If big hitters are the
flavor of the month the fact remains that the Phillies need to fix their
pitching if they want to win anything. The bad news is that over and over
you hear the news that the market for free agent pitchers is pretty mediocre
this year. The good news is that pretty mediocre might just be enough
of an improvement for the Phillies to get the job done.
So here it comes, iteration #482 on how the Phillies are good at hitting and bad at pitching. Special today: home runs allowed. Short on time? I can bottom-line it for you. The Phillies allowed a ton of home runs last year and a lot of their pitchers gave them up at an ugly rate.
Here's what the Phillies hitters did against lefties and righties last season compared to other NL teams, using OPS as the measure:
Quite impressive. The
865 runs the Phillies scored was the highest in the National League. Led by
the huge sticks of Howard, who hit a nutty 331/453/711 against righties, and
Utley (321/371/559), no NL team posted a higher OPS against right-handed
pitching. The Braves matched the Phillies' .801. The Phils were not quite
as good against lefties but still a respectable sixth. Pat Burrell hit
southpaws hard for the Phils, posting a 290/440/572 line against them.
What's not quite impressive is their pitching. Only three teams in the NL allowed more than the 812 runs the Phillies surrendered, the Brewers, Nats and the Cubs. The Phillies got bombed by lefties and righties alike. Here's how they stack up against the other teams in the NL, again using OPS as the measure:
Only two teams allowed
right-handed batters to hit for a high OPS against their pitchers, the
Pirates and the Reds. Neither of them are known for their hurlers.
And then there's the home runs. The 131 home runs the Phillies gave up to right-handed batters was more than any other team in the league. In all of baseball, including the DH-loving American League, only one team, the Royals, allowed more home runs to right-handed batters than the Phillies did. The Royals might not even make the playoffs this year.
Overall, Phillies hurlers allowed 211 home runs, which was the second most in the league. The Reds gave up 213. Only one team in either league, the Cubs, gave up more home runs at home than the 121 that Phillies' pitchers allowed at Citizens Bank Park.
Myers, who led the Phils
in home runs allowed, is one of the culprits for the
Phillies. The 29 bombs he allowed this season tied him with four other
hurlers for four in the NL. It was his third straight season in the top ten
in home runs allowed. Lieber barely managed to stay out of the top ten. He
Myers, of course, isn't the problem. He's actually one of the few bright spots for the Phillies on the mound. Heres a list of some of the Phillies pitchers who allowed home runs at a higher rate than Myers, who was tied for fifth in the league in allowing home runs, did last season:
|Player||IP||HR||IP per HR|
Saguaros 6, Javelinas 5, in the Arizona Fall League. Saguaros improve to 14-16. Joe Bisenius threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and dropping his ERA to 11.57.
There are several interesting aspects to this article from the Phillies web site that suggests the Phillies may have made an offer to Soriano. The Phils are scheduled to meet with Soriano's agent today. Perhaps more interesting is the discussion from Gillick that pitching additions may be more likely to come via trade than the free agent market.
Gillick was rather emphatic in an article in today's Inquirer that the Phililes have not made an offer to Soriano. Even the reports which do have the Phillies making him an offer have the offer at far less than one would think would be required to land Soriano.
The article from the Inquirer also suggests the Yankees, Twins and Blue Jays also have interest in Randy Wolf.
This article says the Phillies are "aggressively pursuing" Wes Helms. It makes it hard for me to keep from imagining Ruben Amaro Jr chasing him around the hotel waving his notebook, but I'm doing my best.
An article from the Denver Post suggests the Rockies will inquire about Aaron Rowand.
The Phillies spoke with former Phil Adam Eaton's peeps yesterday.
Mark DeRosa has signed with the Cubs. Three years, $13 million. Yikes. Seems like a lot of millions.
If the Cubs get Soriano they may want to put him in center. A good idea? Not so much.
Arizona's Brandon Webb won the Cy Young award in the National League. He went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA. Trevor Hoffman finished a distant second and Chris Carpenter third.
The Giants are having trouble in their negotiations with Pedro Feliz and are in contact with Rich Aurilia.
An article here speculates that the Devil Rays have won the rights to negotiate with Akinori Iwamura. The winning bid may be revealed tomorrow.
37-year-old Manny Acta is the new manager of the Nationals. You'd think it wouldn't matter much who was managing the Nationals, but then again I didn't expect Dan Uggla to hit 27 home runs either.