That depends what the definitions of ‘any closer’ and ‘prove’ are

Catching up
The Derek Jeter bunt

Charlie Manuel is a confident guy. He knows he has a good team, and when the press asks him he’s sure to tell them. When talking about opponents he doesn’t gush about their greatness or their achievements. For the most part, when talking about opponents, Manuel notes how his team is going to play well against them. Like with Andy Pettitte tonight. Manuel talked only about the negatives.

Andy Pettitte, he’s a lot like anybody else who ages — his stuff is kind of starting to dwindle down.” What does it say, then, about Andy’s postseason performance to date? It’s hard to put up those kinds of numbers with dwindling stuff, no?

Here’s a stranger quote from Manuel. In it he makes two mistakes, and they’re big enough to warrant a mention:

“We can hit Rivera,” Manuel said. “We can hit any closer.

We’ve proved that. He’s good. He’s one of the best closers in baseball, if not the best. He’s very good. But I’ve seen our team handle good pitching and, you know, we’re definitely capable of scoring runs late in the game.”

The first two parts of that quote are incompatible. The second part might be true; the Phillies might be able to hit any closer. Mariano Rivera, as we’ve learned over the past decade and a half, is not any closer. This doesn’t even need further explanation. His postseason ERA is ridiculous for a reason. You can go hit Joe Nathan and Jonathan Broxton and that would be a good job. They’re good closers. But they’re not Rivera.

That’s not to say that you can’t hit Rivera. It has been done. But beating other closers doesn’t necessarily mean you can beat Mariano. He’s on a level unto his own. JoePos gets it.

The next part of Manuel’s quote is just strange. “We’ve proved that.” You’ve proved what? That you can beat other closers? That’s great, but as established above, every closers are not Mariano. You can’t assume you can hit him because you can hit other closers. And, in fact, Manuels team has not hit Rivera in limited experience. They managed one hit in one inning off him in the regular season, and then couldn’t score in two innings against him Thursday night.

Manuel’s players have never proved that they can hit Rivera. They are a collective 8 for 47 against him with one double. The only two players with more than 10 plate appearances are Raul Ibanez and Matt Stairs, and they have four hits in 30 at bats between them. That’s hardly proving anything. In fact, if it proves aything, it’s that the Phillies hitters have as hard a time hitting Rivera as any other team in the league.

The Phillies are a confident team. We get that. They think they can beat anyone, as any team in their position should. I just hope they don’t really think that because they can hit NL closers that they can hit Mariano Rivera. He’s proven in both the abstract and in the concrete that he’s a cut above. The Phillies will have as difficult a time with him as the rest of the league does.

Catching up
The Derek Jeter bunt
  • pete

    i’m really starting to dislike philly in general. the media would tear the yankees a new one if they kept saying cocky things like this, or what pedro said the other night, or what rollins said.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      I agree. They’re far more coky and arrogant than I originally thought.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        coky, cocky, same difference.

        • The Three Amigos

          Im just surprised… I think it is a lot tougher to use bulletin board material in baseball… but all these arrogant statements in a 1-1 series, doesn’t make much sense. I hope we make them pay for it.

          I mean what’s the point of calling out the great closer ever or Andy Pettitte the career leader in playoff wins… who knows…? I hope it gets Pettitte fired up.

  • Zack

    I know teams are suppose to be confident, but that doesnt mean they need to be stupid too.
    Oh and Manuel needs to be more worried about Hamels than he does Pettitte.

  • Jake H

    Charlie might be a good manager but he sure can’t talk. Listening to his post game comments is just painful.

    • Bob Stone

      Definitely painful. Same level of pain as watching Joe Morgan when he managed the Red Sox.

  • Accent Shallow

    Huston Street and Jonathan Broxton are good pitchers. I certainly would not mind them pitching for this team.

    However, neither of those guys are Mariano.

    • Mike R. – Retire 21

      Huston Street and Jonathan Broxton are good pitchers. I certainly would not mind them pitching for this team.

      However, neither of those guys are there is no other Mariano.


  • marc resnick

    “But with Rivera — even if he does enter to the strains of Metallica’s Enter Sandman — the feeling is different. It’s more like the feeling of a superhero arriving on the scene. Thank God you’re here, Superman! In New York, the game is won when Rivera steps on the mound.” – Brilliant.

  • http://Wenevertradeagoodstarter TLVP

    what’s the problem? The Phillies have no upside from showing extra respect, whether earned or not, to anyone. They have multiple reasons to talk themselves up and the Yankees down

    1) No one succeeds when they expect to fail so inspiring confidence in his own players is important

    2) Maximize media exposure now – that means more merchandise sales in Philadelphia and elsewhere amongst Yankee haters. However if they acknowledge they are the underdog many casual fans won’t bother spending on them.

    3) If the project conviction they are the best team in baseball they’ll also be able to bolster season ticket sales for next year

    4) If they win they have a legitimate claim to being the best team in baseball but only if there isn’t a sense that they got lucky

    All in all no reason to show any real respect for Andy or Mo – extra respect should only be shown to potential free agents that you might want to sign up, or prospects you’re thinking of trading for. Andy and Mo will never go to the Phillies so…

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      We’re not talking about “extra” respect, we’re just saying don’t make stupid comments. If Manuel had said, “We know that Rivera isn’t the same as other closers, but we have a very good team and I feel confident eery time we’re at the plte regardless of the pitcher”, that’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. But comparng Rivera to “any closer” just isn’t true, however confident you are.

    • Kaitlin B.

      I don’t necessarily think they have to give props to Andy; he’s Andy, and he’s old, and he’s not the pitcher he once was. It’s not right to talk him down though, and they should engage in the same rigmarole and clichés everyone else does. If you think that he’s weak and you’ll hit him, then be non-committal. “He has a history of success, but we’ll only be thinking about the present when we’re up there” or “Andy’s a vet and he knows how it goes; we’ll be taking our best hacks up there.”

      But Mo? You have to respect Mo. This isn’t Joe Nathan or Jonathan Broxton or Papelbon. This is the best closer ever. The best closer in postseason history. It takes, on average, 10 innings to get a run off of him in the postseason. There’s confidence and then there’s blind arrogance, and saying that you can hit Mariano Rivera is the latter. He’s a first ballot HoF and he’s better at his job than anyone else in baseball is at theirs (except maybe Albert Pujols). Imagine if, in every postseason series, Barry Bonds hit like he did in 2002. Every series. Then imagine saying, as a pitcher, that you can totally strike him out, that you can do it on three pitches.

      That’s the disrespect they just showed to Mo. That’s absurd.

      • tim randle

        that disrespect could always end up with a cutter in on the kidneys…just because that dog has never bitten doesnt mean one day it wont snap, and go crazy killing 37 people, including the last one who was killed with a small package of Dots(tm) because he was out of baseballs…

    • Riddering

      “All in all no reason to show any real respect for Andy or Mo.”

      Uh, no. You have to show respect for players who have been competing on a high level for almost a generation or you come across as a douchebag. No “extra respect” about it when Manuel doesn’t even show any respect to begin with in his statements.

  • count crapulent says BOO

    Yankee fans know that Mo is God. Non-Yankee fans know he is the best closer the game has ever seen. “We” can hit him. Who’s we? Many have tried; few have succeeded. I don’t care who you are, you gotta give Mo the props. otherwise you’re a moron.

  • usty

    I’m pretty sure they put something in the water in Philly to make people irrational and dumb. I work with way too many of their fans and all I heard Thursday morning was stuff like, “This series won’t even make it back to NY.” “Wow that’s the best they can do, we might sweep.” I wanted to scream.

    • Girardi out to the mound

      The best was the headline in one of the major newspapers (forgot which one) in Philly after game 2: YANKEES AVOID SWEEP.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Actually, that’s pretty funny.

  • http://steves steve s

    I guess I wasn’t paying too much attention when Met fans would get into how much they hate the Phillies. Now that I’ve seen their demeanor on and off the field more close-up I understand much better; the Phillies go out of their way to display their arrogance, classlessness and disrespect. Sort of mirrors their fans behavior (see David Wells article in today’s POst for a good read on that).

    • steve (different one)

      yes, David Wells should certainly be giving lessons on class.

      • http://steves steve s

        As the saying goes, takes one to know one.

  • Shawn

    Charlie makes these comments about Pettitte’s pitching after Game 2 of the World Series “He’s a lot like anybody else who ages — his stuff is kind of starting to dwindle down.”– A game in which he starts Pedro Martinez who was born October 25, 1971, but Pettitte was born June 15, 1972. HMMMM!!!

  • JM

    Mariano’s 0.76 ERA says hi.

    • Jaymit

      LOL nice

  • JMK aka The Overshare

    To be fair to Manuel, Pettitte is not the same pitcher he was back in the 90s, early 2000s. His stuff has declined a bit, so he’s morphed into more of a Moose-type guy. You’re not going to see Andy throw 94 with that big curve. He throws a variety of breaking balls, nasty cutters and a fastball in the lower 90s. As he should.

    Where Manuel erred is in the implication that Andy is a much worse, over-the-hill pitcher. He’s not. He simply has a very different approach than he used to, and it’s effective.

  • YankeeScribe

    The Phillies and their fans truly believe that they are the best in baseball. They can’t fathom losing to the Yankees. That will only make it much more sweet when they lose to the Yankees.

    I live in Maryland and everyone here seems to be rooting for the Phillies. It’s just Yankee envy.

  • Kanye West

    it’s funny how you haven’t heard a peep from the yankee players at all about how they are going to murder brad lidge or beat them in 5

    good luck to philly in their WS loss

  • dc184

    ….a little too many Scotch and Sodas for Charlie over the years…

  • The Iron Horse

    Everyone is on the Phillies’ collective dick right now. Every article on ESPN is about the Phillies’ plan to win, how the Phillies “won” the first 2 games by splitting, etc. This is another non-issue that is best addressed by kicking their fucking asses. I do appreciate the quick reflex to defend the GOAT, though.

    • Dela G

      its incredible, eh? This reminds me of 1996 so bad. Just watch, the yanks win this series

      • whozat

        We’ve seen the same thing all year.

        What gets more attention “Yankees will win, just like everyone expects them to,” and “Jeter says nothing controversial, respects opponents, but remains confident,” or all the Phils’ bullshit?

  • Yankeegirl49

    Well, if Manuel and the Phillies are so confident they can get to Mo, just imagine how confident Girardi and the Yankees must feel about being able to get to Lidge.

  • Joseph M

    Pin the quotes to the clubhouse bulletin board. Charlie is no brain surgeon that’s for sure, World Series history is full of fools who made idiotic comments and lived to regret it. Bill Buckner’s blunder in the 86 series wasn’t his first transgression, in 1974 he trash talked about the A’s. At one point in the series he 86’d a Dodger rally by trying to first to third on a single ro right, Reggie got the ball to Bando who easily nailed the airhead. Series final A’s 4 Dodgers 1. Earl Weaver dissed the Mets in 69, it goes on and on.

    Here is a quote from a major league scout in the mid 70’s on a Dodger bench hand named Charlie Manuel, “he’s a complete player, he can’t do anything” (I guess that proves sometimes quotes are right on target).

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      They don’t need any extra motivation. They’re in the World Series; they know the stakes. I doubt they give a shit what Charlie and Rollins are saying. And frankly, they shouldn’t.

  • Summer

    “He’s proven in both the abstract and in the concrete that he’s a cut above. The Phillies will have as difficult a time with him as the rest of the league does.”

    Don’t you mean he’s “proved” it?

  • Riddering

    I would be embarrassed if Jeter and Girardi came out with statements like those delivered by Rollins and Manuel.

    The Yankees need to beat the Phillies for the good of all. No one outside of Philly wants these guys even more conceited than they already are. CRUSH THEM.

  • Tank Foster

    The way to hit Mariano Rivera, I think, is to take the mindset up there that you almost can’t hit him. I think batters have to think about him unlike any other pitcher. They should be on extreme defensive, trying to put a controlled swing on the ball and hit it solidly. There might be room for a big swing, hoping to get a flat-ish cutter, early in the count.

    The famous inning with the D-Backs, Mark Grace choked up on the bat. The D-Backs tried to bloop him to death, to just punch the ball out of the infield. This works sometimes.

    Players that try to drive the ball against him usually lose.

    Manuel can talk that way; he doesn’t have to stand in the batters’ box and try to hit him. If his players are smart, they will ignore their skipper and ditch the swagger.

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  • killcam

    man, i can just picture charlies accent on this, haha what a card. lets see him choke tonight on andys “aged’ stuff..

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