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Thursday, September 04, 2008


It's only 10:21 am and my day is already made.

Thanks JW!

Let's see what kind of fight this team has left...

they better show up with guns blazing this weekend.

Two silver linings:
1. The Brewers are losing, keeping the WC in play.
2. The Cubs are losing, increasing the likelihood that the Cubs won't be able to field an AAA team for the Mets/Cubs series later this month.

Why give Bruntlett the start in right? I did not like that call at all.

goodmorning Bonehead- I get point #1 you make hoping the BrewCrew keep sliding.
I dont understand point #2 being in Phillies favor. If the Cubs slide, the Mets will walk all over them. Giving Mets an easy series.
Maybe you are thinkin the Phils have a better chance at WC at this point?
I guess I am looking at the other angle. Hoping Phils win out and Mets lose out.

Perhaps Zanbrano will have :A tired arm", again

Eric Bruntlett is a last-man-off-the-bench, and it's a travesty when he gets the start in any position. He's Abe Nunez with more versatility, a slightly better bat and worse defense.

to point 2: if the cubs keep loosing and are still in a race, they have to play there regular players instead of their AAA prospects.

Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times talked to Tadahito Iguchi's agent, who said the Dodgers and Phillies expressed interest in his client.

*I'd take Iguchi for the final 3 weeks off the bench. He wouldn't be on the postseason roster if the Phils made it, but he could help get them there.

phan bro' - re my point #2...

Its just that, as a Phils phan, I would feel a lot better if the Mets/Cubs series is a battle of two teams fighting for playoff spots, rather than a series in which the Cubs have clinched the playoffs and will rest its regulars.

There really is no defensible reason to START Bruntlett in any game at this point of the season considering the Phils' current position. I don't care if every other available player was injured in a clubhouse dance-off. Simply stupid.

That said, that isn't what lost us last night's game (and our mojo/momentum). This bullpen has been applauded all year long when, in reality, it isn't vastly different than last year's near NL worst (no El Pulpo and the addition of Durbin who has been playing much better than career norms). To say that it was sustainable is fairly unrealistic. This 'pen is what it is. You don't magically get significantly better over an off-season. JW is right, we need the starters to put up some scoreless innings this weekend; a difficult task if you have to pitch to the once-dead Delgado. I'd prefer if I wasn't hearing from Hamels about his concerns surrounding mounting innings, since that is precisely what this team will need from him.

Blanton has been a big disappointment like many thought he would be. Randy Wolf would have been better and a helluva lot cheaper.

I love having Cole Hamels on our staff, and he's a damn fine pitcher. However, just imagine how much better he could be if he went into games with a different mindset. Instead of worrying about mounting innings and pitch counts, just go out there and do the job until the manager thinks it's time to lift you...don't lift yourself!

I agree Carson. Hamels is a stud pitcher, no doubt about it. His mental state is the only real question I have. I loved when he came out and stated that he intends to throw a few no-hitters over his career, and I believed him. The only problem is that it is extremely difficult to pitch a no-no when you're looking over your shoulder at the pitch count on the outfield scoreboard.

I think there are 2 critical series coming up. Of course this weekends series with the Mets, but also the Brewers series.
We can all think that the Brewers were doing their usual fade job of September, but until their series with the Mets they had gone 15-5 run with an identical number of loses at home as the Cubs...
The Phils need to get back the 3, and hope that the Cubs haven't clinched by the time the play the Mets, otherwise that may be the difference maker...

got it. Thanks for the clarification.

Overall, though, isnt it a dam shame we have to start playing the fantasy scenerio game again?

I guess it would be no fun if the Phils were playing great ball and were 6 games up on the Mets right now.

Just kidding it would be fun as hell. I hope some day I get to experience the luxury.

Fight, hunger, intestinal fortitude-- call it what you want, except for 2007 the phillies dont seem to have it at crunch time year in and year out. Sorry alpha posting stat freaks THAT is what wins championships not stats like J-Rolls OBP with Left handers etc. If you were never an athlete-- you wouldnt know.

Even though the Cubs are losing, the Brewers are also losing so the Cubs aren't losing any ground on their lead. They won't need to play any regulars that last weekend and will set their rotation up for the playoffs.

Carson - You have to be kidding me. Hamels' issues about getting injured (valid given his history) are about #36 or #37 on the Phils' list of pressing issues. It is just one of those misguided fan angst issues that pops only in a place like Philly.

Hilarious that the night after Blanton and Durbin blew a lead even though the Phils scored 7 runs and a day after Hamels pitches 7 innings of shut-out baseball, people are debating Bruntlett and Hamels.

Phils NEED 2 of the 3 from the Mets, but would obviously prefer a sweep and 3 of 4 from MIL in order to get anywhere close to avoiding the hope and a prayer tactic.

Of course, that's all moot if they crap the bed against FLA and ATL.

The biggest disappointment about Blanton is that he is averaging less 5 1/3 innings a start (5.3) in his 9 GS with the Phils. Not only have his results been mixed (but a clear improvement over Eaton), but he has taxed the bullpen too in a lot of his starts by not making it through at least 6 innings.

Truth is right. If the Phils lose this series, they will be out at least 4 games with only 19 games left to play (and no head-to-head games) remaining. You start to put the dirt on the '08 Phils' season.

Note - Supposedly Wagner is supposed to be activated relatively soon for the Mets.

Time to put up or shut up for this team through Sept. 14 (3 games vs Mets, 4 games vs Brewers). By Sept. 14, it will be pretty clear if you can close the chapter on the '08 Phils season.

Don't twist my words on me. Hamels is a great pitcher. I never said anything to the contrary.

I'm pissed about Bruntlett starting, I'm pissed that Blanton is even on this staff, but I was simply making a comment about Hamels. I wasn't wrong in what I said, so back off!

I wake up to read these two headlines on

"Hamels needs to step up" & "Something unnerving about Hamels?"

What's unnerving is yet another lights-out star getting whipped around by the media for no good reason. Talk about the very least of the Phillies concerns right now.

If they win less than 2 of 3 in this Mets series, the season really is over.

At least we have Blanton through 2010. 2 more years of 5 inning baseball for him. He can be an innings eater in the AL when he gives up 4 runs in 5 innings and you don't need to use a pinch hitter, but in the NL he is below adequate.

WIP was already starting the drumbeat to drum Hamels out of town. He didnt look mad enough when Charlie came to get him.
If you are a great player in this town, its only a matter of time...

I do not want to contribute to the bashing of Cole Hamels. I was voicing my opinion, which I believe to be valid, but by no stretch of the imagination to I want him bad mouthed.

Agreed about Brunlett. In a game the manager calls "must win," how can he justify starting Brunlett over Vic? Insane...

We won't have to worry about Hamels in a few years when the Phils will refuse to pay him the big money.

Money talks, but you can just smell Hamels chosing San Diego when he's out from under Phillies control. That's where I'd go if money didn't talk.

If Hamels were truly great he'd start every other game and pinchhit on his off days and be 4-4 when he does start...

Can we never bash Hamels please...he's the best pitcher we've had since Schilling...who got pushed out of town as well.

In truth, 2 out of 3 really isn't good enough. That would leave them 2 out with 19 to go, with the Mets having a weak schedule for the rest of the year. The odds of the Phillies overcoming such a deficit would be no higher than 25%. The Phillies need to sweep this series, plain and simple. If they win 2 of 3, they have life, but barely. If they win 1 of 3, well, to use THe Dude's phrase: "Season = Over."

Amen, Nepp.

And when the Phils keep penny pinching Hamels every year it's going to come back to bite them.

This series loss was catastrophic. The Mets were facing the 2nd best team in the NL and we were facing a team that might lose 100 games this year, and THEY GAINED TWO GAMES ON US!!! Inexcusable.
The playoffs begin tomorrow night. It is a best of 3 series. If the Phils lose, the season is over and it's time to completely change the face of the team.

The Phils didn't "penny pinch" Hamels. That's the way salary structure for young players is set up. They didn't penny pinch Howard for that matter either.

Morty: Vic is 5 for his last 36 (.139) and Charlie wanted to give him a day off as he did with the slumping Burrell the other day. Given that, who would you have started in his place and why?

GMCarson: I recall that Wolf was asked on more than one occasion if he wanted to come to Philly. He declined. Can't force him at any price.

I have started Vic, but if he truly needed the rest and since there was a lefty on the mound, I'd have given the nod to Golson over Bruntlett. Bottom line, it was bad day to rest Vic.

Any notion that the Cubs are going to lay back or field their scrubs if they wrap up the division by the time they face the Mets is incorrect. I dont see Lou Piniella allowing the Cubs to coast into the playoffs
and he will be trying to keep momentum and continuity into the playoffs

Let me join the movement to get people to stop whining about Hamels. What a joke. He's one of the three best pitchers to play in this town in the past 30 years. Think about that. If you have a problem with Hamels then you'll never be happy.

As for the season to date, I would say that it has been neither fun nor entertaining.

Well Pinella certainly won't be pitching Harden, Zambrano, or even Dempster in that series.

Carson: And you think Golson can hit major league pitching because....?

Alex: "Well Pinella certainly won't be pitching Harden, Zambrano, or even Dempster in that series."

Really? You speak to Lou?

Alex - You can't just rest your entire SP staff. They are on a schedule which they've pitched to basically all year. They may not pitch 120 pitches, or go more than 6 innings, but this isn't football.

sophist: Exactly right!

Weitzel: Yes but sorry for Cole money does talk and I do not think San Diego "Super" Padres will be offering him a 16 million a year offer anytime soon when they are expected to have a payroll of 50-55 million next yr and for years to come.

Outside looking in, and they don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Concerning Blanton, it looks like he's eating something other than innings.

Zambrano and Harden are question marks, but the Cubs would have to be 7 games up on the Brewers at the time of the Mets series to have it clinched and if they are, I still dont see Piniella giving them the whole week off and any rotation setting/resting would come during the final series. Also keep in mind that there is the consideration of home-field advantage through the playoffs and if the NL East leader is within striking distance going into the final week, the games will be meaningful for the Cubs, esp if the Mets are creeping up on them.

Not to look too far ahead of this big series, but based on the probables listed for the next week out, we should miss CC Sabathia when Milwaukee comes to town next weekend.

He's scheduled to pitch the day before the Phils series and the Brewers have no off days between now and then.

Well he's already skipping Harden's start this week to rest him, Zambrano is hurt and who knows if he will be back, and Dempster has pitched 40 more innings this year than the last 2 years combined.

Clout: rather than just sniping at people that don't agree with you maybe you could tell us the advantages of starting Bruntlett (who is useless) over Golson (who is likely to be useless)

Brio: I completely agree. I love this team but with all tha antics this year beween rollins, Hamels not wanting to hurt his little arm, howard striking out even more while his offensive numbers stay the same, the trading deadline blunders and a longer list a mile long about managing. They do not deserve it, not for our fans, myself included to get all geeked up and get swept by the cubs.

So if they lose the mets series they will be 5 out with 19 to play. And if they get swept 6 out, forget it.

Clout- And you think Eric Bruntlett can hit MLB pitching because...

Neither are a good choice, that's the point, hence Vic should have started. Wait to sit Vic against a righty and Dobbs or Stairs could start instead with Werth moving to CF.

So clout, who would you have started in right?

What would I have done in a "must win" game? The following:

START VIC! A .139 Vic is better than Bruntlett, in my opinion. My reasoning? By taking Vic out of the lineup, your defense in RF and CF has diminished severely. Secondly, it moves Pedro Feliz (your favorite offensive weapon) into the 6 hole instead of the 7 hole (with Werth hitting 3rd). And if Vic is able to get on base, he has the potential to create runs with his speed and baserunning abilities, which Bruntlett lacks in comparison. Finally, today is an off day (i.e. he can rest today).

I know it didn't really make a difference between a win and a loss in the end, but I believe Morty's point was that Charlie called this game a "must win" and yet refused to put his best team on the field.

Just my thoughts. And no, I don't have any stats to back things up -- not my style.

The Phils pitching still gave up 9 runs to the AAA Nats so it doesn't matter who started in right field.

Alex- I agree with you that starters health issues may be a concern, but even before the Harden/Z-bo issues came up there has been a lot of presumption that the Cubs would wrap things up by the Mets series and lay back and I just dont see Piniella giving the team the week off.

Alex - The week before the playoffs, you do not rest your SP. It's just not common practice. As for Dempster, you do realize he's 31 years old and has a long history in the league? He was a SP for the Marlins in his early 20s and threw 646.6 IP in three years for them (and partly with CIN) as a starter. He's been a RP the past two years in CHI, hence the low number of IP.

Well either way they won't be logging many innings and instead of going to a lock down reliever like Marmol, they could go to a more unproven guy.

I know about Dempster, but they aren't going to want to push him anymore than they have to.

W/R/T I say trust the man to know his own body. If he gets injured, then it is instant end of season. If he says he is getting worn down and needs to come out, no one should question that. The season is more important then the last 2 innings of a game.

And, people, Bruntlett has a high OBP against LHP. Additionally, the Phillies scored 7 runs last night. Some guys need a night off. We don't even know what was up with Vic. But the loss is squarely on Blanton and the late inning relief staff. These are much bigger concerns, and I'm surprised we aren't discussing them. How many losses in the past month are squarely on Blanton or the 8th inning?

Durbin in the 8th this year

.316/.396/.405 against -- 11 runs in 28 games

compare that to his performance in the 6th

.175/.233/.225 against -- 5 runs in 14 games

and the 7th

.231/.299/.282 -- 3 runs in 26 games

Alex - with your last statement, I completely agree. They certainly won't have one of their starters out there for much more than 100 pitches, but you can't have your starters entering the playoffs on 6-10 days rest. Rest is good for a SP but only to an extent.

jobbers/Carson: Bruntlett can at least get on base vs. LHP: .350 OB. There is nothing to suggest that Golson can either get on base (quite the opposite in fact) or is ready to hit major league pitching. I love how posters here always think every Phillies prospect is the answer when a veteran is failing. Evidently there's no long-term memory on this board.

sophist: Here is what was up with Vic: He is 5 for his last 36 (.139).

Clout- you should know me well enough to not suggest I even think Golson is a solution. I have no faith in Golson's offensive attributes, just as I have no faith in Bruntlett's. I've never really even viewed Golson as a prospect other than that's what he gets labeled. He's a 5th outfielder in my opinion, meaning he'll never amount to much. My point about starting Bruntlett and resting Vic was that it was poor timing. Rest Vic against a righty then the options of replacing him are better (Stairs and Dobbs vs. Bruntlett).

Clout: I dont think I said Golson was the answer and I don't think Carson did either. As one of the better, more knowledgeable posters on BL I am just tired that you seem to have to lower yourself by sniping at other posters that don't agree with you rahehr than give your opinions with reasons

Carson/jobbers: I'm NOT debating whether Vic should've rested. I simply stated that Cholly decided to do it and why. The issue was, who do you start in his place? That was my question.

I believe I was the inaugural member of the Eric Bruntlett Haters Club (I started ranting about how bad he was almost the day he was traded to us), so far be it for me to defend him. But the Phillies scored 7 runs last night and Bruntlett was out of the game after just 2 ABs. I wasn't enamored of the decision to start the team's worst hitter in a critical game. But in the field of law, we call this type of error "harmless error," since it had no impact on the game whatsoever. I don't really get why it's such a hot topic this morning.

The Phillies need to step it up and quick. I think we have been lulled by a very critical media into thinking that the Phillies and Mets have been keeping pace, both very flawed and neither all that great. I wanted to check that.

Since July 1st-
Phillies W%: .561
Mets W%: .672
For refernence,
Cubs: .614

The truth is that since July 1st, the Mets have been the best team in the NL. Its not late aguest/early september surge, they have been cruising for months now. The Phillies won't squeak by that on luck in the final 20+ games of the season. We need every "star" we have to step and play to their fullest this last month.

I hope I was wrong about Rollins, and that my confidence in Howard this season finally pays off.

Now THIS is more of the Beerleaguer I've come to know and love. The likes of clout, Sophist, b_a_p and Carson sniping at each other about relevant topics.

A breath of fresh air from that NYM stench that's been floating around here lately, if I do say so myself.

Pardon the interruption, have at it fellas!!

B_A_P- unfortunately everything is a "hot topic" this morning because as Phillies fans were scared that the chance at postseason is quickly escaping us. Not finishing out a game because you had 108 pitches irks some of us because that game could have been a win. Starting someone in RF with a sub .220 avg and .600 OPS is just dumb.

PhillR trying out the unprecedented Beerleaguer Double-Reverse Jinx on Howard and Jimmy to help out his Mets.

Kinda funny how we look at things...if we lose the division cause we can't beat the Mets and bad teams like the Nats, we blew it and the Mets have stepped it up to be the best team in the NL since a certain date.

If Mets lose a division because they can't beat us and lose to the Nats a lot, we squeaked by and lucked into the division title.

Not that nonsense again. Some of you people are really deranged.

PhillR - Sounds right. Since July 5th, the Mets are 37-17.

Utley and Rollins and Howard have been excellent of late, though.

Utley since Aug 20: .393/.507/.518
Rollins since Aug 23: .400/.467/.620
Howard since Aug 25: .341/.426/.829 -- 5 HR

The Phils, outside of some isolated pieces, are playing great baseball these past few weeks. Their 8th inning pitching is completely lacking, and Kendrick and Blanton are inconsistent at best.

But if the Mets continue playing at this pace, how well the Phils are playing is probably a moot point unless the Brewers collapse. The Brewers have lost 3 in a row, but have still won 20/30 and 29/45.

Alex- another good point, but again, the Cubs will have to have both division and home-field wrapped up until they even think of easing up even a little and having both wrapped up by that series is not a given

WP: I think you meant to say "irrelevant." Most of the discussion has been about Hamels and Bruntlett, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the losses to the Nats. Not a single poster has raised the issue of the team lacking a setup man.

PhillR, Your posts are tiresome. There is nothing more pathetic then a Mets fan who pretends to be a Phils fan on a Phils oriented blog. At least the other Mets trolls are more upfront about it. Somehow I expect when the Mets collapse again, you'll be nowhere to be found. Take phanatics brother with you and go back to metsgeek. Remember IPs don't lie.

WP: I know you meant that in jest. But I was really just making an observation. I definitely wasn't sniping at anyone. I do my share of sniping, but Carson, Sophist, and clout are 3 of the last people I would ever direct it at. Well . . . maybe clout on occasion, when I'm in the mood for a lively argument.

Clout: Which you then followed up with . .

Carson: And you think Golson can hit major league pitching because....?

Where Carson never said he thought Golson could hit ML pitching, just that he preferred Golson starting (I assume for his defense and speed on the basepaths) if Vic wasn't. So the little snipe at Carson was not necessary. This is just an example of what you do over and over, you don't need to.

See I didn't know Bruntletts OBP was decent against LHP until you and Sophist pointed it out, thats info I didn't know and appreciated when I did. You don't need to snipe (quite liking the word now!) to tell us that

EastFallow: If the Mets play at a .672 winning percentage for three months, we didn't blow a thing. Sorry but I don't think anyone expected this team to win 95 games. We never had the pitching.

I yearn for the golden years of the 50s and 60s when pitchers threw on 2 or 3 days' rest, completed most games, won 25+, threw close to 300 innings.

Billy Mac, when the Mets were collapsing under Randolph, I was right here cheering. I have been to 6 Phillies games this year, zero Mets. You jackasses take any criticism as heresy. I make no bones about my distaste for Rollins and Myers, but I also am the biggest Burrell supporter on this blog.

Bio- Its a different game now. The training, science and work that modern players put in mean that the stresses on the body are far larger. You can't compare the eras.

Todays players aren't weaker. They are playing a different game which pushes the human body farther to the limit.

Speaking of sniping, PhillR has generally been my favorite poster to snipe at -- at least ever since SirAlden left. But his post about the Mets is right on point. They have significantly out-played us over a more than 2-month period of time. That needs to change dramatically in the next 3 days, or the season really is over. It's fashionable to say that after every hard loss, but this time it happens to be true.

I must echo commments from Don, earlier in the post about E Bruntlett. I wonder if the Mets were concerned when they brought up David Murphy and plugged him in, only to see him batting .355. We cant play Golson on a night when Victorino has off ?? I was in Washington last night and thought I would need cardiac care after they announced the starting lineup with Bruntlett staring me in the face in right field. Manuel needs to get off this " loyalty kick" and play the best guys available.

This thread is brutal. BLers eating their young on an off day.

I feel for Chad Durbin. The long season and the overwork is starting to get to him.

Blanton needs to suck in his gut and man up for the rest of the season. Blanton got the ultimate insult earlier in this thread when he was compared to Eaton.

The set up man issue, as clout has hammered home for a while, is huge. This talk about Hamels, however, is ludicrous. I was at Tuesday night's game. This guy is going out there and averaging 6.95 innings per game since August 1 with 12 ER (14 Rs) scored in those 7 outings. Yeah, he is really screwing over the sporting public in this town with his pansy act. Unbelievable.

yes, I was posting in absolute jest. The regulars on this site make the reading as much fun as it is. I was, however, very serious that the Mets trolls have brought nothing positive to the table in the last few days.

Outside the horror of the situation, Charlie's removal of Blanton last night was pretty hysterical (assuming you hated the trade like me).

No pitching coach, no mound discussion, he just walks out and signals for (I think?) lefty. Charlie couldn't even look Blanton in the eye he was so disgusted.

At least this is how I recall it. I was pretty heavy into the scotch by then and feeling downright belligerent to Blanton.

Carson: Usually Hamels is in there til Cholly pulls him out against his will. One night his arm feels dead and he lets him know, so suddenly he's not strong enough? Any criticism on those grounds of a guy who has thrown the most innings in the league is just ridiculous, and fits every negative Philly fan stereotype.

Dan Murphy -

Age 21 in college: 57 G, .398/.470/.534 -- 13 SO/34 BB
92 games at AA: .300/.370/.475 -- 45 SO/39 BB


Age 21 in Clearwater (A+): 99 G, .285/.322/.450 -- 124 SO/21 BB
Age 21 in Reading (AA): 37 G, .242/.255/.359 -- 49 SO/2 BB

77 games repeating AA: .288/.335/.443 -- 97 SO/23 BB

Brian G- Can you imagine how apopyliptic these same people would be if he got injured? Or even if he gave up the lead in the 9th, then Charlie would be a moron for not pulling him sooner.

Most valuable player we have. No question regarding his desire to win in my mind. Leave him be. Save it for guys who DO dog it like Rollins.

Pre-season Phils checklist:
- upgrade 3B over Abe Nunez - DONE (up for debate)
- improve bullpen - DONE
- Unadvised JRoll prediction for '08 - DONE
- avoid early season swoon - DONE (thanks Pat/Chase)
- avoid injuries to SP - DONE
- prove Vic can play everyday - DONE

Why, oh why, are we now in the position of looking up to both division and WC leaders? I think that we can safely state that the June swoon and offense mailing it in for about 2 solid months has been the largest "valley" for this team, with Howard being the poster child for not meeting expectations much of the year.

Regardless if the Phils make the playoffs (and I actually think that they have a legit shot), there is still some SERIOUS tinkering to do with this team before we can take them seriously as WS contenders.

I was a little unnerved by teh "Hamels needs to step up on Sunday" headline, too. Myers and Moyer need to step up, as do several position players, to make Hamels start as meaningful as we want it to be. God forbid, we're down five when he takes the mound.

As for the rest of the season.. we need to beat the Mets this weekend, plain and simple. This is like a playoff series for us. If we sweep them we're obviously back to square one, but if we only win 2 of 3 we're still well within striking distant, and then will have a big chance to make up ground on the Brewers a week later. We have our best 3 pitchers going against 2 of their best 3, so it sets up like a playoff series too. If we can't beat them, then it is what it is.

Throughout the season, I have used this message board as a way of venting whatever frustrations I have felt about the team (Trust me, I show far more patience with my kids and colleagues at work). . I thank all of you for your indulgence in reading them I have proclaimed the season over numerous times, but that was mainly out of some temporary fit. This time, however, I truly believe that it is. The Phillies have blown 5-6 gamers in the 8th inning in the last month or so. I guess we missed Gordon more than we realized. The Mets show no signs of cracking.

We are in year 2 of a 5 year period with this nucleus (before aging and/or free agency departures erodes it). Management did nothing to help put this team over the top when the season could have been saved. The Cubs get Harden, the Brew boys get CC…we get the fat guy at the company picnic (Blanton). This is an opportunity squandered. Teams don’t get many in baseball and the years pass far too quickly (as those of us from the late 70’s remember). More than anger, I am feeling regret over what could have been.

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EST. 2005

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