Monday, October 15, 2007

A Mediocre Steve Phillips Chat

Steve Phillips: The Rockies continue to roll, and it looks like the Indians will make it interesting. What's on everybody's minds?

RSSG: Should my 3-year old son get a flu shot this fall? I’ve heard they’re very beneficial, especially for a kid his age, but then you hear about all the people who get the flu shot and then have the flu for a week. What a conundrum! Oh, is this the wrong chat for this?

Chris (CT): Steve, is Daisuke going to get it done tonight? Will he stop nibbling and throw strikes?

Steve Phillips: I'm looking for him to have a good outing, but I also think Jake Westbrook will pitch well. The game will be decided by the bullpens, I think, which we have seen will create an interesting matchup, as both teams' bullpens are effective. I can't imagine Eric Gagne getting the ball, though, in any critical situation for the Red Sox.

RSSG: We’re all “looking for him to have a good outing.” Does that mean he will? Can you guarantee it? And why would you ever think Westbrook would have a good outing? Sox players sport something like a .977 batting average (okay, maybe a little lower, but not much) against him in the last 3 years. And it’s not like he pitched particularly well against the Yankees, even though he didn’t give up many runs and got the win.

Bernie (Boston): Hi Steve, it seems to me the only thing that can cool down the Rockies might be their own torrid pace. If they sweep, they would then be sitting around for quite a while--what do you think?

Steve Phillips: I tend to agree with you that having eight or nine days off may not be the best thing for a hot team. That being said, nothing seems to be stopping the Rockies at this point. I'm sure they would rather keep playing heading into the World Series, but I don't expect they would want to take a couple of losses and risk not getting into the World Series. Either way, they're going to be a very tough team to beat.

RSSG: This was a good point from our own Bernie and Steve actually gives a good answer, even if he veers into the stupid for a moment.

Steven (Indianapolis, IN): What are your thoughts on the Reds choice of Dusty Baker as their next manager?

Steve Phillips: I've always been a big Dusty Baker fan, as he is his players' biggest cheerleader. He can build players up, which is important to maximize their potential. He will only be as good, though, in Cincinnati, as the pitches he has on the roster. Hopefully they'll upgrade the pitching this offseason and give him a chance to win.

RSSG: Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that Dusty Baker is an awful manager. Except Steve Phillips, who thinks Dusty will be good because he’s a good cheerleader.

Steve Phillips: Having worked with Dusty at ESPN, I like him even more now than I did before. I think he is a thoughtful, intelligent baseball man, and a great person.

RSSG: A good cheerleader and a great person. Great. Look for 100 wins for the Reds in 2008!

Jacob (Amherst): Is Clint Hurdle lucky or has he actually progressed into being a good manager? Every move he makes seems to have paid off during this stretch.

Steve Phillips: I think Clint Hurdle is doing a very good job managin his team. He's trusting his players and trusting the matchups, and the results certainly are there. I've known Clint for a long time dating back to his days as a minor league manager with the Mets. He's come a long way and I'm happy for him and his family that he's having success.

RSSG: At one point late in the season, the Rockies were 76-72, a mediocre team. They’ve now won 20 of 21. A lot of that is luck. But they’re God’s team, so they have that going for them, which is nice.

Colin (Yonkers): Steve, as a Yankee fan, should I be worried about Hal and Hank?

Steve Phillips: I wouldn't worry just yet. I think it's a good sign that they're willing to take the time to hear the front office staff's opinion before rushing in to any decision on Joe Torre. This first decision will tell a lot about who they are and how they will run the Yankees in the future. I think the right decision for the Yankees is to keep Joe Torre. It'll be interesting to see their perspective.

RSSG: Steve, can you give us any insight on why you think Joe Torre is the right manager for the Yankees? I mean, they haven’t advanced past the ALDS since their epic ALCS collapse in 2004 and haven’t won a World Series since 2000. Why shouldn’t they go with someone else? And if they did, who would you choose?

Buzzmaster: Sorry folks, we are having some technical problems. The chat will resume shortly.

RSSG: Sorry… I guess I created too much thinking for Steve.

Grant (NYC): Steve, Can you explain how the "playoff share" system works? Since I have no real stake in the game when it comes to the NLCS, I am pulling for the Rockies because they voted to give a share to Michael Coolbaugh's widow.

SportsNation Buzzmaster: The players on each team get a percentage based on where their team finished. The players vote as to which players and staff get shares of the allocation. Some get 100 percent, while players who came in at the trade deadline, for instance, get voted a percentage by their peers. The Rockies made an extraordinary gesture that speaks volumes as to their character.

RSSG: The 2004 Red Sox voted a playoff share for just about everyone who was involved with the 2004 season, including Pedro’s little friend. And yet they’re universally despised outside of RSN.

Steve (Hopkinton, MA): Steve, Does the post season stats for Manny finally make the Sox appreciate him and stop trying to trade him?

Steve Phillips: Well, Manny is a tough one because he does do things that can disrupot the chemistry of a team because he often times wants to be treated by different rules. But he is not malicious in anything that he does and in my opinion is well worth the headaches that come with him. He is one of the best hitters in the history of the game, and the numbers prove that. He is a first ballot Hall Of Famer. The time that he missed during the season this year, may actually be the difference between the Sox winning the series or not. He looks very fresh and is locked in at the plate. The Red Sox and their fans will probably never fully appreciate his greatness because of his quirks. That king of appreciation will probably take place 20 years from now when fans look back on all that he has done.

RSSG: I’d love to be King of Appreciation. How great of a job would that be? You’d just be doling out happiness all day.

As for Manny, I don’t believe we’ve seen any trade rumors for Manny for quite some time now. Everyone appreciates Manny; it’s just that he doesn’t always hustle, he always has phantom injuries, and he’s a terrible fielder. He’s always hit well, including in the postseason (WS MVP, anyone?). Steve’s answer is stupid.

Brian (Hartford, CT): Because Beckett only threw 80 pitches in Game 1 through 6 innings, there was talk of him being able to take the ball on short rest in game 4, and again on full rest for game 7. If the Sox lose tonight, what is the likelihood that they will get desperate and actually consider this an option?

Steve Phillips: I would be very surprised if they bring him back on short rest. He is a great pitcher, but history indicates that even great pitchers coming back on short rest tend not to be succesful. It is not like the Red Sox have a slouch pitching in Game 4 as Wakefield had a very good season this year. If think their best chance is to go with Wakefield in Game 4 and bring back a fresh Beckett in Game 5, regardless of tonight's outcome.

RSSG: A “very good” season for Wakefield? I seem to remember his final numbers being average at best. Yes, I just looked them up and he was below average. In fact, his post-All-Star ERA was 5.25 and he allowed a .283 avg during that time. But I agree with Steve’s answer, overall.

Justin (USC): I read youropinion that the Mets and A-Rod are not a fit?? What then do the Mets need to do and whom do you see them going after?

Steve Phillips: The Mets need pitching help and outfield depth and a second baseman. Beltran, Reyes and Wright are the core, Gomez and Milledge can be used as some sort of rotation in the outfield, but I think they need a veteran presence there. They may try to resign Alou, but there are always health issues there. But the Mets' failures are more a result of their pitching. Delgado had a tough year but I expect him to be better in 08. Reyes trailed off a bit, but I think he will learn from this year and put together an entire season next year. It looks like Glavine will not be back. And there are questions as far as El Duque and Pedro. The Mets should be patient, however, and see how the Santana situation plays out.

RSSG: Yes, lots of obvious stuff here. But all Steve offers is they should “see how the Santana situation plays out.” Yeah, Johan will fix all of their problems. That’s all they need.

Mikey, Wildwood, NJ: Please tell me the Red Sox don't get ARod. Papi-Arod-Manny in the middle of their line-up, even for a year, with their pitching would be a Yankee fan's nightmare.

Steve Phillips: The RedSox are an interesting canddiate there, because at some point they are going to be free of Manny's $20 million salary. That is a pretty big line item, that would certainly eat up the majority of Arods salary. It would make a very interesting dynamic in the rivalry. I do not beleive it is part of the grand plan. But Theo has been unconventional in the past. I believe that the Gaints, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, and Cubs are more likely suitors.

RSSG: This might be a record for spelling errors in one answer for Steve. He’s right about the teams who will pursue ARod the most, but he forgets the biggest one: the Yankees! And just because the $20 million would “eat up the majority of ARod’s salary” doesn’t make it a good investment.

Patrick (Brooklyn, NY): Was this just an off-year for Matsui or do you think he's on the decline?

Steve Phillips: I think Matsui was nagged by a lot of injuries this year. To some extent it impacted his performance. Keep in mind that he did hit 25 HR and drove in 103 runs. His second half was .298 14 HR and 50 RBI. His season was not that far off from his career averages. He is still a good clutch hitter and a threat in that lineup. The real challenge for the Yankees next year will be finding time for both Damon and Matsui with Giambi at DH.

RSSG: Finding time for Damon? The guy is done. They’ll be lucky if they can’t find time for him.

Mike (Columbus, OH): Who do you think is going to win tonight? What kind of game will it be?

Steve Phillips: I think the Red Sox will win a 6-4 type game. I suspect it will be decided late in the game against the bullpen.

RSSG: See, I think it’ll be more of a higher scoring game, like a 10-7. I can’t say who will win. I honestly have no clue. But I also think the starting pitchers will decide it. Both guys are completely unpredictable.

Travers, SF, CA: Any chance Andruw Jones ends up in SF as they're only power for next year?

Steve Phillips: I think there is a chance. I think the Giants will rebuild and they have a major slot in their budget and they need power. A center fielder that can cover a lot of ground is critical in that park. It is a good backup plan if the Giants cannot land A-Rod.

RSSG: I’d love to see 2 of the most overrated players go to SF in 2 of the worst contracts in the history of baseball. What a great story that would be! And Andruw doesn’t cover all that much ground anymore. Do some research.

Ernie (Ann Arbor): A life long White Sox fan. What can I expect this Winter as far as moves go?

Steve Phillips: I think the White Sox will be aggressive. Kenny Willaims tends to target certain players and do whatever he can to close the deal. It will be an active offseason as they try to retool the pitching and offense. Expect the unexpected as Williams tries to bring back some excitement to White Sox fans.

RSSG: “Expect the unexpected” has to be the dumbest saying ever. And I love how Steve puts a little jab in that the White Sox need to retool pretty much the entire team.

Howard(Columbia SC): Could you see the Yanks trading Wang & Cabrera to Minn for Santana and then signing Rowand for CF

Steve Phillips: That is not enough for Santana. I am much more willing to talk is you offer me Wand and Canoe. Otherwise I will shop around and find the most desperate team in the mix. Who knows what the Red Sox are willing to do. I will call and find out especially now that I know the Yankees have interest.

RSSG: Good call. Who knows what the Sox are willing to do? I do. I don’t believe they’ll attempt to acquire Santana. Their young pitching is so good that they’d prefer the young guys locked up for 6+ seasons. Their starting pitching is already so strong. I love Johan, but they won’t go after him.


Sister Jean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sister Jean said...

I'm planning on the Sox winning tonight. I'm going to say that Dice-K will step up although I do think the bullpens are the key and hope Manny and David will be in good form.

RSSG, did you see the hysterical post at Babes Love Baseball about Gagne? Title: "Gagne Needs New Goggles."

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

That's funny. I enjoyed the post (don't remember where) called "Open letter to Red Sox Nation, from Eric Gagne"