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March 7 2007

Thanks mostly to Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Chase Utley, who all finished in the top ten in the category, the Phillies surged in strikeouts in 2006.  Howard struck out 181 times, second in the NL.  Utley fanned 132 times, which was tied for eighth-most in the NL, and Burrell 131 times, which was tenth. 

It was enough to help the Phillies jump from ninth in the league in '05 to third last year.


Year K NL Rank
2006 1,203 3
2005 1,083 9
2004 1,133 6

Despite finishing third in the NL in strikeouts, the Phillies didn't lead their division.  The surprising (to me) winner was the Marlins.  Florida led the NL with 1,249 strikeouts in 2006 without having a single player in the top ten. 

The Fish got it done with a group effort that saw six players strike out at least 100 times.  Hanley Ramirez led the way with 128 strikeouts (tied for 12th) and got support from Uggla (123, T-18), Willingham (109, T-29) and Cabrera (108, 31). 

Part of the reason that the Phillies stayed behind the Marlins overall for the year was that despite the big-three of whiffdom, the other Phillies didn't strike out a whole lot.  Bobby Abreu was fourth on the team in strikeouts with just 86.  Miguel Olivo (103) and Mike Jacobs (105) joined the other big-time striker-outers for Florida with over 100.

This article, written in March of some mystery year, says that the correlation between spring records and regular season records between 1996 and the mystery year is .15.  The mystery year may be 2003.

Josh Johnson is out for a while with his elbow problem.

The Phils are still planning to be careful with Gordon this year.

This article claims that Davey Lopes thinks Bourn won't have a problem repeating his stolen base success from '06 this season at Triple-A.  Last year Bourn stole 45 bases and was caught five times.

Burrell now may have both back and eye problems.

The Phillies beat the Pirates yesterday, winning 11-10 in ten innings to improve to 3-3 in spring training.  The Phillies again got a nice outing from their starting pitcher while the guys who followed him were pounded.  Over the past five games Phils' starters have thrown to a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings but Phillies' pitchers have combined to allow 42 runs.

Dobbs started at third and Garcia in right.  Dobbs was 0-for-2 with two walks.  Garcia was 1-for-4 with a two-run single.  Coste was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. 

Ryan Howard had a two-run double.  Rod Barajas had a three-run double and a walk of all things, which should be encouraged.  Barajas has 85 walks in 1,621 career at-bats.  His career high is 26.  Consider flowers.  Last season, in 339 at-bats with the Phils, Bobby Abreu walked 91 times.

Werth was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Brennan King had a two-run single in the top of the tenth to put the Phillies up to stay.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phils and cruised through two innings, allowing a single single.  In the third he got the first two men before walking the bases loaded and getting Adam LaRoche to ground out to first.  Geoff Geary followed Moyer and allowed two singles in two scoreless frames.  Fabio Castro started the sixth allowed two runs, only one of which was earned thanks to an error by Bourn in center.  Castro returned for the seventh and the Phillies made two more errors -- Castro ended the day charged with four runs in 1 1/3 innings on three hits and a walk.  Only one of the runs was earned.  Joe Bisenius finished the seventh for Castro, retiring the only man he faced.

Tom Gordon pitched the eighth and allowed a single in a scoreless frame.  Matt Smith was on the hill in the ninth and the Phillies made two more errors as the Pirates scored five times.  Smith went 2/3 of an inning and was charged with five runs on three hits and a walk.  Only two of the runs were earned.  Two of the runs came in after Jeff Farnsworth had relieved Smith -- Farnsworth allowed a two-run single that scored runners charged to Smith before getting the final out of the inning. The five-run ninth tied the game at 9-9 but the Phils pulled ahead 11-9 in the top of the tenth.  Farnsworth returned for the bottom of the tenth and allowed a solo home run to Brad Eldred but finished out the game to earn the save.

Five errors on the day for the Phillies.  Two for Sandoval and one each for Bourn, Simon and Andrew Beattie.

The Phillies play the Blue Jays this afternoon.

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