Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Venezuelan players take spotlight this year






Two of the best baseball players in America this year aren't originally from the US, in fact they are both from the same country, Venezuela. Pablo Sandoval, World Series MVP and Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown winner in the AL, for the Tigers are both from the South American country.

In fact, there were enough players in the World Series from Venezuela to field a baseball team (nine in all), Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez joked that maybe next year the MLB hold the World Series down in Venezuela. With certain things that the MLB does lately, you never know if they would take such an offer seriously.

Though this country may be boardering on socialist by it's reelected leader, Hugo Chavez, it doesn't stop the MLB from having a summer league there, called the Venezuelan Summer League. Rookies from the Phillies, Tigers,


Here's what NBC said about Chevez and his reelection, who doesn't always come across as a person who is friendly towards the US itself.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

San Fran can win it all tonight, but around Philly all eyes are on Sandy





The World Series can be wrapped up tonight with a victory by the San Francisco Giants. First pitch is at 8:15 PM Eastern, and for the Giants it will be Matt Cain against the Tigers and Max Scherzer.

The series isn't what is primarily on the minds of people in the Philadelphia area though, as a major storm is enroute to the New Jersey/Delaware and Pennsylvania areas within a day or so. They are calling this storm 'historic' as two systems will combine and add up to a serious mess again in the area.

Back to the series though, if the Giants win tonight, it would be the first sweep by a 4-0 series since 2007 when the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies. Before that it was done two years in a row, in 2005 and 2004. In '05, the White Sox swept the Astros, and in '04 the Red Sox swept the Cardinals.

How are the San Francisco Giants leading this series by a 3-0 series score so far?

Check out who's hitting for San Fran:


Playoff Series Stats
G AB R H HR RBI SO BA ▾ OBP SLG OPS
Pablo Sandoval 3 11 3 7 3 4 0 .636 .667 1.545 2.212
Barry Zito 1 2 0 1 0 1 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Hunter Pence 3 10 2 3 0 1 3 .300 .333 .300 .633
Gregor Blanco 3 11 1 3 0 1 4 .273 .273 .455 .727
Buster Posey 3 11 0 3 0 1 3 .273 .333 .273 .606
Brandon Crawford 3 9 0 2 0 1 1 .222 .300 .222 .522
Angel Pagan 3 11 3 2 0 0 2 .182 .250 .364 .614
Marco Scutaro 3 12 2 2 0 2 2 .167 .167 .167 .333
Jeremy Affeldt 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joaquin Arias 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Belt 3 10 1 0 0 0 6 .000 .167 .000 .167
Madison Bumgarner 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Santiago Casilla 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Aubrey Huff 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
George Kontos 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tim Lincecum 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Jose Mijares 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sergio Romo 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hector Sanchez 1 4 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
Ryan Theriot 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Ryan Vogelsong 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 41 96 12 23 3 11 28 .240 .288 .385 .674
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2012.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Individual accomplishments not adding up to Postseason success for Phillies




It's a team that on paper should have run the table, I am talking about the Phillies potent lineup that has been in place for the past couple seasons. Whenever you have 3 or 4 starting pitchers that legitimately can be called 'Aces' of a pitching staff, you're bound to go to great places.

Last year, the Phillies turned in a great season. The team won more games than any other team that the Phillies had on the field in a 162 game season. When it came to the postseason, the story was different though in 2010, the offense didn't click at the right time, and we were out of the Division series.

This past season in 2012, you could point to the reasons that the Phillies didn't do well at all. Injuries plagued the Phillies for much of the season, and though the team finished at .500, a few games (or more than a few games) that they should have won during the season but didn't, led to them not getting in the playoffs at all.

In 2010, the Phillies had that dream team in place. They made it to the NLCS and lost to a determined San Francisco Giants, who just happened to pull it all together and really start playing their best baseball in the playoffs this year. The Giants went all the way to winning the World Series in 2010, they re-energized and retooled and were able to make it again this year.

The Giants did it this year not by playing certain players that are minor league hopefuls that eventually work their way up into the league as Dom Brown and John Mayberry have been doing, the Giants have pulled together a youthful but well experienced group of players that have played well together as a team.

It hasn't been easy for the Giants, they have made it to the World Series the hard way. They played a Game 5 in the Division Series with the Reds, and then went to 7 games and had to win 3 straight from the Cardinals to make it into the World Series.

The Phillies can learn something from this success of the Giants. The Giants had to produce and hit at clutch times, something that hasn't been happening for the Phillies even though they have talented players. What is the reason for that? The Phillies just gave a solid player over to the Giants in Hunter Pence, who has the youth and the team mantra stuff down pretty good. The way he plays isn't to hit a zillion home runs, but to add to the team and along the way, he is playing very good as well. He led the Phillies anemic offense through most of the season but then we get rid of him?

More on this through the offseason as well, there will be months to think about and write about how the success of the postseason is eluding the Phillies. Will 2013 be the season that will be different?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rebuilding the Phillies in 2013: what's the priorities







The Phillies have a long offseason to correct the inconsistencies of the team. How they will do that will be the difference of whether or not the Phillies will be turning their flop of a season in 2012 to success in 2013.

One of the top priorities will have to be the bullpen. The team went into 2012 with a bullpen that was unprepared to compete properly with the personnel they had on the team. This includes superstar closer, Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon finished with 6 losses and 4 blown saves. Pap gave up 8 HR and had 18 BB and 56 H in 70.0 IP but also added 90 strikeouts.

In 5 save opportunities, Antonio Bastardo had 4 blown saves. His effectiveness as a closer this season was near zero.  Bastardo finished 2012 with 5 losses gave up 40 H and 7 HR and 26 BB, pitching 52.0 innings.

Chad Qualls was one of the worst, if not worst, in the bullpen for the time he was with the Phillies in 2012. In 35 games, he gave up 7 HR and  9 BB and 9 K's in 35.0 IP. Had he continued any longer with this team, his numbers would have been much worse but mercifully, he was dealt to the Yankees on July 1st and after only 7.1 IP in long relief, he earned a win with them despite giving up 5 R on 10 H, he was dealt to the Pirates where he did poorly as well. I don't think anymore top contending teams would want Qualls on their team from this point on.

We'll look at some more areas that the Phillies need help in rebuilding. Ideally, they should have jettisoned some of the highly paid players on the team, for younger players that have proven results, but that isn't happening too quickly this off season and with Amaro's inability to make a good trade on the Phillies behalf, it doesn't appear that anything like that is going to happen. The Phils will remain a team with a bloated payroll in 2013, and the experiment to mirror itself and make deals and carry a high payroll like the Yankees have continues.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's San Francisco! They rallied to win 3 in a row to meet Tigers






The San Francisco Giants just happened to pull out all of the stops at the right time this year. They were down by an incredible 3-1 in the NLCS series, but didn't give up. They didn't want to 'shut it down' and think about next year, they just kept on Fightin! They also didn't drop any lead weights on the foot or anything foolish like that... Hey by the way, just how is Ryan Howard doing with that broken toe.

The Giants will be joining the Detroit Tigers for the World Series in 2012 and a former Phillies player, Hunter Pence probably couldn't be happy enough. Yes, that Hunter Pence, the same guy who played for the Phillies and we just practically gave him to the Giants.

Pence got the big hit early in the game against the Cardinals, and it was the hit that started to break the game open for the Giants. When Pence was with the Phillies he led in all the offensive categories  even for some time after he was gone. Ruben Amaro, chose to trade him away. I don't know why, but he decided he wanted to make the San Francisco Giants a whole lot better. Yes, he was unorthodox, but some me a player in the MLB who hustles and gets the job done like Pence has this year. He should have remained a Phillie.

I wonder if a team like the Giants would do that for the Phillies ever? No, I don't think so.

The Phillies should learn something from this NLCS series, the Phils have a team of overpaid superstars of guys who couldn't carry the team as a team and surely couldn't carry the team by themselves. A baseball team is kind of a balancing act, a mix of old and new and players who can get the job done on the field. Look at the World Series winners of 2008, they weren't the team that the Phillies have on the field today, neither is the salary. The team of 2008 though had the ingredients of success, something that is continually eluding this franchise now.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Phillies Talk Podcast - live tonight at 7 PM






 Join Phillies Talk Podcast for a new show tonight at 7 pm, it's Rich and Jim talking about Phillies baseball on the longest running independent talk show on the Phillies. Tonight, we're celebrating this date in Phillies history and a whole lot more, tune into the show to find out more.


Didn't have the time to listen to the show tonight? You can download the show on iTunes, Androids Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, TuneIn.com, and BaseballPodcasts.net - among other places on the internet.

This show is sponsored by Audible.com, and FightinPhillies have teamed up with them to get you a great deal on audiobooks, and more that they offer. Listen to the show for a special link, or just click the link below this post to get started.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Diminishing returns: when sluggers turn bad

Money and postseason success don't always go hand and hand



It was tough to watch Alex Rodriguez do so poorly in the playoffs this year. The playoffs are generally a time where superstars earn that tremendous salary that they are paid, and raise their legend and status even more by doing well.


This year, despite Alex Rodriguez getting paid $29 Million dollars, he didn't do very well in the playoffs and he was benched by skipper Joe Girardi. This hasn't been done all that often, but when it made a difference of continuing to watch a superstar in a free fall and putting team priorities first.


As Phillies fans we know a little about how doing poorly in the playoffs sometimes leads to bad results. Ryan Howard had a terrible Division series in 2011, but despite that, still played on and possibly held the Phillies back from advancing the the NLDS against the Cardinals that year.



Here is a break down of Howard's playoff numbers over the years:



Year Age Series Opp Rslt G PA AB R H HR RBI SO BA OBP
2007 27 NLDS COL L 3 13 12 1 3 1 1 7 .250 .308
2008 28 NLDS MIL W 4 16 11 1 2 0 1 5 .182 .438
2008 28 NLCS LAD W 5 23 20 4 6 0 2 2 .300 .391
2008 28 WS TBR W 5 24 21 3 6 3 6 9 .286 .375
2009 29 NLDS COL W 4 18 16 3 6 0 6 4 .375 .389
2009 29 NLCS LAD W 5 21 15 5 5 2 8 4 .333 .524
2009 29 WS NYY L 6 25 23 3 4 1 3 13 .174 .240
2010 30 NLDS CIN W 3 13 11 0 3 0 0 5 .273 .385
2010 30 NLCS SFG L 6 25 22 1 7 0 0 12 .318 .400
2011 31 NLDS STL L 5 21 19 1 2 1 6 6 .105 .143
5 Yrs (10 Series) 46 199 170 22 44 8 33 67 .259 .357
5 NLDS 19 81 69 6 16 2 14 27 .232 .321
3 NLCS 16 69 57 10 18 2 10 18 .316 .435
2 WS 11 49 44 6 10 4 9 22 .227 .306
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 10/19/2012.




In 5 games of the 2011 Division series, Howard played all 5 games. He turned in a .105 BA before on the last at bat of the season, tore his achilles on the way to him running out a ball to first base. Then look at the 2010 series against the San Francisco Giants, with 22 AB's, Howard struck out  12 times. Howard's batting average in the 2009 World Series was .174 in 23 AB's, Howard struck out 13 times.



This was an off year for Rodriguez who is a sure first ballot election to the Hall of Fame. He's played the game for 19 years already and he is still 36 years old. I don't think that we can really say that about Howard. Though Ryan has hit a lot of home runs, he isn't in the same category as Rodriguez when it comes to Hall of Fame credentials.



When you look at salary, then you see some similarities among these two players. Howard raked in $20 Million dollars this year, and the Phillies have him signed for another $105 Million over the next 5 years, which could see a steeper decline for Howard in his batting abilities. Rodriguez has made a fortune playing the game of baseball, he's earned $329 Million over his career according to baseball-reference.com.



Here is how Alex Rodriguez has performed in the playoffs over the years:



Year Age Tm Series Opp Rslt G AB R H HR RBI SO BA
1995 19 SEA ALDS NYY W 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .000
1995 19 SEA ALCS CLE L 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000
1997 21 SEA ALDS BAL L 4 16 1 5 1 1 5 .313
2000 24 SEA ALDS CHW W 3 13 0 4 0 2 2 .308
2000 24 SEA ALCS NYY L 6 22 4 9 2 5 8 .409
2004 28 NYY ALDS MIN W 4 19 3 8 1 3 1 .421
2004 28 NYY ALCS BOS L 7 31 8 8 2 5 6 .258
2005 29 NYY ALDS LAA L 5 15 2 2 0 0 5 .133
2006 30 NYY ALDS DET L 4 14 0 1 0 0 4 .071
2007 31 NYY ALDS CLE L 4 15 2 4 1 1 6 .267
2009 33 NYY ALDS MIN W 3 11 4 5 2 6 2 .455
2009 33 NYY ALCS LAA W 6 21 6 9 3 6 3 .429
2009 33 NYY WS PHI W 6 20 5 5 1 6 8 .250
2010 34 NYY ALDS MIN W 3 11 1 3 0 1 2 .273
2010 34 NYY ALCS TEX L 6 21 4 4 0 2 4 .190
2011 35 NYY ALDS DET L 5 18 1 2 0 3 6 .111
2012 36 NYY ALDS BAL W 4 16 1 2 0 0 9 .125
2012 36 NYY ALCS DET L 2 7 0 1 0 0 3 .143
11 Yrs (18 Series) 74 272 43 72 13 41 75 .265
G AB R H HR RBI SO BA
11 ALDS 40 149 16 36 5 17 42 .242
6 ALCS 28 103 22 31 7 18 25 .301
1 WS 6 20 5 5 1 6 8 .250
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 10/19/2012.

As you can see, Rodriguez hasn't been all that prolific in the postseason. Yes, he's gotten big hits and delivered when he should have but if you look at the number of home runs and RBI in 18 different series that he's been in, it isn't a whole lot of production.