Sunday, June 22, 2008

Phillies: Team of Destiny

Sometimes you have to look hard to find something to complain about. Some days it's just too sunny, too breezy, and your favorite team is winning and nothing is wrong. Other times, you're browsing the sports interwebs and someone named Danny Knobler just hits you in the face.

Pat Burrell has been so good that the only question people are asking is whether the Phillies will make the mistake of giving him a new contract.

Last summer, I noticed that the Mariners' stats suggested they were outperforming their skills over a short period of time. Sure enough, my prediction proved accurate: the M's collapsed. In this case, Pat Burrell is outperforming his career numbers by a significant margin. I'm more than willing to put my reputation on the line and suggest that Pat Burrell is due for a slump. Though it's true that players can sometimes exceed their career numbers for a season late in their career (Jorge Posada anyone?), it's an exception that doesn't negate the rule.

Someone remember to look it up at the end of the year and see if Burrell's OPS+ is still at 155.

And in an era where one of the best indicators of success is a healthy pitching staff, the Phillies have used the same 12 pitchers to work every inning this year.

Though I suppose you could attribute it to good managerial managering of the pitching staff, managers don't do that much. I think you could attribute this to good general managering; maybe Pat Gillick is good at signing pitchers that don't get hurt. You could attribute this to the pitchers, for their gritty and tough and workmanlike outlook and working hard at their work so they don't get hurt to miss work.

I think, actually, that you have to attribute this to "luck".

Besides, this is a team that plays hard, all the time.

Oh boy.

"The grittiest team I saw all year," one scout said. "I love the way they play. It's a credit to (manager Charlie Manuel), and also to Pat (Gillick), because he put them together."

Again, the unnamed scouts. I wonder if the grittiness of the team is responsible for Cole Hamels' awesome pitching or for Chase Utley's ability to hit basballs to Saturn. I wonder if the grittiness caused Pat Burrel to learn to hit better than he has in his entire career. I think, on the top of Pat Gillick's list of things to acquire to help the Phillies, GRIT was written in capitals.

Victorino likes the word "gritty,"

Probably because the myth of grittiness is the only reason people like Victorino still have a job.

pointing to a mid-May game against the Braves in which the Phillies trailed 8-0 in the fifth, then came back to put the tying run on base in the ninth.

Wow. They didn't even win! What a bunch of losers. This point is more likely to make me believe that the Phillies aren't World Series material

"We never give up," he said. "It starts with (Manuel)."

Charley Manuel never gives up, probably because his job mostly consists of sitting in the dugout telling grown men to go do what they've been practicing their whole lives.

Ugh. This article sucked.


Chris W said...

I still think they're probably one of the best teams in the majors

Anonymous said...

That article seemed to be written just to tell Philly fans what they want to hear. Philadelphia loves its gritty players.

dan-bob said...


Probably. This was still a terrible article. If Ryan Howard *actually* heats up and stops OPSing like .780 and starts OPSing something closer to his career avg of like 1... that will more than make up for the Burrell regression.

Also if Brett Myers remembers that he's a good pitcher and not just a good wifebeater.

larry b said...

Hey, don't knock Victorino. He's the 4th OF on my fantasy team. (Mostly because the league is fucking dumb, and includes triples, fewest strikeouts, and fewest errors as categories. If it were a normal AVG/R/HR/RBI/SB league, obviously he'd be a free agent. But I still have to stick up for him because in the context of fantasy baseball I imagine myself as a real manager. That's MY player you're attacking.

And this is why Chris W hates fantasy baseball.)

CitizenX said...

The main problem here is that nobody seemed to realize that Pat Burrell was pretty good already. Sure, he's enjoying slightly unprecedented success, but he did OPS+ 146 in 02 and has been above 120 the past three years, almost hitting 130. He's a little like J.D. Drew - people spend so much time bashing him that they fail to realize his very good stats. Then, when his stats pick up a little bit, to "extremely good", people don't understand where it came from.

matt said...

Yeah, what citizenx said. Pat Burrell's career OPS+ is 120. Odds are he doesn't finish with an OPS+ over 150, but if he did it wouldn't shock me. Over the past 3 years he's averaging like 30 HR, 105 RBI, and a .395 OBP. The cat's just a good player.

Still a pretty terrible article though.

Chris W said...

burrell is the paul konerko of the N. Leagues

CitizenX said...

Pat Burrell is in the Negro Leagues???

Chris W said...

hmmmmmmmmmm. I'm not sure.