Anyone else having trouble staying awake this morning? And I can't even claim to have kept my eyes open for all 246 minutes of play last night. I did, however, get to watch the ninth inning. I guess my internal body clock was telling me it was time to watch some exciting baseball. Thankfully, it wasn't wrong.
Anyway, with a much more humane 6:07pm start time tonight, we're less than 7 hours from game time (as opposed to yesterday at this time when we were still 11 hours from game time!). Here are three things to mull over as we wait for another work day to pass:
- How devastating are Jimmy Rollins' horrible on-base skills at the top of the Phillies lineup this post-season? Not so much. Jimmy Rollins' horrible on-base skills were on fine display this season. He had a .287 OBP for the first half of the season, including a .206 OBP in June. He improved that to .306 for the second half, but still finished with just a .296 OBP for the season. That's horrible over the course of 162 games and 725 plate appearances. However, it's just not nearly as bad during the post-season, when the Phillies are, at best, going to play 15 or 16 games and he's only going to see about 65 plate appearances at most. (He had 64 last post-season.) Actually crunching the numbers shows this. If Rollins performs in the post-season the way he did in the regular season, he'll get on base roughly 6 or 7 times per series (assuming 21 plate appearances per series, Rollins' average last post-season). The median OBP for full-time lead-off hitters this year was .355 (Scott Podsednik). Knowledgeable Phillies' fans would drool over a .355 OBP at the top of our lineup. However, with that OBP, Podsednik would get on base just 1 more time per series than Jimmy -- about 7 or 8 times per series. Even Derek Jeter's excellent .409 OBP at the top of the Yankees' lineup would only translate to 1 more time on base per series than Podsednik -- about 8 or 9 times per series. Of course, I'm not saying that it wouldn't be great if Rollins could get on base more reliably, especially with the hitters behind him in this lineup. But, let's not overstate the significance of it in a short series where the difference between a horrible lead-off OBP and a great lead-off OBP will translate to another 2 times on base over the course of 5 or 6 games.
- How much of a "psychological boost" should Brad Lidge's appearance last night have been? Not so much. Everyone's going gaga over Brad Lidge this morning. Charlie Manuel thought he saw something different in Lidge's last three appearances in the regular season. So he used him in a high-leverage save situation last night, and Lidge got the job done. If my half-asleep memory serves me right, the announcers called his appearance a "psychological boost" for him and the team. Yet, what exactly was good about last night's appearance other than the outcome? (And yes, I understand that's a huge "other than.") Lidge didn't throw a first-pitch strike to any batter last night. He walked two. He allowed an easy stolen base. In other words, he was the same Brad Lidge he's been all season in the ninth inning. Except, of course, he didn't allow anyone to score. But, as much as that difference is huge in the outcome, does it make any difference in whether Brad Lidge is "back" and should it instill any kind of confidence in his teammates, his manager, or the fans? Absolutely not.
- How awesome has the timing been for the Phillies' post-season games been so far? Not so much. Yes, this is a bit of a tired subject and fans in Philadelphia get a nice reprieve tonight, albeit still not perfect since MLB clearly doesn't care about family dinner time in Philadelphia or anyone in Colorado for that matter. After all, far be it for MLB to have enough confidence in its product to think that it is actually good enough to compete with Monday Night Football. But, I digress. Check out the end times for the Phillies/Rockies games so far this October (times are local Philadelphia time, subtract 2 hours for Denver time): 5:25pm, 6:18pm, and 2:13am. It's as if MLB thinks that no one in Philadelphia or Denver cares about their baseball teams other than those who go to the games. And that's not even considering the fan-insulting and player-threatening conditions last night's game was played in. I was certainly happy to be watching it from the comfort of my warm bed rather than at the stadium (where MLB fudged the game time temperature up about 7 or 8 degrees to a balmy 35), but then again, that same comfort induced me to doze in and out for the last 6 innings. Luckily, I was able to stay awake for all of the ninth. Of course, now I'm paying for it, as are many other Philadelphians this morning. Do Philadelphia-area employers have a class action lawsuit against MLB for lack of productivity at work today? I think it's a pretty good case for one of our lawyer-readers to consider taking up. Anything to annoy Bud Selig and his band of roving lunatics would be a good thing in my book.