Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/19/12 - A Brief Focus on Jim Thome

Note: This was edited on Sunday morning. I didn't include the walk-off HR.


Since the Phillies no longer have the DH in the remaining 94-game regular season, Jim Thome – who played as DH in all nine interleague road games going 12/36 (.333) with 6 Ks, 14 RBIs, two 2B, 4 HRs (becoming the fourth player to hit 100 HRs for three different teams), and 4 BB – will be relegated to the bench. Here’s what I think has to happen if Thome will have “continued success” as a Phillie this year:

Thome must still play at 1B (four-to-six innings every twelve days against right-handed pitching) and will ALWAYS be the first lefty off the bench unless he's being saved for a better match-up. This gives him as much PAs as possible without risking too much wear and tear on his back. There is no substitute for regular PAs. To compensate for the loss of PAs for bench guys and reduce the risk of injury to the old guys, the thirty-plus-year-old infielders (including Howard & Utley when they return) must be given a day off every five or ten days. I’ve called for this during the preseason and Charlie has not done so. He actually may benefit from this strategy: this year’s bench is performing better overall than last year’s bench, and call-ups like Luna & Fontenot have dazzled from the get-go. However, I still miss Wilson Valdez!!!

Let’s talk about the rest of the hitters, starting with the outfielders. Except for Victorino (bad year) and Pierre (stellar year), Mayberry and Pence have turned it around in June. Pence (and the entire team) has trouble hitting with RISP. Mayberry and Luna give Manuel defensive versatility: they can play all the outfield positions and first base (Luna also can fill in at the utility positions). And Martinez can play center field. Noteworthy, when Domonic Brown, who recently re-injured his knee after getting a hot bat, is finally ready for the big leagues, he could play center field.

Moving on, our catchers are performing spectacularly with Chooch’s hot bat & stellar defense leading the way despite some wear-and-tear (the cramp/ oblique issue) and a few close calls with collisions. Scooch has good moments and improved offense. I’d like to see Kratz play more if he’s on the roster. Give Chooch his usual days off; perhaps tweak it to let Scooch catch for Worley. #VOTE4CHOOCH PLEASE!!!

So, Thome needs to be “coddled” here to give him PAs but it won’t be at the expense of others if Charlie rests his old guys and uses his hot-hitting bench accordingly.

“Worth Noting”:

There are currently 12 pitchers and 13 hitters on the active roster. The current rotation includes Lee (still winless), Hamels (with a major-league-leading ten wins), Kendrick (the fill-in for Halladay), Worley, and Blanton. The bullpen includes righties Papelbon (who has not blown just blew his first save of the season; unusually, he can only be used in save situations), Qualls, and Schwimmer; and lefties Savery, Bastardo, Valdes, and Deikman. Savery, Schwimmer, and Valdes can play more than an inning at a time.

Today's game: Phillies (Hamels) vs. Rockies (Outman) at 7:05 PM

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