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Old 06-02-2019, 05:06 PM   #1
The_Myth
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The Dead Zone: The Philadelphia Phillies (1984-

Imagine, in the course of a weekójust before the start of the seasonóa team executive trades away an eventual top-five MVP finisher in one league, and the eventual MVP in the other league. Thatís precisely what Bill Giles did in March 1984, sending reliever Willie Hernandez to the Tigers, then moving Gary Matthews Jr. to the Cubs. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young and MVP for the eventual world champions, while Matthews finished fifth in NL MVP voting for the NL East champion Cubs. The Phillies would go 81-81, the first of nine consecutive seasons without a postseason berth, the start of a dead era in Philadelphia baseball.

At the time the moves were somewhat understood. After a sustained run of success from 1976 to Ď83, including a world championship, two NL pennants, and six postseason appearances, there were hints that rebuilding, or at least retooling, had to happen. A need to contend past 1980 drove the Phils front office to send away more than a few prospects and young talents, including Lonnie Smith, Bob Walk, Keith Moreland, Dickie Noles, Jerry Reed, Roy Smith, Julio Franco, Jerry Willard, Lance McCullers, and of course, future hall of famer Ryne Sandberg. Annually the Phils got older, climaxing with that Ď83 club that included Pete Rose, Tony Perez, and Joe Morgan. Once they left after the Ď83 season, the front office mustíve felt a need to get young, and quickly, so they could get back to being contenders in the mid-80s. (And also to save money probably, but weíre not going there for this sim.)

So, on March 22, 1984, the Phils sent Hernandez - a good reliever blocked at closer by the better Al Holland - along with acquired-that-day Dave Bergman to Detroit for utility bat John Wockenfuss and outfielder Glenn Wilson. This was about getting Wilson, a promising 25-year-old hitter who had otherwise found himself on the outs in Detroit.

But with so many outfielders on the roster, Giles made a corresponding move four days later, shipping out the 33-year-old Matthews (who had shown signs of a power decline), plus defense-only outfielder Bob Dernier to the Cubs for reliever Bill Campbell (who would slot in Hernandezís place in the bullpen) and utility bat Mike Diaz, 23, who put up good numbers in AAA in Ď83.

Add to that haul a few other youngsters - outfielder Von Hayes (age 25), second baseman Juan Samuel (23), and starting pitchers Charles Hudson (25), Marty Bystrom (25), and Kevin Gross (22) - and Giles had reason to believe that, while the Ď84 team might take some licks, the future was pretty good in Philly. He even said as much before the season started.

Thereís no way he - or most people - saw Matthews, Dernier, and Hernandez making such a dent in the Ď84 campaign.

But forget all that. Giles has just hired me to take over as general manager of the Phillies, while he re-assumes the role of owner and team president. He wants me to oversee this group, in which I have to balance a youth movement with a need to contend. Considering Mike Schmidt is still in his prime, Steve Carlton remains a top National League arm, and John Denny just won the NL Cy Young, thereís reason to think a refreshed group of Phillies can return to prominence sooner rather than later.

Thatís my job. Itís March 1984, and Iím here to rescue the Philadelphia Phillies from the dead zone.


Housekeeping:
  • Iím using the 20-80 scale.
  • Injury frequency is low. (Likely to bump it to OOTP Normal if this heads into, say, 1986.)
  • Talent change randomness is 115. I like just a bit more variation than normal.
  • Trade settings are difficulty hard with neutral preference.
  • Player evaluation is 40/30/20/10.
  • Lineup selection is traditional; it is 1984.
  • First-year player draft is Nov. 1, 1984. That way the 1985 draft class starts playing in 1985, and I avoid holding the draft in the middle of free agency, causing an opportunity to game the system when it comes to signing players with arbitration conditions.

And a couple notes on my style:
  • I try to be faithful to the historical era and to the job of general managing. Thus, Iím not going to make a slew of trades all the time, and I donít mess with the 25-man roster too much before May/June.
  • Also, I donít promote and demote in the minors until usually late-May. And yeah, Iím handling promotions and demotions.
  • Iím doing daily rosters for the Phillies; essentially, I want to micro-manage playing time, and this is my favorite way to do so.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:30 PM   #2
The_Myth
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March 27, 1984

We’re nearing the end of spring training. Here are my goals from owner Bill Giles:
  • Win the championship, by 1985
  • Sign Larry Andersen to an extension, by 1985
  • Bring in a manager with a better reputation, by 1987
  • Build a team that can bring a championship home, by 1987

Giles obviously wants a winner (though he also wants a quick retool), considering his priority is “extreme winning.” Heck, the Phils haven’t finished at .500 or below since 1974, and only once in the last nine years have they finished with a winning percentage under .530. His patience is “tolerant,” while his fiscal personality is “charitable.” An owner who expects to win but doesn’t mind shelling out the bucks isn’t bad at all.

Of course, I’m not sure if I’ll win the World Series in the next two seasons. But I can certainly build a contending team within four years, and I can both extend Andersen, a reliever, and upgrade my manager in time (current skipper Paul Owens is "average"). I shouldn’t have problems meeting most of my goals.

That said, as I mentioned, there are still aging veterans here, though nowhere near as old as the 1983 version that won the National League pennant. Here are my 10 oldest players, and how much they’re making in 1984 (of a total $9.1 million payroll):

Jerry Koosman, 41 - SP - $700K
Tug McGraw, 39 - RP - $380K
Steve Carlton, 39 - SP - $1M
Bill Campbell, 35 - RP - $380K
Garry Maddox, 34 - CF - $770K
John Wockenfuss, 34 - 1B - $330K
Mike Schmidt, 34 - 3B - $2M
John Denny, 31 - SP - $1.1M
Al Holland, 31 - RP - $360K
Ivan de Jesus, 31 - $163K

That’s $7.183 million of my $9.1 million payroll committed to 10 older players, a few of them with contracts taking them into 1986. The point: If any of these older guys declines hard, it could be hard to get out from their contracts. We'll need to be nimble, and sooner than later.

There is some young talent on the roster, though, and I’m hoping some of these kids - some of whom making a slight impression in 1983 - can deliver in 1984.

Let’s go through the top-rated prospects in my system.

Top Prospects

1. Darren Daulton - C - 22 - 46/60

Drafted in 1980, Daulton has steadily ascended the ranks thanks to his outstanding plate discipline (70 rating). Last year at AA Reading, Daulton posted a .425 OBP with 106 walks and 87 strikeouts. His 39 extra-base hits in 483 plate appearances wasn’t bad, either. He rates a 65 at catcher (60 catcher ability, 60 catcher arm), making him a quick mover. In fact, he got four plate appearances late in the 1983 season with the Phillies. The expectation is a half to full season in AAA Portland with a full-time Philly ETA of 1985. He should be a first-division regular, and could be one of the better catchers in the game, in his prime.

2. Mike LaValliere - C - 23 - 36/48

LaValliere is a third baseman who converted to catcher, and he played both positions at AA Reading in 1983 because he needed plate appearances while Daulton spent much of the time at backstop. Still, he accrued just 252 plate appearances, though he hit a stout .292/.382/.440 with 22 extra-base knocks. He’s Daulton lite, profiling as a solid on-base threat (60 rating) with decent power (50 gap, 45 home run). With a 60 catcher rating (55 catcher ability, 60 catcher arm), LaValliere should stick there, so he’ll repeat Reading in 1984 but as the primary receiver. His ceiling is average major league regular.

3. Juan Samuel - 2B - 23 - 40/46

The youngster signed out of the Dominican Republic has a potent combination of speed and power. In his first three minor league seasons - age 20-22 - he stole 163 bases and slammed 56 home runs. He started 1983 at AA Reading, and while Samuel struggled to get on base (.234 AVG, .267 OBP), he did notch 21 extra-base hits in 196 plate appearances, plus 19 steals. Promoted to AAA Portland, Samuel went off, hitting .330/.388/.617 with 37 extra-base hits and 33 steals in 289 plate appearances. Excitement level is high for him, though we should be mindful of poor plate discipline (90 strikeouts to 34 walks in 1983) and still-developing defensive profile (35 at second base; 45 infield range, 35 infield error, 35 infield arm, 45 turn double play). Samuel may be a thrill to watch, but sometimes he’ll be agonizing; still, he could be an all-star-caliber talent and will start 1984 in Philadelphia, as he’s by far the organization’s top second baseman.

4. John W Russell - C - 23 - 43/45

Another top catching prospect, Russell is best at backstop (60 catcher rating) but can also play first base (40), left field (45) and right field (40). Really it’s his bat that’s played, with a .501 SLG (27 HR, 23 2B) in 1983 at AAA Portland (with 109 strikeouts, however). Because of the power tool (55 gap, 60 home run) and his position flexibility, he jumped the line and started at the top levels of the minors. In 1984 he’s on the short list to start the season in Philadelphia; from here, he’s a solid bench bat with potential for a breakout in the majors.

5. Mike Diaz - 1B - 23 - 40/44

Acquired in the trade with the Cubs that also sent Bill Campbell to the Phillies, Diaz is a major-league ready do-everything type with some power (50 gap, 55/60 home run), a decent eye (45/50 rating), and average contact tool (45 rating). For AAA Iowa in 1983, he hit .324/.400/.592 with 31 extra-base hits in 271 plate appearances, showing breakout potential. He can play catcher (65 rating), plus first base (50), third base (50), left field (50), and right field (45). He’ll primarily play first and third at AAA Portland in 1984, and will be one of the first to Philly in the case of an injury or two. He figures to be a good bench bat, at best a starter in the corner infield. Catcher isn’t out of the question, either, but he won’t develop full time there in the minors.

6. Kelly Downs - SP - 23 - 33/42

Since being drafted in 1979, Downs has steadily moved up the system, though his previous two seasons in AAA proved a mixed bag. On one hand, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was poor (70/72 in 1982, 71/61 in 1983), but on the other hand, he limits hard contact (0.7 HR/9 last two seasons). He throws an average fastball, curveball, and changeup mix without overpowering hitters. To reach the majors and stay there, he’ll need to improve control (40/45 rating); otherwise, he’s likely to be a quad-A type that can fill in for a couple of starts each season.

7. Chris James - 3B/LF - 21 - 30/42

At just 21, James is showing to be a highly skilled hitter with speed and athleticism. In rookie ball in 1982, he hit .317/.381/.586, crushing 34 extra-base hits in 253 plate appearances. Moving to A Spartanburg in 1983, he continued to stun, hitting .297/.358/.515 with 53 extra-base hits in 562 plate appearances. He’s being aggressively pushed to AA Reading for 1984, where he’ll be tested to maintain and improve average plate discipline (40/40 rating) while continuing to show potential with his power and speed combination. He played a lot of left field over the past two seasons, but his third base play has increased annually. This year he’ll exclusively play third (45 defense, 60 infield arm rating). If numbers bear out, we’re talking an organizational top-three prospect with all-star potential and major league aspirations in 1985.

8. Don Carman - RP - 24 - 36/41

After proving in 1982 he needed more seasoning at AA Reading, Carman responded with a 2.75 ERA in 1983. He still walks too many batters (4.8 BB/9 in 1983) as his control suffers (35/45 rating), so that will need to improve as the reliever takes on AAA Portland in 1984. A strong start could bring this fastball-changeup-sinker pitcher to Philadelphia by midseason, but it’s all about the free passes.

9. Michael Jackson - SP - 19 - 30/41

Selected in the second round of the 1983-84 supplemental draft, Jackson comes out of high school to pick for the Gulf Coast Phillies in rookie ball. The six-foot, 185-pounder has a decent fastball (45/45), slider (45/50), forkball (40/40), and sinker (40/50), and while the stuff is playable (50/50 rating), he’ll need to improve control (30/45). A mid-rotation starter is possible, but a back-end guy is more likely at this point.

10. Jeff Gray - RP - 20 - 36/40

The 20-year-old Gray was signed out of college early in 1984. With an above-average curveball (50/55) and an average sinker (45/45), he’s slotted as a back-end reliever. He’ll need more movement on his two-seamer (35/35), but if he can generate swings and misses with it, he should move up the ladder relatively quickly. He’ll start in rookie ball for the Gulf Coast Phillies, but ending the year in class-A Peninsula isn’t out of the question.

11. Steve Jeltz - SS - 24 - 30/40
12. Rick Schu - 3B - 22 - 30/40
13. Larry Ray - LF - 25 - 39/39
14. Jeff Stone - LF - 23 - 38/39

This group includes four players who’ll begin 1984 in the upper levels. Jeltz might provide middle infield depth in the majors with an outside shot at a starting role; Schu skipped AA Reading, so this year he'll start there, adding second base to his repertoire; Ray is probably a fifth outfielder at this point; while Stone - who has stolen 311 bases over the last three years and won the Eastern League MVP award in 1983 - could morph into a regular thanks to his wheels.

15. Keith Miller - 2B - 20 - 34/39
16. Keith Hughes - LF - 20 - 29/38

Two players a bit further from the majors at this point. Drafted in the 16th round in 1984, Miller has a good eye, speed, and position flexibility, and will begin at A Spartanburg. The offense-first Hughes had a breakout in 1983 in Spartanburg, and will move to A Peninsula in 1984.

17. John McLarnan - RP - 22 - 38/38
18. Tony Ghelfi - SP - 22 - 37/37
19. Mike Maddux - SP - 22 - 28/37

Finally, three pitchers who could move quickly. McLarnan will start at A Spartanburg, but with a plus circle-change, and a nearly developed repertoire, he’s a candidate to finish the year at AA Reading or even higher. Ghelfi got 14 innings in Philly in 1983; he could get a few spot starts if necessary in 1984. And Maddux needs a good run at AA Reading before being seriously considered.

What does this all tell me? That my most viable prospects are at the upper levels, but I also don’t have a sure thing in the system (except maybe Daulton). It also looks like a weaker system. So I can’t really subtract, but also, I'm not going to sell or buy too hard. That means a real challenge for me.

Last edited by The_Myth; 06-11-2019 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:29 PM   #3
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March 28, 1984

Giles tells me that teams have been showing interest in my catchers. Makes sense, considering I have some depth there. Letís look at my current spring roster (after three rounds of cuts):

C - Bo Diaz / Ozzie Virgil Jr / John W Russell
1B - Len Matuszek / John Wockenfuss / Mark Funderburk
2B - Juan Samuel
3B - Mike Schmidt
SS - Ivan de Jesus
LF - Glenn Wilson / Greg Gross
CF - Von Hayes / Garry Maddox
RF - Joe Lefebvre / Sixto Lezcano
UTIL - Luis Aguayo / Kiko Garcia / Bobby Mitchell

SP - Steve Carlton / John Denny / Charles Hudson / Jerry Koosman / Kevin Gross / Marty Bystrom
RP - Al Holland / Bill Campbell / Larry Andersen / Tug McGraw / Steve Mura / Dave Wehrmeister

Here are the five cuts left to make this spring:

1. Catcher
2. First base
3. Utility
4. Utility / Outfielder
5. Pitcher

Letís start with the final three cuts listed: Lezcano has been bad this spring, but his major league contract makes it almost impossible to move him at the moment. Itís most likely two of the utility bats will have to be sent to the minors. Iím leaning Aguayo and Mitchell.

At pitcher, Gross has out-pitched Bystrom this spring. Bystrom is out of options; thus, I could trade or waive him, or I could make him a long reliever, thus forcing my hand between Mura and Wehrmeister.

First base is interesting because Funderburk, a minor league free agent signing, has been wielding a hot bat this spring. Meanwhile, Matuszek, 29 and well-liked by Giles, has been mediocre over the spring, while Wockenfuss - acquired in that Willie Hernandez trade - has a pricey little contract for a bench bat. Sadly, Funderburk may need to start the year in AAA Portland.

Then thereís catcher. Russell has been a nice surprise this spring, and since Darren Daulton will be starting daily in AAA, and Mike LaValliere will be in AA Reading, there isnít a ton of room for Russell. (Russell also plays first base and corner outfield, but those spots in Portland will be filled with guys Iím prioritizing, as well.) Meantime, I could stand to move some of that catching depth.

Iíd rather keep Diaz as heís a better defender, but heís also making slightly more ($450K to Virgilís $295K) and is a free agent after this season. But also, Iím likely in 1985 to run full time with Daulton, so Iíll need a competent backup whoís been around. Iím not sure Russell is that guy. Still, Iím leaning toward trading Virgil and letting Diaz and potentially Russell be my catchers, along with Wockenfuss, who also has good backstop ability.

March 29, 1984

As spring ends, I field calls from teams wanting both Virgil and Bystrom. Iíd love to move both, considering theyíd free up space on my 25-man roster and offer me more flexibility going forward.

Here are the teams Iím considering:
  • Boston - Would center around Jody Reed or Jeff Sellers
  • Chicago - Would center around Jamie Moyer or Billy Hatcher
  • Chicago - Would center around John Cangelosi or John Johnson
  • Houston - Would center around Glenn Davis or Ron Mathis
  • Oakland - Would center around Luis Polonia
  • St Louis - Would center around Vince Coleman, Jeff Fassero or Terry Pendleton

I start with St. Louis, offering Virgil and Bystrom for a package that revolves around two of the three listed, plus another pitching prospect.

March 30, 1984

Time to make some decisions.

Here are the final spring numbers for our final three first basemen, plus our potential backup catcher:
  • Len Matuszek - 1B/LF/3B - 29 - 38 PA, .235/.316/.559, .324 ISO, .231 BABIP, 6 XBH
  • John Wockenfuss - 1B/C - 35 - 20 PA, .278/.350/.611, .333 ISO, .214 BABIP, 2 XBH
  • Mark Funderburk - 1B/RF - 26 - 44 PA, .286/.318/.786, .500 ISO, .172 BABIP, 7 XBH
  • John W Russell - C/1B/LF/RF - 23 - 31 PA, .310/.355/.655, .345 ISO, .353 BABIP, 4 XBH

For all the excitement about Funderburk, Matuszek quietly closed the gap late and put up a respectable spring line. The former hasnít been in the majors since 1981 and only had 62 plate appearances last season (in AAA), while the latter has been in and out of the majors since 1981. Neither has made a real impression in the majors. And I guess Iím split between the two, maybe even leaning Matuszek since heís a lefty, and I have only a couple of them on the roster.

Meanwhile, Wockenfuss has logged as many catcher innings as first base innings. Iíve written about Russell being a backup if I trade Virgil, but Wockenfuss could also log some innings there. Either way, both played well enough to merit a major league assignment.

Now the utility options:
  • Luis Aguayo - 2B/3B/SS - 25 - 60 PA, .255/.317/.255, 0 XBH, 8 K, 5 BB
  • Kiko Garcia - SS/2B/3B - 30 - 50 PA, .326/.380/.457, 2 XBH, 8 K, 3 BB
  • Bobby Mitchell - LF/RF/2B/3B/SS - 30 - 52 PA, .260/.288/.320, 2 XBH, 5 K, 1 BB

Garcia is a shoo-in. He was the incumbent, and he hit well.

Considering the lukewarm performances by Aguayo and Mitchell, Iím thinking in the event of a Virgil trade, Garcia, Russell and Wockenfuss make the team, plus a regular first baseman (leaning Matuszek over Funderburk). If Virgil stays, itís him, plus Garcia, Wockenfuss, and probably Matuszek.

And on the mound:
  • Marty Bystrom - SP - 25 - 14 IP, 12.21 ERA, 14 K, 10 BB
  • Kevin Gross - SP - 22 - 17.2 IP, 1.02 ERA, 13 K, 5 BB
  • Steve Mura - RP - 29 - 12.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, 13 K, 11 BB
  • Dave Wehrmeister - RP - 31 - 13.2 IP, 2.63 ERA, 13 K, 11 BB

The odd man out is clearly Bystrom, and if a trade happens, this takes care of itself. If not, Iíll probably just send Wehrmeister to the minors until I can get something done.

Last edited by The_Myth; 06-04-2019 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:32 PM   #4
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You'll do fine as long as you avoid signing Lance Parrish as a free agent. Avoid Mike Easler too.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:12 PM   #5
The_Myth
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And I'm sure I can come up with a better slogan than "Lance us a pennant!"
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:02 AM   #6
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March 31, 1984

St. Louis continues to reject my trade proposals for Ozzie Virgil and Marty Bystrom. So I’ll pivot - Oakland wants Bystrom and Virgil, and is willing to surrender Luis Polonia (CF, 36/45), Steve Kiefer (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 28/41) and Tim Belcher (SP, 20/42) to start. Then there’s Chicago, which will do Billy Hatcher (LF/CF, 33/45), Jamie Moyer (SP, 31/43) and Henry Cotto (LF/CF, 30/39). Finally, Houston will trade us Glenn Davis (1B, 33/49), Randy Braun (CF/RF/LF/1B, 30/40) and Jeff Heathcock (SP, 36/36). Keith Bonine (SP, 40/42) is also available.

I go back to Oakland, who also offers starter Curt Young (SP, 39/42), who could slide into the AAA rotation. St. Louis doesn’t counter, and Chicago comes up lame. Houston’s offer never seemed that solid, so I think I’m set. Let’s do it.

April 1, 1984

TRADE:

To Oakland Athletics:

Ozzie Virgil Jr - C - 27
Marty Bystrom - SP - 25

To Philadelphia Phillies

Luis Polonia - CF - 20
Steve Kiefer - 1B/2B/3B/SS - 23
Tim Belcher - SP - 22
Curt Young - RP - 23
Cash - $100,000

My fan interest decreases slightly; no worries there. Polonia and Belcher go to class-A Spartanburg, while Kiefer heads to AA Reading and Young to AAA Portland.

That finalizes the roster, too:

C - Bo Diaz / John W Russell
1B - Len Matuszek
2B - Juan Samuel
3B - Mike Schmidt
SS - Ivan de Jesus
LF - Glenn Wilson / Greg Gross
CF - Von Hayes / Garry Maddox
RF - Joe Lefebvre / Sixto Lezcano
UTIL - John Wockenfuss, Kiko Garcia

SP - Steve Carlton / John Denny / Charles Hudson / Jerry Koosman / Kevin Gross
RP - Al Holland / Bill Campbell / Larry Andersen / Tug McGraw / Steve Mura / Dave Wehrmeister

Russell, Mura, and Wehrmeister are all added to the 40-man roster, increasing it to 33.

Let’s now move to Larry Andersen’s extension. My boss wants it done, and as I have $4.4 million available for extensions, I think I can make it work. I’d like to do no more than two additional years, with a contract expiring after the 1986 season. So, with that, I ask what Andersen wants:

A four-year deal worth a total of $1.29 million (average $322K per season).

I’ll meet him close to the average (he currently makes $165K), starting at $300K per season for two additional. He says it’s fair and will consider; I feel good about the offer.

April 2, 1984

It’s opening day, which means predictions and rankings. Also, it means tons of players on waivers, though I’m not dipping in this year. No need for a quad-A type or a flier when I have more than enough currently on my MLB and AAA rosters.

Onto the predictions: Experts have us going 78-84, nine games out of first in the NL East (the Expos are predicted to take the flag with an 87-75 mark). This doesn’t bother me too much - I think we can win anywhere from 75 to 95 games … it’s a big margin of error this year.

Meantime, rookie Juan Samuel is an early offensive darling, predicted to hit .299/.330/.466 with 17 HR and 54 SB. Nobody seems to like Mike Schmidt or our pitching staff this year, which again, doesn’t bother me.

As for Baseball America’s top prospects. Our showing:
  • 5. Darren Daulton - C - 22
  • 69. Mike Diaz - 1B/C/3B/LF/RF - 23
  • 84. Luis Polonia - CF - 20
  • 86. Mike LaValliere - C/3B - 23
  • 87. Chris James - LF/3B - 21

That works, and heck, I acquired one of them. Plenty of excitement for Daulton, with the only prospects above him being Kirby Puckett (Minnesota), Eric Davis (Cincinnati), Mark McGwire (Oakland), and Danny Tartabull (Seattle). With those five top-100 players, our system is ranked 12th of 26 in the majors. Not bad to start.

Organizational positional rankings:
  • Catcher - 20th
  • First Base - 24th
  • Second Base - 18th
  • Third Base - 2nd
  • Shortstop - 24th
  • Left Field - 13th
  • Center Field - 16th
  • Right Field - 19th
  • Starting Pitcher - 3rd
  • Relief Pitcher - 4th
  • Closer - 13th

Pitching is my strength, clearly.

Also in the news, after a poor spring, 40-year-old Rusty Staub of the Mets announces his retirement. “Le Grand Orange” finishes his career with 2,685 hits, 290 home runs, a 52.7 WAR, and a line of .280/.363/.431. A bubble hall of famer. Take a bow, Rusty.

Last edited by The_Myth; 06-13-2019 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:37 PM   #7
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April 3, 1984

Time for our opener in Atlanta. But first, expectations:

Essentially, I want to be in the mix. After winning the National League in 1983, we’re trying to get younger but stay close enough to contention. I’m not gullible here - I know this team has weak spots, and specifically the corner outfielders, first base, possibly the middle infield, and maybe the bullpen. Okay, maybe a lot of weak spots. I’m not expecting the postseason this year, but I think we can turn it around quickly.

Will we sell? Maybe. Depends on how poorly it’s going, but I’m not going to trade pieces that can help me win in 1985. I couldn’t see a John Denny trade down the line, for example, but I could definitely see a Bo Diaz or Sixto Lezcano trade, even if those returns aren’t very strong. Also, if we’re like five games back on July 1, I’m not throwing in any towels. Fifteen games back, however …

***

With Atlanta throwing righty Pascual Perez out there for the first one, here’s my opening day lineup and roster:

1. Von Hayes - CF
2. Greg Gross - LF
3. Mike Schmidt - 3B
4. Joe Lefebvre - RF
5. Juan Samuel - 2B
6. Len Matuszek - 1B
7. Bo Diaz - C
8. Ivan de Jesus - SS
9. Steve Carlton - SP

Bench: John Wockenfuss - C/1B, John W Russell - C/1B/LF/RF, Kiko Garcia - SS/2B/3B, Glenn Wilson - LF/RF, Garry Maddox - CF, Sixto Lezcano - RF/LF

Starting Rotation: John Denny - SP, Charles Hudson - SP, Jerry Koosman - SP, Kevin Gross - SP

Bullpen: Al Holland - RP, Bill Campbell - RP, Larry Andersen - RP, Tug McGraw - RP, Steve Mura - RP, Dave Wehrmeister - RP

I’ll play a few platoons (left / right) to start the season: left field (Gross / Wilson), right field (Lefebvre / Lezcano), and first base (Matuszek / Wockenfuss). Hayes, Schmidt, and Samuel will play just about every day, while de Jesus will get sporadic days off, and Diaz will play every couple games before being subbed out by either Wockenfuss or Russell. As the season continues, I’d like to give more playing time to the younger guys (Wilson and Russell especially).

***


Game 1984-1 - Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium: Phillies 7, Braves 4 (11 innings) / 1-0

After surrendering three first-inning runs, Steve Carlton hunkers down and throws 116 pitches in a nine-inning, seven-strikeout performance. We tie it in the seventh thanks to a two-run Von Hayes single, then win it in extras with a Mike Schmidt homer, plus a few more hits.

April 4, 1984

After waiving both Mark Corey and Max Venable (minor league free-agent signings before spring training), both players clear, so I release them. Would rather they get a shot somewhere else than to languish in extended spring training.

Game 1984-2 - Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium: Phillies 3, Braves 2 / 2-0

John Denny’s first start after winning the Cy Young is a 119-pitch effort in which he goes eight and surrenders 11 hits, nine of them singles. Joe Lefebvre gets a big early hit to put the Phils ahead for good.

April 5, 1984

Good news: Larry Andersen has signed the offered contract extension of two years at $300,000 per. That takes care of one of my owner goals.

April 6, 1984


Game 1984-3 - Riverfront Stadium: Phillies 2, Reds 1 / 3-0

In a tight one, Charles Hudson goes eight, giving up just five hits while striking out four. Mike Schmidt hits his second home run, and Len Matuszek adds a solo shot. We’re 3-0, and Al Holland has three saves.

Meanwhile, after three games all of the NL East teams are above .500, while all the NL West teams are below .500.

April 7, 1984

Game 1984-4 - Riverfront Stadium: Reds 7, Phillies 6 / 3-1

Plenty of fight from my offense, including a three-hit day from Juan Samuel (including his first home run of the season).

April 8, 1984

Game 1984-5 - Riverfront Stadium: Reds 7, Phillies 6 (10) / 3-2

Larry Andersen unfortunately lets up the winning run, but we had chances to win it. Meanwhile, Kevin Gross doesn’t pitch too well (3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 K, 1 BB), but John Russell hits two homers in his first start of 1984.

April 9, 1984

An off day before the home opener. We’re ranked 13th in the first power rankings, or right in the middle. The top five:

1. Milwaukee Brewers - 5-0
2. St. Louis Cardinals - 5-0
3. Pittsburgh Pirates - 4-1
4. Montreal Expos - 4-1
5. Toronto Blue Jays - 4-1

The NL East has started out hot.

Last edited by The_Myth; 06-06-2019 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:46 PM   #8
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April 10, 1984


Game 1984-6 - Veterans Stadium: Astros 5, Phillies 2 / 3-3

Itís the home opener! Kiteman delivers the first ball, and thatís as exciting as it gets for us. We waste opportunities at the plate, while Steve Carlton probably goes an inning or two too long (8.1 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 4 K, 2 BB).

April 11, 1984

Game 1984-7 - Veterans Stadium: Astros 4, Phillies 3 / 3-4

Our fourth-straight loss. John Denny gives up three early runs, while the offense just canít come back enough. Poor performances by a number of hitters so far, though we get a big hit from John Russell.

April 12, 1984

First baseman Willie Aikens is on the waiver wire; Toronto is done with him after he hit .176/.263/.176 in 20 plate appearances. Hasty much? Heís a 53/53 and a 65 defensively at first base, still possessing 60 power and a 55 eye. Iíd debate making a claim but his $275K salary is beyond what I can afford. Blast.

April 13, 1984

Weíve faced nothing but righties so far, so plenty of plate appearances for Greg Gross, Joe Lefebvre, and Len Matuszek. That continues today, but Iím giving Juan Samuel (.207/.233/.448) a day off for Kiko Garcia.


Game 1984-8 - Olympic Stadium: Expos 4, Phillies 1 / 3-5

That doesnít work, as the offense keeps sputtering. Meanwhile, my A-level Peninsula Pilots are 7-1 in their first eight, scoring a nice 69 runs out of the gate. Todd Soares has been awesome (36 PA, .367/.444/.967, 5 HR, 1 2B, 1 3B, 19 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K), as has Greg Jelks (34 PA, .367/.441/.800, 4 HR, 1 2B, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K). Thatís 31 RBI from two guys in eight games. Yowza.

April 14, 1984

Game 1984-9 - Olympic Stadium: Phillies 3, Expos 1 / 4-5

We get one. Jerry Koosman holds it together over 6.2 innings, while the bullpen slams the door late. Joe Lefebvre adds a home run, and Juan Samuel has a two-hit game.

April 15, 1984

Game 1984-10 - Olympic Stadium: Expos 3, Phillies 2 / 4-6

We canít hold a 2-0 lead, and we canít score more than two runs, as Pete Rose collects his 4,000th major league hit. (In real-life 1984 he reached 4,000 on April 13 against the Phillies).

April 16, 1984

New power rankings. Weíre 20th. Not good to start. The top five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 9-1
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - 8-2
3. Cleveland Indians - 7-2
4. Montreal Expos - 8-3
5. Chicago White Sox - 6-4

The positions of the real-life 1984 postseason teams: 10th (Kansas City), 14th (Chicago Cubs), 18th (San Diego), 19th (Detroit).
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:39 PM   #9
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April 17, 1984


Game 1984-11 - Three Rivers Stadium: Phillies 3, Pirates 1 / 5-6

After 10 consecutive road games to start the season, the Pirates come home, but Steve Carlton puts his best face on. 8.1 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 6 H, 1 ER for Lefty, while Mike Schmidt and Len Matuszek add homers.

April 18, 1984

Game 1984-12 - Three Rivers Stadium: Phillies 2, Pirates 1 / 6-6

Against lefty John Candelaria, Glenn Wilson doubles, while Juan Samuel gets two hits (and unsuccessfully tries to steal home). John Denny (8 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 1 ER) is outstanding.

April 19, 1984

Von Hayes needs a seat; he was ejected a day ago arguing balls and strikes and has been just terrible (hitting .095). Garry Maddox will start for him, while John Russell gets a go at first base against lefty John Tudor.

Game 1984-13 - Three Rivers Stadium: Pirates 2, Phillies 0 / 6-7

No luck getting over .500 as the offense falters once again. Mike Schmidt is now hitting .196. Boy oh boy.

April 20, 1984


Game 1984-14 - Veterans Stadium: Mets 4, Phillies 3 / 6-8

I move Juan Samuel up to the No. 2 hole before this one. Itís where I ultimately want him to be, and it seems heís gotten comfortable at the plate (hitting around .270, though with plenty of strikeouts). Also, I want a shakeup at the top of a scuffling order. It sort of works, with both Von Hayes and Samuel collecting two hits, and Joe Lefebvre knocking in two from the five-hole, but weíre still working out the kinks.

April 21, 1984

Game 1984-15 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 8, Mets 4 / 7-8

Thatís what Iím talking about. Schmidt slams a granny to cap this one. Hayes-Samuel-Lezcano (hitting for Gross) -Schmidt go 8-for-16. Kevin Gross does yeomanís work in 6.1 innings (2 ER, 9 H, 6 K, 2 BB).

April 22, 1984

Game 1984-16 - Veterans Stadium: Mets 3, Phillies 1 / 7-9

We load the bases in the ninth, but Joe Lefebvre watches strike three. Crushing. Juan Samuel continues his hot streak, lifting his average to .302.

Meanwhile, we move up a spot to 19th in the latest power rankings. The top five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 15-1
2. Cleveland Indians - 10-5
3. Pittsburgh Pirates - 10-6
4. Boston Red Sox - 10-7
5. San Francisco Giants - 9-7

So the middle of the league is pretty bunched up. Then there are the Blue Jays, who are first or second in nearly every offensive and pitching category in the American League. Leading them is Tony Fernandez, whoís hitting .455/.507/.606 in the early going. Also not shabby: Cliff Johnson (.357/.403/.589).
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:17 PM   #10
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April 23, 1984

An off day, so taking a look at our minor leagues, Mark Funderburk is at it again in Portland. Thunderburk is hitting .357/.379/.893 with four homers and 13 RBI in 29 plate appearances. Might have to just pull the trigger on him soon. In Reading, acquisition Steve Kiefer (48 PA, .295/.340/.614, 3 HR, 3 2B) is producing. For Peninsula, itís Keith Hughes (76 PA, .397/.500/.683, 12 XBH) and Todd Soares (77 PA, .318/.403/.742, 7 HR, 23 RBI) doing damage.

April 24, 1984


Game 1984-17 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 4, Pirates 3 (11) / 8-9

A tight one, and we have chances to win it in the ninth and 10th. Finally in the 11th, Garry Maddox hustles a double and scores on a Von Hayes two-bagger. Big win.

April 25, 1984

Game 1984-18 - Veterans Stadium: Pirates 3, Phillies 1 / 8-10

Another off night for the offense, as we get just three hits and waste a golden opportunity in the seventh.

April 26, 1984

Game 1984-19 - Veterans Stadium: POSTPONED

That April rain does us in; a doubleheader has been rescheduled for June 8.

April 27, 1984


Game 1984-19 - Shea Stadium: Mets 4, Phillies 2 / 8-11

After Ron Darling stifles the offense in eight strong, a ninth-inning rally comes up short.

April 28, 1984

Game 1984-20 - Shea Stadium: Phillies 4, Mets 1 / 9-11

Home runs from Von Hayes, Len Matuszek, and John Russell win it. Hayes with three hits, too.

April 29, 1984

Game 1984-21 - Shea Stadium: Mets 3, Phillies 0 / 9-12

Dwight Gooden strikes out 14 in a dominant performance.

New set of power rankings, and we stay still in 19th. The top five:

1. Boston Red Sox - 15-9
2. Toronto Blue Jays - 16-7
3. Kansas City Royals - 13-9
4. Baltimore Orioles - 13-10
5. Detroit Tigers - 12-9

Things changing all the time.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:22 PM   #11
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April 30, 1984

After a month of play, the leader boards aren't very official. But hereís how our guys rank (all National League ranks):

Hitting

Batting Average
6. Joe Lefebvre - .344

Home Runs
T4. Mike Schmidt - 5

Stolen Bases
1. Juan Samuel - 11

Strikeouts
2. Juan Samuel - 25
T5. Mike Schmidt - 20

Sacrifice Hits
1. Steve Carlton - 5

Isolated Power
5. Mike Schmidt - .235

Pitching

Losses
T4. Steve Carlton - 3

Saves
T2. Al Holland - 6

Strikeouts / Walks
5. Jerry Koosman - 5.0

Walks / 9 IP
1. Jerry Koosman - 0.7

Holds
T2. Larry Andersen - 2
T2. Bill Campbell - 2

Early returns: Juan Samuel is exciting but also young, Schmidt still has big power, and hopefully some of those outs turn into hits as we continue. Itís been a tough month, but thereís reason to feel good about the future. Iím hoping as we start playing more NL West teams (that division isnít so hot), we can right the ship a bit and start competing for the division.


Game 1984-22 - Veterans Stadium: Expos 9, Phillies 1 / 9-13

This wonít get us going. John Denny only goes four, giving up six runs off seven hits and two walks.

May 1, 1984

Game 1984-23 - Veterans Stadium: Expos 7, Phillies 2 / 9-14

We commit three errors in the game (including two by Ivan de Jesus), though it feels like we commit seven. Also, somehow Mike Schmidt has four errors this season. That actually seems in line with his career norms, but it's jarring nonetheless.

May 2, 1984

Game 1984-24 - Veterans Stadium: Expos 8, Phillies 1 / 9-15

Jerry Koosman is uncharacteristically wild, and 13 hits from the Expos seals the deal. We look as bad weíve looked all season.

Meanwhile, Paul Owens ďblasted the mediaĒ after the game because of ďnegative coverage,Ē per a report. He was harsh and abrupt in the press conference. Of course, weíre 9-15, so Iím not necessarily on Owensí side here. Iím actually worried things are going to unravel sooner rather than later.

Taking clubhouse temperature, players seem to be content with no pressing issues. For now Iíll keep an eye on things, but for sure, Iíd entertain the thought of installing my own skipper at some point down the line.

May 3, 1984

RP Dave Wehrmeister to 15-day injured list
RP John Flinn promoted to MLB Philadelphia

Wehrmeister hits the injured list with a sore shoulder. Heíll be out for two weeks. I call up Flinn, whoís scraping by in AAA Portland (5.40 ERA, 2 K, 2 BB) but is just a fill-in. I thought about calling up Don Carman (1.93 ERA, 8 K, 5 BB), but he needs a little more time down there.

Prospect watch: Darren Daulton (50/72) is putting up great numbers at AAA Portland (59 PA, .327/.441/.653, 8 XBH, 9 K, 9 BB). Heís also caught 124 innings with an even 0 zone rating and a 47.1 percent caught stealing rate (third in the Pacific Coast League), both really encouraging stats. But one downside: his four passed balls is far and away tops in the PCL. Iím not yet ready to push Daulton into the majors; letís see where heís at after 250 innings caught.

Also, Mike Diaz is hitting well (70 PA, .281/.343/.438, 5 XBH, 12 K, 5 BB) and his defense hasnít suffered too much. He'll be promoted when a spot opens, and he's assured he can play a few times a week in the majors.

May 4, 1984


Game 1984-25 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 5, Reds 0 / 10-15

A big rebound. Kevin Gross goes the whole nine, striking out four and walking two while allowing just three hits - all singles. Moving Len Matuszek to the three-hole works, as he goes 2-for-3 with two RBI. Von Hayes is now up to .239 with a .308 OBP.

May 5, 1984

Game 1984-26 - Veterans Stadium: Reds 1, Phillies 0 / 10-16

Frustrating to get this outcome. Just three hits. Mike Schmidt is now at .190 and needs a day off. We rally in the ninth but canít bring it home. So frustrating.

May 6, 1984

Game 1984-27 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 6, Reds 5 (11) / 11-16

It takes a while, but we get a walkoff thanks to a Juan Samuel single in the 11th. A good showing by Al Holland and Bill Campbell keeping the game in sight (3.1 IP, 2 K, 1 H)

The newest power rankings have us at 23rd. Thatís out of 26. The top five:

1. Baltimore Orioles - 18-11
2. Montreal Expos - 18-11
3. Kansas City Royals - 17-11
4. Boston Red Sox - 18-12
5. St. Louis Cardinals - 17-11

Weíre now six in back of the Expos.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:16 PM   #12
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May 7, 1984


Game 1984-28 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 5, Braves 4 / 12-16

After taking a 4-1 lead in the seventh, Charles Hudson allows a two-run homer in the eighth, and Al Holland surrenders a bomb in the ninth. But we get the win with a sacrifice fly walkoff in the ninth. Good news: Mike Schmidt goes 3-for-5 after a benching, while Juan Samuel triples and steals a base (but also strikes out and commits an error). Love that guy.

May 8, 1984

Sixto Lezcano tells us heís not happy riding the pine all the time. I was hoping thereíd more of a 50-50 platoon out there in right field, but weíve seen a lot of righties so far; moreover, Joe Lefebvre (96 PA, .318/.375/.489, 10 XBH) has been too darn good to bench. Iíve given Lezcano a couple innings in left field; maybe Iíll put him out there more often, even against righties. Weíll see.

Game 1984-29 - Veterans Stadium: Braves 14, Phillies 7 / 12-17

A 5-0 lead in the fourth quickly becomes a deficit, as the Braves score 11 unanswered runs. Jerry Koosmanís ERA is now at 6.95; heís skating on thin ice. Mike Schmidt homers, one of three hits to keep his hot streak going. And Lezcano gets two hits including a dinger, so heíll start tomorrow.

May 9, 1984


Game 1984-30 - Astrodome: Phillies 3, Astros 1 / 13-17

Von Hayes slams a second-inning, three-run homer, and Kevin Gross strikes out seven, walks none, and allows just six hits in eight innings. With a 2.25 ERA, Gross is my best starter.

May 10, 1984

Game 1984-31 - Astrodome: Phillies 12, Astros 3 / 14-17

The offense comes alive. Schmidt goes 3-for-6 with a homer, Matuszek adds two hits, and Hayesí 3-for-6 brings his average to .243.

May 11, 1984


Game 1984-32 - Jack Murphy Stadium: Padres 6, Phillies 3 / 14-18

A three-run, Graig Nettles home run squashes our hopes. Offense only has five hits, too.

May 12, 1984

Game 1984-33 - Jack Murphy Stadium: Phillies 7, Padres 3 / 15-18

Von Hayes (2-for-5), Greg Gross (2-for-5), and Bo Diaz (3-for-4) all have good games to back Charles Hudson.

May 13, 1984

Game 1984-34 - Jack Murphy Stadium: Padres 3, Phillies 2 / 15-19

A heartbreaker, as Al Holland blows the lead and the game in the ninth.

In the power rankings, weíve moved up to 17th after a 4-3 week. The top five:

1. Detroit Tigers - 21-11
2. Toronto Blue Jays - 23-12
3. Kansas City Royals - 20-13
4. Montreal Expos - 22-14
5. Milwaukee Brewers - 20-14

The Tigers and Blue Jays have great weeks; that AL East race looks ridiculous, with Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, Boston and Baltimore all at .571 or better. Both the AL and NL west division races are weak, with Kansas City and the Dodgers, respectively, outclassing their rivals.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:39 PM   #13
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May 14, 1984

Down on the farm, AAA Portland is 13-14. Still too early to make hasty moves, but Mark Funderburk is still doing well (79 PA, .284/.329/.635, 7 HR). Not sure where heíd fit on the roster yet, as moving John Wockenfuss means losing a backup catcher (Iíd still have John Russell, though, so itís possible).

Speaking of catchers, Darren Daulton has been outstanding (93 PA, .295/.409/.551, 10 XBH, 19 K, 14 BB), though I donít want to bring him up until Iím positive heís the everyday catcher at least 60 percent of the time. Kelly Downs has been the teamís best starter (37 IP, 2.68 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 1.9 K/BB, 5.1 K/9), though he could still use time in AAA. Don Carman (9.2 IP, 0.93 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 1.6 K/BB, 10.2 K/9) is threatening a promotion, and that could come soon.

At AA Reading, outfielder Willie Darkis is demanding a promotion. Repeating AA, heís hitting .320/.359/.557 with 13 XBH in 131 PA. Defense and consistent hitting have been issues, but heís doing well with both, playing in left field. Problem is Jeff Stone is in left in Portland, and heís not quite doing his job (just three SB when heís regularly swiped more than 50 bags per season). If I promote Darkis he could move to the DH spot, or to right field, but I donít want to stunt development. Another option: Moving Stone to center so Darkis can stay in left. And that might actually be the best idea; if Stone is beginning to prove no more than a fourth outfielder, why not build his defensive flexibility?

(By the way, I try not to promote minor leagues until about June 1, which is the 150-200 PA range for most players. Iíll usually do a wave of promotions around July 15 [midseason], and potentially a final wave around Sept. 1 [roster expansion].)

Second baseman Steve Kiefer, who I acquired in the Ozzie Virgil trade, is also ready to move to AAA Portland. Heís in line to do so on June 1. (FYI Virgil is playing well in Oakland but in a platoon, which he doesnít like; Marty Bystrom, meanwhile, has an ERA over 6.00.)

At A Peninsula, center fielder Todd Soares is still hitting the cover off the ball (153 PA, .318/.405/.636, 21 XBH, 25 K, 18 BB, 200 OPS+, 2.5 WAR), and left fielder Keith Hughes is right there with him (152 PA, .354/.441/.562, 17 XBH, 31 K, 21 BB, 191 OPS+, 2.3 WAR). Then thereís third baseman Greg Jelks (144 PA, .313/.375/.588, 16 XBH, 25 K, 12 BB, 177 OPS+, 1.7 WAR) and right fielder Kevin Ward (155 PA, .343/.432/.455, 10 XBH, 21 K, 19 BB, 159 OPS+, 1.7 WAR). Also, first baseman Randy Day has 10 HR and a 149 OPS+. All but Jelks has been good defensively. Point is, lots of guys aiming to be promoted to Reading, either by June 1 or midseason.

On the mound, David Bulls is forcing the issue (61.2 IP, 2.63 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 2.7 K/BB, 6.0 K/9) and at age 23, can be pushed sooner rather than later. Also, 24-year-old Jerry Arnold is probably ready (45.2 IP, 3.35 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 3.0 K/BB, 5.3 K/9). Iím also watching reliever Tony Evetts, whose 9.3 K/9 is stunning.

I have already promoted one reliever: John McLarnan moved from Peninsula to Reading. Down in Peninsula the 22-year-old put up a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 IP, but his 13.8 K/9 and 11.00 K/BB (also a 1.09 FIP) sold me.

Finally, in A Spartanburg, second baseman Keith Miller is starring (106 PA, .343/.387/.475, 6 XBH, 7 K, 7 BB), while first baseman Ricky Jordan is supplying power (104 PA, .299/.317/.526, 12 XBH, 11 K, 4 BB). Also, center fielder Luis Polonia hasnít been bad at the plate (108 PA, .240/.306/.396, 9 XBH, 12 K, 10 BB), and has been good in the field (+3.4 ZR), though his 3.19 RF suggests he needs work commanding the outfield.

On the mound, while itís still early, William Jester has been terrific (35.1 IP, 2.29 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 2.4 K/BB, 5.9 K/9), while Tim Belcher (acquired in the Virgil trade) has been as-advertised (32.1 IP, 2.51 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 2.1 K.BB, 4.7 K/9), though the strikeouts can go up.


Game 1984-35 - Dodger Stadium: Dodgers 7, Phillies 5 / 15-20

Weíre up 5-0, then Kevin Gross walks seven and the Dodgers score seven unanswered. Sure.

May 15, 1984

Game 1984-36 - Dodger Stadium: Dodgers 7, Phillies 1 / 15-21

After giving up two hits, walking a batter, balking Ö why isnít Steve Carlton lifted in the eighth? Beginning to wonder what the hell Danny Ozark does on the bench.

May 16, 1984

John Wockenfuss wants more playing time. Yeah, hard to do it now.

Game 1984-37 - Dodger Stadium: Phillies 8, Dodgers 5 (10) / 16-21

Despite giving up a 5-0 lead (again), we take it in extras thanks in part to John Russellís three doubles.

May 17, 1984

Taking the day off.

May 18, 1984


Game 1984-38 - Candlestick Park: Giants 12, Phillies 9 / 16-22

A three-run homer by Schmidt in the top of the first makes me feel really good, then Charles Hudson immediately allows four runs in the bottom half (and seven runs in a row). So frustrating. Also, with a 13.50 ERA in 2.2 IP, it may be time to let John Flinn head back to AAA Portland after this San Francisco trip. (With Dave Wehrmeister coming off the injured list today, it definitely is.)

RP Dave Wehrmeister activated from injured list, sent to MLB Philadelphia
RP John Flinn demoted to AAA Portland

May 19, 1984

Tough news out of Montreal: Andre Dawson is out for the season with a ruptured achilles tendon. Will this help our chances? Probably not.

Game 1984-39 - Candlestick Park: Giants 6, Phillies 1 / 16-23

Why does Larry Andersen have a 6.17 ERA? Why does every opponent get like 10-15 hits per game against us? This May is beginning to prove that we have a lot of work to do.

May 20, 1984

Game 1984-40 - Candlestick Park: Phillies 5, Giants 2 / 17-23

Hey, a win! Kevin Gross pitches well (7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 2 BB), while Schmidt collects two hits, and Hayes homers. Letís leave the West Coast and get back home to Philly.

A new set of rankings, and weíre 21st again. Woo-hoo. The top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 28-13
2. Detroit Tigers - 26-12
3. Kansas City Royals - 24-15
4. New York Mets - 23-16
5. Milwaukee Brewers - 24-16
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:14 PM   #14
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May 21, 1984

Weíre at the quarter pole. Some thoughts:
  • My offense lacks a second power source. Mike Schmidt is fifth in the MLB with a .258 ISO. My next-highest ISO (among qualified players) is Len Matuszek, who is 25th at .176. That isnít bad, but this team can really use another hitter who threatens a .200 ISO.
  • My pitching isnít as bad as the numbers indicate. My MLB ERA ranks (out of 107): 36th (Kevin Gross), 62nd (Steve Carlton), 78th (Charles Hudson), 81st (John Denny), and 102nd (Jerry Koosman). My MLB FIP ranks: 17th (Denny), 39th (Carlton), 44th (Gross), 50th (Hudson), and 75th (Koosman).
  • But that ties into my last point: I have a bad defense. We have three of the six-worst fielders in zone rating in baseball (Ivan de Jesus, Von Hayes, Juan Samuel). Those are three of my four up-the-middle defenders. Not good.

Fun stats:
  • Mike Schmidt - 171 PA, .265/.339/.523, .258 ISO, 18 XBH, 33 K, 18 BB
  • Juan Samuel - 179 PA, .284/.322/.432, ,148 ISO, 17 XBH, 17 SB, 3 CS, 44 K, 10 BB
  • Sixto Lezcano - 96 PA, .240/.396/.387, .147 ISO, 6 XBH, 11 K, 20 BB
  • Von Hayes - 177 PA, .261/.350/.359, .176 ISO, 9 XBH, 11 SB, 4 BB, 31 K, 22 BB
  • Kevin Gross - 52.1 IP, 2.92 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 2.2 K/BB, 6.7 K/9
  • Steve Carlton - 64.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 2.0 K/BB, 6.6 K/9

I donít think weíre a 17-23 team. More like a 19-21 team or so. No biggie. We play some NL West teams in this second quarter, so hopefully we can take advantage and get to .500 by July 1.

May 22, 1984


Game 1984-41 - Veterans Stadium: Dodgers 5, Phillies 1 / 17-24

Steve Carlton is taken out of the game with an injury in the first inning, making this a bullpen game. We also allow 12 hits.

May 23, 1984

The Carlton injury was just dead arm, putting him out for a couple days, which feels pretty unfair. Weíre already worse than the Dodgers, why handicap us further?

Game 1984-42 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 7, Dodgers 3 / 18-24

Could it be the Glenn Wilson breakout game? He goes 2-for-4 with a HR and 3 RBI. John Denny (7.1 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 3 BB) does yeomanís work.

May 24, 1984

I release 3B Ken Reitz from AAA Portland, as John Flinn returns there because (gasp) he was never claimed off waivers.

Game 1984-43 - Veterans Stadium: Dodgers 1, Phillies 0 / 18-25

Charles Hudson pitches well (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB), but Fernando Valenzuela pitches better (9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB).

May 25, 1984


Game 1984-44 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 10, Padres 1 / 19-25

Big news today: Mike Schmidt hits his 400th career home run! He does it in front of about 27,000, and off 25-year-old reliever Bob Patterson. Take a bow, Schmidty.

Meanwhile, John Russell hits two in a game for the second time this season. Jerry Koosman has his best game of the year (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 1 BB).

May 26, 1984

Game 1984-45 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 3, Padres 2 / 20-25

Glenn Wilson homers. Heís now 13 for his last 46 for a .282 average.

May 27, 1984

Mike Schmidt leads all National League all-star hopefuls with 148,689 votes on the ballot. Steve Carlton and Bill Campbell are also getting top-five votes at starting pitcher and relief pitcher, respectively.

Game 1984-46 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 6, Padres 1 / 21-25

A sweep! And easily the best baseball weíve played all season. Schmidt hits his 12th homer of the season to move to .271/.357/.541, and suddenly heís at his career norms. Steve Carlton lowers his ERA to 3.36.

In power ranking news, weíre 14th! The top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 32-16
2. Detroit Tigers - 29-15
3. Pittsburgh Pirates - 27-19
4. Milwaukee Brewers - 28-18
5. Kansas City Royals - 27-18

Weíre now in fifth place in the NL East, ahead of the Cubs by a game. Weíre six back of Pittsburgh; if we can get to maybe four or five back a week from now, Iíll feel good.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:43 PM   #15
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May 28, 1984

Time to make some minor league moves:

CF Todd Soares promoted to AA Reading
RF Jose Leiva demoted to A Peninsula

Obvious. Soares, 22, a 1984 fourth-round draft pick out of college, has been incredible (207 PA, .315/.396/.569, 23 XBH, 3.1 WAR), both offensively and defensively. Leiva, 20, could use more playing time and seasoning at an appropriate level for his current ability.

1B Randy Day promoted to AAA Portland
1B Ronnie Gideon promoted to A Peninsula
1B Tim M Corcoran released

Corcoran, 31, has maxed out his ability and has nowhere to go, as now Len Matuszek, John Russell, John Wockenfuss, Mike Diaz and Mark Funderburk are all above him on the 1B depth chart. Day, 23, has been spectacular (215 PA, .266/.340/.531, 24 XBH, 2.2 WAR) and jumps from A to AAA, as 20-year-old Francisco Melendez gets a little more time at first at AA Reading.

SP David Bulls promoted to AA Reading
SP Scott Madden promoted to A Peninsula
SP Jay Davisson released

Bulls, 23, has been the top pitcher in the farm system thus far (86.1 IP, 2.29 ERA, 58 K, 19 BB). Madden is 21 and gets a shot from extended spring training, while Davisson falls hard from AAA and meets the end of the line.


Game 1984-47 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 2, Giants 0 / 22-25

A superb outing from John Denny (9 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 1 BB), and two late runs via the heart of the order get us a win.

May 29, 1984

Tough news from Milwaukee: Reliever Rollie Fingers is out for the year with a torn labrum. Something to keep in mind.

Game 1984-48 - Veterans Stadium: Giants 1, Phillies 0 (13) / 22-26

A repeat of the night before, but with a different ending, as Dusty Bakerís homer wins it for San Francisco in a tough-luck loss.

May 30, 1984

Garry Maddox, who is hitting .167/.211/.222 in limited time, is upset with his lack of playing time. I feel for the veteran, but Von Hayes needs to play nearly every day. That said, maybe Iíll look for a couple ways to get Maddox in some games coming up. Iím not in a place to let him go or anything (I have no other playable center fielders, and the AAA depth isnít ready); plus, heís a bit of a small icon here, now spending his 10th year in Philly.

Game 1984-49 - Veterans Stadium: Giants 9, Phillies 1 / 22-27

Jerry Koosman gives up four in six innings, as his ERA now stands at 5.20. Not great.

May 31, 1984

Before the new series against the Cubs, letís see how our players rank on the National League leaderboards:

Hitting

Home Runs
T2. Mike Schmidt - 12

Runs Batted In
5. Mike Schmidt - 31

Slugging Percentage
2. Mike Schmidt - .511

On Base + Slugging
5. Mike Schmidt - .859

Wins Above Replacement
T6. Mike Schmidt - 1.8

Doubles
T3. Juan Samuel - 13

Triples
3. Juan Samuel - 4

Total Bases
T3. Mike Schmidt - 93

Stolen Bases
1. Juan Samuel - 21
T6. Von Hayes - 14

Strikeouts
2. Juan Samuel - 54

Sacrifice Hits
T3. Charles Hudson - 7

Extra-Base Hits
T2. Mike Schmidt - 21

Isolated Power
1. Mike Schmidt - .253
6. Len Matuszek - .180

OPS+
7. Mike Schmidt - 138

Pitching

Wins
T5. Kevin Gross - 6

Losses
T3. Steve Carlton - 7
T5. Charles Hudson - 6

Saves
3. Al Holland - 10

Walks / 9 IP
4. Jerry Koosman - 1.6

Save Percentage
T5. Al Holland - .833

Holds
T1. Bill Campbell - 5

Schmidt is among MVP candidates, as per usual, while Samuel continues to be an exciting, young, reckless talent. I love it.

If Iím handicapping the MVP races, in the NL itís likely Leon Durham of the Cubs in front (.338/.412/.576, 12 HR, 43 RBI), with Schmidt and maybe Keith Hernandez of the Mets next in line (.357/.455/.497, 5 HR, 27 RBI). Iíd also consider Mets rookie pitcher Dwight Gooden, who looks to be the easy Cy Young favorite (6-3, 2.46 ERA, 112 K, 36 BB, 3 SHO, 5 CG).

In the AL, itís a tough call, but Iíd probably lean toward Wade Boggs in Boston (.372/.442/.485, 2.9 WAR). Also in contention are Tony Fernandez in Toronto (.361/.417/.515, 3.4 WAR) and Rickey Henderson in Oakland (.312/.411/.500, 9 HR, 22 RBI, 26 SB). For Cy Young, maybe itís Dave Stieb in Toronto (7-3, 2.31 ERA, 79 K, 21 BB) or Ron Guidry in New York (7-1, 2.59 ERA, 47 K, 18 BB).


Game 1984-50 - Veterans Stadium: Cubs 8, Phillies 4 / 22-28

Five Cubs homer in this game, including Tom Lombarski (1st this season), Thad Bosley (who has five this year), and the pitcher Tim Grachen, who was in AA to start the season.

June 1, 1984

Made a move:

2B Steve Kiefer promoted to AAA Portland
2B Rusty Hamric demoted to AA Reading

Kiefer, acquired in the Ozzie Virgil trade, was hitting .309/.337/.576 with 22 XBH in 176 AA plate appearances this season. He was also contributing above-average defense at second base. Last year he spent the whole campaign in AA, struggling a bit but still providing power while playing out of position at shortstop. With no real prospect at second base in AAA Portland, it made the decision easy. Hamric is basically tapped out, and once another infielder moves up from A-ball, he might be gone for good.

Game 1984-51 - Veterans Stadium: Cubs 9, Phillies 5 / 22-29

A boneheaded performance by the defense, committing three errors. Meanwhile the Cubs are suddenly an offensive juggernaut, as former Phillie Gary Matthews homers against us.

June 2, 1984

Game 1984-52 - Veterans Stadium: Cubs 7, Phillies 5 / 22-30

Up 5-4 in the ninth, and then another disaster. Al Hollandís third blown save of the season as quad-A type Dan Rohn strikes the winning hit. Glenn Wilson goes 2-for-5 with 3 RBI.

And after the game I get a message from Holland: He wants out, since the team isnít contending. Ha. Good time to send that, Mr. T. That said, Iíll have to entertain the request at some point. Also, checking in with the clubhouse, it seems everything is ďhappy,Ē though Holland is said to be ďselfish.Ē Well, yup.

June 3, 1984

Game 1984-53 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 4, Cubs 3 / 23-30

Finally, a win over the Cubs. Charles Hudson goes into the ninth (8 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 K, 1 BB), while Von Hayes adds a big two-run single.

Power rankings are in, and weíre 17th. The top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 36-18
2. Detroit Tigers - 33-18
3. Kansas City Royals - 31-21
4. Milwaukee Brewers - 31-22
5. Los Angeles Dodgers - 31-24
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:52 PM   #16
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June 4, 1984

Before a series in St. Louis, let’s take some stock. We’re 23-30, 7.5 in back of the first-place Mets. We’re not out of it by any means, but there are a bunch of teams to jump, and we weren’t necessarily aiming at winning the East this season. So, I’d like to start thinking about the trade deadline.

If Giles and I both think we can contend in 1985, I don’t want to trade my all-star-caliber talent, or anyone with 1.6 WAR or more, which translates to about a full season 5+ WAR (Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, John Denny, Charles Hudson). I also don’t want to trade young players of whom I have at least partial confidence (Von Hayes, Kevin Gross, Juan Samuel [though he’s an intriguing case I’ll get back to later], John Russell, Glenn Wilson [though that’s debatable]).

That leaves me with some possibilities. A few I’m thinking about unloading:
  • OF - Sixto Lezcano: He’s a free agent after this season, and while he’s putting up good numbers (.245/.388/.406), he’s not in my plans for 1985 and beyond.
  • C - Bo Diaz: Another free agent after this season. He’s been bad offensively (.223/.254/.292), and freeing him means giving Darren Daulton the stage, along with John Russell.
  • IF/OF - Greg Gross: A notable Phillie during the golden years, but he’s another soon-to-be-free-agent who some team can probably use off the bench, where he historically thrives.
  • SS - Ivan de Jesus: And one more free-agent-to-be. He’s been bad all the way around (.217/.287/.286, -8.0 ZR, 9 ERR). His departure would mean bringing up either SS Steve Jeltz or infielder Luis Aguayo. Leaning toward Jeltz, I think.
  • RP - Al Holland: He’s on board through 1985, but he wants out, and his selfishness is a lingering clubhouse issue. He’s a solid reliever (3.00 ERA, 16 K, 4 BB, 11 SV), and most contenders can use him.

I don’t know if I’ll be trading all five listed, but getting value for Lezcano and Diaz would be great. And probably moving Holland sooner rather than later might just help with the team’s morale.

I put Diaz, Lezcano, and Holland on the trading block to see if they garner interest; shopping them to other GMs netted no one-for-one opportunities, so I’ll have to be savvy.


Game 1984-54 - Busch Stadium: Cardinals 10, Phillies 0 / 23-31

It isn’t getting any easier. Dave LaPoint owns us with a three-hitter, walking just one and striking out four in a complete game. Then there’s our Jerry Koosman, who gives up seven runs on nine hits in 2.2 IP. He’s now holding a 5.95 ERA.

Let’s talk about Koosman. His current numbers: 65 IP, 5.95 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 2.3 K/BB, 3.5 K/9, 27.3% QS, -1.4 WPA. Ratings: 45 stuff, 55 movement, 55 control; 45 fastball, 45 curveball, 35 slider, 35 changeup. He’s definitely on the downside (at age 41, of course he is), and his wily guile isn’t fooling much anyone. The FIP says a better pitcher is there (I can’t imagine my pourous defense is helping him), but if Lefty and Denny and Gross and Hudson are all performing well, what’s Koosman’s excuse?

There’s a vesting option on Koosman’s contract; if he reaches 180 IP, he gets 1985 for $700,000. The way he’s pitching, I don’t want him getting there. I’m not sure I want to (or can) trade him, but I have to make some kind of decision soon - 23-year-old prospect Kelly Downs (69.1 IP, 2.86 ERA, 1.6 K/BB, 4.3 K/9; raising his control rating from 40 to 45) has done well enough in his third AAA season to warrant a promotion.

June 5, 1984

Woke up this morning to hear from Sixto Lezcano’s agent. He says Sixto is unhappy about not starting every day and demands a trade. Hey, I get it: Sixto has been one of the better performers on the team this season. But I have a lot to balance. And as I’ve said, we’re looking to trade Sixto.

That said, let’s go through the potential markets for my top trade candidates. First, catcher Bo Diaz. Here are the contenders that may need a small, in-season upgrade (at least defensively) at the position:
  • New York Mets - Clint Hurdle (43)/Mike Fitzgerald (41)
  • Seattle Mariners - Ron Tingley (45)/Dave Valle (43)
  • Milwaukee Brewers - Bill Schroeder (48)/Ted Simmons (49)

Diaz is a 45, so he’d provide only marginal improvement for the worst groups in baseball. The Mariners and Mets seem to be the only teams that work, and considering Tingley is a decent defender, it may just be New York in the running.

Let’s move to the possible market for Lezcano, who can play both left and right field:
  • Kansas City Royals - Jorge Orta (44), Jerry Hairston Jr. (45), Darryl Motley (43)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Lee Mazzilli (47)

Lezcano is a 47, so again, slim pickens. That said, the Royals desperately could use an upgrade in the corners, so maybe they’ll bite at Lezcano for a very small return.

Finally, the possible market for Holland, who is a 55:
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Neil Allen (52)
  • Milwaukee Brewers - Rick Waits (48)
  • Seattle Mariners - Mike Stanton (53)
  • Toronto Blue Jays - Dennis Lamp (52)

Milwaukee (6.48 ERA) and Toronto (4.45 ERA) have poor bullpens, and I’ll definitely target these clubs for a Holland trade.

Meanwhile, the seal has been broken on in-season trades: Boston has sent minor league arm Dan Gakeler to the Cubs for pitcher Dick Ruthven, who I imagine will slide into the front of that bullpen.

Game 1984-55 - Busch Stadium: Phillies 2, Cardinals 1 / 24-31

Holland nearly blows it in the ninth, but ultimately he saves a solid Kevin Gross outing (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB). Juan Samuel and Joe Lefebvre are the offense, each hitting solo shots.

June 6, 1984

Al Holland is worth $360K this season, which makes for a challenge when trying to deal him. Toronto would take him for mediocre starter Luis Leal (46/46, 59.2 IP, 5.58 ERA, 5.49 FIP, 1.4 K/BB, 3.9 K/BB), plus a team top-35 prospect. Not great. Other options include a major league bench bat or reliever.

As for Milwaukee, I’d need to give them some cash - at least $250,000 - to make it work. I could get a decent prospect that way (pitchers Dan Plesac or Chris Bosio, or outfielder Jim Paciorek could be available), or I could get another major-league-ready reliever or bench bat, but I won’t have much cash left.

But look out for St. Louis. They have budget space, and they’re willing to take Holland for a decent prospect (one for one for pitcher Todd Worrell [40/45]). I would need a little more, but this is a start.

Turning to Lezcano, tough news from the Royals. Maybe I can score a reliever or bench bat, and prospects offered are in the team top-25 or top-30 range. It pays to wait, but both Boston and Houston might take Lezcano for a better return. Still, there’s plenty of time.

Finally, Bo Diaz. If I were to send him to the Mets, I’d need to eat salary and take on a sizeable contract, as they’re $2 million in the hole. And nothing they’re offering right now makes sense. Same is true for Seattle, who is also in the red.

I think I can make some deals here, but I’ll need to be crafty so I can get closer to a balanced budget while taking on a couple decent names.

Game 1984-56 - Busch Stadium: Cardinals 6, Phillies 5 (11) / 24-32

A 4-0 first-inning lead evaporates, and then the Cardinals win it with a walk-off single by George Hendrick. Wastes a good game from Joe Lefebvre (2-for-5, 4 RBI).

June 7, 1984

Garry Maddox is checking back in, now more upset. The outfielder wants more playing time or a trade. Considering I have a glut of outfielders better than The Secretary of Defense, and Maddox is hitting just .190/.217/.286, it’s hard to help him. That said, with Von Hayes in a minor slump (hitting .111 in June) and a doubleheader ahead, I’m going to give “Stick” (as skipper calls him) a break and let Maddox get in there a little this week.

June 8, 1984

Congratulations to Chris Chambliss. The Braves’ outfielder collects his 2,000th hit against the Dodgers. Meantime, that NL West race is something, with the Braves (31-27) a half-game behind Los Angeles (32-27). Cincinnati is trying to hang in at 3.5 back.

Today we have a twi-night doubleheader against Pittsburgh, starting at 5:05 p.m. I’ll let Hayes start game one, then I’ll go with Maddox in two, also letting him start Saturday and Sunday against lefties. I’ll probably sit Juan Samuel for one of these games, too.


Game 1984-57 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 3, Pirates 2 (12) / 25-32

Phew. A 2-0 lead heading into the eighth goes away, but we hang in and win it late. In the 12th, Ivan de Jesus triples, then scores on Bo Diaz’s sacrifice fly. John Denny pitches well (9 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 10 K, 1 BB), and the bullpen keeps it tidy.

For game two, which is starting at 9:10 p.m., I’ll sit Mike Schmidt and Von Hayes for sure; Lefebvre moves to third, and Maddox starts in center.

Game 1984-58 - Veterans Stadium: Pirates 2, Phillies 0 / 25-33

Rick Rhoden throws a two-hitter (with nine strikeouts) against us. Maybe it’s the price I pay for not starting Schmidt and Hayes.

Meanwhile, John Denny reports some shoulder soreness after his nine-inning outing. He’ll have to sit out, and our doctors are thinking a couple weeks. First big injury of the season.

June 9, 1984

SP John Denny placed on 15-day injured list
SP Kelly Downs promoted to MLB Philadelphia

Downs pitched well enough at AAA Portland (76.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 34 K, 23 BB, 1.5 WAR) to merit a promotion. I wanted him to improve his control, and he did just enough, as his BB/9 lowered to 2.7. Not bad. I can see him getting three to four starts in Philly, taking us to July 1, at which point I’ll have some decisions to make. Essentially, it’s a good pseudo deadline to put on Jerry Koosman.

Meanwhile, a scouting report on Downs: The 23-year-old is a sidearmer at 6’3” and 195 pounds. The deceptive delivery gives him an advantage, though he’s basically an up-and-down pitcher who can get tagged. His curve (50/50) is his best pitch, and he’s improved his fastball command, making for a better pitch that tops out at 90 mph (45/50). He carries an average changeup (45/45), as well. Having three solid if unspectacular pitches means Downs can probably hang against much of the league, at least twice around an order. To me he profiles as a back-end type, maybe a mid-rotation starter if, say, the curve gets better or he develops a fourth pitch.

Shaking up the lineup a little tonight by letting Sixto Lezcano lead off and moving Glenn Wilson to the three-hole, hoping to light a fire under his butt (also, maybe hitting ahead of Mike Schmidt will help him get some beach balls to smack).

Game 1984-59 - Veterans Stadium: Phillies 6, Pirates 5 / 26-33

We score five runs in our final three turns at bat. Koosman goes six and though he’s tagged for four runs, none are earned (somehow Schmidt commits two errors, raising his season total to 10). Lezcano goes 0-fer out of the leadoff spot, while Wilson has a hit in the three-hole.

June 10, 1984

Game 1984-60 - Veterans Stadium: Pirates 8, Phillies 3 / 26-34

It's close until the seventh, and then the Buccos pull away. Wilson picks up three hits, while Samuel socks his fourth homer.

The newest set of rankings are in! And we’re … 21st. The top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 42-19
2. Detroit Tigers - 38-20
3. Kansas City Royals - 35-24
4. Montreal Expos - 34-27
5. New York Mets - 33-25

Can we just watch the AL East from now on? The Blue Jays are unbelievable - led by Tony Fernandez and Jesse Barfield, each at 3.5 WAR - and the Tigers are somehow just 2.5 back, trying to stay nearby (thanks to Chet Lemon at 3.7 WAR and Kirk Gibson at 3.6 WAR). Toronto took three of four from Detroit last week at Tiger Stadium; today they begin a three-game set at SkyDome. Giddyup.

Last edited by The_Myth; 06-21-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:49 PM   #17
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June 11, 1984

Iíll give it another couple weeks trying to fit Garry Maddox into the lineup. Von Hayes should play nearly every day, but I want to start playing him in a corner (preferably left field, far from the ball). That means less time for Glenn Wilson and Greg Gross, so again, gotta be nimble. Maybe Wilson gets some right field time in, and considering both Sixto Lezcano and Joe Lefebvre arenít high in my plans, I can take this short-term indignation. Also, Maddox is hitting .188/.206/.250. Essentially weíre going to see if thereís anything left in the tank; if not, Iíll have to make a really tough decision.


Game 1984-61 - Veterans Stadium: POSTPONED.

June 12, 1984

We have a doubleheader now. Today, Kelly Downs makes his major league debut in game two. Steve Carlton goes first.

Game 1984-61 - Veterans Stadium: Cardinals 10, Phillies 8 / 26-35

The game gets away from us completely, which is a shame, because we score five runs in the ninth. Dave Wehrmeister has a 4.25 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 14 walks - his days might be numbered.

Game 1984-62 - Veterans Stadium: Cardinals 6, Phillies 4 (14) / 26-36

A really frustrating game. Tied at two. Cardinals score in the ninth, but we tie it. Cardinals score in the 13th, but we tie it. Cardinals score two in the 14th, and no dice. Kelly Downs pitches well (8.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 4 BB) but inexplicably is in the game in the ninth - something Iíll have to address with Paul Owens. Schmidty goes 0-for-6 - heís 1 for his last 13. As bad as itís been all season.

June 13, 1984

Game 1984-63 - Veterans Stadium: Cardinals 6, Phillies 1 / 26-37

Joaquin Andujar handles us with a complete game performance. Meanwhile, Charles Hudson allows six runs and goes into the eighth inning. Sweet. Apparently Owens doesnít want me messing with starter hooks, so I may have to resort to setting pitch counts. I donít want to do that, but maybe Ö

Weíre now 10 back of first-place St. Louis, who is 36-27. Weíre 2.5 behind the Cubs, who we get in a four-game series at Wrigley.

June 14, 1984

Letís check in with our minor league squads.

At AAA Portland, Mike Diaz has a .312/.374/.551 mark with 24 XBH in 227 plate appearances. He has primarily played third base (and well, at that, with a +1.8 ZR) and is begging to be promoted. Iíd need to get him suitable playing time if he comes up, so itís hard to say yes just now. Meanwhile, Darren Daulton (.265/.388/.426, 14 XBH, 196 PA, +0.0 ZR, 7 PB) is looking like a mid-season callup; one trade away.

At AA Reading, starter John Machin looks close to a AAA assignment (72 IP, 3.13 ERA, 2.7 K/BB, 6.4 K/9). Plus, good stuff from reliever John McLarnan (7.3 K/9), who was promoted recently, and Arturo Gonzalez (7.4 K/9), who hadnít pitched professionally since 1980. As for CF Todd Soares: growing pains (50 PA, .150/.320/.300, 2 XBH). LF Willie Darkis, however, is ready for a promotion (237 PA, .317/.363/.546, 25 XBH).

LF Willie Darkis promoted to AAA Portland
RF Bobby Mitchell demoted to AA Reading

Darkis, 24, will assume left field in Portland, while Jeff Stone slides into center field so he can build up some position flexibility (currently a 20 in CF with 45 OF range, 35 OF error, 45 OF arm, but a +5.2 ZR in LF). In Reading, 21-year-old Jim Olander moves to left field, his natural position.

At A Peninsula, outfielders Keith Hughes (274 PA, .326/.409/.534, 28 XBH) and Kevin Ward (275 PA, .321/.393/.469, 21 XBH) are both about ready to move (Hughes, especially), but Iíll give them another two weeks or so. 3B Greg Jelks (263 PA, .266/.319/.508, 28 XBH) and his ridiculous power should also move up soon. And weíre close to promoting starter Jim Olson (106.1 IP, 3.13 ERA, 1.8 K/BB, 5.3 K/9). I imagine all the Peninsula promotions will come shortly.

The Peninsula squad has more 21-23-year-olds ready to jump to AA, while A Spartanburg primarily has talent closer to age 20, with a good deal of my 1984 draft class here. Of pitchers, I can see Tim Belcher moving to AA Reading quickest, as heís 22 and, in 75 innings, has a 3.24 ERA with 50 Ks and 20 BBs. Offensively 2B Keith Miller could move quickest (235 PA, .324/.383/.441, 18 XBH).

At any rate, rookie ball begins June 25-26. Thatís about two weeks away, and will be when Iíll decide on a bunch more playersí fates.

And now to start a series in Wrigley. Game one is against rookie lefty Jamie Moyer, who only went two and change his last time (and first time) out. Schmidty better light him up.


Game 1984-64: Wrigley Field - Phillies 6, Cubs 5 (10) / 27-37

Al Holland blows it by giving up a three-run, game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth to Ryne Sandberg. Luckily, Juan Samuel knocks the biggest hit of his young career right afterward, a solo shot in the 10th that ultimately wins it. John Russell adds a homer, as does - youíre damn right - Schmidty.

And congrats to the White Soxís Greg Luzinski, who later in the night hit his 300th career home run.

June 15, 1984

Moving Joe Lefebvre up to the three-hole, as his OBP is above .350, and we could always use more guys on base.

Game 1984-65: Wrigley Field - Phillies 10, Cubs 1 / 28-37

How about this one? Schmidt hits another, while Bo Diaz adds two, part of a five-RBI afternoon. Fifteen hits in total for the good guys, and Kevin Gross goes a solid 6.1 IP (6 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 2 BB).

June 16, 1984

Game 1984-66: Wrigley Field - Cubs 7, Phillies 6 / 28-38

Our 5-0 evaporates in the seventh and eighth, naturally. Dave Wehrmeister canít hold the lead, and with a 5.02 ERA, the 31-year-old journeyman can no longer hold his major league roster spot. Time to give someone young a shot.

June 17, 1984

Game 1984-67: Wrigley Field - Cubs 6, Phillies 1 / 28-39

After the series starts promising, it ends with a thud. Kelly Downs leaves a few too many hangers, as he allows five runs in 5.1 IP, and Leon Durham goes 3-for-3 with 2 RBI.

After the game, we make a move:

RP Don Carman promoted to MLB Philadelphia
RP Dave Wehrmeister placed on irrevocable waivers

Wehrmeister is out of options, but Iím not concerned about that. Time for some fresh blood in the majors, and by limiting his walks, Carman deserves it (26 IP, 2.08 ERA, 23 K, 11 BB).

Scouting report: Carman, 24, is a medium-build pitcher at 6í3Ē and 195 pounds, throwing sidearm. He has a good fastball (55/55) that runs around 90 mph, backing that up with an equally effective, biting changeup (55/55). Because of the delivery, he can deceive simply with those two pitches. He also throws a sinker, more of a change-of-pace pitch (45/45). Itís a good package (60/60 stuff) and it will get outs, but the lack of a horizontal pitch stands out, as he is prone to the long ball (35/35 movement). Ultimately, Carman is likely a middle reliever with the opportunity to pitch higher-leverage situations at his peak.

The new power rankings puts us 23rd. Hereís the top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 47-20
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - 39-28
3. Detroit Tigers - 40-24
4. St. Louis Cardinals - 39-28
5. Los Angeles Dodgers - 39-30

As you can tell, the Jays handled the Tigers once again. Theyíre starting to run away.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:39 PM   #18
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June 18, 1984

A Garry Maddox update. Since speaking out about playing time on June 7: .167/.167/.167. Thatís not good. He has been perfect in the outfield this season, committing no errors and tallying two assists in just 115.2 innings. Iím still not in a place where I can unload ďThe Secretary,Ē simply because of a lack of center field depth, but as I ramp up trade talks, maybe I seek a throw-in who can play center.

June 19, 1984

At AAA Portland, Tony Ghelfi is diagnosed with elbow inflammation and will lose at least two months. He may be gone for all of 1984. With a 5.37 ERA, 51 Ks and 43 BBs, he wasnít a huge loss, but itís depth nonetheless. Moves to come:

RP/SP Arturo Gonzalez promoted to AAA Portland
SP Jim Olson promoted to AA Reading
SP Damon Dombek promoted to A Peninsula

This is a stop-the-bleeding move. Gonzalez is 28 and far from being a real contributor, so his place in Portland is to not get hurt and maybe throw a few innings a start. Olson (115.1 IP, 3.12 ERA, 68 K, 39 BB) deserves a look in AA. Heís 21, and may hang out there until midseason 1985.

Meanwhile, pitcher Larry Gura retires in Kansas City. Over a 15-year career, Gura went 114-85 with a 3.61 ERA. He was worth 16.9 WAR. A good career for a guy who became a top-flight starter in his early 30s.

Looking ahead to the offseason, if Iím moving on from De Jesus (whoís an impending free agent and possible in-season trade subject) and moving Von Hayes to a corner outfield spot, Iíll need a shortstop and a center fielder. And as Maddox is showing me, thereís nobody else on the current major league roster who can step in at those positions, at least for a hopeful contender.

Hereís what I have in the upper levels at both positions:

Shortstop
  • AAA Steve Jeltz - 25 - 35/42 - 55 SS - 218 PA, .242/.344/.328, 10 XBH
  • AAA Steve Kiefer - 23 - 32/43 - 45 SS - 66 PA, .246/.277/.492, 7 XBH
  • AAA Luis Aguayo - 25 - 39/44 - 40 SS - 176 PA, .149/.222/.234, 7 XBH
  • AA Ken Dowell - 23 - 28/34 - 50 SS - 242 PA, .251/.310/.284, 5 XBH

Center Field
  • AAA Tim Knight - 26 - 30/31 - 50 CF - 211 PA, .229/.294/.370, 15 XBH
  • AA Todd Soares - 22 - 34/34 - 50 CF - 64 PA, .189/.328/.415, 14 XBH

Currently Iím only comfortable giving Jeltz a full-time job, and almost exclusively because of his defense. His +3.2 zone rating is second in the Pacific Coast League, as is his 1.054 defensive efficiency, and his 4.24 range factor is pretty decent. He makes a quarter of unlikely plays, or 5 of 20, and 86.2 percent of likely plays; for comparison sake, De Jesus makes just 55.6 percent of those plays. In short, Jeltz can step in today for De Jesus and outclass him defensively. The offense is a work in progress, though the OBP is solid. Not sure if Jeltz is a starter on a contending team - itís something Iíll have to determine at some point.

Meanwhile, center field is a black hole. Soares has potential but is obviously still green and needs time at AA Reading.

So what next? Letís look at upcoming free agents at both positions:

Shortstop
  • Ozzie Smith - 29 - 56/57 - 80 SS - 284 PA, .240/.307/.320, 16 XBH (+9.9 ZR, 4.83 RF, 1.100 EFF)
  • Chris Speier - 33 - 45/45 - 70 SS - 248 PA, .215/.282/.291, 11 XBH (+6.6 ZR, 3.99 RF, 1.083 EFF)
  • Dale Berra - 27 - 42/42 - 55 SS - 209 PA, .213/.268/.282, 9 XBH (-1.6 ZR, 4.48 RF, .975 EFF)
  • Garry Templeton - 28 - 40/42 - 50 SS - 64 PA, .262/.297/.311, 2 XBH (-1.0 ZR, 4.08 RF, .982 EFF)

Center Field
  • Ruppert Jones - 29 - 53/53 - 65 CF - 255 PA, .220/.306/.332, 15 XBH
  • Fred Lynn - 32 - 57/57 - 50 CF - 295 PA, .237/.330/.385, 21 XBH

At short, itís pretty clear that Smith would make a terrific fit on my ballclub. I donít need big-time offense there, but I do need a guy with plenty of range who can make up for Juan Samuelís deficiencies at second base. Smith is far and away the best defender at the position and would definitely be the starter on a contending club. Beyond him, Speier feels more like a utility player, Berra doesnít have enough defensive prowess, and Templeton would be a big risk.

Meanwhile, neither Jones nor Lynn play center field as a primary position, while the other candidates at center are poor defenders and/or quad-A types. The options arenít so good.

So maybe with shortstop I prioritize Smith (though he could always extend with St. Louis), and if he doesnít sign with us, I can pivot to a lesser veteran to split time or play utility alongside Jeltz (hell, bringing back Kiko Garcia becomes an interesting option, as heís a decent shortstop with a bench-worthy stick). But center is a position of critical need, and I may need to work the trade market to find a guy. More on that soon.

Finally, as an alternative, I always could simply keep Hayes in center, though heís been horrendous there, and add a plus-plus offensive player in a corner and eat defense. There is one (and only one) player who fits that mold in free agency: Kirk Gibson (296 PA, .313/.405/.552, 30 XBH), who isnít very good defensively but is an MVP candidate otherwise. Itís an idea, but Iíd like it more if it wasnít such a gamble.

In short, how I determine shortstop and center field over these next eight months will say everything about the future of my franchise.


Game 1984-68: Shea Stadium - Mets 7, Phillies 2 / 28-40

As has been the theme all season, the starter stays in too long and gives up a bunch of runs (in this case six, literally blowing our lead and turning the game into an unwinnable contest). If I canít beat it into Paul Owensí head that he needs to have a quicker hook, it may be time to move on.

June 20, 1984

Dave Wehrmeister clears waivers, so we pop him back into the Portland bullpen.

Game 1984-69: Shea Stadium - Mets 3, Phillies 2 / 28-41

George Foster hits homer No. 300. Meantime, we canít get the big hit. Mike Schmidt, after an 0-for-4 game, is now at .241. Dang.

June 21, 1984

Game 1984-70: Shea Stadium - Phillies 7, Mets 5 / 29-41

We keep inviting the Mets back into the game, but Bill Campbell, Tug McGraw, and Al Holland shut the door. All the offensive starters get a hit, with Schmidt going 2-for-4, and Samuel getting on base thrice.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:36 AM   #19
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June 22, 1984

We get news today of a trade between Baltimore and Los Angeles. The Orioles, who are probably selling, send outfielder Jim Dwyer to the Dodgers for outfielder Ken Landreaux and prospect Candy Maldonado. Apparently the Dodgers wanted a left-handed bench bat - one less suitor for Greg Gross.

I decide that if Iím making trades during the season, I should be looking for a potential starting center fielder for the 1985 club. If I want to compete, I canít put either Tim Knight or Todd Soares out there on opening day, and as I noted earlier, the free-agent options are bleak. And as I also noted earlier, I could turn back to Von Hayes in center next season, but I should want to avoid such poor defense out there. All to say that I should have a plan ready before the offseason, and that might mean having an established or ready center fielder entrenched.

So, letís look at what might be available to me. Iíll rank in terms of who I like most. I wonít include players that teams just wonít trade away (letís be realistic here).

For reference, hereís what Iím getting out of CF this year:
  • PHI - Von Hayes - 25 - 51/60 (40 CF), 293 PA, .270/.355/.363, 15 XBH, -8.5 ZR, .934 EFF

Not Interested Tier
  • MIL - Bob Skube - 26 - 41/42 (50 CF), 246 PA, .205/.282/.342, 17 XBH, -3.1 ZR, .987 EFF
  • CWS - Rudy Law - 27 - 47/47 (50 CF), 152 PA, .213/.253/.284, 6 XBH, -0.3 ZR, .977 EFF
  • CIN - Alan Knicely - 29 - 49/49 (50 CF), 250 PA, .288/.316/.441, 19 XBH
  • SF - John Rabb - 23 - 44/44 (50 CF), 260 PA, .218/.277/.372, 24 XBH
  • ATL - Larry Whisenton - 27 - 47/47 (50 CF), 116 PA, .284/.390/.431, 9 XBH, -3.0 ZR, .964 EFF

Skube apparently works counts and has some gap power, but thatís it, and heís vain. Law was much better in 1983, plus he has 80 speed, stealing, and baserunning, swiping 113 bags between Ď82 and Ď83. But the rest of the package is pretty bad. Knicely has barely played center and primarily catcher, and he hits like it, with just a little power and not much else. Rabb is like Knicely offensively and defensively, except that heís primarily a second baseman. Whisenton has been a good hitter, though Iím wary of a high BABIP this season; that said, his defense is poor and heís branded a ďhotshot.Ē

Not A Starter Tier
  • CWS - Dave Stegman - 30 - 48/48 (60 CF), 219 PA, .228/.311/.378, 15 XBH, +1.4 ZR, 1.016 EFF
  • CLE - Karl Pagel - 29 - 47/47 (50 CF), 303 PA, .247/.358/.369, 14 XBH, -0.6 ZR, .990 EFF
  • SD - Luis Salazar - 28 - 44/45 (65 CF), 219 PA, .216/.251/.372, 17 XBH

Stegman is on the bubble between bench player and starter. He has defense and discipline, but it seems he hits a wall in the majors. Hard to peg. Pagel brings power and discipline, but without speed heís more a bench bat alone. Salazar hasnít played much center, but itís apparently all range, as he has speed; also, he swings early and often and generally is a mediocre .250/.290/.370 type.

Interested Tier
  • SD - Gerry Davis - 25 - 50/50 (50 CF), 148 PA, .194/.311/.282, 8 XBH, +0.3 ZR, .994 EFF
  • TOR - Rick Leach - 27 - 46/50 (65 CF), 80 PA, .211/.327/.342, 6 XBH
  • PIT - Eddie Vargas - 25 - 48/48 (50 CF), 118 PA, .257/.339/.410, 7 XBH, -0.1 ZR, .994 EFF
  • SD - Alan Wiggins - 26 - 50/50 (50 CF), 213 PA, .274/.346/.344, 8 XBH

Davis is the quintessential gray area: young and struggling in his first full season, but a lower-than-usual BABIP, a decent profile with speed, eye, and gap power, and good-enough defense in all three outfield positions. Leach feels like a better hitter than his Ď84 numbers, especially with a .212 BABIP, but heís played little center field in his career. Vargas is definitely a flier type with 20-HR potential but no speed, which means his consistently high BABIPs are weird; ultimately, I could do a year of him to try it, but on a wannabe contender? Wiggins is the kind of hitter I want (contact, speed, a decent eye), but when he played center in 1983 he seemed to only be a small improvement from Hayes.

Clear Step Above Tier
  • CLE - Brett Butler - 27 - 50/57 (50 CF), 312 PA, .256/.326/.326, 16 XBH

Butler, who is playing left field this season, is probably a stretch; that said, heís a terrific defender with plenty of speed and the potential to be a .300 hitter in his prime.

So I can feel Cleveland out a bit; they could use a better closer (though they donít need one being 14.5 out), and I can offer Lezcano or Gross as a left field substitute for Butler (I know Iím dreaming). Beyond that, Iíll go to San Diego and Pittsburgh (probably the Pirates more heavily), and Toronto feels interesting (especially because they could use a reliever). Maybe the White Sox, as well.


Game 1984-71: Three Rivers Stadium - Phillies 3, Pirates 2 / 30-41

Once again, Paul Owens baffles me by leaving Steve Carlton in the game instead of going to a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth in a tie game. Luckily, it works out, as Lefty collects a complete game. A Mike Schmidt double, followed by a Len Matuszek single, win it.

June 23, 1984

The Orioles put center fielder Al Bumbry on waivers. The 37-year-old has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but this year heís hitting .236/.284/.298, and the Oís have no need for him anymore. He can still steal some bags with his 55 speed and 65 stealing rating, and puts the ball in play, showing some contact (50/50) while not striking out much (60/60). But heís also a sieve in the outfield, putting up a -3.9 ZR. Heíd be a step up from Garry Maddox, but not enough to take a real flier on him.

Game 1984-72: Three Rivers Stadium - RAINED OUT

June 24, 1984

A Sunday two-ticket doubleheader is on tap, with Kelly Downs going in game one and Charles Hudson pitching the nightcap. Meantime, John Denny comes off the IL and will get at least two starts in AAA Portland. Maybe three, as I may not decide to bring him back until after the all-star break.

Game 1984-72: Three Rivers Stadium - Pirates 5, Phillies 0 / 30-42

John Candelaria throws a four-hitter, while Kelly Downs surrenders five runs on nine hits in 6.2 IP. His ERA is now at 5.75, and with a 6.23 FIP, it hasnít been a good start to his career. That said, the closer we are to being completely out of the race, the more I donít mind him getting looks in the majors.

Game 1984-73: Three Rivers Stadium - Pirates 4, Phillies 3 / 30-43

Just the worst. We have a 3-0 lead in the eighth when Bill Campbell blows it, giving up a bunch of singles en route to a 4-3 loss. Mike Schmidt is now hitting .239 and is doing nothing to help the cause, while Juan Samuel - also cold - is down to .259 with a .302 OBP.

Weíre now 13 below .500 and 13 behind first-place Pittsburgh. We have the worst record in the National League (four teams in the American League are worse). Among 12 NL teams weíre dead last in AVG (.237), OBP (.298), and batting WAR (3.1), and 10th in runs against (321) and bullpen ERA (3.79), plus eighth in starters ERA (3.79). We should be better, but weíre pretty bad.

Moreover, I donít want to say Iím worried about Schmidt, but his current .325 OBP and .776 OPS are as bad as his numbers have been since 1973, his first full season (when he was worth just 1.7 WAR). To be fair, Schmidty has been fine defensively (+1.3 ZR, 1.024 EFF) and remains an above-average offensive player, but heís still under contract for four more seasons. Iím nowhere near thinking about trading him, but I should prepare for a moment when heís no longer my top offensive player. In fact, I canít compete if my top hitter is worth 118 WRC+.

New power rankings. Weíre 23rd. The top-five:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 52-21
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - 46-25
3. Detroit Tigers - 43-30
4. New York Mets - 40-31
5. Kansas City Royals - 41-30

The Jays created separation from the Tigers last week, and wins keep rolling in. Meanwhile, the Royals hold a 3.5-game lead over Seattle in the AL West, while the Dodgers are up 4 on Atlanta in the NL West, and the top four teams in the NL East (Pittsburgh, New York, St. Louis, Montreal) wage a war as theyíre 4.5 within one another.
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:53 PM   #20
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Please keep this series going, as I am enjoying keeping up with what is happening with your Phils.
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