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April 26 2007

Three lefty-righty splits for Phils' hitters that caught my eye very early in the '07 season:

 

Player VS AB AVG OBP SLG OPS
Burrell RHP 44 386 491 545 1.036
Victorino LHP 26 231 310 346 657
Helms RHP 53 264 268 321 589

First, it's nice to see that Burrell's hot start has not come by pounding lefties.  Burrell has a career .811 OPS against right-handed pitching and .946 against left-handed pitching.  So far this year he's at .752 against lefties.  He's always going to hit lefites (possible exception -- his first 17 at-bats against them this season).  He's not going to post a 1.036 OPS against righties, but if he can improve on .811 he'll be a much more effective offensive player.

In his first full season last year, Victorino was a little better against lefties (.764 OPS) than righties (.758 OPS).  In his first 26 at-bats against lefties this season he's been downright awful, especially for a full-time right fielder.  Despite all that Victorino brings to the table with his speed, defense and arm, I think the Phillies need to give Werth some chances to start in right against lefties. 

Finally, if Wes Helms doesn't pick it up against righties the Phils are in some trouble.  They don't have much of a net at third if you haven't noticed.  Last year, in 133 at-bats he hammered righties, hitting 323/368/632.  That hasn't been the case over his career, however.  His career OPS against righties is just .740.  Prior to the 2006 season, his high OPS against righties in the four previous years was .749.

All that said, it's still very early and there's a chance some things could change over the next 142 games.


April 26 2007

All of the sudden just about everyone on the Phillies is hitting.  While the list of guys playing well is long, it's hard to ignore what Chase Utley has done in his last 20 at-bats.  Eleven hits including six doubles and two home runs.  He got more hits last night, five, than Barajas, Dobbs, Bourn or Nunez have on the season.

The Phillies got their fifth straight win last night, beating the Nationals 9-3.  They are 9-11. 

Jon Lieber got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles.  He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.

Lieber got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first.

In the second he struck out the first two men he faced before getting Ryan Church on a ground out to second.

He was perfect through three after a 1-2-3 third.

Felipe Lopez singled into left-center to start the fourth with the Phillies up 3-0.  Ronnie Belliard was next and chopped a ground ball up the middle.  Rollins fielded to the right of second and tried to tag Lopez going by.  He didn't get him and Belliard was safe at first as well with an infield single.  Ryan Zimmerman followed and hit into a double-play with Lopez moving to third.  Dmitri Young looped a single just over the glove of Utley and into right.  Lopez scored to cut the Phillies' lead to 3-1.  Austin Kearns was next and he crushed the ball into center.  He missed a home run by a couple of feet and Young scored easily.  3-2 after the first well-hit ball of the game off of Lieber.  Church grounded out to first to end the frame.

Lieber set the Nats down 1-2-3 again in the fifth.

In the sixth he got the first two before Zimmerman doubled to right-center.  Rowand took another strange angle on the ball but it would have been a double even if he hadn't.  Young popped to second to end the frame.

Matt Smith started the seventh in need of a good outing as the only lefty in the Phillies pen.  Not so much.  He walked the first two men he faced before pinch-hitter Michael Restovich hit a hard grounder to third.  Helms made a nice play and threw to second to get one, putting runners on first and third with one down.  Brian Schneider was next and hit a ball back to Smith.  Smith threw to second, but his throw was bad and the Phils got just one out as the runner scored from third to cut the Phils lead to 7-3.  Smith walked pinch-hitter D'Angelo Jimenez to put runners on first and second with two down.  That was it for him, and Geary came in and struck out Lopez to set the Nats down.  Fourth appearance in six days for Geary.  Smith's ERA is at 11.25 in nine games.  In four innings he's allowed four hits and 11 walks.  He's got to be just about done for this time around.  He threw 23 pitches so he probably can't pitch today even assuming he's still on the team.

Brett Myers started the eighth.  Belliard led off and dribbled a ball to short for a single.  He stole second, but wasn't credited with the swipe due to defensive indifference.  It did keep them out of a double-play.  Zimmerman was next and hit a ball to short for the first out of the inning as Belliard held second.  Myers walked Young, but Kearns hit a ball back to the pitcher and the Phillies turned the double-play to end the inning.  Myers allowed a hit and a walk in the inning but kept the Nats off the board. 

Rosario started the ninth with the Phils up 9-3.  He allowed a two-out double to Brian Schneider before striking out Jesus Flores to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty John Patterson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Rowand (8) Ruiz. 

In the first, Utley singled to center with two outs and went to second on a wild pitch by Patterson.  Howard struck out to end the inning.

Burrell doubled down the line in left to start the second, but Helms was next and struck out.  Rowand followed with a single into left.  The throw went home, but Burrell held third and Rowand took second.   Ruiz grounded to second for the second out as Burrell scored to put the Phils up 1-0.  Lieber grounded to second to end the inning.

With two down in the third, Utley doubled to left and Howard followed with a line drive homer to right.  3-0 Phillies.  Burrell flew to left to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth. 

Lieber lined a single into left to start the fifth.  Rollins followed and smashed a double-play ball at Belliard.  The throw to first from Lopez was in the dirt and Young couldn't dig it out.  Rollins was safe at first with one down.  Rollins stole second before Victorino flew to right for the second out of the inning.  Another double from Utley, this one to right, scored Rollins and put the Phils up 4-2.  Howard was walked intentionally and Burrell unintentionally to load the bases for Helms.  Helms hit a 3-1 pitch hard into left, but Fick made a diving catch to snare the liner and end the inning.

The Phils started the sixth with no action in the bullpen despite Lieber being due up third and having thrown 86 pitches.  When Ruiz blooped a one-out single into right, however, Dobbs hit for Lieber.  Dobbs got behind 0-2 but worked a walk, putting runners on first and second with one down.  Good at-bat for Dobbs.  That was it for Patterson, and the Nationals called on their lone lefty in the pen, Micah Bowie.  Washington did that in Tuesday's game as well, brought Bowie in to pitch to the switch-hitters at the top of the Phillies' lineup before the big lefties, Utley and Howard.  I think I would want him fresh for Utley and Howard.  Rollins is just a better hitter against lefties.  Victorino was about the same last year and has been better against righties this year.  Bowie walked Rollins to load the bases with one out for Victorino.  Victorino popped a ball into shallow right field.  Belliard attempted an over the shoulder catch but the ball popped out of his glove for an error.  Everyone moved up a base and Ruiz scored, extending the lead to 5-2.  Utley was next and singled into left, scoring Dobbs and Rollins as Victorino held second.  7-2 with runners on first and second with one out for Howard, who struck out for the second out of the inning.  Righty Ryan Wagner came in to pitch to Burrell.  Burrell walked, loading the bases again for Helms.  Wagner threw his 0-2 pitch in the dirt and it got away from Schneider.  Victorino tried to score without a slide and Wagner tagged him out to end the inning.  Didn't look like much with the Phils up 7-2 but it's another out Victorino gives away on the bases.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Michael Bourn led off the eighth with a line drive into left the Chris Snelling dove for and just missed.  Bourn was safe with a stand up triple, the first extra-base hit of his career, not to mention hit number two out of the infield.  That guy is really fast.  Rollins was next and smoked a ball out to right center to extend the Phillies' lead to 9-3.  Victorino was next and was robbed of a hit by a diving Snelling in left-center for the first out.  Utley singled, his fifth hit of the night, and Howard followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with one out.  Nunez, who had entered as a defensive replacement for Helms in the top of the inning, struck out for the second out.  Werth pinch-hit for Myers and struck out to end the inning. 

Rollins was 1-for-4 with his eighth home run of the year, a walk and two RBI. 

Victorino took a tough 0-for-5 with a strikeout.  0-for-his-last-9.

Utley was 5-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI.  11-for-his-last-20 with ten RBI.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a homer, his third of the year, and two walks.

Burrell was 1-for-2 with a double and walked twice.  5-for-his-last-8 with three doubles and four walks. 

Helms was 0-for-4 and left four men on base.

Rowand was 1-for-4 with a single.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI.

Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.57) faces righty Shawn Hill (1-2, 2.92) this afternoon.  Hamels threw a complete game his last time out, allowing just one run on Jeff Conine's second-inning home run.  He struck out 15.  He's had four starts this year.  On April 14 he allowed five earned runs to the Astros in six innings.  In the other three he has thrown to a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings while striking out 30.  Hill has made four starts this season and allowed two earned runs in each of them.  Righties are hitting .213 against him.  He made one start against the Phils last year, on June 11, and was excellent.  He went seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and three walks and opening the door for a great joke about the Phillies making a mountain out of a Shawn Hill.

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