March 6, 2015

Phillies season ends in disappointment, not failure

Once again, the 162 game season in baseball looks completely pointless when a team that won 102 games is beaten by the hot wild-card team in a shortened 5-game series. Can’t wait for Bud Selig and co. to parade out 2 more playoffs teams and make it worse.

I think that this series showed all the reasons I hate the 5-game series (or more accurately, the 5-game series with 2 off-days) and wanted absolutely nothing to do with the Cardinals.

Frankly, I have little confidence we would have beaten the Brewers anyway the way the bats were going.

I’m not going to sit here and call a 102-win season a failure because the baseball playoffs almost never produce the best team, rather the hottest team. Failure for me is missing the playoffs. But it’s impossible to say I’m not hugely disappointed and irritated at this point.

It’s also impossible to say the Cardinals didn’t deserve to win that series. The Phillies won 102 of 160 games this year, but they got beat in this series. The Cardinals had better AB’s the entire series, they played better defense, they made fewer mistakes, pretty much everything. Over this 5-game sample, they were certainly the better team.

Usually what I do after the season is over is just completely cut myself off for a bit. Like immediately. I turned the TV off IMMEDIATELY after the last out (didn’t even realize Howard was hurt until people started talking about it here). I simply get too angry rehashing anything that went on, and I’m not ready to start talking about 2012. The only solace I have is that the Yankees are out as well, I guess.

Thanks for the Phillies for an exciting season. I will never forget the days from 1994-2006 when this was all a pipe dream, and I will not take it for granted. That being said, I’ll probably need to take a break from you to avoid slipping into a murderous rampage.

Feel free to discuss the series and any off-season stuff you might have here.

I’ll get working on cranking out the Philly Fifty next week.

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  1. Adam B. says:

    “The Cardinals had better AB’s the entire series, they played better defense, they made fewer mistakes, pretty much everything.”
    That in itself made the series, and therefore the season, hugely disappointing to me. The season ended earlier than last year, despite having a more talented team. When a team doesn’t meet expectations that equates to failure. I could live with a 7 to 8 loss, or even a 3 to 4 loss, but a 1-0 loss is unacceptable. There’s no such thing as luck when you can’t hit the ball out of the infield. Carpenter struck out three players in a CGSO. Pitiful.
    Bottom line is they’ll be in the exact same position next year even if Ryan Howard doesn’t play until August. It will come down again to the veteran hitters being the difference, and I can’t say I’m confident they’ll get the job done. This team has a lot of free agents and a lot of positions to be filled in the off season. Polanco should have gotten surgery as soon as he sustained his injury, the team was going to make the playoffs no matter when he came back. He literally couldn’t swing a bat stronger than a highschool ball player.
    /rant but the truth.

  2. Dannie says:

    Polanco should have been benched for Martinez in game 5. At a minimum you have another lefty to face Carpenter.

    Debatable whether John Mayberry should have been given a shot in the 8th rather than Ross Gload.

  3. tk76 says:

    I wonder who has a higher winning % in the 5 game series- the higher seed, or the team with a better winning % over the last month of the season?

    • tk76 says:

      Back in ’08 I felt like the Phillies were not the best team in baseball… but the were the hottest at the end of the year.  And that is what really counts.

  4. Garvey says:

    Ryan Howard – Ruptured Achilles, Adding injury to insult.

  5. phillyfan says:

    Hamels to have surgery on elbow and for a hernia.  That is getting underplayed, no?

    • Adam B. says:

      I don’t think anyone will be questioning his toughness any time soon.

      • phillyfan says:

        Howard too!  He was clearly playing injured for the last 1/2 season.  Pushed himself to the point of tearing the achillies.  I would like for him to rehab smartly – take an extra 3 months if required – and come back fully healthy.  He has had foot and ankle problems for two yers now.  He could push it an maybe come back for opening day.  I would rather see him take his time and come back July 1 fulling healthy.

    • Dude says:

      Definitely give him credit for playing through that without complaining. But i dont think it’s getting underplayed. They’re both pretty minor surgeries from what I understand. Howard’s injury is very scary. The achillies is not something that one always bounces from completely.

    • Stacy says:

      wait, what?  what happened to Hamels?  I was trying to avoid Philles news so I wouldn’t torture myself

      • Pete says:

        Hamels needs 2 minor surgeries. One to remove “loose bodies” from his elbow. One for a hernia. Pence and Polanco also need hernia surgery.

  6. jjg says:

    With respect to the title of thread, “disappointment” as in:

    - Mike Tyson ’90, realizing James “Buster” Douglas had taken the Tokyo prizefight seriously and that canvass didn’t taste very good 

    - Danny Ozark ’77, at the launchpoint of Manny Mota’s LF drive, realizing defensive-replacement OF Jerry Martin was his neighbor in the dugout with a similar view of ”Bull” Luzinski

    - Richard Nixon ’72, realizing his team of plumbers, tasked with stopping the leaking of classified information to the news media during the Vietnam War, had bumblingly entered the wrong apartment, Watergate.

    - Ted Kennedy ’69, realizing his Oldsmobile Delmont 88 wasn’t amphibious

    - Gene Mauch ’64, realizing his fundamentally sound team had run out of healthy arms, timely hits and luck

    There’s no gettin’ around it, the 2011 Phillies, filled with diminishing-return fatcat talent, but hailed since Spring Training as conquering superheroes on the thrust of Amaro’s “Lassie Come Home” Lee re-acquisition, FAILED, 102 regular season wins and injury list recitations included.

    Front office has its work cut out.

    • jjg says:

      clarification:  “canvass” has no flavor, as it’s a verb; “canvas”, however, does, but it’s to be avoided after an opening bell 

  7. phillyfan says:

    They failed to reach their goal, therefore, they and us are dissappointed.  I think it is both.  Sports is simply littered with too many “hot” teams that simply take advantage of late season momentum to win a title – see Packers and Giants recently in the NFL – to be overly surprised at this result.

    The ultimate irony is that Charlie was lauded in the national media for “respecting the game” by playing his regulars in Atlanta.  And that effort is what even allowed the Cards to have a spot.  Hey Charlie – alittle less respect next time, huh?

    All that being said, it was right there for them in Game 2.  We nail that down and I don’t see the Cards winning 3 straight.  I am most dissappointed in in Game 2.  If there was a failure, it was there.  The next three games were so tight all game that is somewhat came down to bounces and a bit of randomness.

    • jjg says:

      Hot teams, Charlie not settin’ the ‘opponent’ pins right, if only Game 2 had turned out differently, randomness of bounces … BUNCH OF EXCUSES for well-compensated, didn’t-get-it-done players.  Refund due as in Dr J’s ’76-’77 “We owe you one” Sixers, who got wiped out in 4 straight losses to Portland after winning the first 2, who didn’t make good on the PR promise for next 5 seasons until Moses, came up from Houston, parted the lane with his characteristic ‘no bullshit’ approach in ’82-’83. Gettin’ soft, phillyfan.

  8. phillyfan says:

    Gettin’ soft, phillyfan.>>

    LOL – Remember jjg, I am working on probation here.  Need to choose my words wisely.  Reprimanded for being too harsh on management.

    Yes, they do owe us one.  But what concerns me, according to some, is Lee was supposed to be our Moses.

  9. jjg says:

    Yeah, that was a wink.  You didn’t deserve the scorn and marginalizing you received last week.  Your contributions are as interesting and legit as the next guy, sometimes more.  I don’t recall you calling other posters “child”, “fool” or ”imbecile.”  Be true to your self.  At the risk of being banished. ;)

  10. phillyfan says:

    I’m used to scorn and marginaliztion, as a phillyfan living in redskins territory.  My dear lord, please Eagles beat the skins this week!!!!

    • jjg says:

      Will CBP be swarmed with Nat-fans next year or don’t politicians, bureaucrats and their retinues travel? Team Upside down there.

      Eagles are desperate.  Skins are de-McNabbed.  Should be typical tight one.

      • phillyfan says:

        Reid is the last vestige of McNabb that needs to be purged? 

        Flyers 2-0, may be peaking too early though.

        Hope and prayer – Sixers season cancelled.

        Time’s yours.

        • jjg says:

          Reid purged himself of McNabb and, lo and behold, he’s still “portly.”  Needs to be released to a low-fat farm before the Eagles learn to block and tackle.  Inspiration, thy name is not Andy.

          Flyers started strong last autumn too.  Loooooong season.  As the entire Flyers team once said in unison, “bottoms up – and another round!”

          Sixers, easily 76 ways to leave that “lover” including the Schuylkill Expressway, Interstate 76.  NBA.  National Bricklayers Association.  Not Before Agreement.         

  11. Mike Donnelly says:

    Disappointment how about “Window Closed”
    2008 3 postseason series wins
    2009 2 postseason series wins
    2010 1 postseason series win
    2011 0 postseason series wins
    This isn’t a blip, this is a trend, the core players are too old and those long hits to the wall vs. the Cards would have been HR’s in 2008-2009.  Hello 1 World Series win Phillies meet the 1990′s 1 WS win Braves.

    • phillyfan says:

      Window not closed.  Older “cored” team won the WS in 2009.  Barring another RAJ lightning strike, this team will be minus a few core players and go into next season with much modified (read: lower) expectations surrounding them.  Can even claim underdog role if they “only” win 92 games.  Heck, let the Braves have the division if they want it.  Home is no longer something to strive for with this group, but appears to be a burden.  Let them be road warriors where they are more comfortable.

      • Dude says:

        We still have a core, it’s just not the same one that won in 08. Now it’s Halladay, lee, and hamels rather than rollins, Utley, and Howard. Need to get production out of guys like Brown , Mayberry, and worley next year also. Spotlight will be on them more. I don’t know what the heck you do about it at this point, but I feel like something has to give on the left side of the infield. Need to have at least one guy who you can count on getting production from for a full season.

  12. jkay says:

    Winning in sports is all about perseverance. As much chance is involved, if you keep at it, you will get there one of these days. After Peyton Manning tasted bitter denial 3 different times at the hands of the Patriots, he finally got one in. The 90s Buffalo Bills might be the anomaly but generally a gambling man will tell you the more you play the higher your chance of winning. Half-assed analogy aside, only one way for Phils to win; make the playoffs. They did that this year. They just didn’t win it all. In the grand scheme of things, (choke, spine, mettle, clutch, overconfidence and a million cliches aside) that’s all it means.
    Payroll and financial investments do not add anything extra to the result. Failure is not qualified by expectations in my book. So the 2011 Phillies and their $165M price tag are not so much as unsuccessful as the group from 2006 ($88M) that got swept by the Stros to a game short of the golden October league. It was a very good season, some very good baseball too. I am also cognizant that this may be essentially paraphrasing what Pete has already said but re-iterate I shall. It can’t be said enough. I eagerly anticipate 2012.

    • jjg says:

      “If you keep at it, you will get there one of these days.”  [old man]
      “Thanks, Grandpop.  I believe in that.”  [young Ernie Banks]

      This season’s Phillies’ talent price tag was $172,976,381 [source: ESPN], not your light $165 mil, topped only by the Yankees.  The large allocation may not add anything to the result, but it surely adds to the average fan’s ‘game day’ bill.  And, get real, the acquisition of expensive talent naturally heightens expectations.  One can’t trumpet and crow in the Spring about an all-time starting pitching line-up and a probable WS championship and then ho-hum a 1st round knockout in the Fall, commending the team on the “feat” of making the playoffs.

      “Very good season, very good baseball” … you’re a very good patron of Montgomery, Betz,   Middleton, Giles & Co. and their Philadelphia Phizzlies.         

      • jkay says:

        Expectations are what they are; for fans only. Expectations don’t win anything, they don’t help the team. Players go out and play, we revel or bemoan the results. It’s an emotional part of the game but is in no way tangible. We gave ourselves a chance, and then blew it. But playoff games don’t happen without 102 wins. They are not mutually exclusive. If you choose to diminish that (162) with the implication that they were supposed to accomplish more relative to some investment value, that’s on you. I was never part of the WS or bust crew. You can call someone else out on that.
        Team went out and spent a gazillion bucks. If you want to protest the ticket prices, go and picket the Management Offices at the Bank. This is not politics, it’s sports. As much as fans have some input and control over the way the team is managed, it’s still their call what they want to do with it. I am less so concerned with that as I am with what the product does on the field. True that it’s like a sociological experiment in irony how quickly we have morphed into the monster we all loved to hate, in terms of money. But regardless of what schmuck they choose to blow their dollars on in the off-season or whom they trade, and my dissatisfaction with it, come Opening Day I’m yelling “Let’s go Phillies”. I believe this is a conviction you champion: big payroll teams don’t equate success. If you don’t like how things are done, state that and add an ‘IMO’ next to it for clarification.

        • jjg says:

          “Playoff games don’t happen without 102 wins” … except since the Wild Card inception in ’95 the NL entry has averaged 91 wins.  And then there’s this year’s pesky factoid, the St. Louis Cardinals:  just 90 regular season wins. 

          5 flags and the big win total this year doesn’t mean a lot to me as it’s been accomplished in a weak NL East.  In my mind, they’ve beaten one or two legit teams/rivals in each of the 5 seasons for the top spot.  Basically, they’ve surmounted a real contender, an also-ran and 2 mutts for 5 straight.  Whoopee.  A nice accomplishment, but overblown by the organization, the media and some fans.  Did you know that only 7 of the 16 NL teams had winning records this year?  Soup and crackers!    

          The Phillies, based on a surfeit of player talent, a broad increase of their unrivaled NL payroll and plenty of playoff experience, were supposed to accomplish more than they did this year.  Absotively and posilutely.  And I stated that position at the start of the  
          season:  WS or the season would be a bust.  The ironic thing is the play of the smaller salaries/bit players/fresh blood - Worley, Bastardo, Stutes, Mayberry - greatly contibuted to the team’s ending up in the money.  I’m sure that truth will enter into Amaro’s off-season decision-making.

          You can yell, “Let’s go Phillies” until the cows come home.  Your choice.  Have fun.

          Thanks for the writing advice, jkay, but if you don’t mind I’ll do it my way.  I’m confident that if I roll up my sleeves I can disambiguate.  ;)  

  13. jjg says:

    It wasn’t just NLDS “chances” gone south:  from Sun 9/11 in MIL to season’s close10 wins, 15 losses.

    Sept  16-14
    Oct       2-3
    Total  18-17

    That’s a 35-game wedge of average ball at a time of year when very good baseball teams step up.

    • jjg says:

      Early 9/17 NL East clinching, some player hobbling and Manuel’s responsive “methods” partly account for blown tire, but not entirely. 

  14. jjg says:


    The summer of ’92 was an extremely sad time time to be a Philadelphia sports fan.  On June 25 Eagles’ vivacious, powerful All-Pro DT Jerome Brown died tragically in a car accident in Florida at age 27.  On July 17 Sixers’ colorful, dominating F Charles Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns for the colorless, undominant trio of Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang.  On Aug 8 lefty Kyle Abbott, taking his inexplicable regular turn on the hill, dropped to 1-13 in a 6-1 Phils’ loss to Expos (with Bob Ayrault turning out the mound lights), team dropping 15.5 games off the pace.

  15. Mike Donnelly says:

    3-2-1-0  No one is addressing it.  Facts are we have done worse every single year since our W.S. win   The team is old and simply not as good as we think they are.

    • jkay says:

      from your equations, I presume we will miss the playoff next year right?
      Rollins, Utley, Howard. That core, as we have come to see, is highly overrated, declining, and old if you want to add that.
      Halladay, Lee, Hamels. I’d take a team with that core to win the division. How good do you think that team is?

      • Mike Donnelly says:

        Next logical step is makes playoffs but as wild card.  You think that isn’t possible?  Of the big 3, out of a possible 486 games (3*162) how many do we get from Rollins, Utley, Howard next year ? Maybe 320 ?  How many from Polanco ? 80 ?   Halliday is 35 next year, and Lee turns 34 you guarentee they make every start ?
        Most likely they make they playoffs, but I have no confidence they can win a single series as currently built.  Why would you ?

    • Pete says:

      I think no one is addressing it because it only means we’ve performed worse in the playoffs. We’ve had more regular season wins each of those years. Also – that type of trend is easily changed.

      I mean, here is the trend in the years leading up to it….


      • Mike Donnelly says:

        so we are back to a string of zeros ?  depressing.  Here’s my main point.  After 2008, I figured we’d get multiple rings with this core and be a team of the ages up there with the great dynasties.  It’s just so depressing watching the window close and every year get progressively worse.
        We have to get younger and jump start our window of opportunity.  If we waste the big 3 pitchers over the next 3-4 years ?  I’ll freak out.

        • jkay says:

          <After 2008, I figured we’d get multiple rings with this core and be a team of the ages up there with the great dynasties.>
          See, Mike Donnelly, I think that is the central flaw in your thinking. It’s called ‘setting yourself up for disappointment’.

        • jjg says:

          “Big 3″

          Game 1:   W      8 I     3 H    3 R    105 Pit (76/29)    ”Cy” Halladay
          Game 2:   L       6 I    12 H    5 R   110 Pit (74/36)    “Sigh” Lee 
          Game 3:   W      6 I     5 H    0 R    117 Pit (72/45)    ”Hi-ho” Hamels 
          Game 5:   L       8 I     6 H     1 R   126 Pit (87/39)    “Cy” Halladay 

          4 starts     2-2     28 I     26 H     7 R    458 Pit (309/149)

          For all the build-up and the loot, is 1 CG shutout too much to ask?                        

  16. Ken Bland says:

    Wonder if this gives Mike Donnelly a little different perspective.  Theo on post season v regular season, ’09.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Vic, fwiw…

      On taking a step back every year in the playoffs since winning the 2008 World Series: “It’s not a trend. It’s an occurrence. I will promise you in 2012 it will be different. We’re that much hungrier. I’m hungrier.”

      Wonder how I even walked into this conversation. 

      • jkay says:

        Dear Shane Victorino,
        Re: hungry quote – I will believe it when I see it.
        Also, pls. forward this message to your buddy Jimmy Rollins too. Less talk, more walk. See you in Clearwater.
        Go Phils.

  17. Stacy says:

    Speaking of JRoll – is he worth resigning?  Before they lost I thought that his defense warranted being considered.  Now I’m not so sure the money wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere.

    • Pete says:

      Personally, I am 100% on board with re-signing him. There are very, very few decent SS’s around, and he’s one of them.

    • jjg says:

      Sign him … if you like pop-ups, pop-offs, pulled hammies and preening.

      Ego needs a lot of oxygen.  Arizona or California?  Phils’ clubhouse could use fresh air.

      His store still has leather but his style is outdated, so MC Hammer.  Perfect candidate to encourage to move on to officially register yesterday’s ”a change is gonna come”-expectation in line-up hitting approach.

      33.  Bat isn’t gettin’ quicker; body, a little thicker.  Nomar Garciaparra.

      Short term, if they must.  4 or 5 years, NO WAY.  

  18. jjg says:

    John Bowker made a late summer splash but unfortunately the pool was empty:  0-13, 7 Ks.  No,
    he didn’t turn out to be Dave Philley, who still holds the MLB record for consecutive pinch hits (9 – 8 to close ’58 & 1 to start ’59; his hero was ‘Rosie the Riveter’) or Gene Freese, stevedore, who unloaded 5 pinch hit home runs onto fans’ hearts for the ’59 Phillies, or even Bobby Molinaro, who went 6-32, .188, 1 HR, 5 RBIs with the Phils in ’82 & ’83.  The final box score shows that Ruben believed in John over other options.  E, GM. 

  19. Ken Bland says:

    Aside from the front people, who largely are responsible for opinions of this team (the players), it appears a key move was completed today.

    The Phils appointed Joe Jordan, ex of the Orioles as the replacement for Chuck LaMar, who uncerimoniously resigned somewhere around between pitches of one of the late season games.

    Take your pick of names ranging as important players in however you wish to describe the great run of the last few years.  Maybe it’s the talent drafted either during, or by Ed Wade during his regime.  Or Pat Gillick’s focus on acquiring energy.  Or Ruben’s right moves that has continued the pattern of increasing wins each year.  There are always less publicized decisionmakers that are at the crux of W-L records.

    Jordan is held in high opinion by Keith Law, and as Tyler Kepner points out, he’s credited with finding both Jaime Garcia, and Josh Johnson.

    So on the surface, this would appear to be some good news.            

  20. joof says:

    what do you guys think of the triple a shortstop replacing Rollins? It appears like he may have been rushed out of double A

    • Ken Bland says:

      Let’s put it this way.  Just looking at it on the surface, the most direct answers and comments this week by management were about ways to improve the offense.  If Galvis is at a point where he’s ready to help in that direction, opinions carrying that thought are doing a nice job of playing hide and seek.

      If Jimmy does fall through, Ruben’s a creative guy.  I suspect he’ll surprise with an unexpected move.  Just as a wild, quarter thought out idea, I’ll throw this out there.  I really don’t know how close the Orioles are to being a contender.  I thought they’d make good strides this year, but next season looks like about the 4th year in a row we’ll hear about this being the year their young pitchers develop.  But if they are further away than they’d like to be, just because they signed JJ Hardy to a 3 year deal doesn’t necessarily make him untradable.  The new Farm Director, Joe Jordan, coming from the Orioles might facilitate a deal with them.
      That’s just one idea, and certainly an example of something unexpected as a possibility.   

      I do think most all of us think a deal with Jimmy will work out.  Most seem to think a 3 year deal is doable.  Galvis will play in the bigs at some point, and he’s probably ver ready defensively, and after at most 2 years in the minors, he’ll be as ready as ever to live out the career, and at a minimum test how doable a good field, light bat can go.  Maybe then the Phils can offset a likely light bat at short, and Jimmy should be a lesser player at that point.  So I hope that whatever deal might be worked out, it’s a tradable contract.  Jimmy’d be a helluvan attention grabber to a mid season buyer, a la the Cabrera, Furcal, Renteria type.     

  21. joof says:

    I dont mean replacing him evenly, but replacing him as a way to keep the team’s priorities in order
    This is sorta bizarre to write this….I spent years used to the phils in last place. I cant believe their payroll is the 2nd highest in MLB. I wonder if they will ever be the sports face of the city….I doubt it but it would be something if it ever happened

  22. jkay says:

    Galvis? – I don’t really get the move but I doubt if it has any significance. I highly doubt he will even smell a spring training invite. They will take their time with him most likely and nurture him. Phils like his glove a lot, and are waiting for him to learn how to hit a baseball and maybe fill out too. Considering his age and being at the premier defensive position in baseball, I don’t think they want to expose him prematurely. Dom Brown’s plight has probably made them even more cautious with youngsters. If Rollins somehow ends up leaving, expect a veteran replacement with Valdez and Martinez to back him up.

    • Dude says:

      He apparenty finished the year on an offensive high. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets a look come spring. But I agree that hes not likely to make the roster next year, barring the unexpected.

  23. Dude says:

    Been thinking about Ruben & charlie’s comments about having better at bats, or plate discipline, or whatever you want to call it. Seems we’ve all talked about this ad nauseum over the years, and read about it in everything that fangraphs ever wrote. But does anyone recall the phillies brass saying it in such stark terms? I don’t recall that. Will be interesting to see how it shakes out. I don’t think it’s at all likely Charlie get the boot, as some local scribes seemed to suggest. But it kind if gives me this feeling that Amaro sees a problem, and wants to do something about it. And all know that he’s not afraid of doing something big when he sees an area if need….

  24. Ken Bland says:

    Mike Missinelli wrote an Inky column today on the lunacy of a JRoll 5 year contract.  Mike’s bounced around some in recent years.  Big Appled it for a while teaming with Steven A. Smith at ESPN radio.  Too bad his post WIP days didn’t take him to Mississippi.  Missanelli of Mississippi has a difficult to say ring to it.

    But Mike drifted into other subjects, and carried out with the usual Phillies fan reaction to the 5 game set off the best record in baseball, adding the disclaimer of this isn’t meant as sour grapes.

    And it’s not.  It’s logical enough that a reward for the best record over 162 seems to warrant more than a 1 game HFA edge in a 5 game set.

    But once again, for about the 400th time this week, I read that, and have to easily conclude they just don’t get it.

    Forget the charm of the fact that this is the forst time since the earth was formed that the Phillies and their disappointed followers had the best record in baseball from which to formulate their stance.  While there’s logic to the position, there’s also a natural magnetism to calling it sour grapes what’s best for us

    The thing that’s missing in this whole puzzle is there is no possible correct solution to the situation.  Anything else that Uncle Selig comes up with has flaws.  Wanna run a 4 home game best of 5?  Did you notice the Cards ran a 2-1 record at the Bank?  What if the Cards won despite a 4 road game series.  Ah ha, hey hey, lets change that would be the chant to rack up another change.  Wanna go best of 7?  Puhleeze.  Maybe all rounds should be best of 5.  People forget the lack of 7 game series in the last 10 years, and dream about the stamina they’d have for 21 post season games.  Fact is, even in a year that looked like there wouldn’t be wild card races, even the Angels and Giants were at least fringe possibilities for the wild card as September unfolded.  Those 2, the staggering Braves and Red Sox, and the benefitting Rays and Cards all had legal and legitimate reason to have a cause fo9r optimism that they could take Plan B seasons to a shot at the Big Prize.  So yeah, there’s a point to the not so fair to the best record.  But when several teams have legit and legal reason to go for it all, in a still seemingly disadvantaged position of road players, from an industry wide perspective, as opposed to that of 1 team, it’s not so bad.  On the whole, there is no perfect system.  The one in play doesn’t seem so bad on the whole. 

  25. joof says:

    If a team like the Phils could choose their schedule, that could be enough of an advantage…ie start the playoffs the day after the reg season ends (5 games in 7or 8 days). 
    I did notice that MLB squeezed the playoffs together. I remember before, teams had days off after just about every game.

    • Ken Bland says:

      They tightened the schedule because it was too likely that an ace could possibly pitch as many as 3 games if a rainout dared make the opening series even longer.  The way they reduced it, on paper, gave the Phils even better positioning.

      Reviewing the Cardinal series still includes a lot of what ifs, not the least of which would be what if the Cards had been forced to work harder, as in an extra playoff game, but the bottom line is they won, and who’s to say they might not have won under any changes that might have set up a different playoff system.  Yeah, they’re hot, but they’re good.  I just think you can’t lose sight of the current system allowing for a sleeper team to have a fair chance to go all the way isn’t appealing to a great season like the Phils had, but you can’t lose total sight of it giving widespread enthusiasm to several underdogs. 

      I haven’t and don’t especially care who wins the NL pennant.  Like some guys and stories with both clubs.  Kinda think the Brewers are in a good position with 6 and 7 at home, their record there being more factor than this new found thing the Cards have run into as playing as a favorite for the first time all year.  At most, a slight leaning to the Crew.

      I also think either will be a pretty hefty Series dog, but the Cards match up pretty well with Texas, and their lefty oriented rotation.  I, and I believe most, if not all, would be drenched in enthusiasm and subjectivity if the Phils were in, but if there’s any merit to my thinking about the Crew still having an edge, but the Cards matching up pretty well with Texas, the sport has a nice theme to offer for it’s showcase period.  Shame I have little enthusasm for the plot, but health of the game isn’t a bad priority to consider.        

      • jkay says:

        <but the Cards match up pretty well with Texas, and their lefty oriented rotation>
        i think it’s a moot point. being that it seems the STL bullpen will just barely make it though this marathon game. Cards can hit the Ranger’s southpaws all they want, I doubt it will compare to the destruction their pitching will receive from the Rangers lineup. Last year I kept remarking about how unbelievably deep that lineup is, this year it’s come even more alive in the postseason. It feels like a joke just watching the Cards starters go 3 strong and then get yanked before they have a chance to self destruct. Brew Crew stood a more modest chance, though not by much. Well there’s always baseball to prove me wrong, should be fun.

        • Ken Bland says:

          This World Series has high scoring so written all over it that somehow, someway, it’ll come down to 3-2 2-1 and 4-3.  From an expectation standpoint, I’d expect to read about a 15-14 game more so than a Phillies-Jays game, and the latter is already fact.

          One thing that might work in the Rangers favor, regarding the lefty rotation.  Hamles and Randy Wolf shut the Redbirds down pretty well.  So there’s a recent blueprint to draw some strategy from.  The way CJ and Holland have pitched of late, it’s not a warm and fuzzy expectation that they can execute it, but Colby Lewis could be a tough match for the Cards. 

          I would guess that when the Rangers got Mike Napoli, they expected a pretty good player.  But in their wildest dreams, I doubt they thought he’d be this good.  You add Napoli and Beltre to that lineup from a year ago, and it really is brutal.    

          I think the Cards will be more competitive against the Rangers than the Brewers were against the Cards.  I guess that amounts to a range of being more competitive in a Game 6 to winning it. Considering the marketability of the matchup, it’d be a gross injustice to go less than 6 games, and 7 would seem proper.    

  26. jjg says:

    Meanwhile, the Phizzlies, Philadelphia’s phile of phenoms of pheatherbedding phinance and phutility phurtherance, count your Phranklins at garden spots across the globe, phinally.  “Contracts are one thing, prolonged battle quite another,” goes the phine print.  Phurthermore, “Wish you were here” is not a phavored postcard despite the phabulous phleet of Phebruary-to-phinale phervor of phaithful phanatics, pheverish phrequent phlyers of a groundingly phoul phate. 

    “Just get me to the locker room boys.  Boys?  Boys?!”… “Thanks, Sammy.”

  27. phillyfan says:

    I gotta hand it to the Rangers.  To lose in the finals and then get back there the next year is a rarity in pro sports and really speaks to the character of that team.  Furthermore, they are a dead ringer for the Phils 2008 team.  Alot of offense, OK starting rotation, and a great bullpen.  Of course I will be rooting for them but can’t over look the Cards.
    And I am so tired of people whining about the unfair postseason format. Nobody was whining in 2008 when we didn’t have home-field in several series….because we won. The whole idea of post-seasons is to make it a second season.  If you are going to bias it so much for the regular season winners to win, who would watch?  Just don’t have a postseason at all or go back to the best team in the NL faces the best team in the AL in a single 7-game series.
    The Phils failed in the post-season.  They were beat by the better team.  Large parts of the team are on the decline.  To win the title you need to be the best team at that particular time.  It is a bit of a crapshoot.  But as much as we tell ourselves that the 102 wins were fun and a good accomplishment, it will remain like kissing your sister and by and large (and I understand some will disagree by I think the majority of Philly fans and national media are in my corner here) looked back on for what the season wasn’t, more than what it was.

  28. joof says:

    I did not know that the league scheduled playoff games bc a rain out could allow a pitcher to start 3 games in a series.

    I long for the days of no parity in sports…..and less teams to dilute the league while I;m at at. I can barely even watch the NFL anymore bc every game seems to be a crapshoot.

    • Ken Bland says:

      They tightened the schedule because it was too likely that an ace could possibly pitch as many as 3 games if a rainout dared make the opening series even longer. The way they reduced it, on paper, gave the Phils even better positioning.>>

      I really worded that extremely poorly, and it’s misleading.  A pitcher could conceiably have pitched 3 times, probably with more than 1 rainout, but a more accurate reason it was changed, besides a lot of complaining, mostly by Mike Scioscia would have been that the number 1 and 2s had too much chance to get 2 starts each with a little help from the weather also.  The way I worded it gives the impression that a pretty low end reason, and just a possibility, as opposed to a liklihood was the main focus of the change.  Not the case. 

  29. jkay says:

    at the risk of sounding like a hater, I must just say that TLA absolutely just KILLS the game of baseball for the viewer. I understand it’s the WS and all, but the russian roulette of relief pitchers is exasperating. He has just pulled his de facto closer in favor of a lefty just to face a struggling (to be exceedingly generous) hitter. Rest assured Texas will win this game, Jay’s ambitious throw home assured that, but cmon, just play the fucking game man.
    Ohh great within the time it took me to type this up, Rhodes comes in, gives up a sac fly to tie the game and is consequently pulled for another mystery guest.
    At some point, this starts becoming punishment.

    • jkay says:

      Final 2-1
      Winners: The Texas Rangers, Head & Shoulders/Bud Lite/AARP
      Losers: St. Louis Cardinals, Anyone who had to read the semi-coherent rant above.

    • jjg says:

      Yeah, I’d surely hate to have a manager whose pennant-winning total is exceeeded only by Walter Alston, Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, John McGraw and Casey Stengel.  Some people just aren’t cut out to skipper.  And to realize TV viewers worldwide could’ve been enchanted by Charlie’s pink bubbles on the dugout rail, while watching the game in concurrent, passive bliss.

      And that NLDS schedule was a clear case of entrapment.  You got Bender & Bender’s number handy?


  30. Ken Bland says:

    Time for my next World Series prediction, fresh off the implication that this Series was going at least 6 games.

    Actually, there are 2 nexts.  Perhaps the large volume of readership wants to read them in chronological, or alphabetical order.

    Either number 1 or 2 is this:  It wasn’t surprising that the teams split.  That of course lends liklihood to the possibility of a deep series.  But despite that even steven score at the ticket window, I somehow get the feeling that Texas is now in control of this series, and not going back to Sant Loo wouldn’t shock me.  Course all the Cards have to do is win 1 game, and expecting that’s pretty reasonable.  But given a choice, I think familiarity with the Cards pitching completes quicker to the Rangers side (just a hunch), and the possibility of a 3 game Ranger sweep is there.

    Secondarily, between cold weather, and a lack of familiarity with the other club’s pitching, it’s not real shocking that 3-2 and 2-1 found their way to the history books.  Warm weather in Arlington, and lesser starters, familiarity with the bullpens allow for this Series to show closer to what was expected now.  One of the next 3 games should allow for 1 of the clubs to get close to 10 runs at least one time.  Healthy, that might seem more likely to be the Rangers.  The Josh Hamilton injury situation is well documented.  At least 2 baseball people have voiced enthusiasm for moving Hamilton down in the order.  Utter nonsense.  Yeah, he’s playing from the waist up.  But consid4er how the Phils offense was more productive when Chase returned in June despite his slow start.  His PRESENCE was a factor.  Fact is, Hamilton had a job to do in the 9th inning.  HE GOT IT DONE.  Against the likes of Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson, in the warmer weather, I’d expect him to do some damage in the next 2 games.  People wanna tell Ron Washington how to do his job, and here he sits with back to back pennants in his hip pocket.  Maybe the man knows what he’s doing, and I doubt he moves Josh.  And I look for Josh to validate that stability.  Maybe not overall, but in at least 1 key at bat in the next 2 games.  Maybe the question should be should he be playing at all, and good luck arguing the no side of that discussion.  He bats 3 for me anytime.  Maybe even at his funeral.        

  31. jjg says:

    Texas pitching went to the loo.  Now the Lone Star croo headin’ back to Saint Loo.  Feelings:  sometimes they don’t, sometimes they doo.  Albert put three “sheets” to the wind and Cards are playin’ like THEY’RE the ones with four aces; determined team throo-and-throo.     

    Philadelphia is numb this October, more so than I can ever recall.  At least in the Ruly/Khayat- Williams’ era there was the understanding that heads would roll when players not only didn’t grab the brass ring but embarrassingly fell off the horse.  The present clubs and their sycophants don’t know whether to spit or wind their watch.  At least the 76ers have the good graces to refrain from 
    reporting to “work.”  Flyers, the steadiest, truest representative of our once-lunchpail-now-Occupying town through the years. 

    Midnight green - owned by Arli$$, play like V.I. Warshawski reruns 
    Red pinstripes – credit card amok; young studs? – out o’ luck 
    Red, white & blue – bleeding, pale, depressed (in absentia)
    Orange & black – they got our back  

  32. jjg says:

    All paychecks being equal, who’s the better value at 2nd – Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia or Chase Utley?

    Kinsler     117 R   29/5 SB   37 2B   26 HR   83 RBI   74 BB   88 K   .275 BA   .373 OBP   .979 fldg %
    Pedroia    109      19/5       47        17        78         68       61      .305       .355          .990
    Utley        107      16/2       38        27      101         67      105     .290       .377          .983

    * above:  career 162 numbers; source - 

    • phillyfan says:

      I am still waiting to hear about Utley.  I have read alot of blogs about next year’s lineup. etc.  but what nobody has followed up on is how Utley felt at year end?   By the end of the year was the pain nearly unbearable or was it manageable?  It would be nice to know if his underperfomance can be explained by a terrible knee issue or just general aging aches and pains.

      How come nobody is asking if surgery an option to try to eliminate his knee problem altogether and come back with Howard in July next year in top shape? 

      • jjg says:

        I think it’s a non-surgical problem … bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, gettin’ creaky-itis, whatever … kinda like the Tin Man, needs lubrication… “oil me, oil me.”  Time, the conqueror.  Remember Willie, the Met.

      • Dude says:

        Tendinitis is generally not something you can fix surgically. This was discussed in the preseason. The exception is if there is some kind of bone spur that is causing excessive friction on the tendon, but you have to think that they would have done that already if that was the case. In a guy Utley’s age who trains as hard has he does, more likely than not its just a run of the mill overuse. It can be managed with the right kind of training, but it won’t ever really go away. I developed tendinitis in my shoulder 15 years ago and it still flares up if I neglect my stabilizing exercises.

  33. jjg says:

    apologize for misalignment; one added ‘space’ after last names dun dude it; “eyes” stipend pending

  34. phillyfan says:

    You watch the truly mediocre pitching in the final four this year and you realize how much of a crap-shoot it really is to win a title in baseball.

    Wonder if Cliff Lee wishes he staying on Texas.

    • jjg says:

      Crap shoot?  That’s lettin’ our wealthy, vacationing hometowners off the hook.  Pitching’s been up and down.  Conversely, both teams plug away with bats, keep comin’.  The winner of “the final four” will be worthy Champeens, whichever way it pans out.

      Who cares what Cliff wishes.  I wish he hadn’t lost his equilibrium in Game 2.  False advertising. 

    • jkay says:

      I think they are better than mediocre, it’s just the bats on both teams that are too much to handle. Add the secret ingredient of Arlington Ballpark and you get fireworks.
      It certainly does swing from day to day and no one has any idea what will happen.
      Bats aside, one truly enjoyable aspect of this series is watching the Andrus-Kinsler tandem. Them turning the double play is a thing of beauty. Together with Beltre, that infield can go up against any in baseball and get the better of ‘em. 
      Also concerning glove-work, Molina-Pujols aint bad at all. Fun stuff; don’t stray too far off the bag….

  35. Ken Bland says:

    Touching a lot of bases, Phille related and beyond….

    Congrats to whichever “journalist” first reported the earth shattering news yesterday that Messers Oswalt and Lidge shared Option Declanation Day.  Hardly a surprise.  And I can’t say it was surprising that RAJ expressed interest in keeping both at more practical payouts.  It is, of course, a 2 part formula as to letting a player walk.  A replacement is needed.  And in the case of Roy O, there’s a lot less supply available.  I’d kinda prefer a diplomatic good bye to both, but particularly in Oswalt’s case, it does depend who would fill the rotation spot.  Worley-Blanton, with Kendrick as depth isn’t exactly exciting, but it’s not like this club doesn’t have other needs that a still good salary couldn’t go towards.


    Ruben apparently told the 97.5 FM listenership yesterday that he thinks the Phils are still the best team in baseball.  It’s not like there’s a vast difference between the top several clubs, but it’s really hard to think of the Phils as better than either the Rangers or Cardinals.  If we were to take that comment meaningfully, which might be a stretch, they were just words during a radio interview, I’d put it more to the still grieving slant, which is no crime.  It’s still a tough pill to swallow, and I find myself with no enthusiasm for Opening Day 2012.  The Cardinals very nicely filled gaps during the year, and lucky to be in or not, are up there, and this Texas club will as justifiably as the free agent era allows find itself in the same sentence as possible dynasty if they can win just 1 more road game.


    I walked away from Theo Epstein’s first press conference as a Cub today with 2 impressions.  One was between Theo and several other guys in exectutive levels, this game is in tremendous shape for the future.  Theo made some mistrakes in his Boston tenure, most visibly with free agent signings, but so have a lot of other smart people.  The game may face challenges in multiple areas, but the quality of young people running individual clubs has the game in great shape.  Theo has always been amongst my favorites of that clan, but I expect to be no less impressed by Ben Cherington’s intro in Boston today.

    The other thing that struck me was his definition of best player age range as 26-32.  And a follow up sentence of it being important to pay players for projected future productivity.  Made me think that Albert might have 1 less suitor than anticipated.  It’d be a lot of cash to throw at one player that’s about to officially leave that age range as opposed to budgeting to other players or departments toward the goal of a sustained foundation.

    Albert also ties in with this idea of history repeating itself.  The joys of reliving 1964 has been a real thrill the last few weeks.  Cough times 10. The ’64 Cards were so out of it before the last part of the year that Skipper Johnny Keene (sic) had all but made up his mind to bolt the Cards.  Then the baseball gods lured the Cards into the World Series, and Bob Gibson took it from there.  Like 10 minutes after the Game 7 winner, Keene split, and took over as manager for the headed into the toilet Yanks.

    You know how “lucky” the Cards have been once again.  10.5 out, 8/25, get a lot of help from a 64 Phils Braves immitation, need help from the Phils, get it, turn on them, and then take advantage of a Prince Fielder all-star homer to wind up with freaking games 6 and 7 at Busch as a WILDCARD!  Then Albert, who should have personalized license plates that say DECLINE, if he hangs his hat in a 7 character license plate state slams 3 against…..well, wouldn’t it almost be as repeat of a script if he signs with the Rangers?  Johnny Keene had an up close and personal view of the Yanks off a WS that shouldn’t have been.  Albert’s getting an up close and personal view of a Rangers club he has hardly seen despite interleague play.  And under the leadership of Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, you talk abotu a club likely to contend for a while. 


    Not that the Rangers have an easy chore ahead of them, but it’s reasonable to discuss the possibilities of them winning the Fall Classic, and laying claim to rostering the MVP.  In the Year of the Napoli, it seems braindead to think of anyone else contending for that honor.  But a watchful eye on Colby Lewis tomorrow night should be applied to see if it’s at least interesting.  Derek Holland will be remembered for a long, long time for his 1 game effort in Game 4.  But Lewis was terrific in Game 2, and if he puts out a gem tomorrow, and Napoli plays quietly, it oughta crank out some degree of debate.  I never expected this Ranger club to fill out the mission they’ve been on since they watched the Giants celebrate.  They’re gonna be tough to stop, and whoever gets the MVP should be embarrassed since they have such an all around club, including some quality guys not contributing at present (Alexi’s out of accuracy, Josh is half healthy, Mike Adams has hardly been used), but at the same time, should be very proud to carry the trophy on a really good ballclub.         

    Pretty long post for somebody not fired up about next year, but the truth is what it is.                         

  36. Ken Bland says:

    Albert also ties in with this idea of history repeating itself.  The joys of reliving 1964 has been a real thrill the last few weeks.  Cough times 10. The ’64 Cards were so out of it before the last part of the year that Skipper Johnny Keene (sic) had all but made up his mind to bolt the Cards.  Then the baseball gods lured the Cards into the World Series, and Bob Gibson took it from there.  Like 10 minutes after the Game 7 winner, Keene split, and took over as manager for the headed into the toilet Yanks>>

    Sonofasumbitch.  TLR actually had the gonad peace of mind parlay in place to walk away.  Good for him.  He leaves downtown Sant Loo in much happier fashion than his winning counterpart, Johnny Keene, but the available comparisons to the original would be screenplay, 1964 Revisited still carries on a common denominator.  Keene leaving didn’t stop the Cards from completing what would be a pattern of winning more than once in a short period of time, and the Cards still have a good nucleus to extend their 04-06-10 run in the next 3 yea
    rs, but it gets a whole ot trickier.  Dave Duncan’s future is greatly affected, as is Mark McGwire’s.  The first baseman?  Ooooeeeee.  This may be the best news the Texas Rangers have gotten since the Cardinals clinched against the Brewers.  Suffice to say, the off season just got a bunch more complicated.

    Several other names pop into mind off the TLR retirement announcement.  The John Elway walk away a winner theme has been drawn in.  Don’t see it.  That particular larger than life superhero won late in life, and defended successfully.  The second title makes him highly unique.  John Wooden.  The ultimate impossible to replace coach.  Maybe even more so than Vince Lombardi.  But I’m sure Tito Francona would love to try.  Barry Sanders.  Walked, and hardly looked back.  You best believe like Barry, there’ll be rumors of a comeback over the next 2 years.  But like Barry, TLR will not look back on a bottom line basis.  He did a masterful job, and the time is now for him to live the Miller Beer commercial lifestyle with old buds Parcells and Knight.

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    • Ken Bland says:

      Leave it to a bot to come up with a terrific catch phrase in describing Pete/Dannie/whoever runs thius place now as an overly professional blogger.  Overly professional.  Gots to love it.

      I’ve been thinking about this Delmon Young deal.  Might as well ee how he does on the field a little, given a new op, even though there’s beaucoup reason to be down on it.  But if he does validate critical thinking of the deal, what I think I’ll do is show up at the Bank, sign in hand, and parade around the outfield.  And the sign won’t say long haired freaky people need not apply, but rather DELMON YOUNG IS A BOT.  

      Pleasure speaking to you, biot.  Thanks for the reply space. 


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