While the debate rages on over whether failing to win the upcoming series would be calamitous or disastrous, one thing is for sure: The series between the Mets and the Phillies will showcase two of the NL teams that have most-effectively used the stolen base this season.
The Phillies have been caught stealing just 15 times this season while swiping 105 bases. No team has been caught less than the Phillies and only the Mets and the Dodgers have stolen more. They have been safe in 88% of their stolen base attempts, which leads the league.
Led by Jose Reyes, the Mets have stolen an NL-high 169 bags.
Not all stolen bases are of equal value. But if they were, either the Mets or the Phillies would be the team that has gotten the most out of the stolen base this season. And whether it is the Mets or the Phils would depend on how much more costly it is to have a runner caught stealing than it is valuable to steal a base.
Here's a look at the NL teams, how many bases they have stolen this season, how many times they have been caught, and their stolen bases minus caught stealings with different values assigned to the times they were caught stealing. I also added the Phillies' team totals for 2004-06.
It's not until you start multiplying the caught stealings by 3.5 that the Phils get ahead of the Mets.
The Phillies have been absolutely fantastic stealing bases this season, and a lot of the credit has to go to Shane Victorino and Davey Lopes. With the help of Lopes, Victorino has turned into one of the best base-stealers in the NL. Victorino has 33 stolen bases, fifth in the NL, and has been caught just three times.
Vicotorino's stolen bases are one of the big surprises for me of '07 (maybe second after everyone in the rotation just getting pounded every day) -- I never thought he'd run that much in front of Utley and Howard.
The Phillies have only one player on their team who has been caught stealing more than three times. Rollins has been caught stealing five times while swiping 25 bags.
The Phils are on pace to steal 132 bases and be caught just 19 times. Over the past three seasons the most they have stolen in a year is 116 and the fewest times they have been caught is 25.
Phils win on a couple of popups
August 27 2007
Chris Coste and Ryan Howard slugged three-run homers yesterday as the Phillies rolled over the Padres in a blowout. As miserable as they have been of late, the Phils surely have a run left in them. The question is when it starts and how long it lasts.
And, of course, who is going to do the pitching. Kyle Kendrick was fantastic again yesterday. His innings continue to pile up but he continues to amaze. Even if he can keep it up, he's going to need a lot of help from guys who are pitching right now like they are incapable of giving any.
The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres yesterday, winning 14-2 to improve to 67-62 on the year. They are in second place in the NL East, six games behind the Mets. After dropping two of three in a series where the Padres didn't start Young or Peavy, the Phils trail San Diego by three games in the Wild Card hunt. The Phillies have lost four of five.
Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He tied his career high with four strikeouts. After 14 starts he's 7-3 with a 3.89 ERA.
Geoff Blum tripled to right with one out in the first, but Kendrick got Milton Bradley to pop to third and struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the frame.
Khalil Greene started the second with an infield single, but Terrmel Sledge followed and hit into a double-play. Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded to short for the third out.
Pete LaForest led off the third with a single. Pitcher Tim Stauffer bunted LaForest to second before Mike Cameron doubled, scoring LaForest to cut the Philies' lead to 6-1. Blum flew to center and Bradley grounded to first to leave Cameron stranded.
Gonzalez started the fourth with a walk and Greene followed with a single into left. Burrell took a knee to field the ball in left, but it bounced away from him for an error that allowed Gonzalez to go to third. Kendrick hit Sledge with a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Kendrick got out of it, though. He got Kouzmanoff on a fly to shallow right, struck out LaForest and got Stauffer on a ground ball to third.
He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.
Gonzalez started the sixth with a single, but Kendrick got the next three.
John Ennis made his Phillies' debut in the seventh, entering the game with a 14-1 lead. Rob Mackowiack doubled with one out before Ennis got Craig Stansberry on a fly ball to center for the second. Blum followed with a double into right that scored Mackowiack to make it 14-2. Ennis got the pitcher Cla Meredith to ground to short for the third out.
Ennis threw a 1-2-3 eighth.
He returned for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Kouzmanoff before LaForest popped to first for the first out. Mackowiack moved Kouzmanoff to second with a single, but Ennis got Stansberry on a fly to center and struck out Blum to end the game.
Ennis threw 41 pitches, so you probably won't be seeing him for a couple of days.
The Phillies' lineup against righty Tim Stauffer went (1) Rollins (2) Iguchi (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Coste. Victorino stays on the bench with Werth in right. Coste catches.
Rollins reached on a pretty bunt single to start the first. Iguchi moved him to second with a single into left and Burrell hit a ground-rule double to right-center. Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0 and Iguchi went to third. With men on second and third and nobody out, Howard and Rowand both struck out. Dobbs drew a walk to load the bases and Werth singled to center. Iguchi and Burrell both scored and the Phils led 3-0. Coste flew to right for the third out. Great job by Werth to pick up Howard and Rowand.
Kendrick started the second with a walk but Rollins and Iguchi both went down before Burrell walked. Howard got ahead 2-0 and homered to left, making the score 6-0. First home run for Howard since August 12. Rowand singled to right before Dobbs flew to center to end the inning.
Werth started the third with a single and moved to second on a ground out by Coste. Kendrick and Rollins both went down to leave Werth at second.
Iguchi was hit by a pitch to start the fourth. Burrell blooped one to center, but was robbed of a hit on a diving play by Cameron for the first out. Howard moved Iguchi to third with a single. Rowand was next and he singled into center. Iguchi scored to make it 7-1 as Howard went to second. Dobbs flew to right for the second out before Werth singled to left. Howard scored to make it 8-1 and Rowand went to second. Coste was next and he pounded a ball out to left. 11-1. Kendrick struck out to end the inning.
Rollins singled to start the fifth. Iguchi struck out before Burrell walked. Howard singled and Rollins scored to make it 12-1. Burrell went to second. Rowand singled, Burrell scored and Howard went to third with the Phils up 13-1. Dobbs struck out for the second out before Werth singled to left. Howard scored to make it 14-1 and Rowand went second. Coste grounded to short for the third out.
Nunez singled with one out in the sixth but Iguchi and Burrell went down behind him.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Werth started the eighth with a chop between short and third and reached on an infield single. He was given a hit, his fifth of the day, but it should have been an error on Kouzmanoff. Great day for Werth either way. Coste flew to right and Ennis hit for himself and hit into a double-play.
Rollins was 2-for-4. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 286/338/514 on the season.
Iguchi was 1-for-4. 4-for-14 with a double in the series. 301/357/425.
Burrell was 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. 5-for-11 with a double and a home run in the series. 267/411/493.
Howard was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. 6-for-12 in the series. 264/386/564.
Rowand was 3-for-5 with two RBI. 7-for-14 with a double in the series. 314/382/520.
Dobbs was 0-for-4 with a walk and left five men on base. 1-for-8 with a bunt single in the series. He's on-basing .277 in 44 August at-bats. The Phils need more from the position.
Werth was 5-for-5 with five singles and four RBI. 6-for-10 in the series. 294/391/458. He's hitting 368/463/588 in August and going to make it tough to put Victorino back in right.
Coste was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer and left six men on base. 2-for-7 in the series. 333/362/489. Ruiz was 0-for-5 with two walks in the series. 260/330/398.
JD Durbin (5-3, 5.44) faces righty Brian Lawrence (1-1, 5.57) tonight as the Phils play the first of four against the Mets. In his 12 appearances with the Phils this season, Durbin has thrown to a 4.22 ERA. He faced the Mets on June 29 in his Phillies' debut and allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings on eight hits and two walks. He struck out the side in the first but things went downhill from there. Delgado and Reyes homered off of him in that game. Lawrence has made four starts for the Mets this season and has yet to allow more than four runs or get an out in the seventh inning. Lefties are hitting .361 against him, righties .286.
After allowing 40% of the game's home runs on Saturday while throwing 6.2% of its pitches, Brett Myers said he "lost on two popups." Other viewpoints were expressed and it led to some problems. The audio many have heard online no doubt tells an incomplete story about what has gone on between Myers and the reporter. But if you could hit a home run at Citizens Bank Park on a popup, Jimmy Rollins would have about 140 this season.
Hopefully someone, somewhere can locate somebody who knows a thing about baseball who can tell us whether the Phillies won or lost on Saturday night.