Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

3 on 3 for the week of 10.30.2011

Welcome to this week’s 3-on-3.
This week, I will be adding Corsi to my weekly stat analysis. Corsi is a stat that measures shots for and against while a player is on the ice, so the theory is the higher the Corsi, the more effective the player is and the more value he has to his team.
The Flyers had an up and down week, defeating Toronto 4-2 on Monday, then dropping back-to-back contests, 5-1 in Montreal on Wednesday and a 9-8 scorefest with Winnipeg on Thursday. The Orange and Black then rebounded with a solid victory Saturday against Carolina by a 5-1 count.
Let’s get to this week’s 3 stars: 
  1. Jaromir Jagr -- Jagr scored 5 goals and had 2 assists in the past four games. He is tied for second on the team with 11 points and is a plus-3. He currently has a relative Corsi of 8.2 which is third highest on the team. He continues his stellar work on the power play and has started to be a force at even strength as well.
  2. Scott Hartnell -- After a tough week last week, Hartnell rebounded with his addition to the Jagr-Giroux line with 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 total points. He has also vaulted into the plus-minus lead with a +5 and is tied with Jagr for second on the team in scoring with 11 points. His relative Corsi is a respectable 5.3, which puts him 6th best on the team. Hartnell has earned power-play minutes with his improved play and his overall ice time is creeping up as well. As long as he plays determined and is willing to get dirty in front of the goal, Hartnell should continue to be successful.
  3. Claude Giroux -- "G" was also very good as he helped get his linemates going and himself as well.  Claude had 2 goals and 5 assists in the four games which gives him 15 points on the season, good enough to lead the Flyers. That also ties him with Ottawa's Jason Spezza and Thomas Vanek of Buffalo for second-most in the NHL behind the surprising Phil Kessel of Toronto. Four of his goals have come via the power play and he has netted a pair of game winners as well, both team highs. His relative Corsi of 6.1 is good enough for 5th on the Flyers. Giroux has grown into a true star in the NHL and if he continues his maturation and growth, he could be the next big superstar in Philadelphia.
Now for my 3 duds of the week:
  1. Matt Carle -- Carle simply had a horrible week without Chris Pronger, putting up a minus-6 in 4 games and only adding 2 assists on the offensive side. His lack of direction and focus when Pronger is out of the lineup is scary. He becomes very tentative and unsure of himself, which leads to poor decision making and turnovers -- which was in full display in Thursday's loss. Carle needs to play the same way regardless of who his defense partner is.
  2. Ilya Bryzgalov -- Bryz had a tough week, going 1-2 and surrendering 10 goals in 3 games. His goals-against has gone up to 3.16 and his save percentage has dropped to .880. After the loss to the Jets, the Russian took all the blame and said he was “lost in the woods”. He thankfully found himself after a good performance against Carolina. For the Flyers to be a playoff contender, Bryz must be solid and consistent.
  3. Team defense -- Team defense has been pretty bad the past week since Pronger suffered his freak eye injury against Toronto. The rearguards were awful against the Habs, giving up 14 goals in 24 hours. Overall, they were tagged for 17 goals last week and that is never a good sign. The fowards have to support the defense better and the defense has to stop turning the puck over. Hopefully, this is just a temporary glitch and will stabilize itself soon.
That is all for this week’s 3-on-3. Join me next week when look back on 3 games this week, Wednesday at Buffalo, Thursday hosting the Devils and Saturday against Columbus.

Laurie's Random Thoughts and Musings on the 2011 Phillies

Charliemanuel

Posted by Laurie Dougherty

Like everyone else, now that I've had a few days to digest what happened on Friday night, when I and everyone else in Phillies Nation watched the season come to a sickening end, I can look a little more rationally at what happened and what changes the Phillies should consider making as they head into the offseason. They have several players that will become free agents and others on whom they need to decide whether they will pick up options on.  I thought I would touch on some of the issues that the Phillies need to take a hard look at this winter.

No more "Home run or bust"

Now that Ryan Howard's injury has been confirmed as a rupture of his Achilles tendon and will require surgery and significant time out of the lineup, Charlie Manuel has a golden opportunity to retool his offensive philosophy of "home run or bust". He doesn't have as many big bats as he had in 2008, when that approach brought the team its the 2nd World Series championship. Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth are gone, Chase Utley is not the same hitter he was back in '08 and now Howard could be out for much of the 2012 season. While I acknowledge that Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and John Mayberry can hit with power at times, that is not their usual MO. Charlie needs to take a page from Tony LaRussa's manager's manual and start utilizing the strengths his players have. Shane and Hunter can run. Charlie needs to start utilizing them in hit-and-run situations, as well as giving them the "green light" to steal bases (Shane supposedly already has that green light; why he doesn't run more is a puzzle to me). The team needs to adopt more of a "small ball" mentality and figure out how to manufacture runs because solely relying on the long ball will not get the job done in 2012. The hitters need more discipline at the plate. Drawing walks is not a bad thing! Making pitchers throw 20-30 pitches in an inning will wear them out more. Other teams do it to us! The top 5 players in baseball in drawing walks all were in the 100s—none of them were Phillies. Ryan Howard led the team in that category with 75.

 Tale of the tape

 As I've read several articles about the Phillies premature end to their season, as well as reader comments, it has been mentioned several times that Ryan Howard does not study tape. What?!?! He's making how much money and he doesn't take the time to learn from his mistakes??? Yikes! One commenter suggested that he needs to spend this winter studying tape and perhaps hire a hitting coach to help him analyze what he can do better. I'm all for that. It befuddles me that with all the role models around him (most notably Chase and Roy Halladay) that Howard would not follow their lead and study video of himself. He's going to be out for quite a while (possibly up to a year, I heard in one report) so in addition to rehabbing his left leg, he needs to rehab his whole approach to hitting. Even I noticed in the last few games of the regular season as well as the playoffs that he had moved back from the plate. Hard to hit the ball on the outside part of the plate when you're standing on the outside perimeter of the batter's box and have to flail at it and hope you hit it!

 "Can you hear me now?"

 Although he's been very successful at managing the egos of the Phillies players, over the past year (maybe two) I have to wonder if they've stopped listening to Charlie Manuel. As many articles have noted, he is in some ways a "player's manager" but he is not a good strategist, which has been painfully brought to the forefront the last 2 postseasons. Granted, Tony LaRussa's frequent pitching changes in game 2 drove us nuts but let's face it, he seems to know how to get the matchups that will benefit his team the most. Charlie does not always do that.  The other issue is the lineup change he put in place at the end of the season, shortly after the Phillies had that horrible 8 game skid right after winning the division. Charlie moved Chase up to the 2nd spot and Hunter Pence up to the 3rd spot. So now Pence would be in front of Howard instead of behind him. Charlie stuck with this lineup all through the NLDS, instead of changing it up and moving Pence back to the 5th spot, particularly for game 5. Would it have made the difference? Hard to say, but what was in place wasn't working. Charlie showed a willingness to move players around and substituted quite a bit during the regular season, but remained stubborn in the postseason, preferring to value loyalty to his veterans over production. Perhaps Ruben Amaro needs to consider whether the Phillies need a new voice to listen to, because I really think they've tuned Charlie out.

 Jimmy Rollins—should he stay or should he go?

While he is the outspoken leader of the team and recently has taken to Twitter to express himself, I have to wonder if Jimmy's "me first" attitude is making him somewhat unpopular in the Phils' clubhouse. Over the years we have seen several instances of him being benched by Charlie for not running out ground balls. On Friday night, in the third inning, I know he thought he hit a foul ball but you have to run it out anyway. It's called fundamental baseball. Can the Phillies afford to move on from Rollins? He has been injury-prone the last 2 seasons. While he's still a force defensively, his bat has been on the decline since he won the NL MVP award in 2007. Granted, he made a great showing in this year's NLDS vs the Cardinals but it wasn't enough because most of his teammates didn't hit. If the Phillies are looking to get younger, perhaps it's time J-Roll moved on.

 Other free agents

Besides Rollins, Ryan Madson is also a free agent. I don't think there's much question that the Phillies should try to sign him, but he is asking for a lot of money, perhaps more than the Phils are willing to spend on a top closer. However, in spite of the fact that Scott Boras is his agent, I think the team needs Madson. Unfortunately, I heard rumblings that he may not want to stay in Philadelphia. I hope that is not true but if so, that puts a different spin on things. Performance-wise, Madson has done everything asked of him this season and will be a hot commodity on the free agent market if the Phillies don't bring him back.

Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge and Raul Ibanez will almost certainly not be retained, although Lidge has expressed an interest in remaining here. If he is willing to take a pay cut, I would not rule out keeping him, not necessarily as a closer but as a 7th or 8th inning setup man, which is what he was this year. He has done well enough to merit consideration, as well as being a potential mentor for Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Michael Schwimer and even Joe Savery and Justin DeFratus (presuming they are invited to come to spring training to compete for a job). My guess is that Ross Gload and Brian Schneider will also not be resigned, although I don't know how much confidence the Phillies have in Dane Sardinha to be Carlos Ruiz's backup. Kyle Kendrick, Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez are arbitration-eligible and may be non-tendered, leaving them free to seek jobs elsewhere. Even though I think they need to move towards getting younger players, I think they should consider keeping Valdez because he can play multiple positions and is solid in the field. His hitting prowess is not spectacular but I view him as a key person as the Phillies make a transition towards a youth movement, particularly on the infield.

A few additional comments on the first section seem warranted. While Greg Gross seems like a nice guy, he doesn't seem to instill much discipline in the hitters. Chase is one of the few patient hitters on the team. Everyone needs to adopt that attitude. Replacing Gross as the hitting coach would not be a terrible move, particularly if they make a managerial change. While many of us are disappointed at the early end to the Phillies postseason run, we will see more of the same if the team doesn't start to change its approach at the plate. It would be a real shame for us to have all these great pitchers and not win another championship. I don't envy Ruben Amaro for the decisions he has to make this offseason—I wish him luck!

 


OMG @ShaneVictorino Smiled & Cliff Lee is Golfing With Matt Cain! Hope it Meets @Meechone's #Phillies Rules

Posted by Jorge Suarez

CliffLeeGolfing
Posted by Jeremy Jackson on Twitter earlier. Thanx to @xochristinaxo for catching it

OK - YOU KNOW HOW SCREWED UP IT WAS WHEN SHANE VICTORINO WAS ROOTING AGAINST THE TEAM THAT BEAT HIM!?

CLIFF LEE IS GOLFING... AND HE IS GOLFING WITH ENEMY MATT CAIN OF THE MOTHERF$%ING SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS WHO BEAT US LAST YEAR!?

What a crazy, messed up Twitter day...so messed up I felt like writing something.

@ShaneVictorino calls @CrossingBroad "Slappy"

@CrossingBroad tells @Meechone he doesn't blog enough to count or something

@SportsMiller Calls out @Meechone for making TheFightins his "identity" and creating Twitter rules

SO, here are the official Jorge Suarez rules for Twitter, sponsored by Long John Silvers (R):

  1. I will say whatever the hell I want
  2. I will make fun of whoever  the hell I want, and when I make fun of you and you don't like it, it's because you have no sense of humor
  3. If people try to blog to make money, at least try to be nice to people so you can essentially treat your customers well
  4. We should figure out whose blog is the best, and all other blogs can go be ashamed because they are not good enough to live
  5. Bleacher Report is still lousy
  6. I will laugh when people constantly treat people like crap and or stalk people, then whine that they lose followers
  7. The internet was created by Al Gore for pornography, selling stuff on eBay, and having fun once in a while reading about sports.  So frigging let people have fun with their blogs or Twitters.
  8. Umm... Go Phillies!

Highlights and Reaction from the Phillies Shane Victorino Press Conference

Shane_Victorino

If you are at work and did not have the pleasure to see the Shane Victorino press conference, here's a picture of it, and captures of a bunch of tweets to see what Shane and others thought about it.

Victorino_Press_conference


Why did Shane Victorino have the press conference?  Probably because he refused to talk after the final game.

However, I feel that Shane Victorino is Phillies player most likely to be traded.   More on that another time.

Jimmy Rollins and Ruben Amaro speak at noon, and you can see the CSN Philly feed here:
http://www.csnphilly.com/live1?awid=6202235889169196381-711

 


Philliedelphia's Favorite and Least Favorite Moments from the 2011 Season by Kevin Durso

It feels too early to be reflecting on the 2011 season, but after the Phillies were knocked out of the playoffs by the Cardinals, we all need something to smile about. Philliedelphia writers have composed their favorite moments of the season, as well as their least favorite moment.

Kevin Durso

5. Cliff Lee's Stellar June

It's easy to reflect on how the pitching didn't give the Phillies what we all hoped for this October. But while looking back at this season, and how pitching is a lost art in baseball, the Phillies had an ace who turned in a month like no other, and it may never be duplicated, unless by the man himself. What Cliff Lee did in June was simply amazing, and by the time he finished the month with a two-hit shutout against the Red Sox, you weren't sure who the best pitcher on this team really was.

4. June/September Doubleheaders against the Marlins

This might be cheating, because technically, this is two moments. In June, the Phillies played a four-game series against the Marlins, and had won the first game by belting five home runs. The next day was a doubleheader. Game 1 went to the Phillies handily. Game 2 was another story. The Phillies never seemed interested in playing that second game, but oddly, there was a feeling that something good would happen. Being at the ballpark that night, I sensed this game wasn't over until the last out. Shane Victorino singled home a pair of runs with two outs in the ninth to tie. Carlos Ruiz won it in the tenth with an RBI single, and it was just as awesome as if it had been in October.

In September, a similar doubleheader took place. The Phillies held on for a Game 1 win, but again, Game 2 turned out to be the one with the real memory here. Cliff Lee was dazzling that night, working with one run and holding the lead the whole way. One strike away from his seventh shutout of the season, he gave up a game-tying solo shot to Jose Lopez. But Ryan Howard doubled home the winning run in the tenth to give the Phillies the win anyway.

3. Let's Go Eat!

Raul Ibanez had just won a game against the Pirates himself. He drove in four, belted two home runs, and hit the winning double. Hunter Pence was brand new to the lineup, and the look on his face as he crossed home plate as the winning run is all that you need to tell you about this moment. He followed that with one of the better quotes of the year, one that turned into a t-shirt phenomenon. "Let's go eat!" he proclaimed to Sarge after the win. It caught on pretty quickly.

2. Mayberry/Victorino comeback against Rockies

The Phillies won many games they had no right winning this season. But this one tops them all. Down by two with a 1-2 count, John Mayberry Jr. worked the count full, and blasted a game-tying shot to get the game to extras. Shane Victorino went deep to lead off the tenth, and the Phillies went on to win, 4-3.

1. May Marathon

I will never, ever forget this game. Staying up into the night to watch a game that likely had no bearing on the Phillies' schedule is a memory I will carry forever. Everything about that game was just exciting, and it was a game that had you hooked the whole way from Ryan Howard's game-tying shot in the 10th, to David Herndon working out of a bases-loaded jam in the 11th, to Danys Baez' five scoreless innings of relief, to Wilson Valdez taking the mound and retiring the heart of the Reds' order, to Raul Ibanez' walk-off sac fly in the 19th. The marathon game had you hooked, and was just one of many games this year throughout baseball that reminded you why we watch.

Least Favorite Moment: The 8-game losing streak Watching the Phillies throughout that week was so hard. I was in the ballpark the night before the division clincher, and the loss was disappointing. Four days later I was at the nightcap of the doubleheader against the Nationals. The Phillies were working on their fourth-straight loss. I've never had a more horrible time at a baseball game. There was just nothing to get excited about. For the rest of that week, baseball was just hard to watch. There wasn't really a reason to, with the division locked up, but after a season of very few moments to worry and panic, there was certainly a concern with the playoffs right around the corner. In hindsight, it was a huge concern, which I why I will remember the end of season collapse that commenced in the Postseason.


The Flyers Win, WITH A SHUTOUT

The Flyers won their second straight game to open this 2011-12 season, with a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils at the Rock.

Ilya Bryzgalov provided the magic so many had hoped he would,  saving all 20 of the Devils' shots and providing the Flyers first shutout since the 2010 playoffs.

Claude Giroux opened the scoring with a goal in the first while both Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored in the third period to extend the Flyers' lead.

Both teams power-play units failed to score a goal despite having a combined 13 man advantage opportunities.

The Flyers had the first several chances of the game after Petr Sykora was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking Kimmo Timonen 27 seconds in. The visitors had two shots on net, including a Jakub Voracek attempt in the crease that was turned away by the ageless Martin Brodeur. Despite coming up empty, they kept up offensive pressure for the next few minutes until Zac Rinaldo was called for tripping Eric Boulton.

Even with the scare of a Sean Couturier broken stick, the Flyers killed off the Devils' power play and returned to dominating the action until potting the first score of the night. 

As James van Riemsdyk guarded the puck from a few Devils in the corner, he slid the puck to a wide-open Giroux in front who smacked it past Brodeur for his first goal of this season. 

Late in the first period, the Flyers almost extended their lead to two goals with a short-handed breakaway by Andreas Nodl. After breaking up a pass between  two Devils defenders, Nodl was off to the races taking a high shot on Brodeur that hit the New Jersey netminder and rolled wide of the net. Nodl's chance was the last solid scoring opportunity for either team in the opening 20 minutes.

The Flyers entered the second period carrying the momentum, despite the need to kill off 21 more seconds in Braydon Coburn's holding penalty. 

To start the second, Coburn returned to the penalty box for boarding 63 seconds after being released from the box for his first period penalty. Killing off their third shorthanded situation of the game, the Flyers returned to producing offensive pressure in the Devils' defensive zone.  Highlighted by a power play due to a Patrik Elias holding call and a Danny Briere shot that rang off the pipe, the Flyers once again came within inches of extending their lead.

Continuing the penalty-taking trend, Rinaldo drew David Clarkson into a holding infraction late in the period. The Flyers didn't enjoy a power play for long as Matt Carle was flagged for tripping 24 seconds later. .

The Devils had a series of quick scoring chances in a vain attempt to get on the scoreboard, including one which resulted in Bryzgalov doing a split on the ice as time expired.  

Read played strongly in the season opener against the Bruins and through two periods against the Devils, so it was only fitting he scored the first goal in the third period to extend the Flyers' lead. Walking into the slot, Read let go of a wrister that squeaked through Brodeur's right arm and right hip and dribbled into the net at the 2:41 mark.

This wasn't the end for the Flyers as Elias was called for tripping six seconds after Read's goal. The Flyers didn't score on their fourth power play of the night, but it led to a Simmonds goal three seconds after the man advantage.

Fighting for a rebound in front of the net, Simmonds put the puck home while on shoved to the ice and with several Devils on top of him. The tally was his first as a Flyer and his second point in the Orange and Black.

Simmonds wasn't done putting the hurt on the Devils as he landed a strong jab to Clarkson's face in a fight later in the period which concluded with a takedown. To make matters worse for Clarkson and his teammates, he received a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and put the Flyers on their sixth man advantage of the game.

The remaining half of the third period saw three more minors, but no more goals as the Flyers held on to extend their season opening winning streak to two games.  

Notes: Bryzgalov's shutout tonight ended Philadelphia's 101-game streak without blanking ana opponent...The last Flyers shutout came when Michael Leighton turned away the Canadiens in Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals at Montreal...Philly has won its first two games on the road for the second time in three seasons. In 2009, the club topped Carolina and New Jersey to begin the year...The Devils have lost three straight season openers...Saturday marked the first time the Flyers scored first in a game since Game 2 against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May.. This also marked the first time Coburn had four or more penalty minutes in a game since April 3 (7 PIM vs. New York Rangers)... The Flyers were 0-for-8 while the Devils were punchless in five chances...Simmonds' last fight before tonight happened on February 10 against Ryan Craig of the Pittsburgh Penguins...Giroux is the only Flyer with a goal in each game this season..Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros, and Simmonds all have at least a point in each game thus far.


More Unsettling Phillies News: Cole Hamels to Have Surgery

Posted by Frank Klose

HamelsFirstStart

According to Jayson Stark, Cole Hamels will undergo surgery to remove "loose bodies" in his pitching arm.

As he notes, Hamels had a "sore shoulder" towards the end of the season, but he took only minimal time off.

It's probably not too serious or he would not have pitched, but as the Phillies get older, more of these types of injuries occur.   Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence are also bothered by sports hernias and may need attention this offseason as well.