May 21, 2005

A word from Ferris

May 17, 2005

BPF moves to!

Today I'm pleased to announce the launch of my new Web site,

Though the name has changed, you'll find the same great Phillies features you've come to expect on Berks Phillies Fans, which concludes with this final post. The old girl did me well, but I'm confident you'll like the new site even better.

So come along, update your links and RSS feeds, spread the word and enjoy!

- Jason Weitzel

May 16, 2005

New site launches tomorrow!

The BPF is pleased to announce some rather big news.

Tomorrow morning, Berks Phillies Fans is going live with a new Web site, including a complete design makeover, URL and, most importantly, a name change. I worked a long, sleepless weekend to finalize the project and I’m extremely excited to unveil it.

I’ll have more details tomorrow. For now, enjoy the Phillies day off and say goodbye to BPF as you now know it!

May 15, 2005

Note to BPF readers

Due to some major site reconstruction, which should be completed by Monday morning, I will be on posting hiatus for the next few days. Check back Monday for my thoughts on the Phils, their Saturday night loss, and the Marlon Byrd, Endy Chavez trade.


May 13, 2005

Did you know?

If former Astros General Manager Gerry Hunsicker replaces Ed Wade, he will be reunited with the player that represents perhaps his poorest move with Houston – losing Bobby Abreu to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1997 expansion draft.

In a bit, I’ll have a full report card of the man many people desire as the Phils new GM.

Tidbits from the Phlogosphere

Today's best stuff from elitist Phillies nerds and their computers.

The incredible dedication of the BPF
Last night, I saw, heard and read about the Phils game five different ways, all live: Watching it on a hospital TV, listening to 830-AM radio then switching to 1210 AM radio, reading about it on Balls Sticks & Stuff live in-game chat, and concluding my evening by watching them lose on my television at home.

In addition, I experienced the game in four different counties: Lehigh, Berks, Montgomery and Chester.

Lastly, I witnessed the game in two different states of being: awake and asleep.

Base running
What stood out most in yesterday’s 7-5 loss, other than the general fact they lost a game at home to the Reds even with Jon Lieber on the mound, were the base running mistakes that seem to be happening with great frequency this season.

Tom Goodman from Swing and a Miss today:
Atrocious. There is no other word to describe the Phillies base running.

Playing aggressively is fine…if you can pull it off. The Phillies can’t. Being thrown out at the plate is not the end of the world…once in a while. But the Phillies are routinely being thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles. Furthermore, with increasingly rare exception they are being thrown out stealing. Worst of all, they are being picked off at an astonishing rate. Hapless? Hardly. Wretched? Definitely. This team cannot do many things right, especially the fundamentals.

Marc Bombard and Bill Dancy, veteran minor league managers but rookies coaching first and third base, can share some of the blame. Burrell was out by a good 10 feet or more trying to stretch out a double yesterday.

Minor league catcher goofs
Charlie Manuel isn’t the only one making mistakes when it comes to the Phillies these days. And when it comes to flubs about minor league catchers, it hits the BPF especially hard.

Brain Peoples at the Philling Station points out two pretty big goofs in today’s Philly papers that make this blog look pretty good.

The first is a bad one. Bill Conlin wrote today in his Daily News column "Deconstruction Project" the Phillies should consider trading Jim Thome and his big salary to the Yankees for catching prospect Dioner Navarro.

I'd be all for that move, if Navarro wasn’t traded to the D-Backs in the blockbuster Randy Johnson deal this winter, and then subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in the blockbuster Shawn Green deal. The veteran writer also spelled “Dioner” wrong.

The next isn't nearly as bad. Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer brings up BPF favorite Carlos Ruiz as possible replacements for Mike Lieberthal. Ruiz sustained a broken leg in a home plate collision a week ago.

Both catchers were reported accurately this week on the BPF, with the Navarro trade first reported in my December 18 blog, where, like Conlin, I spelled "Dioner" wrong.

Hey, we're only human.

Finally, Tom G. at Balls Sticks & Stuff sums up my feelings perfectly on selecting the right general manager, commenting on rumors Ed Wade could be fired:
My only criteria would be that the eventual general manager would have a proven winning philosophy. It can be of the number crunching variety or the Twins-ish scouting variety or somewhere in between, but he has to come from a lineage that has a winning history.

The concept Tom and I both agree on is there is no single correct philosophy to build a winning team. Stat heads, like Theo Epstein in Boston, or scout heads, like John Schuerholz in Atlanta, are both great models to emulate because they are both proven winners.

May 12, 2005

Phils-Brewers wrap: Manuel feeling heat

As the Phillies pass the symbolic 35 game mark, the Brewers series will be remembered as the point Phillies fans added Charlie Manuel to the list.

Yesterday's 5-2 loss was preceded by Manuel's reported comments to the media revealing his ignorance managing in the National League, and also admitting he needed to play Chase Utley more. Manuel followed up by sitting Utley yesterday, and then kept Cory Lidle in the game too long, outlasting his usefulness by the eighth inning.

The loss put the Phils 6 1/2 back of first-place Atlanta as the Phils wasted a career-high 11 strikeouts from Lidle.

As the downward spiral continues, words repeatedly heard on sports radio to describe Manuel include "buffoon," "overmatched," and the always popular “worst manager in franchise history." Even I was feeling downright nostalgic for Larry Bowa yesterday, looking comparatively eloquent and upper-crust in his new gig on Baseball Tonight.

To the defense of both men, the team bestowed upon them is no prize. This is no small point: A team that has David Bell (.224 BA, .313 SLG) batting out of the five-hole is a bad baseball team. A team that has Jimmy Rollins (.237 BA, .289 OBP) as a leadoff hitter is a bad baseball team. The fact that Bowa managed to get better than .500 ball out of this lot should have warranted a lifetime contract instead of a pink slip.

When so many parts are playing this poorly, it tells me there's something wrong with the heart and passion of the team. Under Bowa, a fearless competitor and perfectionist, the team often came up flat, but seem to be playing with even less desire under jolly Cholly.

Compounding the issue, there hasn’t been much rhyme or reason to his decision making, aside from his steadfast use of, among other things, Tim Worrell in the set-up role and Jose Offerman getting all the pinch-hit chances. After a mostly favorable review the first week or two, his gut instinct has been mostly wrong since – pulling pitchers too soon, leaving them in too long, pinch hitting with the wrong guy, and the list goes on.

These decisions are open to speculation, and regarding the platoon issue, I maintain Placido Polanco will hit LHP better than Chase Utley. The gripe now, of course, is Utley's bat has been the most consistent all season, and a lineup that features both Polanco and David Bell gives the Phils one too many light-hitting bats. With Pat Burrell hitting .211 in May, there are plenty of those to go around.

At this point, all the possibilities have been thoroughly exhausted (Howard, Byrd, Floyd) except one: a trade.

It's important for the Phils to deal Polanco sooner rather than later. Why? The answer is the same as the answer to Manuel's question: What is this team about 35 games into the season?

It's about Polanco, forcing him into the lineup, and a ridiculous, lingering distraction over a player who shouldn't have been on the team in the first place.

May 11, 2005

Ex-Phil report: Nick Punto

The former Phillie, part of the Eric Mitlon trade last winter, was recently named Minnesota’s official starting second baseman.

In the his first game since replacing Luis Rivas at second yesterday, he got a key infield single in the eighth inning with the Twins down 4-3, stole second base, advanced to third on passed ball, and crossed home with the tying run on a sac fly. The Twins went on to beat the Orioles 6-4.

Punto was never considered a top prospect coming through the Phils system, following a path similar to fellow switch-hitting utilityman Tomas Perez. The 27-year-old played parts of three seasons (2001-03) with the Phils before the Milton trade that also sent pitcher Carlos Silva to the Twins.

In 68 ABs this season, Punto is batting .235, .313 OBP, .324 SLG.

Pitching for breakfast

A few pitching morsels to start your day.

Phils face junkball LHP Davis today
The Phillies can still salvage a series win tonight against the Brewers but need to beat tough left-hander Doug Davis.

Davis, a lifetime 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two career outings against the Phils, is exactly the type of pitcher the Phils struggle against – a southpaw who mixes off-speed pitches with a tough cutter inside to right-handers.

Davis (3-4) has had a tough start to the season, with an ERA of 5.40, 22 walks and seven homers.

His opponent today has given up just one homer this season, Cory Lidle, who’s coming off his best outing – a four-hit, one-run game against Chicago.

It should be a great matchup this afternoon featuring two unheralded pitchers.

Millwood proving worth
What do Brett Myers and Kevin Millwood have in common?

Answer: They’re both walking examples of why win/loss records don't measure a pitcher's true worth.

Phillies bloggers universally agreed this winter that Kevin Millwood would have a pretty good season somewhere, and have better success than free agent counterpart Eric Milton. On Monday night, Millwood (1-3) finally got his first win, holding the Angels to one hit in eight innings.

Though his record doesn't reflect it, the former Phils ace has been steady for the Tribe. Like the Phils behind Myers, the Indians haven’t offered much support with the lumber, averaging 3.3 runs in games Millwood has started.

According to Sheldon Ocker of the Beacon Journal, Millwood has targeted his pitches accurately all season, and sixty-five percent of his pitches have been thrown for strikes, which some baseball people will say is the ideal figure.

Meanwhile, Milton has been dreadful for the Reds, posting a 6.18 ERA and surrendering 13 HRs already. Milton isn’t the kind of guy you want pitching at Great American Ballpark. So why did the Reds sign him to a three-year, $25.5 million contract?

Who the hell knows?