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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Mid-Season Report, Con't 

As I said yesterday, the Phils have been maddeningly inconsistent at the plate, but they’ve been pretty much uniformly bad on top of the pitcher’s mound. This has not, as you might imagine, sat well with Phillies fans who had high hopes for the starting rotation at the start of the year. Most articles about the Phils rotation focused on the idea that the Phils cadre of young starters were poised to supplant the Atlanta Braves as having the NL East’s best rotation. Bolstering this argument was the staff’s terrific pre-All Star game performance in 2003, whereafter the pitching staff fell apart and cost the team the wildcard. Most Phils fans assumed the additions of Tim Worrell, Billy Wagner and Eric Milton would solidify the Phillies pitchers into the best in the NL.

That hasn’t happened.

At the break the Phils staff has problems: they are tenth in the NL in WHIP and twelfth in ERA. Here are how the starters are doing:

Millwood: 1.49 / 5.15
Milton: 1.53 / 4.72
Myers: 1.56 / 5.68
Padilla: 1.42 / 4.07
Abbott: 1.45 / 4.45
Wolf: 1.30 / 3.56

WHIP (Walks plus hits by innings pitched): (BB + H) / IP = WHIP
ERA (Earned Run Average): (ER * 9) / IP = ERA

Compare as to their win-loss records:

Win / Loss:
Milton: 11-2
Millwood: 6-5
Myers: 5-6
Padilla: 4-5
Abbott: 0-3
Wolf: 3-5

Some in the Phils organization complained that Eric Milton got snubbed when he wasn’t selected to play in the All-Star game despite leading the NL in wins, but the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t pitched well. His 11-2 record is the product of massive run-support from the Phils. Conversely, despite having a comparatively pitiful record of 3-5, there isn’t much doubt that the Phils best starter is Randy Wolf.

The Citizens factor: Billy Wagner complained about the cozy contours of Citizens’ Back Ballpark in reference to the supposed snub of Milton. In truth there isn’t much to support such an argument on either Milton’s behalf or on Millwood and Myers: their WHIPs are all lower at home than on the road (as are, in the case of Myers and Milton, their ERAs).

Indeed, there isn’t much of a Citizen’s Factor the Phils pitchers at all:

Home: 1.35 / 4.22
Away: 1.50 / 4.72

The future isn’t promising: the Phils staff did much worse after the All-Star Break in ’03:

Pre All-Star ‘03: 1.25 / 3.55
Post All-Star ‘03: 1.44 / 4.70
Season-to-date: 1.41 / 4.44

Will the Phils do worse in the second half? That is a scary thought. It seems clear though that Kevin Millwood’s day in the sun as gone. He is no longer the Phils ace and his performance seems to be getting worse. I still believe that Padilla and Wolf will turn in decent performances in the second half and could make the Phils rotation half-way decent, however Milton, Myers and Millwood likely won’t. I think the Phils needs are clear: Millwood has to go and the team needs an ace, or at least a good No. 2 starter.

I have few complaints about the Phils bullpen: they’ve played well in ’04 so far …

Wagner: 0.85 / 3.52
Worrell: 1.21 / 3.57
Madson: 1.22 / 2.03
Hernandez: 1.63 / 4.81
Cormier: 1.36 / 4.36
Telemaco: 1.45 / 4.88

Wagner has been pretty much what the Phils wanted when they dealt for him: a fairly automatic closer. Worrell and Madson have done terrific jobs supplementing Wagner as the guys holding leads in the seventh and eighth.

Defensively it is hard to say much about the Phils in ’04: stats like fielding percentage and zone rating don’t tell us much about a team’s defensive prowess. (I note that the Phils are sixth in the NL in ZR, and seventh in fielding percentage.)

In the final analysis: the Phils are in trouble. This team is better off in the standings now then in ’03 when they trailed the Braves by ten or so games), but they have a worse record this year (46-41) than last (52-40). They are playing too inconsistently, and they have real competition: the Mets and Braves are playing well, and the Fish will rebound from their June slump. Based on their Pythagorean win-loss records, this is how the NL East will end up:

1. Atlanta 89-73
2. New York 86-76
3. Philadelphia 85-77
4. Florida: 79-83
5. Montreal: 55-107

Bottom-line: '04 has been a bitter disappointment. Time to start making some moves, fellas.

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Games & PC Games News - Oct. 16, 2005

Is the PC game market? (Dallas Morning News)
The last few years have not been all fun and games for computer game fans, but that might be changing. As attention has shifted to sophisticated video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2, PC gamers have watched their preferred platform wither.

Xbox 360's New Media Play Finding Fans (eWeek)
Consumers were impressed by the expanded multimedia features of Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 at the Digital Life conference, while gamers were excited to begin using the devices to access other types of services.

NewTek Releases Fifth Free Feature Update for LightWave 3D (Digital WebCast)
NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced the release of the fifth free update and the 64-bit port for Emmy award-winning LightWave 3D . Version 8.5 offers hardware support of OpenGL 2.0, the new Multishift tool with editable history, Photoshop -style texture blending modes, improved dynamics, and easier integration of third-party file formats.

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