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Not One, Not Two, Not Three, But FOUR Posts For The Price Of One (Plus two polls!) Tuesday October 21st, 2008

Posted by Sean in Los Angeles Dodgers, Major Leagues, Milwaukee Brewers, Phillies, Predictions, Tampa Bay Rays.
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POST ONE: Today is a holiday

First, it’s the 28th anniversary of the last time time the Phillies won a Championship (1980, for those who can’t do math), but more importantly, it’s my birthday (Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…). This is the second World Series in my lifetime, but only the first that I remember. Hopefully, this one will end better…

POST TWO: J.D. Durbin has Been Released

WOOHOO!!! I hate this guy. I’ve seen him several times this year at both AAA Lehigh Valley, and AA Reading. He S-U-C-K-E-D. The first start that I saw him (one of his first starts), he gave up 6 runs in a third of an inning. Yes, that gives him an ERA of 18.00 for JUST THE ONE START! C’MON! I can do better!!

POST THREE: Pessimists Never Win

Since the beginning of the season, I said that the Philllies wouldn’t make the playoffs. I knew they’d be good, but I didn’t see them as a serious playoff threat, and that 2007 was a fluke. I felt this all the way through the year, even though the team proved me so very, very, very wrong so many, many, many times. Even when they were a lock for the playoffs, I kept saying they wouldn’t make it. And I held on to this. Until they made it. Then what did I do? I played the pessimist card again. I said that I would be surprised if they could win one game against the power-heavy Brewers. How wrong I was. They then made it in 4, and what did I say this time? Manny and the Dodgers were gonna take the Phillies in 5 or 6, and lose to the Sox in the WS. That’s so wrong, it’s laughable. but now what am I doing? I’m jumping back on the Phillies bandwagon and saying Phillies in 7!! Although, following my current trends (NERD), I probably shouldn’t predict stuff. I’m 0-life in this postseason. Ahh, the heck with it. GO PHILLIES!!

POST FOUR: Why The World Series Has Convinced Me To Vote (if i could) For Obama

Throughout this whole “political season”, I couldn’t decide who to vote for. I generally didn’t agree with McCain (and I REALLY don’t like Palin), but I didn’t think Obama had enough experience. He’s too young, and hasn’t been in the Senate for too long (I believe). I thought the same thing of the Devil Rays this fall when they made the playoffs. What have they done? They advanced past two pairs of Sox (baaaad pun), and are in their first ever World Series. They have a serious chance of winning the championship, despite all the inexperience up and down the roster. If the Rays can make the World Series, why can’t Obama win? Forget what Curt Schilling or anyone else tells you, Obama is the way to go.

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What the Sabathia Deal Means to the Phillies Monday July 7th, 2008

Posted by Sean in Brad Penny, Bronson Arroyo, C.C. Sabathia, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Greg Maddux, Joe Blanton, Los Angeles Dodgers, Major Leagues, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Phillies, Randy Wolf, Rich Harden, St. Louis Cardinals.
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If you haven’t heard, the Milwaukee Brewers traded Matt LaPorta and three minor leaguers to the Indians for LHP Carsten Charles Sabathia (better known as C.C.). The main point of this post is to point out how this deal affects the Phillies, and what the team should do about it.

First off, the Brewers picked up one heck of a pitcher, and added him to their already superb rotation, without giving up a major cog. As of writing (7 July, 2008), the 1998 June first-rounder is 4-8, with a 4.34 ERA, 87 K, 28 BB, and a 1.35 WHIP in 91.1 IP. Not his best start, but the 6′ 7″ giant will surely play better in the senior circuit. Traditionally, pitchers switching leagues end up with better stats when they jump to the NL. This is due, in part, to having the pitcher fend for himself at the plate (which is a whole other issue unto itself).

The following graphic is taken from a January 2007 NY Times article, regarding the same topic:

A nice graphic from NY Times depicting a pitcher\'s ERA+ when switching leagues.
A nice graphic from NY Times depicting a pitcher’s ERA and ERA+ when switching leagues.

Also from the same article: “A statistic called E.R.A.+, presented on the Web site baseball-reference.com, adjusts for (league, home ballpark dimensions and other factors) and presents a pitcher’s percentage, either above or below a league’s average. For example, Zito’s 3.83 E.R.A. (in the 2006 season) in Oakland — a good pitchers’ environment — translates to a figure of 116, or 16 percent better than the A.L. average.(…)

Of the 29 pitchers moving to the N.L. from the A.L., their E.R.A.+ figures increased to 110 (10 percent above league average) from 97 (just below average). This smaller shift than in E.R.A. is nonetheless more significant: It indicates that starters of equal caliber are more successful in the less suffocating National League.(…)

Pitchers found moving to the A.L. from the N.L. correspondingly unpleasant — the E.R.A.+ scores of the 28 pitchers decreased to 100 from 113, or to absolute average from healthily above. (The fact that the two groups moved 13 percentage points in opposite directions was purely coincidental.) A fair interpretation, then, is that moving to the A.L. is such a challenge that pitchers, at least temporarily, regress. Take the case of Boston’s Josh Beckett, whose 5.01 E.R.A. rose faster than the homers he allowed.

This proves that Sabathia (already incredibly successful (he won the Cy Young last season, after all)) will only increase his excellent numbers.

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PART II- What does this mean for the Phillies?

The Phightin’s only play the Brewers in one more series this year (Sept. 11-14, in Philadelphia), but that does not mean that they will go unaffected. This will most assuredly affect them in the standings. If, somehow, the Phillies don’t win the division (see ’07 Mets, and the ’64 phold), they can still fight for the wild card. With the Cubs sitting comfortably in first in the Central for the moment, the Wild Card may come down to Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York. With their current rotation (as mentioned earlier), Milwaukee has the tiebreaker here. I believe (along with several members on the internet, I’m sure) that, to stay afloat in the volatile NL, that the Phillies need a starting pitcher. And by this, I don’t mean a solid #3 or #4 starter like Kyle Lohse last year. I mean a decent #2 pitcher, or perhaps even an ace (providing the team can afford it).

Over on MLBTradeRumors.com, Bronson Arroyo, Joe Blanton, A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny, Greg Maddux, Randy Wolf, Rich Harden, among others, are listed as potentially available, with Wolf especially linked to the Phillies. Perhaps, if the Phils are willing to part with several prospects, we could see some of these pitchers in red pinstripes?

==UPDATE== (July 8th, 8:15 pm) The Cubs just traded for A’s starters Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.  The Phillies definitely need to make a move like this NOW.

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Trivia section:

C.C. Sabathia is the reigning AL Cy Young winner. When was the last time a pitcher of this quality (MVP/Cy Young, All Star, and/or Rookie of the Year nomination) was traded away during the season (as always, include the name)?

Curt Schilling Trade Lines Friday March 7th, 2008

Posted by Sean in Arizona DBacks, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Curt Schilling, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Trade Lines, Vicente Padilla, Washington Nationals.
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My PS2 broke (NOOO), so I decided to write. This is another idea I’ve had. I’m going to trace the franchise’s best players, and see what we ended up with. Batting leadoff, is former pitcher Curt Schilling (see his website here, also on WordPress).

Schilling was with the Phillies from 1992 through 2000. We sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 1B Travis Lee, pitchers Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla, and Nelson Figueroa. Travis Lee was only with the team for three seasons, as the unpopular First Baseman left after ’02 as a free agent to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. So, we got nothing for him. But that’s ok, he was a nobody anyway.

Daal was with the team until November of 2001, when we traded him to the LA Dodgers for minor league pitchers Eric Junge (pronounced like “Young”. It’s German, or something…) and Jesus Cordero. Cordero amounted to nothing, but Junge proved to be a useful commodity. From 2002 through 2004, he was one of the best pitchers on the S/WB Red Barons staff. In 02 and ’03, he got tastes of the majors, but did not do as well as he did in the minor leagues. I guess you could classify him as a AAAA player. He left after 2004 to the Mets as a free agent.

Jumping back to Schilling, Padilla was the best thing we got out of this trade. He didn’t stick with the Phillies until the 2002 season, when he became the number two starter on the team behind Robert Person. He left the team after 2005, when he was sent to the Rangers for Ricardo Rodriguez, who didn’t make it out of Spring Training that year.

The last player in the deal, Nelson Figueroa, was in the minor leagues for most of 2002 (and all of his Philly stint that year), and pitched only 81 innings for the Phils the next year, before being claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. He never factored into the team’s plans.

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Where Are They Now?

Schilling, as everyone knows, went on to win the World Series in 2001 with Arizona, and then two more with Boston in 2004 and last year (2007). Though he spent his prime here with us, he still had plenty more productive years. Currently with the Boston Red Sox.

Lee spent one year with the Rays in 2003, before leaving as a free agent to the dark side. He signed with the Yankees, but did not see much action. He then returned to the Rays in ’05 for two years, but was long past his glory days by then. He signed with the Nationals in Spring Training of 2007, but asked to be released. Currently retired.

Daal, after his Philly tenure, was traded to the Dodgers, and then wound up pitching for the Orioles in 2003. After undergoing shoulder surgery in 2004, he called it quits. Interestingly, his current whereabouts are unknown, and is considered missing.

Junge has bounced around since he left, including the Mets, Padres, and Yankees. This offseason, he signed with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.

After being released in 2002, Cordero never saw the light of organized ball again.

Padilla was traded after ’06 to the Rangers, where he currently is. He quickly ascended the rotation ranks and is now the team’s ace.

Figueroa bounced around even more than Junge did. He’s been with Milwaukee, Washington, Pittsburgh, and even spent two games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. Currently with the Mets.