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  1. it’s a damn shame he had to get hurt, but it was a foul ball.

    Comment by Tom B — November 3, 2009 @ 10:05 am

  2. If Victorino can’t go, can the Phillies put Mayberry in LF or RF for this game, moving Werth to center? He is on the 40-man roster, and a RH bat that can field a little.

    I would also move Utley up to 2nd in the order, followed by Werth at 3.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — November 3, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  3. This is one of those circumstances where you have to manage to the downside. The Phillies don’t have the luxury of simming 100 games to find out just how hurt his hand is. What they do have is a must-win game. The difference between any two of those players, given an average level of performance isn’t likely to be the difference in the game. But what if Victorino can’t throw the ball properly and commits an error? At that point, I don’t want an unknown quantity running around CF. I make the switch.

    Comment by Rick — November 3, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  4. It hit him on the hand, so no.

    Comment by Bill — November 3, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  5. If a ball hits the hand it’s not a foul ball. I don’t know what you were looking at but he didn’t offer and if it got any of the bat it hit his hand first. The ball is dead as soon as his hand is hit so even if it caught some bat after his finger it wouldn’t matter.

    I can only guess you’re one of those loathsome yankee fans :)

    Comment by The A Team — November 3, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  6. The batting order switch is something I would have done all season. It baffles me that the Phillies use two OBP sinks at the top of the lineup. It allows hitters 3-6 to be a terrifying matchup, but at the cost of potential ab’s to Werth and Ibanez. As the best RH hitter on the team, Werth should be getting more opportunities.

    Comment by The A Team — November 3, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  7. 1) Francisco was better than I thought in Philly in a SSS. Wasn’t much for walking, but nice SLG.
    2) Maybe now Charlie Manuel will learn something…DON’T BUNT IN THE FIRST INNING. Wait, this is the guy who still bats Jimmy Rollins leadoff? Okay never mind.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  8. You really want a guy with 60 career major league PA’s and a .331 minor league OBP starting an elimination game if Victorino can’t go?

    I’d take my shot on the proven serviceable Francisco.

    And the lineup, well, Take this with a grain of salt

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  9. Victorino had a .358 OBP this year, and .352 last year. They have better options, but he doesn’t make outs like Rollins.

    Comment by don — November 3, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  10. Francisco will be in the lineup anyway against a lefty in Yankee Stadium pushing Ibanez to DH. If Victorino can’t play, they need to add someone else too. Mayberry isn’t a great, but what options for a 5th outfielder really are?

    Comment by don — November 3, 2009 @ 11:11 am

  11. Right, I forgot about DH.

    Honestly, though, I’d still rather DH Stairs over Mayberry. With all the boppers on the Philly team, they’d be much better off DHing a stable hitter who can get on base via the walk over putting Mayberry in there and hoping he sees a hanger.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:13 am

  12. My thought was Mayberry plays the field in place of Ibanez. Keep Stairs on the bench against the lefty pitcher.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — November 3, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  13. It’s amazing how managers can just continue to neglect obvious things like this.

    Victorino’s okay, he’s sporting a .351 OBP since becoming a full time player.

    But I don’t see why you wouldn’t consider a lineup of Werth / Utley / Howard / Ibanez as the first four. Why is giving your best hitters the most PA’s such a novel concept to so many people in the game? That’s a healthy 127 or more in OPS+ from all 4 (btw, EIGHT of the Yankee starters in 2009 had an OPS+ of 123 or more).

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  14. Yuck. I wouldn’t like that roster move if I were a Phils fan.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  15. This is a pretty good summary of what I think too. Thanks.

    Comment by Jack Moore — November 3, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  16. I am not convinced it was Charlie telling Victorino to bunt. I mean, he put Stairs on the plate and let him swing away in the 8th when a bunt seemed more reasonable, although possibly statistically not the best play. Result – doubleplay.

    Victorino has many times attempted drag bunts from the left side for hits. So let’s not blame Charlie until we know he called for the bunt.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — November 3, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  17. And of course, Victorino is the Phils only real CF. Statistically, it looks like Werth can slide over, but we said that about Ellsbury and look how his FRAA and UZR turned out, and he is a natural CF. If I’m the Phillies, there isn’t a dollar I don’t spend right now getting that hand checked out.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  18. True.
    But it’s fun to bash managers and their, um, questionable moves. It’s one thing to have to make an in game decision and be wrong, but it’s totally another thing to do things like bat Rollins leadoff despite his OBP. Truly Dusty-esque.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  19. I’ve had some long arguments about the top of the lineup. Victorino is not a perfect leadoff man but he’d be an improvement to Rollins who could put his slugging to good use in the 6 hole.

    Comment by The A Team — November 3, 2009 @ 11:31 am

  20. However the decision to bat Rollins leadoff is defensible (albeit barely so) using past data. Charlie believes firmly in regression to the mean even if he has no idea that he does.

    Dusty has no such excuse with Taveras.

    Comment by The A Team — November 3, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  21. And last time I checked Rollins has been reaching base lately…

    Comment by The A Team — November 3, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  22. Most of the posts are correctly looking ahead about what to do in the next game. The article seemed to be about whether it would be better to take him out of the game, without adding that in an NL park you are also removing one possible PH by putting in a defensive sub. The chance of a weaker throw being a difference-maker might be equal to that of a rangier outfielder making a catch, and trading a hit into an out is probably more valuable than stopping a baserunner from advancing to 2nd, but not as much as keeping him at 3rd instead of trying to score. But when Francisco did go into CF, the TV guys thought he didn’t make a good throw on A-Rod.

    Comment by Gilbert — November 3, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  23. Rollins OBP by month:

    Postseason: .328.

    Is .320’s acceptable for an excellent fielding player w/ pop in his bat? Sure. Just don’t leadoff with him. His career # is .329, his career best is .349. I think Rollins is a very good player, but that’s an obvious flaw and he should not be leading off. Especially since he has the baseball version of Dran-O batting behind him in Utley, Howard, Werth, and Ibanez (143 HR between then, combined HR rate of 5.43%).

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  24. Speed is a factor too, not just OBP, which is why Rollins and Victorino bat first, actually. Whether the gains on the basepaths outweigh the gains at the plate is the question.

    Of course, both of their base stealing ability is down this year versus last, and Jayson Werth is no slouch on the basepaths. I’d probably do something like this:

    1. Victorino
    2. Werth
    3. Utley
    4. Howard
    5. Ibanez
    6. Rollins
    7. Ruiz
    8. Feliz

    Comment by Christian Seehausen — November 3, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  25. I’m slightly confused, because it seems that the conclusion of this article is that it doesn’t matter how you line up your outfielders defensively. Following the logic outlined above, switching a CFer and a RF will result in the CF being 10 runs better defensively and the RFer being 10 runs worse–meaning there is no net difference. What am I missing?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 3, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  26. Honestly, I would think speed is more important at the bottom of the lineup, putting a base stealer in the 6th or 7th hole to run his way into scoring position instead of 1st or 2nd hole where guys hitting behind him can drive in him from first anyway seems to make sense. It seems like the only reason to bat a guy leadoff solely for speed is to maximize his chances to run.

    I would personally do:
    1) Werth
    2) Utley
    3) Howard
    4) Ibanez
    5) Victorino
    6) Ruiz
    7) Rollins
    8) Francisco
    9) Feliz

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

  27. Actually flip Feliz and Francisco. Francisco would turn the lineup over to the good hitters better.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  28. he didn’t offer, so his bat still being held in the bunt position, out over the plate, is not offering?


    Comment by Tom B — November 3, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

  29. Personally, without Victorino in there, only should at least give consideration to leading off with Utley. He has the speed and OBP to do it and you break up the lefties by then batting Werth second. I know Ibanez killed lefties this year, but his career numbers are better against RHP and Howard is stomach churning against same-handed pitchers. A strong LOOGY like Coke or Marte could create huge problems by not having Werth in there to break things up.

    Comment by Alireza — November 3, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  30. He pulled back from the bunt enough that it never would have been called a strike had it missed him. It’s not a swinging strike, so it’s a HBP. I’m not sure how foul is even a choice. How can you have a foul ball if it doesn’t hit the bat?

    Comment by don — November 3, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  31. Rollins also has a .253 BABIP and makes a lot of contact, so his average is low at least partly due to ‘luck’. Rollins’ OBP is tied directly to his average. However, I don’t think anyone should be expecting someone with his skill set to continue to sport such a low BABIP. He does still have a 6.8 speed score.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 3, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  32. Utley, Howard, then Ibanez? Three big lefty bats in a row? Sending in a lefty specialist at the end of the game could be devastating.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 3, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  33. Davis, it does matter. Jack is not doing it right. You have to go by “UZR per opportunity” since that is really the unit of measurement with UZR. And CF has more opportunities than RF or LF. So a below average fielder (for a CFer) who moves from the corners to CF will lose a lot and an above average fielder will gain a lot if he moves from the corners to CF (more opportunities to leverage his good fielding). There is a break even point where it doesn’t matter who plays where, but above and below that BE point, it does matter. For example, if you are +15 in RF, you might be +7 in CF (losing 8 runs). If you are -10 in RF, you might be -21 in CF (losing 12 runs). The reason you want your best outfielder in CF is not because it is a “harder” position – it is because there are more opps and obviously you want your best fielder to have the most chances and more importantly, your worst fielders to have the fewest chances possible. I hope that makes some sense.

    Comment by MGL — November 3, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  34. first, go watch the reply again, he doesnt pull the bat back at all.
    second, it doesn’t have to hit the bat if you offer at the pitch your hand is considered part of the bat.

    Comment by Tom B — November 3, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  35. Yes, thank you. Watching the game I was wondering why Werth wasn’t moved to center, as he is a better defender than Fransisco. To use a single play as an example, the sac fly A-Rod scored one likely would not have resulted in a run if Werth were in CF due to his strong arm. And while there was a possibility that that fly ball could be hit to any outfielder, the CFer has the greatest probability of making the play.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 3, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  36. FWIW Utley’s career lefty – righty split is very small (just 32 points of OPS, and actually has a higher OBP v. lefties).

    And I know saves are stupid, but 10 of the top 11 in saves in 2009 were righties. The lefty in the group? Brian Fuentes.

    For a less stupid stat, 7 of the top 10 relievers in WPA (and most, if not all the top 5) were righties.

    And it’s not like that’s locked in stone, if a team has a lethal lefty relief ace, you can always go Utley – Victorino – Howard – Werth – Ibanez. Even though given Utley’s platoon split, I think you can just flip Howard and him and be ok.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  37. Right, lady luck crapped on Rollins this season.
    His career BABIP is .293. He was close to that number in 2007 and 2008, and sported a league average OBP. Obviously from a great base runner, good power, and great defense, league average OBP is very, very valuable, and you can pretty much peg him to be a +5 to +6 WAR guy. But his skill set just does not translate to being a leadoff hitter. He’s led the NL in outs made 2 of the last 3 seasons, and in 2006, he was 2nd. This decade, he’s 3rd in outs made. Obviously that’s a by-product of being an average OBP’r and good enough in his other skill sets to warrant all that playing time, but it’s still not exactly a stat you want to rank that high in.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  38. It also might have something to do with leading the league in plate appearances twice and coming in third the other time.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 3, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  39. he’s also been struggling at the plate…instead of a pop up, dp, or strike out, a bunt would at least be a productive out .Also if Rollins was going to steal it impedes the view of the catcher for a split second….I thought it was a good idea esp. with the offensive lineman behind the plate.

    Comment by pounded clown — November 4, 2009 @ 2:32 am

  40. Yep. the Amish raise barns in the time it took Francisco’s throw to get to home plate.

    Comment by pounded clown — November 4, 2009 @ 2:39 am

  41. a) for those who don’t know, werth is an experienced cf.
    b) in game 6, the offensive dropoff is the big one from victorino to bruntlett/mayberry, not the small one from victorino to francisco. francisco is easily the phillies best bench option. when they need a dh, he’s in the lineup, leaving total dreck to replace victorino, especially against pettitte. stairs and dobbs bat left (and the latter is sick), bruntlett is one of the worst hitters in the league. if victorino can’t go, the best hope, and not a particularly good one, is that they dh dobbs and activate mayberry.

    Comment by phorever — November 4, 2009 @ 5:09 am

  42. Here is the video. He’s in the process of pulling the bat back when he gets hit.

    Comment by don — November 4, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  43. the umpire also points to check down with the third baseman to see if he pulled back. umpire said he didn’t.

    Comment by BATTLETANK — November 4, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  44. I said that, David.

    Comment by Joe R — November 4, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  45. Hell the Amish could have built a barn at home plate and Francisco would have missed it.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 4, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  46. No, Joe, you said that he lead the league in outs. I said he lead the league in PA’s. That those two mirror each other kind of makes sense.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 4, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  47. “Obviously that’s a by-product of being an average OBP’r and good enough in his other skill sets to warrant all that playing time, but it’s still not exactly a stat you want to rank that high in.”

    Not sure how else that’s supposed to be interpreted…

    Comment by Joe R — November 4, 2009 @ 10:27 am

  48. all that playing time != leading the league in PA’s

    A lot of players warrant a lot of player time, but that doesn’t equate to leading the league in PA’s.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — November 4, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

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