.  The pitching staff has really offset these numbers with a 3.12 ERA; good for second best in the National League behind Atlanta (3.01).

Coming out the gate, the Phillies were impressive in April.  Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard both broke team records for offensive numbers in the month.  Polanco collected 41 hits and Howard racked up 27 RBI.  The month of April was a good but not very challenging schedule for the Phils.  They opened against Houston, took two out of three from the Mets, swept the Padres and played very well against Atlanta and Washington.

Many insiders were saying May would be a true test of what this Phillies team is made of.  So far, the team is barely playing .500 ball at 7-6 for the month.

The starting rotation, aside from Joe Blanton, has been pulling their weight.  Cliff Lee has the highest ERA amongst their starting pitchers, minus Blanton add-in Vance Worley, at 3.78.  By no means is this all Joe Blanton’s fault.  Or Kyle Kendrick for that matter.

Fans are so quick to throw these guys under the bus when the Phillies lose due to late inning runs.  Kendrick took the shaft when the Phils lost in 14 innings to the Mets.  If you look at the game much closer than just the box score you will see the Phillies had bases loaded in the sixth and eighth innings.  Also, Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco were caught stealing for the final outs of the first and tenth innings, respectively.  Rollins was caught napping and put in a pickle while Benny Fresh should not have been running in the first place.

There is a lot of things going on with this team and it all stems from the hitting.  Milt Thompson was fired last season in July after the Phillies failed to score five runs or more in 47 of their first 95 games.  In 23 of those games they scored one run or less.

Like I said, it is still early in the season but the numbers are talking.  Out of 39 games, the Phillies have only managed four runs or less in 25 of them.  They already have half a dozen games where they scored one run or been shut out.  This team can not solely depend on its pitching.

So what gives?

Is it too early to call for hitting coach Greg Gross’ locker items?  Is it time to question Charlie Manuel’s game inside the game coaching?

Yes, it is still probably too early for these questions.  But when does Ruben Amaro Jr., and the fans, start wanting answers?  Can the Phillies sit back and wait for Chase Utley to come back thinking he is the missing link?  Here’s a secret for you; he isn’t.  This goes way past Utley and Domonic Brown‘s injury.

Utley will undoubtedly help this lineup.  As will the 100% healthy versions of Roy Oswalt, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz.  The sad, daunting truth about this game is that it’s a long and hard season.  Guys like Halladay, Lee and Hamels will get tired.  It will be hard to win a Championship when Roy Halladay is on the losing end of a 2-1 ball game.

A couple weeks ago, ahem ahem, I called the Rollins-Victorino swap at the top of the line up.  It’s a move that has been more positive than negative.  It allows Jimmy to see more pitches (20 BB) and gives Victorino more RBI opportunities (19).  Obviously Manuel doesn’t care about Victorino’s personal stats but when Rollins only had two RBI through the first 20 games it was definitely time for a change.

The only problem now is what other changes need to be made?  You can’t have Utley in there, that’s a given until he is back healthy.  Raul Ibanez is a dying dog after Howard.  Somehow Howard has put up great power numbers (9 HR 35 RBI) even with the usual easy out Ibanez behind him.  Ibanez saw a lot of time below the .200 mark earlier this season and if not for a hitting party against the Washington Nationals he may have lost his job.  He has topped out at .237 for the time being.

Could inserting John Mayberry Jr. into the left field spark the team?  Maybe.  If so, Charlie has to stay with it.  It is not helping anyone, especially Mayberry, to get spot starts and not a good feel for the game.  These are Major League baseball players, I know, but they still need consistent looks at the plate.

Now here is the good news.  The Phillies are still in first place at 25-14.  Whew.

There is no return date set for Utely, but the end of the month is still a good optimistic guess.  Oswalt looks on track for his Tuesday start while Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge are taking baby steps back to recovery.

The Phillies will do a quick two game series in St Louis before hosting the Rockies for a quick two in Philly.  The Rangers will be in town after that to kick off interleague play before a four game set with the Reds.  It’s not getting any easier.  I am sure our boys are up for the task.

GO PHILLIES!

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0 Comments

  1. Jeff

    May 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Here is the story and you can yell at me all you want. We all know the offense is horrible. It was bad last season and is just as bad now. We only are able to get 4 hits. With all the bashing on the offense we also have to kill the rotation. YES I said it. The greatest rotation in baseball. Lee has been very average this year. He has been very hittable. Blaton is just not a very solid pitcher. Cole is up and down. Oswalt has been hurt but he has not been as dominate. His speed is down. Doc has not been doc. He is our ace. When the offense only score 2 runs we should win 2-1. He had the lead late and gave up the homer to Ugla and walked another batter that scored. The other start he walked the pitcher. I realize he has been great but I expect him to beat a Jonesless and Heywardless braves team. This team is not as good as everyone wants to think it is. Utley scares me because he is never healthy anymore. LOTS OF QUESTIONS

  2. Tavian

    May 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    The Phillies need to score more runs, period. They are impotent as a rule on offense and need to improve. One area needing help is against lefties. We need a solid right handed bat. Today, Mayberry, Jr., showed his power as well as an improved eye with two walks (he also made a good catch in the outfield). I do not see Francisco as an everyday player and he is not defensive whiz. We need to go out and get someone who is competent from the right side of the plate and can play right field. We do not know if Utley will be able to play second base full-time in the future. He may need to go to left field to have a full career. Too much action on a knee at second base perhaps. Polanco can give us gold-glove coverage at second. There are third basemen out there. Rubin really does have a full plate of activity in the upcoming month. I fee those damn Braves breating down our necks. Let’s get this offense moving forward.

  3. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    The offense had an epic fail last year in the playoffs when the 3 and 4 hitter combined for 1 RBI in 9 playoff games. The lineup caused that more than just those 2 hitters.

    God bless Cliff Lee and you need to make that signing. But I wasnt jumping up and down. Because he isnt going to drive in runs vs the Giants or Braves in the playoffs.

    This team can win a ton of games with pitching heart and that ever present ” winning vibe”

    I dont see htis line up winning a world series. Unless Mayberry or Brown become really good or someone is brought in who is really good.

    Some more bad news? The bullpen is a bit of a smoke and mirrors operation. People are expecting Lidge and Conteras to contribute? I have a feeling that may turn into an issue by the all star break.

    The good news is even as they are now they can beat the Brewers or Reds or Rockies in the playoffs. And the Phillies have a knack for seeing the writing on the wall.

    They cant possibly go into another series with the Giants with the same exact players minus Jayson Werth. Who was the only one last year who hit in the playoffs? Can they?

  4. Bart Shart

    May 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Jeff, I appreciate your contributions to this blog. But I believe you are wrong when you say Doc is not Doc. The guy has pitched five complete games and is among the leaders in ERA. That is huge. HUGE !!! Moreover, I believe Cole Hamels is just coming into his own and will get better as the season progresses. Cliff Lee is a very strong and conditioned pitcher. Oswalt has had back issues most of his career and I expect him to bounce back, but he might not. He is NOT trade fodder. Our bullpen is holding up….so far. Our starting pitching is among the best in baseball.

    Our problem is on the offensive end. We are left-handed heavy and can be dominated by a solid left handed pitcher, either starter of reliever. We are waiting for Dom Brown, who is another lefty. Personally, I would trade him for a proven ritht handed hitter. I may regret in a few years, but we are in dire need of that solid right handed power bat who is a legitimate five hitter. This is a deep need that must be addressed. I agree with Tavian on this 100%

  5. Pat Gallen

    May 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Jeff, disagree on your assessment of the starters, other than Blanton. They’ve all been very good. Lee has been hittable, but he should be winning these games if the team scores 6 runs. Thats all, 6. Not asking for much.

    Cole hasn’t really been up and down. 6 innings, 4 earned and 7 strikeouts should be a win. That’s not a bad start at all.

    It comes down to the offense.

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      May 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      6 innings 3 earned is a quality start.
      4 isnt
      That 1 extra run means alot. Especially for the Phillies

      6 innings 4 earned over 32 starts for these phils would get you about an 8-14 record.

      Which does say alot about the hitting.

      • Pat Gallen

        May 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

        Andrew, you can’t expect Cole to be outstanding every time. 6 innings and 4 earned is absolutely a winnable game. Yeah the one run means a lot, but thats not his fault. He still has his team in a position to win. And the offense cant do it. Not his fault.

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      May 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      I meant its the difference between a non quality and quality start.

      It is actually one of the invented stats I put some weight into.

      It isnt a quality start.

  6. Bart Shart

    May 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Maybe this team needs Milton Bradley to shake things up??? Now that is thinking OUTSIDE BOX !!!

  7. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Or trade for Andruw Jones he homered tongiht off of Lester. Send the Yankees Blanton for him.

    I dont think Jones is good anymore just parroting Bart and thinking outside the box.

  8. Lefty

    May 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    That’s a really good, thought provoking article Kieran, thanks.

    I wish I could put my finger on it, but agree with the masses that something does not feel right about the team despite it’s record.

    When they win I think they look great, and when they don’t I think they look very beatable.

    As a Phillies fan since the late 60’s, I feel I am betraying my roots to complain about such a good team after suffering through so many long hard seasons, so I won’t. I remain hopeful they will make the right moves, or perform well enough, or whatever has to happen so they can win another WFC while this window of opportunity remains open.

  9. Pat Gallen

    May 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    i don’t think any of those guys is any better than what the Phillies have, even Ibanez.

    Here’s thinking outside the box: Trade Oswalt for a hitter. Dont know who it would be, but the Phillies have done it before (traded Lee).

    I’m not really condoning it, just thinking outside the box.

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      May 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      Oswalt is in his last year anyway. I dont know that teams would give up much for him. After the injury.
      In the playoffs you really only need 3 starters.

      Wouldnt want to deal him to an NL contender and have to face him in the playoffs.
      But trading a big name player is what I have been waiting for since last oct.

      The Players the Phils can trade that have real value are Halladay Lee and especially Hamels. Rollins or Utley or Victorino from the every day players.
      Utley hurt and Rollins in last year diminishes thier value.
      I consider Howard and his contract unmovable.

      Its really all just conjecture for a blog though. I trust the Phillies will do whats needed.

  10. Tavian

    May 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    As usual, a thought provoking and intelligent post by Lefty. You are not wrong , Mr. Lefty. This team has a problem scoring runs. Yes, I feel also like I am betraying how good this team is by my complaining, especiallywhen looking back to the 60’s when a 500 season was considered a great thing. But we have the horses today in the pitching staff and some pretty good position players. We have some serious holes in the lineup where the rain falls in and puts out those offensive fires that winning and championship teams need. Ibanez, Francisco, our utility players at second base…………we need to shore up these holes and batten the hatches on offense so this ship can sail into history as a genuine winner. It’s all in the hands of Mr. Amaro and the ownership. All we can do is advise and cheer. We are desperate in my opinion for an accomplished right handed hitter with power to bat fifth in this lineup.

  11. Jeff

    May 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Doc has gotten beaten by Hudson and Johsnon. I understand we do not score.. When we get him a 2-1 lead late I expect him to lock it down. That pitch to Ugla was terrible. He gave in on that. I cant Charlie as a manager. never liked the guy. We do not hit homers anymore so why dont we play small ball. no stealing with our speed guys. i pray they do not resign jimmy. i think its time for him to move on. next season it will be raul as well.

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      May 16, 2011 at 1:01 am

      The pitch to Uggla was a cookie. You cant walk him there.
      It got hit into the first row. A millimeter to either side and its an out.

      They wont resign Jimmy to a stupid contract. If its sensible they will.

      Raul will probably be out of baseball next year. So take what he gives you this year and enjoy it. This is the last year like Moyer was last year.

      Believe me the old man is getting what he can here. He cant make them hit against good pitchers. It just isnt going to happen. They arent capable. Lincecum vs the Phillies beats Halladay vs the Giants. Telling you just how bad the phillies line up is. It is worse than Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe and Pat Burrell.

  12. Bruce

    May 16, 2011 at 1:18 am

    It amuses that not one poster has given any credit to Jurrjens and Hudson for pitching so effectively for the Braves in this series. Both would be considered an ‘Ace’ on most teams. it’s one of the reasons why the Braves were a preseason pick by some ‘experts’ to give the Phillies a run for the division title. The Braves are making a statement with their second series win against the Phillies in the past 10 days.

    However, I don’t express words like “desperation” or “in dire need of” in describing the Phillies’ situation with struggling for runs. So long as there are valid reasons such as injuries to key players and slumps that are a byproduct of a marathon season, I am not going to fret and rant on the team. The only numbers that really count for me are the ones in the win column. And as the columnist reminded everyone here, the team has one of the best Won-Lost record in the Majors in spite of all nagging problems with the offense. Phillies’ great pitching is obviously carrying the team and when all the players are healthy and regained their hitting stroke, the issue of offense will take a backseat.

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      May 16, 2011 at 1:28 am

      Injuries are a part of the game.
      They are never an excuse.
      When you field a lineup of all 30+ players they get hurt. You expect what?
      To me its not valid. Is it valid for the Braves to expect Chipper to play 162? Of course not.
      It isnt valid to blame injuries for the Phillies woes.
      This is your team. It was healthy last year to lose to the Giants.
      Its not healthy this year.

  13. bacardipr05

    May 16, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Jeff you do have a point about Lee he hasnt been spectacular. He is been hit then again unlike Doc, Lee is hittable to a certain extent he just spread the hits an locks down when he has to in the past. Ive too wanted to mention Lee not saying he has been bad just not as good as Cliffy can be. Moving on we know the offense the offense. This offense has always evolved around Howard, Rollins, Utley an one usual streaky hitter. Rather that be Victorino, Werth, Ruiz or Rowand(to an extent) . It also has been a long ball team. Werth isnt here to provide that, Ibanez is on his leg an Utley is on the DL. Besides the obvious Howard those where our power hitters. I would like to add another one(with a decent batting average) of those in our line up somehow. I dont know who or how but that would be nice.

  14. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 16, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Lee has been pedestrian to the people who thought 145 wins was coming this year.
    Lee is exactly who we expected.
    Google Cliff Lee Seattle if you dont agree.
    This is Cliff Lee. When the cards are down in the playoffs. Give him the ball and hope your guys score some runs. On May 16th? Disregard most of it.

    • Brooks

      May 16, 2011 at 5:00 am

      Andrew, I believe that people who attend to this blog and suscribe to it pretty much annointed the Phils being in the WS when they signed Cliff Lee. He became the Phils #2 ace on the staff – before throwing a pitch. All of which I disagreed with from the start BTW.

      Yes, come playoff time put the ball in Cliffy’s hands but for the regular season, look for 15-16 wins tops from Clifford (that is if/when Howards bat comes alive).

  15. TheDipsy

    May 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

    LF is very often reserved for the strong offensive player who is that proficient of D. Ibanez is both the worst offensive AND worst defensive LF in the league. It is a gaping hole. The offense will be improved and Ruben has many ways to do it: Trade Oswalt. Trade Blanton. Trade Worley. Trade Vic. Trade some minor league AA pitchers and A pitchers. And or any combination of the above. For now, can we please go to a 50/50 Ibanez/Mayberry platoon. We’re cheating ourselves and the kid by not seeing what he has. Bottom line: The offense sucks right now but we have the means to make it better.

    The Dipsy

  16. bacardipr05

    May 16, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Keep Shane Keep Oswalt Keep Worley for now. Trade Blanton an another prospect they will be a one or two clubs looking to shave some money or a team that fell out of contention an maybe we can keep make a deal. Worley can be a cheap fifth starter for us next year. Whats holding the Phils back is the contract of the two dead weights in Ibanez an Lidge these two guy are untransportable an we are stuck with them basically best we can get is maybe a prospect if we eat most of their contracts….

  17. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Brown is ripping it up, Mayberry seems to have acquired an eye. I’d like to see Mayberry start every game through the rest of May, see if he belongs. If not, bring up Brown, drop him down. If he looks good, bring up Brown, drop Ibanez (I appreciate all Raul has done, but think it is time). Ben Fran is a 4th outfielder, but not a starter on a team with WFC aspirations. Maybe Mayberry is the guy. Brown, Mayberry, and Vic would be a far superior defensive outfield over Francisco, VIc, and Ibanez, and the offense contribution can’t be worse.

    btw, Chipper Jones has a torn meniscus – not sure if he needs surgery yet. If he doesn’t go out, look for him to wear down pretty quickly, or get a bunch of games off. Probably means Prado will see more time at 3rd, Braves will be looking for a left fielder.

  18. Chuck

    May 16, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Dipsy, I said on the other thread last night, in response to whoever suggested that we can’t just blame the bats for the loss yesterday (he was suggesting that Doc was partially at fault), that we ABSOLUTELY CAN blame the bats. Aside from young Mayberry, Jr., our offense SUCKED yesterday.

    I like what I saw from Mayberry. A little more patience at the plate. Looking for his pitch. I agree that he needs to be in there in some sort of platoon situation. He can play center. He can play right. Even if Vic isn’t traded (and I don’t think he will be), Mayberry can spell him once in awhile in CF. Let’s see what he can do….on a semi-regular basis.

    And are we all giving up on Ben Fran completely?? I agree that he’s horrible right now, but all along I’ve maintained that with more playing time he would show us what he is capable of.

  19. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Polanco hit .341 with the Tigers in 2007, so it’s not like his hot start is unheard of, but he’s career 0.305 hitter. Most likely, he’ll drop off. Vic is his typical Jekyll/Hyde – good overall numbers, but feast or famine. Howard is playing a little above where we thought he would, esp without protection, but not by much – he’s probably sustainable. The rest of the offense isn’t performing. It would be completely unfair to blame that on Ben Fran, but the reality is, it is one of the spots where we have flexibility and available talent (his BABIP is very low at 0.240, so he’s a bit of a victim of bad luck) – the other is LF.

    I think we know what we’ll get from Francisco, now is the time to try other options – mainly Mayberry and Brown, see if there is an upgrade. I love Mayberry’s athleticism, just not sure if his newly found plate discipline is for real yet. The injury to Vic may actually be an advantage – Mayberry will get at least two more starts. Not much to make a decision on, but at least give an idea. If it isn’t Mayberry, keep Francisco in there, bring up Brown. I’m pretty convinced Ib is toast, and won’t be on the roster in Aug.

    Atl and the Marlins are both reasonably solid, but even with Atl’s relatively easy May/June sched, they won’t run away with the division. As long as you are in the hunt, it doesn’t really matter where you are in the division in May/June. Keep it close, explore all your options. Now is the time to figure out if Mayberry can play.

    • Chuck

      May 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

      While he has cooled off somewhat, Raul is hitting .386 over the last 14 days ( basically the month of May). I would hardly call that “toast”. I’m CERTAIN that he will help the Phillies win some ballgames…he already has.

  20. Pat Gallen

    May 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I wouldn’t give up on Francisco, but Mayberry has to play. Charlie has to play the hot hand at every turn and that means Mayberry to see if he can get on a roll here. He really has no other choice. If you don’t see Mayberry tonight, I think it’s a big mistake.

  21. Manny

    May 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Funny how yesterday before the game many wanted Raul to bat 3rd because he was the hottest hitter on the team… A day later, after he goes 0-4, suddenly we should drop him/send him home.

    FYI Raul is hitting .354 in May.

    Fickle, aren’t we?

    • Chuck

      May 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Manny, seems like it’s basically you, me and probably Don M who are the ONLY Raul supporters anymore. Yeah….this fanbase sure is fickle!

      • Manny

        May 16, 2011 at 9:43 am

        Haha. You’re probably right.. (I just realized you made exactly the same point regarding Raul 8 minutes before I did.. ha!)

      • Lefty

        May 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

        Hey wait Chuck, I like Raul too, check my profile. It’s just that I see Dipsy’s and others point about his defense, I never joined the group of “hes too old, his swing has slowed, blah blah blah”

        The only negative thing I said about Raul when he was in that slump, was that Charlie should do what’s best for the team, and if that meant sitting Raul a few games I supported that too.

        I guess what it comes down to with me, is that I may like all of the guys that have helped this team become a contender every year, but the good of the team is of utmost importance to me, more than any individual player.

  22. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I am far from perfect, and my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, but I don’t consider myself fickle. Here’s what I don’t see from Ibanez in May vs April – increase in bat speed. His bat speed looks just as slow, looks like he compensated by starting his swing earlier. I don’t think he is as good as May indicates, or as bad as April indicates, and he’ll punish guys who tip their pitches, or don’t change speeds well. This is fine for a defensive specialist, but is that what you are looking for in a corner outfielder who runs poorly and has a better hang time on throws than Sav Rocca?

    I’m a fan of 2-1 games – keeps it exciting right down to the end where one Ab can change the game. I’d prefer to be on the other end of those games, give the starters a little bit of breathing room. We’re stuck at 2nd, ss, catcher, cf – the only roster flexibility we have right now is the corner ofs. One of those positions need an upgrade. I’d like to see Ib platoon with ben Fran, Mayberry in rf. If Mayberry does what we thought Ben Fran would (0.280 with some power), and Brown keeps ripping it up at LV, what do you do next?

  23. Bob in Bucks

    May 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Yes the offense has problems against good pitching, so does the rest of MLB. As to the corner outfielders I trust Charlie will put the best possible team out there every game. Right now it is not clear and he will mix and match and play the hot hand. I have a lot of confidence in Charlier to do what is best. More confidence than others who want dramatic and drastic actions. There is no savior here, just getting the most out of what we have.

  24. betasigmadeltashag

    May 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Raul is in the top five in hits in may which is far from toast, he has always been a streaky hitter and just because he went o fer last night does not mean he is slumping again. I do not get all the desperation in May. And how is this team too left handed now, you have Raul and Ryan. Ben Fran is slumping right now and with Vic missing some games, you will see both Mayberry and Benny Fresh playing more. I still think Raul should bat third until Vic is back, I like PP in the two hole and think Vic should be moved the five hole when he comes back. But to worry about match up in the playoffs now is just stupid. Because even if the names do not change with the exception of Chase being in mid season form, this offense is going to playing vastly differently by September.
    I know Injuries are part of the game, but it is how you deal with the injuries while they are recouping that matters, and this team has on of the best records in the Majors while rehabing a good portion of the team, I say that is dealing with the injuies pretty well.
    Also the braves have a good pitching staff so you are going to have games like this against there better pitchers.

  25. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Not looking for anything drastic, just give guys who are already on the roster a shot. I want Ibanez to do well, and admire his work ethic. With the exception of a 2 week period, his offense doesn’t offset his defense anymore. I’d like to see what Mayberry is, and also want Ben Fran to get some time in games – give Mayberry right for now, platoon Ben Fran and Ibanez – keeps everyone engaged.

    As long as we keep within striking distance, I don’t really care about the records over the 1-1/2 months. What I do want to know is whether we need to make a deadline deal. Seeing Mayberry and Brown sooner than later will help make that decision.

    Manny and Chuck, I know you are both long time Ibanez supporters, but do you really want him up with 1st and 3rd, one out, and feel like he can get a deep fly ball to knock in a run? How about when a guy is on second and a ball gets through on the left side? Do you think Raul has a reasonable chance of holding the runner at 3rd?

    • betasigmadeltashag

      May 16, 2011 at 11:26 am

      maybe I dreaming but didn’t Rual get an RBI in the first game of the series in a spot you are talking about late in a game And he has shown a slithgly better arm then earlier in the season. And right now i would say yes I trust he will get that run in one out of three times is that good enough. And to all those out there who want to make drastic changes in May. Not all teams out there have the pitching Atlanta has, and they pitched will this weekend tip your hat and move on and win tonight.

  26. Chuck

    May 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I’m pretty sure Raul had a BIG hand in two of the three wins recently in Washington. Those were a RISP situations.

  27. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    One last bit to consider: Offensive rank for 2011 Phils:
    Runs Scored: 19th
    Batting Avg: 14th
    OB% 15th
    Slug % 20th

    We’ve got Stl, CO, Texas, and Cincy
    The Braves have Hou, Az, LAA, and Pitt

    Are you ok with those offensive (pun intended) #s? If not, would you make a change, or remain patient? Do you think the lead will grow, shrink, or stay the same over the next 9 games?

    • betasigmadeltashag

      May 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      Those ratings are good enough for one of the best records in the league, And with Little Roy comming back and Joe B getting healthier, Cole haveing his one bad outing out of 6, Chooch feeling better I hope, and Raul hitting better, I say grow or stay the same why wouldn’t it. So much panic over a six game r;un of bad luck and running in to good pitching in Atlanta. and the Phillies stink does not win lose mean anything to the sabermetric world out there, I know it is an imperfect stat, but in the big picture it is the only one that matters. Texas is the only team that worries me in that foursome of teams. We have historicly, even last year handled the Cards, and the Rockies, and I am pretty sure we handled Cicny pretty easily. So Texas may be a series loss just because the Phillies are not good during interleague

  28. Chuck

    May 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Lefty, didn’t mean to exclude you. It’s just that there aren’t too many left that aren’t ready to run Raul out of town. I trust Charlie and Ruben will do what’s best….whether it’s a platoon situation, getting another bat, whatever.

    I’m just getting tired of constantly seeing people asking for his head….especially when he HAS picked it up recently. (Ok, he went O-fer yesterday). Will he hit .300 the rest of the season and hit 20 HRs?? Probably not. But I will maintain that he will win us some games along the way. As I said already, he already has.

  29. bfo_33

    May 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    One final clarification, then I’ll leave it. I’m not out for Raul’s head, and don’t blame all the offensive problems on him (or ben fran). Look at our line-up and tell me where an improvement can be made:
    1st base – Howard – doing well
    2nd base – Orr has had a few decent games, doesn’t hit against lefties – Vladez/Martinez doing very little
    ss – Power drop, but hitting ok, career high ob%, a few errors, but generally solid d.
    3rd – PP – couldn’t ask for more, hope he stays healthy
    RF – decent ob%, but 0.236, 0.357 slug% is not up to par for a corner outfielder
    CF – Typical Vic, up and down game by game
    LF – Even with his hot two weeks, still below ben fran – 0.230/0.348, hitting 0.212 with 1 hr agasint lefties.

    Now look at our bench – 3 infielders, none there for their bats – doesn’t really matter who you throw in. Orr is the best of the crew, but apparently can’t hit lefties. Maybe utley will come back as Utley 2008, or maybe he never puts the uniform on again. The answer is somewhere in the middle, my guess, he doesn’t exceed 80 starts this season.

    Then you have Mayberry, who MAY have matured into a decent power threat with speed, Brown in LV hitting the cover off the ball, and one of the best lh pinch hitters in the game in Gload.

    With the exception of the two corner outfielders, everyone is hitting around where you’d expect, except for Polanco, who is doing better than expected. If you are ok with a below average offense, you don’t need to change a thing. If you think Utley will come back and solve all the offensive woes, you don’t need to do a thing. If you think something has to be changed, you are limited to the two corner of positions. One of those positions needs to be upgraded – pick one. My vote is platoon in LF, see what Mayberry can do in RF, plan on bringing up Brown in mid June, decide who to move then.

  30. Chuck

    May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I just think that as long as they are winning and leading the division then we probably won’t see a move til the trade deadline.

    BUT….if they really scuffle and fall out of first by a lot then maybe something sooner will be done.

    I want to see more of Mayberry….to see if he’s for real. Would love to see Brown at some point, but not at the expense of his development. So when he’s here….he needs to play. None of this sitting on the bench sh!t. And I still maintain that Ben Fran….with playing time….can give the team some decent offensive numbers.

  31. TheDipsy

    May 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    How’s this: Raul’s offense does not support his defense. And its not even close. Whaddaya say Raul does this year? 16/69/.255???? Hey, anyone can do that AND play better D. This Ibanez thing is so old. Guys I couldn’t wait to have off my team: Jamie Moyer, Raul Ibanez, Henry Bibby, Donovan McNabb, Shawn Bradley, Izell Jenkins, Eric Lindros,

    Why stand still with Ibanez when someone can be in there learning and growing? Puh-lease. Raul offers NU-thing. Nothing. Now it would be OK if he were just playing out the string with like the Pirates or something, but this guy is starting in LF for a team expecting to get to the WS? Uh-uh. No. Tie him to the top of the Family Truckster and lets go to Wally World!

    The Dipsy

  32. betasigmadeltashag

    May 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    dipsy, your long absences seems to not have mellowed you but made you more stubburn and pig headed. Raul is a streaky hitter you are throwing his numbers out there with out considering he just came out of an 0-36 slump. Do you really think he is going to be 0-30 anything the rest of this year. And he is an average outfielder not terrible you never lliked him so you need to admit;y that. You probably still feel they should have signed Manny. I do not think Raul is going to hit 360 like he is in May but he is not a 200 hitter like in April either. And I would bet you could not hit 255 or 16 hrs or any RBIs so not every one can do it. Raul will hit what his career average is and offensivly be what he has been most of his career. Get back to me when no one is traded or moved and in August they are 7 games up. ANd you will still be biching about the 3rd year of Raul’ s contract

  33. Chuck

    May 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Raul will end up at .250/15/60. Not terrible. Certainly not worth 11M or whatever he’s being paid. But he will gind give 110% and win us some games.

    And I’ll tell you this…. I’d rather have Raul giving 110% and producing those “pedestrian” numbers than some deadbeat like Milton Bradley or Manny Ramirez.

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