“Subjective” Analysis: Phillies vs. Brewers

OK, tomorrow at some ridiculous time in the afternoon (hello? working people here?), my Phillies (92-70) will take on the Milwaukee Brewers (90-72) in Game 1 of their National League Divisional Series matchup.

Let’s go through the lineups and see who’s better:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz/Chris Coste

MIL: Jason Kendall

ANALYSIS: Ruiz’s bat was awful this year, but not much worse than the veteran Kendall. I don’t know if Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would even think of putting the superior-hitting Coste in there…I doubt it. Call this one a TIE because neither side inspires confidence offensively or defensively.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

MIL: Prince Fielder

ANALYSIS: Both incredibly powerful young men capable of hitting the ball a country mile. (Still not sure if that’s longer than a regular mile.) Fielder had the higher batting average and less strikeouts, but Howard crushed him in HR and RBI. Gotta say the PHILLIES have the advantage here

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

MIL: Rickie Weeks

ANALYSIS: From a cursory glance, the only thing Weeks is better at statistically than Utley is stolen bases (by 5), and triples (by 3). Oh, and he had two more walks. Utley kills him in everything else, including defense. Advantage: PHILLIES.

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz

MIL: Bill Hall

ANALYSIS: Offensively, yeesh. Feliz gets the nod because Hall just imploded as a hitter, and Feliz has a bit more pop. Defensively, Feliz is WAY better. One more for the PHILLIES.

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

MIL: J.J. Hardy

ANALYSIS: Always tough to be objective when you “own” someone on your fantasy team. I have Hardy, who was stellar this year. But Rollins steals more, is more of a sparkplug for the offense, and is probably the better defender. Yet again, PHILLIES.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

MIL: Ryan Braun

ANALYSIS: I still don’t know what to think of Pat the Bat. At times, he’s looked like an awesomely talented hitter; the rest of the time, he flails at pitches like he’s hammered on Jager-bombs. Braun is also awesomely talented, but hasn’t had the craptacular slumps that ol’ Patty has. Finally, the first true BREWERS advantage.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

MIL: Mike Cameron

ANALYSIS: The Flyin’ Hawaiian does a little bit of everything – he’s got some pop, great speed, good arm, and his last name sounds like a nice dish at a quaint Italian restaurant. (I’ll have the Pollo Victorino with the red sauce, please.) Mike Cameron does three things well – hits for power, steals bases and plays great defense. However, his batting average has never been over .273 (career average = .250), he strikes out way too much and his on-base percentage is kind of meager (.331). This is a close one, but I’ve got to go with the PHILLIES here.

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RIGHT FIELD
PHI: Jayson Werth

MIL: Corey Hart

ANALYSIS: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Werth gets bonus points for having an extra “Y” in his name, and Hart gets bonus points for having the same name as the genius who brought us “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night.” Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get down to business. Each guy had a 20HR/20SB season, but Werth had a better batting average, MUCH better on-base percentage, and did it in 20 less games. I’m really intrigued to see what Werth will do with a full season next year. In the meantime, this one goes to the PHILLIES.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

MIL: Yovani Gallardo/CC Sabathia/Jeff Suppan/Dave Bush (Ben Sheets is out – hurt)

ANALYSIS: Cole Hamels is just plain awesome, and I’ve blogged about him previously. Come to think of it, I just blogged about Moyer too. Myers is an enigma, putting aside his tumultuous and contemptible personal life. He totally sucked for the first chunk of the season, went to the minors, and came back to pitch great. He faltered near the end of the season, though. Blanton is a big roly-poly dude who keeps the ball down – which is helpful at Citizens Bank Park.

On the other side, Gallardo is one of those “who’s he?” young guys who always kill the Phillies. Sabathia is crazygood. The other guys are journeymen veterans who are serviceable at best (another kind of guy who kills the Phils).

Put it all together, and if Hamels and Sabathia cancel each other out, it’s actually pretty even. There may be a slight edge to the Phils in reality, but I’m going to have to go with a TIE.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

MIL: Salomon Torres/Eric Gagne/David Riske/Carlos Villanueva/Brian Shouse/Seth McClung

ANALYSIS: NL Comeback Player of the Year Brad Lidge leads a very strong bullpen – one that is given a lot of credit for the Phils’ success in 2008. (In fact, it’s the Phils’ good bullpen and the Mets’ lousy one that probably made the difference in each team’s fate this year.) Torres had a torrid second half as closer, until the final month when he probably tired. The rest of the Milwaukee ‘pen is a mixed bag – not a lot of big strikeout arms, but they’ve been mostly solid. Still, if a Phillies starter goes seven, it’s Madson, Lidge and lights out. I’m not sure the Brew Crew can look at their bullpen with such confidence. The vote goes to the PHILLIES.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Coste (see Catchers above)

MIL: Craig Counsell/Gabe Kapler/Russell Branyan/Ray Durham/Joe Dillon

ANALYSIS: This one is too close to call, seriously. Dobbs and Kapler had great seasons off the bench, there are some other valuable pieces on each side (Jenkins’ and Stairs’ pop, Taguchi’s speed, Branyan’s pop, Durham’s and Counsell’s experience, etc.). Phils might have an advantage, but it’s slight, so I’ll call it a TIE in case I’m biased. (Ha!)

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

MIL: Dale Sveum

ANALYSIS: Say what you (or I) will about Manuel being an inconsistent in-game manager or a could-be-better press conference-giver, he gets his boys to play hard, play well, and win ballgames. Hard to critique Sveum since he’s only been the manager for like a month – but all reports from trusted sources (ESPN) say that the players dig him. And he did guide them to the postseason, which is more that can be said for Jerry Manuel and his Mets. Still, experience and long-term results give the advantage here to the PHILLIES.

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FINAL SCORE: Phillies 8, Brewers 1, three ties.

Bring on the Cubs?

My blogapology to misdirected readers.

Thanks to WordPress’s really cool technology, I can see that a bunch of readers were referred here from another blog (at Reason.com) – which had hyperlinked the terms “cache out the yin-yang” to my little ramblins’.

However, I really didn’t get into discussing that Seinfeldian quote – which is one of my favorites.

Courtesy of my very good friends at Seinfeldscripts.com, here’s the scene:

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[Blogger’s Note: George has recommended “Soda” as a baby name to Susan’s cousin, but the cousin didn’t like the idea. He told Susan privately that he had already chosen “Seven” as the name for their first child, boy or girl. Susan did not like this idea, despite the name being a tribute to New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle. And we fade up…

[Restaurant]

George and Susan are having dinner.

GEORGE: Aw c’mon. It’s a fantastic name. It’s a real original, nobody else is gonna have it and I absolutely love it.

SUSAN: Well, I dunno how original it’s gonna be any more.

GEORGE: Why not?

SUSAN: Well I was telling Carrie about our argument, and when I told them the name, they just loved it.

GEORGE: So, what’re you saying?

SUSAN: They’re gonna name their baby Seven.

GEORGE: (disbelief) What?! They’re stealing the name?! That’s my name, I made it up!

SUSAN: I can’t believe that they’re using it.

GEORGE: (anger) Well now it’s not gonna be original! It’s gonna lose all its cache!

SUSAN: I dunno how much cache it had to begin with.

GEORGE: (rage) Oh, it’s got cache, baby! It’s got cache up the yin-yang!!!

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He is most decidedly NOT a belly-itcher.

On August 19, 2006 (thank you very much, Baseball-Reference.com), the Philadelphia Phillies sent two young minor-league players to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer.

Since that day, Mr. Moyer has compiled a stellar record of 34 wins and 21 losses for the Phillies; the two young men have yet to appear in the major leagues. Whither art thou, Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin?

I say all that to say this: Jamie Moyer is The Freaking Man.

He turns 46 on November 18. I repeat, 46. And he competes with the best baseball players on the planet. And he schools them.

He’s the oldest player in the game, and while he may or may not be a Hall of Famer, he’s an accomplished pitcher who’s been doing it for a really really long time (and doing it well).

Twenty-two years in the majors. Chicago, Texas, St. Louis, Baltimore, Boston, Seattle and now Philly.

Why this tribute? Not because he’s a fellow Pennsylvanian, or because he paid me to write this. (Not that I’d turn down a small donation.)

Because I think he’s a crucial component to the Phillies’ success – both recent past and present – and I admire the heck out of this man.

He’s never been to the World Series, but I hope he gets there with the Phillies this year.

If not, hey, there’s always next year – even for a 47-year-old lefty.

Unpaid Endorsement: IKEA

Yeah, I’m like ten years late on the IKEA bandwagon, I know. And this isn’t even my first purchase with everyone’s favorite Swedish make-it-yourself furniture folks.

But this weekend, my bride and I purchased three items that come highly recommended – for both building ease and functionality.

FINAL – No, not the last thing. This was the name of the two-headed stand-up lamp that now stands in the corner of our living room. Much cooler-looking and easier on the eyes than the ceiling fan lights.

LERBERG – Kind of a metal/mesh TV stand, now in our second bedroom/office. Perfect size – not too big, and has a bottom “shelf” for the cable box.

And the crown jewel, the POANG (there’s an umlaut over one of the vowels, can’t remember which) – a slightly springy (but not quite a rocker) chair with comfy cotton upholstery, which is removable and washable. (Excellent for cat people.)

I was able to assemble each of these pieces in less than a half-hour, using only amazing Allen wrench technology. And I must say, I’m kind of proud of myself – it’s as close to actual carpentry as I’ll probably ever get.

Speaking of Seinfeld…

The Seinfeld Campus Tour Heads to The Big Apple:
The Seinfeld Campus Tour, a 26-city, 10,000 mile portable Seinfeld experience from Sony Pictures Television, is heading to Union Square Park in New York City between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 4. The 60-foot, Seinfeld-branded bus will help integrate the show into the digital, multi-tasking lifestyle of college students and members of the 70-million-plus millennial demographic. For more information, click on www.seinfeld.com.

(Courtesy: The Programming Insider e-newsletter from Mediaweek)