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#15: The 2002 Phillies January 15, 2012

Posted by Sean in Burritos (and other awesome things), Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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The 2002 Phillies sucked on ice.   But 2002 was the first year I started paying attention to baseball and the Phillies.  I was 10 years old.  Now, the Phillies may not have been very good, but they were my team and I loved every single one of them, except Jose Santiago, fuck that stiff.  Oh, and Scot Rolen. What a fucking traitor.  Oh, and Travis Lee, fuck that whiner.  But there were some interesting characters…

Doug Glanville, the hometown engineering student from Penn (what an egghead!).  Pat Burrell, the lady’s man (what that means to a 10 year old?  It meant all the ladies played his Playstation, of course!).  J-Roll, the young stud that was going to be the anchor for at least the next ten years.  Mike Lieberthal, the greatest catcher in team history.  Jeremy Giambi, who was the latest in a line of wrong brothers on the Phillies (holy hell could he mash the ball!).  Randy Wolf and his Wolfpack.  Vicente Padilla and his near no hitter.  Jose Mesa, aka Joe Table.

Listen, the team wasn’t very good.  But the players were fun, and 10 year olds love fun.

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

Posted by Sean in Phillies.tk Archives, Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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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)?

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