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Monday, September 26, 2011

Game 159: Halladay throws 77 pitches! (99-60)

The Phils snapped their losing streak yesterday afternoon at Shea Stadium thanks to their 9-run outburst against the Mets and Mike Pelfrey. It was good to see the offense "return to form," but it's just as meaningless as the 8 games before it.

The best part of the day was Manuel's realizing that Halladay doesn't need to be throwing 100+ pitches in meaningless games -- he was removed after only 6 innings and 77 pitches. Well done.

However, it will be very frustrating if Manuel removes Cliff Lee in a similiar fashion tonight if the game is close, especially after how he's overworked Lee in the recent past. I really want to see the Braves miss the playoffs (which also would mean the Phils would face the Carpenter-less Cardinals in the NLDS -- he would likely be unavailable until game 3), so I will not be referring to the Braves series as "meaningless." Manuel should be trying to win these games, within reason.

The Phils look to play spoiler tonight at 7:10 pm in Atlanta when Lee faces RHP Randall Delgado.


hk said...

I'm surprised to see that you are advocating pitching Lee longer in an effort to influence our possible opponent. Not that I necessarily disagree - I'm not sure which opponent I prefer - just surprised that you place a higher precedence on that than on Cliff just getting in his ~80 pitches.

Andy Musser said...

The objective side of me doesn't want Lee throwing any more pitches than he threw tonight. The subjective side of me wants the Phillies to put their foot on the Braves' throat and eliminate them from the playoffs. If Manuel had been pacing Lee over the past few weeks, I wouldn't even entertain the thought of a max effort from Lee tonight.

But he threw 120 pitches in his last start against Washington. This game actually means something, so why stop now?

hk said...

I am usually not one to give Charlie credit, but I think he did the right thing in taking Lee out when he did. Yes, the game meant more than the Washington game when Lee threw 120 pitches, but two wrongs don't make a right. You (or Scott) rightfully roasted Charlie for that error. This time, while the game did mean more than Lee's last start, it does not mean more than his next one. While I agree that STL should be the Phils' preferred opponent and that they should do everything they can within reason to crush the Braves, I would have sooner seen them lose than add to Lee's pitch count and potentially risk a fluke injury. With a 4-2 lead after 6 IP, they are ~72% likely to win the game. In addition, Charlie got a look at Savery in a fairly high leverage situation against a tough LHP, got results from Stutes and allowed Lidge to pitch in what (unfortunately) looks like his new role as the 8th inning set-up man.

Robby Bonfire said...

The eight-game losing streak will not have been meaningless IF it is an indicator that the excruciating physical abuse these players have suffered has finally caught up with them and will be carrying over into the playoffs.

Let's see how sharp or flat this team is coming out of the box for the playoffs. If they are flat as a pancake and get kicked around and out in round one we will have a deeper answer as to the significance of the late regular season losing streak.

If they revert to their mid-season form and bash their way to the championship, even I will declare that this is a team for the ages. Just have to sit back and see what unfolds but there certainly is a lot of trepidation around my household as to which of these two scenarios will come to pass.

Robby Bonfire said...

Of more concern, to me, than the string of outrageous pitch counts compiled by Phillies starters, both before and after the divisional clinching, is the astonishing reality that not one regular rotation starter got to skip a single start, after the clinching.

Of course Blanton and Kendrick were pressed into service as a result of the day-night doubleheader scheduling albatross which suffocated this team, but, damn, I do not believe there is a precedent, not even from this manager, of a team not resting its starting staff after it had accomplished everything it possibly could in the regular season, from best record in baseball to home advantage throughout its tenure in the post-season.

Arcane, bizarre, unfathomable and hallucinatory don't begin to describe the mystery of it all.

Robby Bonfire said...

Nice article at the other site as regards the dubious "manager" opting for Ibanez over Mayberry, despite over-whelming evidence that Ibanez is a dead-beat, at this stage, and Mayberry has the production numbers greatly in his favor, by comparison.

This on the heels of the "manager" opting for Ibanez over Brown "To give Brown experience playing Left Field" was the transparent obfuscation on that one, exactly when it was time to turn the job over to Brown, or at least platoon him with Mayberry. Of course Brown isn't quite 25, yet, the age at which this club conceded that Utley and Howard might be deserving of a "shot" in the major leagues, but first, in Utley's case, it was necessary to honor David Bell's four-year contract from Hell.

What a nightmare this shyster,"manager" is, and what a blight on the entire history of Philadelphia sports. Never has such an abundantly-talented Philadelphia sports team been so obviously hot-wired from within. The external, on-field competition this team can handle; the internal sabotage is beyond even Houdini's best day to escape the consequences.

I hope I am dead-wrong, here, and if I am believe me, I will gladly suffer the ridicule and name-calling, and probably deserve it, in fact, but, honest to God, with Charlie Manuel's collusion, I think the upcoming competition is in the bag for the Yankees.

Detroit has a shot on merit, vs. the Yankees, but let's see how the umpiring marginal and close calls go as regards the Yankees to see if they are getting more help than just an "early Christmas" from Charlie Manuel.

Again, hope, I am embarrassingly wrong, I love my Phillies as much as anyone else, but dammit anyway, from here it just looks as corrupt and fixed as any Black Sox dirt that came down.

I won't gloat if I am right, and will crawl off into the night if I am wrong. Whatever happens, man am I weary of this entire charade of a baseball season and looking forward to more football and some serious hockey. What a drain this baseball season has been. Fandom is truly no fun, any more.

hk said...

What are your thoughts on Andy Reid?

Robby Bonfire said...

Thanks for asking, hk. I have always liked Andy, with the big exception being his dreadful clock management, which we painfully experienced and witnessed in the tainted Super Bowl loss to the Pats, and on other occasions.

The bold appointment of an offensive coordinator to the Defensive coordinator position this year is really blowing up in Reid's and the Eagles' faces. 56 points allowed through the air in three games is a shocker for all of us who thought the Eagles secondary would be air-tight this years. I do like a man's putting himself on the line, as Reid did here, but it has blown-up, like the Hindenburg, and needs to be addressed right now, or, frankly, this season will be lost before it is half over.

Not happy with the FG try deep in Giants territory consistent with the real red zone problems this team is having, nor am I happy when, leading by two points Reid and his O.C. go for a first down at midfield. That botched call and subsequent attempt swung the momentum and the game to the Giants.

It doesn't look like Andy Reid is the man who will lead the Eagles to the promised land. But if he stays another five years or so, it won't begin to bother me on a par with the Phillies untenable situation of retaining their man another two years. I don't need to die and go to Hell to know, beforehand, what that would be like - thanks to the Phillies.

Andy Musser said...

Given the differences between NFL and MLB (salary cap), the fact that Reid has made the playoffs in every season but two since 2000 is remarkable.

And he's not "just" making the playoffs, either. With the exception of the 2009 demolition down in Dallas, every playoff team since 2000 has been a legitimite Super Bowl contender. They scored more offensive TDs than NYG in their divisional round loss in 2000 at the Meadowlands, and it would have been a tight matchup had they faced Minnesota (losers 41-0 to the Giants) in the NFC Championship that year.

They made the final four in each of the next 4 seasons, running into some bad luck in 2001 (the St Louis dynasty), 2003 (cheap shot injury on McNabb, fluke TD pass from Delhomme), and 2004 (the 2004 Eagles are better than most Super Bowl teams; they just happened to face one of the best of all time).

The officiating in the 2006 game in New Orleans was horrendous, and they still should have won that game and faced Chicago for the right to face Indy.

2008 was more bad luck, forced to play a road game against a Cardinals team with a WORSE regular season record. If that game is at the Linc, it's a double digit victory.

And they were eliminated last year on the final play against the best team in the league (more horrendous officiating in this one, with Green Bay's defense getting a commercial break between the two-point conversion tries after the Birds' final TD; if the Eagles convert that 2 points, they may have won the Super Bowl).

Andy Reid is criminally underrated between Monday and Saturday in this city while Manuel is obviously overrated.

On Sundays, with clock management and challenge issues, I'd call Reid an average to slightly below average coach. But with preparation and QB-coaching (the Vick signing was pure genius), he's one of the best coaches in the league.

Robby Bonfire said...

Thanks for all those great points, Andy. To your interpretation I would add that there is a major potential downside in moving Andy Reid out, before his time. And that is that the Eagles, and their supporters, need to consider what we had in the position before we had Andy = Rope-A-Dopes like Rich Kotite and Ray Rhoades, who grade either D or F on their head coaching track record.

The frustration re Andy Reid is that he is about a "B" academic grade coach, better than most but certainly not in the elite class of the Bill Walsh, Belichick, Shanahan, Gibbs, and a few select others of recent times. This gives the Eagles a shot at stealing a Super Bowl, one of these years under Reid, but certainly no shot at anything resembling a "dynasty."

I think Andy is a good man and a dedicated man, and truly appreciated by the players. Can't remember any real internal dissention stories coming out in Reid's tenure, here. If the team does win a Super Bowl, but after Reid's departure, many of us will feel a bit saddened that that wonderful fortune did not deservedly visit Andy Reid in his time here.

hk said...

Robby and Andy,

I appreciate both of your takes on Big Red, but I draw closer parallels between Reid and Charlie than the two of you do. I agree that Reid is a great coach from Sunday at 4PM to the following Sunday at 1PM, but I think his clock and scoreboard mismanagement are on par with Charlie's in-game strategy. Maybe it is time to hire an Assistant Coach in charge of Probability and Statistics.

I also believe that a lot of credit for Reid's success should go to Jim Johnson. Reid is supposed to be an offensive genius, but my opinion is that defense is more responsible for their success than offense. I think Reid is being exposed in the post-JJ era. I also feel that his playoff record is a little overstated. For one thing, if baseball allowed 12 playoff teams instead of 8, Charlie would have led the Phils to the post-season in every year of his tenure. In addition, other than the truly impressive run to their first NFC championship, the others were mostly situations where the Eagles were the class of the inferior NFC during the regular season and only had to beat one inferior opponent, who had played the week before, at home to get to the NFC championship. The number of games that the Eagles entered as favorites and lost is very telling.

Robby Bonfire said...

Great point re JJ, especially as his successor was canned, but at such a young age and so early in his tenure at the position, I have to wonder if it was a bit impulsive. Of course the Juan Castillo era is unraveling at warp speed.

Where to go now? If Reid reduces Castillo's workload and responsibility, who takes over, and how in the world can the secondary players adapt to the third pass defense philosophy and coverages in just 2+ seasons, in-season?

Hate to say it but our co-Super Bowl favorites are in deep trouble of even making the playoffs. And apparently, all the talent available cannot overcome the confusion of the system. What difference does it make if a safety or a cornerback is all-pro, if he blows his coverage and allows a quick seven points? We are seeing this every game, it seems.

One thing about Reid I like, he is faster to react to and rectify problems than that other stuck in molasses organization we suffer with.

hk said...

I agree on McDermott. After all, without any healthy or good LB's or safeties, his defense did hold Green Bay to the fewest points of any team in the post-season.

Reid better get started rectifying fast or his $100M QB playing behind a $100K O-line might not be able to play long enough or well enough to score enough points to overcome this defense's deficiencies.