Sorry for my soul-baring yesterday. We now return to your regularly-scheduled programming.
So…in just 109 plate appearances, Eric Bruntlett has a WAR of -0.9. That means that if Bruntlett started every game, the Phillies would win roughly six fewer games than if they picked up a scrub from AAA.
And remember, if Chase Utley breaks his leg tomorrow, this is the guy we’re replacing him with.
On a related note, here are the mortal locks for the team I’d take to the playoffs, assuming everyone that can be healthy will be (Injury concerns denoted with*):
Starting Rotation: Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Martinez
Catcher: Ruiz, Bako
First Base: Howard
Second Base: Utley
Third Base: Feliz, Dobbs
Outfield: Ibanez, Werth, Victorino, Francisco, Stairs
Bullpen: Madson, Myers, Happ*, Lidge, Durbin, Romero*, Park*, Eyre*
That makes 24. Add in cover for second base and that makes 25. I’d take Miguel Cairo (check that, I’d take Neil Sellers), but I know Uncle Cholly won’t. So Eric Bruntlett makes 25.
And assuming that one of those four relievers can’t go, my first four to replace them are: Walker, Condrey, Moyer (particularly if it’s Happ), and Escalona. Anybody but Kyle Kendrick. Though wouldn’t it be a riot if they brought up Kyle Drabek for the postseason bullpen? That would absolutely kill me.
The most controversial elements of my playoff roster are probably these:
1) Lidge is a mortal lock to make it
2) Jamie Moyer is conspicuously absent
3) Pedro’s in the rotation instead of Happ.
1) Lidge might very well figure it all out over the next 2 1/2 weeks. Who knows? At any rate, he’s got the best stuff on the staff, even if he can’t locate it anymore. I want that slider on my team. I want someone who has closed out a playoff game before (remember that even though Myers closed for a playoff team, I don’t think the 2007 Phillies ever led in the DS. I could be wrong, I was sort of drunk. At any rate, he never closed a game, of that much I’m certain). At any rate, I’m not convinced that Madson isn’t too jittery to pull it off from the big chair, I know that’s a very sports talk radio opinion for someone who busted out WAR two posts after he promised not to, but it’s a gut feeling and I’m going with it because Malcom Gladwell told me to.
Wow, that was an enormous run-on sentence.
Anyway, even if Lidge sucks, can he be that much worse than Clay Condrey or Tyler Walker? I’m not sure he can be.
A propos to absolutely nothing, Gladwell’s book is the first thing that Google gives you when you search the word “Blink.” Now, in my experience, when someone references the word “blink,” about 94 percent of the time they’re talking about involuntary eyelid movement, with the other 6 percent split more or less evenly between the Gladwell book and Blink-182. It seems to me that Google should respect this.
2) Leaving Moyer off the playoff roster. Yeah, it’s an asshole thing to do, but when you shorten the rotation, there’s just no place for him. He’s been very effective since being taken out of the rotation, both as a spot starter and a post-rain-delay pitcher. But whichever of Happ or Martinez you leave out of the rotation can do that. Last season, the Dodgers put Greg Maddux on the playoff roster and he didn’t really do anything. It would be the same thing with Moyer–as much as I’d like to have him as a security blanket in case something happens to one of our starters and just for good juju’s sake, putting him on the roster means leaving off a more effective middle reliever. Now if it comes to pass that one or more of Romero and Eyre can’t go…tell you what, we’ll get to that in….
3) …right now. As much as putting Happ in the rotation would be such a feel-good story, and he’s been just excellent at times (did you know the Phillies have had three left-handed starting pitchers throw complete-game shutouts this season? I’m not even going to begin to try and figure out the last team to pull that off. Maybe if I get really bored.) But he’s so much more useful in the bullpen than Pedro. He can not only fill the role that Moyer’s filling, but he can provide cover for our LOOGYs if they get hurt. I’d like to see Happ pull a Livan Hernandez or a Marty Bystrom as much as anyone, but I’ll go for the best pitcher of my lifetime.
The only potential downside to starting Pedro is the possibility of our facing the Yankees in the World Series and being bombarded with chants of “Who’s Your Daddy!” But on second thought, the AL has home-field advantage and that means that if Pedro starts Game 3 or 4, it’ll be at the Bank.
Oh, and if this is a Yankees-Phillies World Series, the number you need to remember is 81. That’s the record for most runs scored in a World Series, set by the Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 (bangs head against desk until blood pours from ears). If we get 7 games between these two offenses in these two parks, you can kiss that record goodbye. Well, I just did the math, and at their current averages, both of these teams would combine for 10.7 runs a game, or a hair under 75 over 7 games. (Though I suppose it would be difficult to score 74.9 runs, wouldn’t it?). So they might not be a mortal lock, but they’d be within a shout of doing so.
And I’ve officially tangented myself into submission. Have a pleasant weekend, and enjoy the following infectious twee pop offering to follow. Good luck getting it out of your head anytime this week.