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Monday, October 20, 2008


Pat the bat to DH. Jenkins, Vic & Werth in the outfield.

Just my guess.

Got to DH Coste, not PtB/Jenkins, whether or not Taguchi is dropped from the roster for Marson -- a move favored on prior threads.

I'd go with Stairs.


Use Werth to split up Utley and Howard, and use Vic as a second lead off man. Keep Dobbs available to pinch hit, where he's been among the best in MLB.

I was wondering if anyone knows any Phillies-friendly place in the Phoenix area (including scottsdale, glendale, gilbert, etc). I just went to a bar down the road from me for the NLDS and NLCS and it was more or less neutral. I'd love to find a place with other Phillies fans for the WS, even if it means driving 30-60 minutes to get there.

"What a lineup the Rays have. How do you get through Upton-Pena-Longoria-Crawford unscathed? You don't, often, which is why I think the Rays will handle the Phils in six."

This, from Peter King's MMQB. Like everyone else, I am happy to be underestimated in this series. Those four players, no doubt, are all studs. But where's the love for Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell + Vic?

Manuel has gone out of his way to shield Dobbs, which suggests he must be a total lost cause against lefties. But I wouldn't be shocked if Dobbs gives you the best AB out of this group.

Bubba suggests Jenkins. He would be my last choice actually, even if it's the best defensive move. He doesn't even hang with right-handers. Coste hasn't done it for me in months, but he's been clutch in the past. Does anyone think Taguchi has one more big hit left in him? I do, actually.

None of the options are great, but I would go with Coste at 1B with Howard as DH. However, if Marson isn't added to the roster, I don't see Coste's role being expanded over and above what it has been in the playoffs so far.

Coste as DH. Don't change anything else. You do what got you there.

MG mentioned some keys in the previous thread. Pat Burrell must produce in these starts against Kazmir. He's still the big right-handed bat. Jayson Werth, too, needs to me more than just a nice story. Gotta get production from Righty Rollins, Vic, Burrell, Werth. Like to see these guys hammer a few off the wall.

Missed a lot of the earlier debates, but to me Marson <-> Taguchi should be a no-brainer to allow Coste to DH and PH from the right

Coste, in the starting line-up of the first game of the World Series would really boost book sales and would make the Made for TV movie even better.

Scott Kazmir faced the Phils in 2006. The only current Phils in the starting lineup that day were J-Roll (1-2, 2 BB), Burrell (0-1, 3 BB) and Howard (0-4). Vic was hitless in his pinch hit.

Abe Nunez and Sal Fasano homered off Kazmir that day. He threw 96 pitches in just 5 innings, walking 3 and giving up 6 hits.

Taguchi is 1 for 3 off Kazmir in his career an Matt Stairs faced him twice, walking both times.

If only Nunez was still here. There's your answer to DH.

I think Manuel puts a lot of stock in the platoon strengths of guys like Dobbs & Jenkins. they've barely even seen lefties this year (and last for Dobbs). while Coste would probably be best on paper, I don't think the Phils will add Marson to the roster--just doesn't seem like their m.o.

I would actually second Jason's seemingly counterintuitive Taguchi suggestion. it would have the additional benefit of sparing us the tragicomedy of watching Burrell try to play Tropicana's vast left field.

You Phillies fans need to stop with the "Ya gotta believe" signs. I know Tug played for you the Phils too but he said that with the Mets. Stop trying to be the Mets. You're in the playoffs, they are not. Let it go.

Ya Gotta Believe!!!!!

I say DH Coste against the lefty, and if Ruiz happened to get hurt (God forbid) Coste could move from DH to catcher and then we'd just have to let the pitcher bat.

If Manuel goes Bruntlett against the lefty, he should plug Bruntlett into leftfiend and just let Burrell DH.

if Bruntlett starts any of these playoff games, Manuel may as well just stop wasting everyone's time and concede the series.

My guess: Cholly will dh Burrell and start Bruntlett in lf. Cholly hates Burrell's defense.

JW- Agree with your So Taguchi prediction.Charlie will be wide open for criticism -like he was in the last round- but I think he will bat at least once in the series.

hey Gehoff, why didn't you credit Bill Price for that stupid comment because thats where you took it from? Come up with an original thought if you want to contribute to this blog.

I'm with Jason. If Burrell is DH, I would rather see So in LF than Bruntlett.
Neither, though, is very inspiring.

I agree that it makes the most sense to DH Howard or Coste and try to carry Marson instead of Iguchi. Is Marson eligible for the World Series roster?

@BobbyD--"Coste as DH. Don't change anything else. You do what got you there."

This makes sense.

Also, I agree that we really don't want to see Bruntlett start (scary thought), but I can't imagine Cholly doing that.

Furnstein: Marson is available. However, let's not fool ourselves here. There is virtually no chance of Manuel actually replacing Taguchi with Marson. It's not in his nature. Charlie got here doing things his way. There's no way I see him dumping a guy with more World Series at bats than a guy has regular season at bats in his career.


Go to Tug McGraw's foundation store and see what color the Ya Gotta Believe T shirts are.

Tug's phrase traveled with him, he said it in both places. Just like Juan Samuel, Lenny Dykstra, Marlon Anderson, etc etc, Tug and his phraseology is something we have to share. Get over it.

Looks like Gillick should have worked some magic to find a spare right handed bat.

I'd like to think that Werth, Rollins, Burrell, Feliz, Ruiz, and Shane can bring enough thunder to the party that a RH DH won't be missed too much.

W/O giving it a lot of thought, has the NL ever been able to match the AL in the DH department during interleague play?

this year, NL designated hitters put up a .242/.314/.402 line in 544 AB. AL designated hitters posted a .256/.339/.435 line.

looks like in 2003, NL designated hitters (in their small sample size) were better than the American League's: .293/.364/.515 for the senior circuit versus .260/.349/.439 for the AL.

I have two options for DH, when facing lefties:

1) DH Stairs. He'll work the count and hit a mistakes hard. If he could work a few at bats and make the pitcher throw a lot of pitches, that alone would be worth it. Put him way down at 8th in the order.

2) DH Burrell and put Bruntlett or Jenkins in left. You make up for the offense with their defense.

Against righties, you use Dobbs as DH all the time.

In 2007, the Rockies DH'ed Ryan Spilboroughs who went 0-5. The Sox DH'ed Big Papi. Advantage Sox.

In 2006, the Cardinals DH'ed Chris Duncan and put Taguchi in LF in Game 1 and DH'ed Scott Spiezio in Game 2. They went 1-7. The Tigers DH'ed Sean Casey. Slight Advantage to the Tigers.

In 2005, the Astros DH'ed Jeff Bagwell in both games and used Mike Lamb and Chris Burke in the field in Games 1 and 2. The White Sox DH'ed Carl Everett. Advantage White Sox.

In 2004, the Cardinals used Reggie Sanders while the Red Sox used Big Papi. Advantage Red Sox.

The AL won three out of the four years, sweeping each time. Only the Tigers lost, winning just one game against the Cardinals.

locastic: Agains righties, you play Dobbs at third and DH Stairs. That's the smart play.

Against lefties, the smart play is to DH Coste, but it would be smarter if Marson were on the roster... and he likely won't be.

Also, I would keep Taguchi over Marson, so that means Coste can't DH.

I think Coste should definitely be the DH on Wednesday.

In an unrelated note, anyone know the name of that awful song they played after the Rays won last night?

CJ: I wouldn't play Dobbs in the field, I'd be wary of giving up the defense there. But I can see your point.

Stairs has very poor splits against LHP: -.113 OPS on his career and -.123 this season. he should not be DHing against Kazmir.

It's all about the Myers and whether the core four (Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Vic) come through. If those four plus Myers perform well we win, if they don't, we don't.

Feel the Heat

@TK -- Agreed it's an awful song.

phlipper - Your assertion is not the formula that the Phils have used this year to get to this point. At no time this year have all of those 'core' players performed well at the same time. (rarely do the all of 'core' perform well at the same time on any team) And I am not expecting that in this series.

The formula is more likely to be that a few of the core perform well, and a few of the role players step up and contribute.

BTW, I know the Rays had trouble finding someone to throw out the first pitch for their first playoff game.

If they wanted to make every Phillie fan angry, they should have Clint Hurdle throw out the first pitch in game one, to remind everyone WHY they have the HOMEfield advantage. Then in Game 2, bring out Mr. Joe Carter.

Less Cowbell, Don't Feel the Heat...

Go Phillies.

Game 6: Nikolai Khabibouin or Martin St. Louis
Game 7: Warren Sapp

From the facilities guy at work (I'm close to Boston):

A silver ring has been turned in to Security. It has four light blue stones that resemble the image of a baseball diamond with a smaller dark blue stone set in the middle sort of in the area of the pitcher’s mound. It is difficult to read the inscription inside but it appears to say; Red Sox World Champs 2008. How appropriate that this ring was lost! It can be claimed at the Main Lobby Security desk.

locastic: No reason to go through it again... but putting Feliz and his worthless bat at the plate four times a game more than detracts from whatever he gives us on those one of two tough plays at third... if there even are any tough plays at third. And that's my last word on this discussion for the 162nd time.

CJ: I would assume that final roster decisions are up to Gillick, not Cholly.

As for the DH against Kazmir, it's really a no-brainer that you use Coste. If Marson's not on the roster (and I seriously doubt he will be), then I suppose maybe you play Coste at first and put Howard at DH -- thereby solving the problem of not having a DH if Ruiz were to get injured or ejected.

Coste has been terrible in the second half, but he has had a long break and, in his one post-season AB, he actually got a hit. He is a streaky hitter & I could actually see him having a good World Series. Much as I like Stairs and Dobbs, you can't start them against left-handers, especially a left-hander like Kazmir who is just murder on left-handed hitters.

162nd time = .9474 times/game this season

Anybody win the lottery to buy tickets to Gms 1 or 2 in TB? I entered but no luck...

I've never seen a more naked attempt to drum up site traffic than from the LA Times and the NY Daily News recently with their stories about the Phillies. No reasonable journalist cares one bit about You Gotta Believe.

Midre: I didn't win and neither did my dad or brother who both entered. My friend's sister won and I'm hoping to finagle a Game 2 ticket through her.

How is Victorino, rather than Burrell, in the "core four"?

Burrell OPS: .874
Victorino OPS: .799

Burrell RC: 106
Victorino RC: 92

Burrell also has both higher OBP and higher SLG, and way more home runs and RBIs.

Victorino has a higher BA, and is a better fielder, but I don't see in what sense one can consider Victorino one of the four core players to the exclusion of Burrell, who is better by most batting statistics.

Jason, the 'you gotta believe' "controversy" is being perpetrated by a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies (journalists included) who have no baseball team left to cheer for.

It's not about the slogan, it's about them desperately seeking to strike back in some way at the Phillies or those great Philly fans. Hence, they seize on something superflous and innane.

It's not the use of the slogan they need to get over:

They need to get over themselves.

but putting Feliz and his worthless bat at the plate four times a game more than detracts from whatever he gives us on those one of two tough plays at third

Isn't Dobbs's bat even more worthless against lefties than Feliz's?

Lou Marson would be the best vs. LHP out of Dobbs/Jenkins/Stairs/Coste. He hit .318/.420./.458 off of lefties in the minors this year. Give him a shot, what the hell.

Apparently, Met fans forget what Tug said after the Phils won the WS in 1980:

"All through baseball history, Philadelphia has had to take a back seat to New York City. Well, New York can take this world championship and stick it ‘cause we’re number one.” - Tug McGraw

John: Not a single poster has ever argued that Dobbs should start at third base against left-handers.

In fact, if you go back to the post that started this debate, CJ's first 2 words were "Against righties."

Series Prediction:
Phils in 5 or in 4.
Yes the Rays are considerably better than either team we've beaten to get here, but the Phillies are too tough and will finish off the Rays at home.

I saw some new slogans for the Phils; there's the "Why Can't Us?" movement on 700level and another one that's slightly more maudlin "Do It for Steve Irwin".

"How is Victorino, rather than Burrell, in the "core four"?"

Let's make it the core five and include both.

Between that victory song and the cowbells, the Rays have already jumped to one my least favorite teams in the league. That was easy.

"Against lefties, the smart play is to DH Coste, but it would be smarter if Marson were on the roster... and he likely won't be."

Marson has 4 big league AB's. Why do we think he would be so good in this situation?

What is all the hub bub about "Ya gotta believe?" I looked at the NY Daily News and LA Times websites and didn't see stories about it?

I totally understand the Phils being underdogs, and more to the point, am happy we are being touted as such. However, what I can't understand is the Phillies being completely written off because the Rays "Cinderella Story" just won't be denied.

If the writers and talking heads want to say the Rays are unbeatable, back it up with stats--not karma/magical mumbo jumbo.

Fun footage of Tug McGraw saying "Ya gotta believe" in a Phillies uniform. He appears with Johnny Bench in "The Baseball Bunch."

My favorite line is "The changeup is a super pitch, isn't that right, John?" He pitches to the San Diego Chicken, and he tells the joke, "Is a foul ball the same as a chicken dance? Get it? 'Fowl' is the same as chicken?" It's adorable.

Remember when the strike zone went up to the armpits? ("Or wingpits, in your case," sez Bench.)

The Ya Gotta Believe thing is pretty cheesy. It originated in '73 when Tug was with the Mets even though he continued to say it after.

Not even Cholly is dumnb enough to start one of the Phils lefties vs. Kazmir. It will be either Coste or Taguchi. Against righties it will be Dobbs with Feliz starting at 3B.

Big advantage on offense for the Rays in games at their park.

John: I have never and will never suggest Greg Dobbs should play against a lefty. Feliz is worthless against righties and Dobbs should start whenever a RHP is on the mound.

That Dude: My point was that it's easier to DH Coste when Marson is on the roster (backup catcher). I would NOT DH Marson over Coste. I would limit the number of appearnces Marson would get to an absolute minimum. The World Series is no place for a rookie to cut his teeth.

This "Ya Gotta Believe" thing is further prove that Mets fans are obsessed with the Phillies. Let it go mets fans! You aren't the miracle Mets anymore but in fact the opposite! Just go win games and stop complaining about everything!

It's not like the Rays or some team with no connection to Tug Mcgraw are using the phrase anyway.

doubleh: That stats, which I posted on the earlier thread, say these two teams are a wash. The ERA+ and OPS+ were nearly identical.

Ray have better OB, Phils have more power. Rays have better rotation 2 thru 4, Phils have better bullpen. If Blanton, Myers & Moyer pitch as well as Garza, Shields and Sonnenstine, Phillies are World Champions.

From the New York Times:

Should the Philadelphia Phillies face the Rays in the World Series, they will have only themselves to blame if their outfielders encounter difficulties. When the Tampa Bay area was lobbying in March 1990 for the National League expansion franchise that ultimately went to South Florida, Bill Giles, the Phillies’ chairman and an expansion committee member, wondered whether the white fabric roof would make it difficult to see fly balls.

It was spring training, so Giles had outfielder Von Hayes and John Vukovich, then a coach, drive there from Clearwater. With Giles and St. Petersburg city officials watching, Vukovich stood on the bare concrete floor and batted a ball toward Hayes in the future outfield.

Hayes pounded his glove and let the ball drop behind him. He let the next one fall to his right. As the city officials cringed, Hayes burst out laughing. He could see the ball just fine.

clout: It's sad that Manuel will default to Feliz at third and Dobbs DHing against the three RH starters we'll face. With a bat like Stairs available, it's stupid to relegate it to one AB per game at most.

I can't believe it! A reporter finally did some reporting! In this case, Jayson Stark:

"Citizens Bank is one of the most-talked-about parks in baseball, if only because of the widely exaggerated notion that it's such a hitters' paradise that it makes Coors Field look like Petco Park. Eh, not quite. In fact, the Bank ranked as only the 11th-easiest park to hit a home run in this season -- behind even (we kid you not) Comerica Park and Shea Stadium."

There really isn't much of a debate, Charlie is predictable as a M. Night ending.

Against RHP:

Dobbs - 3B
Stairs - DH

Against LHP:

Feliz - 3B
Coste - DH

...if he DH's SoTag...I will curse him, accept it, and then not care when it makes zero difference at all.

And doesn't this feel like this is it? I'm giddy. I didn't think we could beat the Patriots in '04. Didn't feel like we could beat the Lakers in '01, or Red Wings in '97. This just FEELS like this might be it...

Philly in 5???? :) The Phils believe in CHANGE in '08!!!

CJ: Unfortunately, that's exactly what will happen. Cholly will reason that he already has Dobbs' bat in the lineup because he's the DH. Therefore, he will conclude that it's ok to start Feliz at 3rd base.

clout: I'm with you on this; just frustrated by ESPN and the like who are just picking the Rays because of the "Hoosier-like," Disney movie appeal.

It's not to say the Rays aren't a good team, they are a very good one; but so are the Phils. This series could go either way depending on which SP for each team shows up. Rays have some serious home/road split issues with their starters, too.

I just find it astounding that after Game 6, Kruk & Phillips said the Phils would beat the Rays in the WS b/c of Rays suspect BP, but after seeing David Price pitch once last night, NOW they pick Rays in 6? The guys' a rookie. He could very well decimiate the Phils, but then again, he could also implode like Wheeler or Balfour under the bright lights.

BTW, Vitale just thanked Lidge profusely for blowing his one save in the ASG so his Rays could have HFA. He also says Maddon probably lost game 5 on purpose to fice a couple more games just to keep his team sharp. Idiot. Go back to not knowing anything about college basketball.

In his post-season career, So Taguchi is 7 for 32(219 ba .242 obp). For the Cards in 2006, Taguchi hit home runs in the NLDS and NLCS before going 2 for 11 in the World Series.

Would So Taguchi hit a home run? not a chance.
Would a fastball knock the bat out of his hands? maybe.
Would Chris Coste hit a home run? maybe.
Would a fastball knock the bat out of his hands? not a chance.

So Taguchi cannot help this team in the World Series, and we're in dire need of a right-handed bat with some pop.

If So sticks around, its as a good luck charm. I know Lou Marson won't play even if he's on the roster, but I'd rather have him at the plate than a feeble 40 year old So Taguchi.

The only reason Marson is even being discussed is because Taguchi is so bad. Taguchi can't even bunt, he is worthless at this point. I would rather have TJ Bohn on the World Series roster than Taguchi at this point...well maybe just Iguchi.

Why Can't Us???

the benefit to using Taguchi against Kazmir is that you don't make Burrell play in the Trop's outfield (with the dome roof and the large foul territory and the awful turf).

Phillies could put a hell of a lineup out there in game 2 if they wanted:

Stairs (DH)

also, Stairs: great story, and I will remember his HR in LA for years and years. but he hit .250/.342/.394 in Toronto this year. that's Pedro Feliz with a few walks.

(I mean with Toronto, not in Toronto. FWIW he was 3/17, 0 HR at the Trop.)

ae: I'm not saying Stairs is a savior, but his line vs. RHP (254/349/413/762) is world's better than Feliz vs. RHP (231/279/357/636). I think Stairs' 126 point advantage in OPS vs. RHP is more valuable than Feliz's glove.

Taguchi isn't a good outfielder...I'd rather have Jenkins or even Burrell out there

also- Coste isn't an upgrade over Howard at 1st

that's true CJ, I forgot about Feliz's platoon split.

although personally I still think Stairs is better suited as a power threat PH than a guy getting 4-5 AB in a game.

I don't think it's a lock that Dobbs DHs in Game 2, with Myers on the mound. I could see Dobbs at 3B, and Stairs at DH. That would be one heck of an offensive lineup.

And ae:

Stairs also hit .289/.368/.549 in 2007, which was good for a better OPS+ (138) than anyone on the Phillies this year.

kdon, he's also 40 years old! (AND in 2006 he hit for a .748 OPS and the year before for an .817 OPS.) his numbers in 2007 are really not as relevant to his talent level today as they would be for a younger guy.

Time to post under a new name now that there are more "John"s around...

I'm a bit worried that we're going to see Feliz starting every game this series. I think one way we don't is if the Phils struggle early at the plate. I get the impression that, when drafting a lineup, Cholly is much more concerned with losing a game on defense than at the plate. In a way, he's right -- if the DH decides this series, the Phils are in a lot of trouble.

Still, I'd like to see some creativity with the lineup. Don't need to reinvent the wheel, but I hope that Stairs and Dobbs get at least one start together against RHP, and that Feliz sits. But I fear that won't happen unless the Phils are losing ground.

One reason I didn't include Burrell in the "core four" is because "core five" doesn't rhyme.

Another reason is that outside of a few key hits, the Phils have basically done it without much contribution from Burrell for a couple of months. Yeah, they were very key hits, and if they get more of those from him in the series, so much the better; I'm just not expecting much out of him.

Also, the Phils got where they are with inconsistent contributions from Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Vic. Yes, they needed key contributions from other players - but again, it's not something I expect.

I still think that the series will pivot on the play of the "core four" plus Myers. If they all come through - the Phils win. And I think that if at least more than one of them doesn't play well, they won't win the series regardless of how well Burrell and/or bench players perform. (And also, my assumption is that Hamels will be consistent: 7 innings 3 runs or less).

I think Howard could explode in the World Series, because the Rays won't pitch around him and might even challenge him with fastballs.

I guess my main point is that the constant speculation about who will DH, who gets how many ABs at third, etc., is fun but misplaced. Just like in the regular season, many an electron was sent to BL regarding the Feliz/Dobbs debate, but rarely did who was playing third make the difference between a win and a loss.

I think the difference between Coste and Taguchi is large enough to matter.

Feliz is going to play 3B for his defense, especially when Hamels and Moyer are on the mound. Against Kazmir, I think Cholly will DH Burrell and play Bruntlett in LF. Against the Rays lefthanded starters, I think we will see Dobbs at DH and Burrell back in LF. Just a hunch.

flipper: "rarely did who was playing third make the difference between a win and a loss."

Dobbs had the winning hits in September against the Mets twice. If that doesn't happen, the Phils don't make the playoffs. The Phillies put themselves in a better chance of winning when Dobbs starts vs. RHP. As for saying that Burrell is not one of the Phillies 4 key players, but Vic is, that's just plain silly.

UD Hens: Chances of what you say happening: Zero.

From Jayson Stark:

"Finally, let this be a warning to all talk-show hosts who call for a manager to start a pitcher on short rest this time of year: Over the past 10 postseasons, we've had 50 games in which a team started a pitcher on short rest. Those clubs are now 11-39 in those games."

It's awfully tough to know what to expect. The swing between a hot Phillies lineup and a cold one is colossal. I feel like they could go in on Wednesday and dispense with Kasmir in 2-2/3 or they could go in and get no-hit through eight.

I also feel like they could end up winning or losing in either of these scenarios.

If they get a modicum of starting pitching, and any three of the regulars are hitting like they're capable of, fuggedaboudit. *I* could be the DH. (I'm available, by the way.) If they don't, or they're not, the difference between Dobbs and Stairs and Coste at DH isn't gonna matter a damn.

Having said that, I like the threat of Stairs, lurking on the bench, better than the actual Stairs, swinging at good starting pitching four times a game.

Ae: I'm not under any illusions that a 40-year-old Matt Stairs is some kind of offensive dynamo, but a big reason for those terrible splits is because Toronto made the mistake of giving him 35 PAs against left-handed pitching. In those 35 PAs, he drew all of 1 walk & hit just 1 homerun. Against right-handers, his OBP is a very solid .349 and he slugged a respectable .413. Those numbers are way, way better than Feliz's numbers against right-handed pitching.

If I were running an American League team, I wouldn't want Matt Stairs as my everyday DH, & I probably wouldn't even want him as a platoon player. But, if Dobbs is playing third base, Stairs is clearly the best Phillie for the DH job.

Funny how everyone is blaming Lidge for the ASG when he only blew the hold, not the save, that was Wagner (thanks, Wags, BTW what was he DOING in the ASG with 6 BS's already--should have been Wright or Reyes) and Uggla for having perhaps the worst ASG performance in the history of the game.

Of course, the way Lidge was abused in that game, I have no doubt he would have blown the save had there been one to blow...

clout: I agree that, contrary to what UDHens says, the odds of Dobbs DHing against Kazmir are zero. Unfortunately, I don't agree that the odds of seeing Bruntlett in LF & Burrell as DH are zero. In fact, I think it's pretty plausible (say 25% odds) that we could see that configuration in Game 1. For whatever reason, Cholly really seems to have a soft spot for Bruntlett, even though he's an even worse hitter than Taguchi.

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