Josh (desh) wrote,

baseball ramblings

Holy crap, I cannot ever remember a Phillies series like this one. Outside the playoffs, I've never heard of a baseball series like this at all. We go into a 4-game set against the division leader, 6 games up on us, and with a rotation made up of a 44 year old who can't throw 6 innings, a journeyman, a guy who has been cut about 17 times this year, a rookie no one had ever heard of before we called him up, and the guy with the league's highest ERA.

We win a game 9-2. We come back and win a game 4-2 that hinged on a 40 foot swinging bunt down the third base line that somehow curved fair. We win a game 3-2 on an interference play when the opposing runner tried to break up a double play by acting like a tight end run-blocking. And we come back and win a wild game 11-10, scoring 3 runs in two innings off of one of the best closers of all time, and getting 2 homers (4 for the series) from the most-booed player in Philadelphia history.

We're now 2 back in the division. We're now 2 back in the wild card (well, technically 2.5, but whoever loses the SDP/ARZ game tonight will be the new wild card leader, and we'll be a half game closer to them then). Cole Hamels is coming off the DL in a few days. Werth and Burrell are having career weeks and career half-seasons. And damn, I'm pumped.

Strategy-wise, I'm loving the current batting order: Rollins, Utley, Burrell, Howard, Rowand, everyone else. Statistics show that you really are better off with your best hitters at the top, without any of the crap of putting a fast .265 hitter in the 2-hole or anything. We have our three (yes, three) MVP candidates hitting 1-2-4, and they're broken up by Burrell, who's as hot as he's ever been in his career. It's also guys who hit S-L-R-L-R, which is fantastic. Manuel for some reason never cared about breaking up the lefties before, but he's doing it now. He's really managing great; a solid manager-of-the-year candidate.

People have been talking about who to take out of the rotation when Hamels comes back. Kendric and Lohse seem safe to me (though Lohse wasn't so great today), and JD Durbin had a great last outing. I'd say Moyer, but that's not thinking long-term -- what are you going to do for the rest of the season if you take a healthy Moyer out of the rotation now? He can't relieve. It's gotta be Eaton going to the 'pen. If we're lucky enough to make the playoffs and go to a 4-man rotation, he'll probably be joined by Durbin, though Kendric and Lohse could also be bumped depending on how they do in September.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Pretending for a second that rosters don't actually expand on September 1st (which is such a weird rule anyway), here's my ideal 25 the rest of the way: Rotation of Hamels, Moyer, Lohse, Kendrick, and Durbin. Pen of Myers, Gordon, Romero, Eaton, Alfonseca, Mesa, and Geary. Lineup of Rollins, Utley, Burrell, Howard, Rowand, Victorino/Werth, Dobbs/Helms, and Ruiz/Coste. Bench of the platoon guys, Iguchi (can this man really not play 3rd base? Sad), and Nunez. I like my playoff roster the same way, except Bourn in for some pitcher, probably Mesa or Geary. Can we win games with this roster? Well, there might be a lot more 11-10 games, but I think we can. That lineup is SCARY, even if Coste starts hitting like normal men his age, Werth cools off, and Rowand or someone slumps.

We're easily in the top 4 NL teams right now. Too bad none of those teams is in the NL Central, so at least 1 of the 4 has to miss the playoffs. If we can keep winning series the rest of the way, that one team won't be us.


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