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December 5 2006

The Phillies allowed 812 runs in '06, the most they had allowed since the 2000 season.  Only three teams in the NL allowed more.  If you use the OPS allowed by pitchers as the measure the news is even worse -- they were dead last in the National League.
 

NL Pitching, 2006
Team AVG OBP SLG OPS OPS NL-Rank
SD 249 312 404 716 1
 . . .          
CIN 278 337 457 794 14
WAS 274 349 447 796 15
PHI 275 339 460 798 16

In all honesty, that's not such a surprise to me.  I caught a couple of games last year and, well, the hurlers looked pretty bad.  Especially early in the year.  But if that's not surprising, riddle me this:  using OPS as the measure, the Phillies' pitchers were the best in the league with the bases loaded last year.  Look:

 

NL Pitching, bases loaded, 2006
Team AVG OBP SLG OPS OPS NL-Rank
PHI 218 244 345 589 1
SD 256 291 331 622 2
. . .          
COL 347 375 547 922 15
CHI 342 358 581 939 16

Not only were the Phillies' pitchers the best in the league with the bases loaded, it wasn't very close.  Opponents hit .218 against them with the sacks full, 57 points lower than they did for the year.  They on-based 95 points lower and slugged 115 points lower.  Don't look at me cause I have no idea.  Demonic possession?  I do know this, however:  if the Phillies were that much better when the bases were loaded than when they weren't there must have been some guys who were lights out in that situation.  And there were:

 

Phillies' pitchers with bases loaded
Player AB H AVG BB K
Gordon 12 0 000 1 1
Myers 11 1 091 1 2
Hamels 7 0 000 1 2

Those were the guys who had the best numbers, but most everyone was solid.  Fultz was the guy who got the most action with the bases loaded.  Opponents went 5-for-18 (.278) against him.  Between the Phils and the Reds Ryan Franklin held opponents hitless in nine at-bats.

If you're a Phillies' fan you better be hoping the team's success with the bases loaded wasn't a fluke.  Just think how bad their pitching would have looked by the end of the season if they hadn't been the best in the NL with the sacks jammed.

In news from the broadcast booth, legend Harry Kalas will be with the Phillies for at least three more seasons.  Scott Graham will not return and former Phil Gary Matthews will join the broadcast team.  Matthews was the NL Rookie of the Year with the Giants in 1973 and played with the Phillies from 1981-83.  In the 1983 NLCS he went 6-for-14 with three home runs and eight RBI for the Phils as they topped the Dodgers in four games.  The Phillies traded him to the Cubs before the 1984 season in which Matthews hit 291/410/428 and finished fifth in the voting for NL-MVP.

Dallas Green seems to think that Burrell's problems come from being good-looking.  Apparently in addition to making sure everyone thinks the Phils feel Burrell can't protect Howard, the missing piece was to set him up as a party guy.  Wily.  I really wish they'd give telling people he's a good hitter who is going to on-base .390 and slug .500 a whirl if they're committed to trying to trade him.

This article says that the A's are a "strong favorite" to sign Mike Piazza.

As far as I know, virtually nobody is talking about Derrick Turnbow as a possibility for the Phillies.  This article says the Red Sox may be interested in trading for  the one-time closer who is not currently a free agent.  Turnbow threw to a 6.87 ERA in 64 games last season after saving 39 games with a 1.74 ERA in '05. 

David Weathers will be a Red.  Joe Borowski is close to a deal with the Indians.  That's two more big names off the wish list that is often attributed to the Phillies.  It's not time to panic with opening day still nearly four months away, but the Phillies still have a lot of spots to fill on their roster.  You wonder if they may be looking to address their problems with a trade rather than a free agent signing.  If they do my guess would be the most likely candidate to head out of town would be Rowand with Victorino and Coste less likely possibilities.

This article speculates about a trade with the Rangers (of course) that would send Rowand to Texas for some combination of Joaquin Benoit, Josh Rupe and Ron Mahay.

You can read in lots of places (like here) that the Phillies might figure out a way to get another starting pitcher and trade Jon Lieber.  I'd be surprised if that happened.

Todd Zolecki answered a question on Saturday in his excellent Q&A forum about why the Phillies did not offer Aaron Fultz arbitration.  I'm still surprised if it's the case that both Fultz wanted to return and the team didn't want to risk offering arbitration for fear of having to pay Fultz around $2 million this season.

The Astros are still undecided about what to do with their options at third that include Morgan Ensberg, Mike Lamb and free agent and sometimes right fielder Aubrey Huff.

The Pirates may be interested in Trot Nixon.

The A's say they are interested in Alan Embree, and I don't know why they'd lie.

Albert Pujols says he plans to apologize to Ryan Howard.

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