Archive for May, 2009

Better late than ever

With all these Phils hitting relief pitching so well, you would probably guess that the team overall has impressive numbers in the late innings. And they do.

Here’s what the Phillies did last year in the seventh inning or earlier and after the eighth inning:

Innings 1 thru
4924 .259 .332 .446 .778
8th inning and
1349 .243 .334 .408 .742
Total 6273 .255 .332 .438 .770

Their offensive numbers from the eighth inning on are pretty similar to their numbers in innings one through seven.

Here’s what they look like for this season, not including last night’s game:

Innings 1 thru
1137 .250 .337 .426 .764
8th inning and
331 .295 .374 .530 .904
Total 1468 .260 .346 .450 .795

Not very similar. The Phils have been fantastic in the late innings, and it has helped them win games early in the season. While it’s great they’ve been pounding the ball late, the problem is that at the end of the season their OPS after the seventh inning is going to be a lot closer to .764 than it is to .904. There’s a good chance the whole team won’t slug .530 after the seventh inning all season long. So let’s hope the Phils have a solution to their starting pitching woes, because while all the late lumber is pretty fun to watch it’s not exactly an ideal formula for long-term success.

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Mastery loves company

Yesterday I pointed out that Raul Ibanez has been hitting relief pitching really well this season. He has company on the Phillies. Here’s what the team has done this year and in the four previous seasons the first, second and third or more times they’ve faced a starter in a game and what they’ve done against relief pitchers:

  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
SP1 .747 .715 .819 .751 .737
SP2 .758 .755 .815 .884 .771
SP3+ .803 .912 .904 .789 .812
RP .846 .747 .770 .771 .774
Total OPS for season .795 .770 .812 .794 .772

As a team, through the first 37 games of 2009, the Phillies are hitting to a better OPS against relief pitchers than they are against starting pitchers. They have even been better against relief pitchers than they have been in their plate appearances in which they were facing the starting pitcher for the third time in the game.

The .846 OPS they are putting up against relievers is their best mark in the last five seasons. The team OPS for the year against relievers has generally been worse than their OPS against relief-pitching, with the exception of this season (when they have been much better against relievers than they’ve been overall) and 2005 (when the team’s OPS against relievers was very similar to what it was overall for the year).

All this means that Ibanez can’t be the only Phillie hitting relievers well. And he’s not. In 2008, the Phillies had one player who got at least 19 plate appearances against relief pitchers and put up an OPS of .900 or better against them. So far in 2009, the Phils have five. They are, in order of their OPS against relievers: Ibanez (1.476), Utley (1.232), Feliz (1.229), Stairs (1.065) and Werth (.928).

Noticeably absent from that list Ryan Howard and his .964 career OPS. You might assume that Howard will join the list before the season is over. And maybe he will. He has, however, struggled badly against relief pitching in recent history. So far in 2009 he has a 173/246/365 line against relievers and in 2008 he hit just 193/306/431 against relief pitching. Between 2008 and 2009, Howard is hitting 189/295/419 in his last 312 plate appearances against relievers.

From 2005 through 2007, Howard put up an OPS of at least .900 against relievers in each season (just barely in 2007, though, he hit .239 against them with a .904 OPS).

You can see the Phillies’ splits against relievers for 2009 here.

Happ will replace Park in the Phillies rotation. His first start will be Saturday against the Yankees.

Pitchers find no relief from Ibanez

Today’s point is simply that Raul Ibanez is absolutely crushing relief pitching this season. The numbers are silly. In 59 plate appearances against relievers, Ibanez has gone 24-for-51 with seven of his 13 home runs. He is hitting 471/542/961 against relief pitchers, which is a 1.503 OPS.

To the surprise of a whole bunch of people, Ibanez is leading both leagues so far with a 1.139 OPS. So there are a lot of his numbers that stick out.

One thing that hasn’t contributed to his early success is how often he is facing lefties and righties. He is actually facing right-handed pitching less regularly than he has over his career. 109 of his 160 plate appearances this season, about 68.1%, have come against righties. Over his career he’s gotten about 73.6% of his plate appearances against righties. He doesn’t have good career numbers against lefties (270/325/421), but Ibanez hit them hard last year (305/368/497) and is pounding away at them in 2009. His 349/412/721 (1.133 OPS) line against lefties is very similar to his line against righties (361/431/711 (1.143 OPS)).

He is hitting better at Citizens Bank Park than he is away from it. But he’s been great away from it, too.

Home .380 .464 .817 1.281
Away .333 .382 .609 .990

The home numbers are much better, but the numbers away from home are very good as well. Ibanez has a career 288/349/479 line, so his .990 OPS away from Citizens Bank Park is .163 higher than his .827 career mark.

Still, the difference between his home and road splits aren’t as dramatic as the difference between what he’s doing against starting and relief pitching. Here are Ibanez’s career OPS numbers against the starting pitcher for the first, second and third or more times he has faced him in a game and what he has done against relief pitchers:

SP1 .820
SP2 .841
SP3+ .866
RP .799

As you would expect, over his career he gets better against the starting pitcher the more he has faced him in the game. And then his numbers against relief pitchers take a dive, worse than his career .827 OPS overall.

This season it has been almost exactly the opposite:

SP1 1.071
SP2 .873
SP3+ .829
RP 1.503

Not a whole lot of data there, he has faced the opposing starting pitcher for the first time in the game 36 times this year, for example, but, in addition to the fact that he has hammered relief pitching the numbers against starting pitching are flipped. By OPS, he has been better the first time he faced them and worse after that.

Cairo will go to the minors. The Phillies signed Paul Bako.

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Weekend at Washington turns out to be a little like Weekend at Bernie’s except the Nats don’t show quite as much life as Bernie did

The Washington Nationals are a really bad baseball team. The Phillies aren’t, but they came into a four-game set over the weekend playing pretty bad baseball. They took advantage of the opportunity to use the lifeless Nats to jump-start themselves.

With the exception of a much-needed great start by Myers, the rotation didn’t to much of the jump-starting. The bullpen threw almost as many innings as the rotation in the series. Blanton, Andrew Carpenter and Park combined to throw 10 1/3 innings in the three starts that they made. Park clearly beat Happ straight up for the fifth starter job out of spring training, but that’s not going to help him keep it much longer if he doesn’t turn things around soon. Four of the seven starts he has made on the year have now been very poor. Yesterday’s was probably the worst of the group, and given the fact that he allowed five runs on five hits and four walks over 1 1/3 innings that fact that you have to throw “probably” in there isn’t a good sign.

Finally, Raul Ibanez, who went 9-for-18 with three home runs and nine RBI in the series, is making Ruben Amaro look like a mad genius. After 36 games, Ibanez leads the National League in OPS, slugging, total bases and extra-base hits. He’s tied for second in RBI and fifth in batting average.

The Phillies swept the miserable Washington Nationals in a four-game set over the weekend. After winning four in a row they are 20-16. Four games above .500 ties them for their high-mark on the season — they were 14-10 after being the Cards on May 5.

The Phillies won game one of the series 10-6 in 12 innings. Howard delivered a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to put the Phillies up 6-4. The Nats sent it to extra-innings with two runs off of Lidge in the bottom of the ninth. Condrey and Happ were fantastic after that, keeping Washington off the board for three innings. The Phils scored four runs in the top of the twelfth with Ibanez putting them ahead to stay with a two-run single after Kip Wells walked the bases loaded.

The teams played a day-night double-header on Saturday. Myers was huge in game one, keeping the pen in the pen and holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings. Ibanez had a huge day, driving in four with a pair of home runs. The Phils took an 8-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth where Madson gave up three runs to make it 8-5, which was how it ended.

The Phillies won the second game of the double-header, which was stopped due to rain in the bottom of the sixth and not restarted, 7-5. Andrew Carpenter made the first start of his career after Happ, who was scheduled to pitch, had to throw two innings in game one of the series on Friday night. Carpenter wasn’t good, he allowed five runs over 4 1/3, but the Phillies’ offense was. The top four hitters, Rollins, Utley, Ibanez and Howard, combined to go 9-for-12 with six RBI.

The Phils completed the sweep with an 8-6 win yesterday. Park was terrible. The Phils gave him an early lead with three runs in the top of the first, but Park gave that right back and didn’t make it out of the second inning. The bullpen was fantastic, though, holding Washington to a run over 7 2/3 innings. The Phillies tied the game at 5-5 with two runs in the top of the fourth. Down 6-5 in the eighth with men on first and second, Feliz put down a pretty bunt. The pitcher Jesus Colome fielded and threw to first, where Anderson Hernandez must not have seen the ball because he looked like he made no effort to catch it. Both runners scored and Feliz came in to score when Bruntlett delivered a pinch-hit double two batters later. Eyre started the bottom of the ninth with two lefties due to hit to start the inning, but Lidge, pitching for the fourth straight day, came in to induce a double-play to get the last two outs of the game.

The Phillies threw 35 innings in the four-game set, pitching to a 5.66 ERA and a 1.54 ratio. In 35 innings they walked 20.

Myers made a very good start in game two, but otherwise the starting pitching was terrible. The four starters combined to throw 17 2/3 innings with an 8.15 ERA and a 2.04 ratio. They walked 15 in 17 2/3 innings. Blanton, Carpenter and Park combined not to get an out in the sixth inning and the bullpen had to throw 17 1/3 innings in the set, just 1/3 of an inning less than the starters. It should have been worse — the rain that ended game three was a gift for the Phillies and their bullpen.

Blanton got the start in game one and allowed four runs over five innings on five hits and six walks. He has a 6.86 ERA for the season.

Myers started the first game on Saturday and pitched very well in a situation where the Phillies really needed him. He allowed two runs on two solo homers over seven innings while striking out eight. He gave up just three hits in the game and walked two.

Andrew Carpenter made the first start of his career in game three, the night game of Saturday’s double-header. He allowed eight hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings and was charged with five runs. One of the runs scored on a triple that Condrey allowed to Ronnie Belliard in the fifth inning after Carpenter had left the game.

Carpenter took Miguel Cairo’s spot when he was called up to start the game. Cairo was designated for assignment. Sergio Escalona took Carpenter’s roster and was active for Sunday’s game with Carpenter going back to the IronPigs.

Chan Ho Park started yesterday and was ten pounds of suck in a five-pound bag. Five runs on five hits and four walks over 1 1/3 innings. His ERA is 7.08 for the season.

With the exception of Myers, the starters were terrible and the bullpen bailed them out. The pen threw 17 1/3 innings to a 3.12 ERA and a 1.04 ratio. They struck out 16 and did not allow a home run.

Happ was expected to start the second game of Saturday’s double-header, but was pressed into action in game one. He entered with the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the eleventh and got the job done, throwing two scoreless frames and getting the win with the help of a four-run top of the twelfth from the offense.

Taschner took over for Park with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second in game four after Park walked in a run to put the Phillies down 4-3. He hit the first man he faced, forcing in another run to make it 5-3, but got Josh Willingham to hit into a huge double-play to get out of the jam. He came back and threw a scoreless third and a scoreless fourth.

Eyre started the seventh in game one after Howard gave the Phils a 6-4 lead with a three-run shot in the top of the inning. He got the only two men he faced before Madson took over to face the righty Austin Kearns.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth in game four with the Phils up 8-6. With two lefties due to leadoff the bottom of the ninth and Lidge having pitched three days in a row, Eyre started the bottom of the ninth. He got Adam Dunn before walking Willie Harris before Lidge relieved him to pitch to the righty Willingham.

Sergio Escalona made his major-league debut yesterday in the bottom of the seventh with the Phillies down 6-5. He allowed a one-out single to Anderson Hernandez, but got the next two hitters.

Fantastic job by Escalona to keep the Phillies in the game.

Durbin came on for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth in game one with the Phils down 4-3. He hit Nick Johnson with two outs, but got the next hitter.

Yesterday he took over for Taschner in game four in the bottom of the fifth with the score tied at 5-5. He threw a scoreless fifth and came back to start the sixth. In the sixth he allowed back-to-back singles to the first two batters he faced before Ryan Zimmerman delivered a sac fly that put the Nats up 6-5. Durbin got the next two to avoid further damage.

Durbin hasn’t allowed a home run in May after giving up three in April.

Condrey threw a 1-2-3 tenth in game one with the score tied at 6-6. Impressive showing for Condrey, pitching on one day’s rest after throwing 40 pitches on Wednesday against the Dodgers.

He entered in the bottom of the fifth in game three, relieving Carpenter in the second game of Saturday’s double-header. He came into the game with one out and a man on first with the Phillies up 7-4. The first man he faced, Belliard, delivered an RBI-triple, but Condrey struck out the next hitters.

Madson entered game one with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the Phils up by two with the bases empty. He got Austin Kearns to end the inning. He came back to throw a scoreless eighth.

After going more than an inning on Friday, Madson entered in the bottom of the eighth in game two with an 8-2 lead. He gave up three runs on four hits. Madson shouldn’t have been in the game with a six-run lead in the first place. Taschner, who had thrown 38 pitches on Wednesday, seems like he was the obvious choice.

Lidge came on to try and save game one with a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth in game one. The Nats tied the game against him on a walk, a single and a two-run double by Willie Harris.

He got another chance to close in game two of the series. He entered with an 8-5 lead and kept Washington off the board, allowing one hit, a single.

Yesterday, in game four, he entered the bottom of the ninth with an 8-6 lead with one down and a man on first. He was pitching for the fourth day in a row. On his second pitch, Willingham hit into a double-play to end the game.

The Phillies scored 33 runs in four games in the series.

Rollins was 7-for-18 with a triple and two walks in the series. 222/268/320 for the year. His on-base and slugging percentages are highs for the season. He went 1-for-4 on opening day, but that was the only day of the year he ended the day with an average better than .222.

Victorino was dropped to sixth in the order for games three and four. 5-for-17 with a double in the series. 256/304/417 for the season.

Utley hit second in the order in games three and four when Victorino dropped to sixth. He didn’t start game two of the series against the lefty Olsen. Bruntlett played second. He went 4-for-9 with five walks and three doubles in the series. 291/443/590 for the year.

Howard had an enormous at-bat in game one. With the Phils down a run in the top of the seventh, the slumping Utley and slumping Howard were due to hit. Utley struck out, but Howard delivered a three-run blast to center. 5-for-17 with a double and two home runs in the series. 266/346/517.

Werth didn’t start gave three with Stairs in right against the righty Daniel Cabrera. 5-for-15 with two walks and a homer in the series. 294/396/540 for the year. He’s hitting .340 in May.

Ibanez hit sixth in the first game of the series, but third in every other game. 9-for-18 with three home runs, two walks and nine RBI in the series. 357/425/714 for the year. If he slugs .714 for the whole season it would be a career-high.

Feliz did not start game three with Cabrera on the mound for Washington. 7-for-14 with two doubles in the set. 308/380/425 for the season.

Ruiz went 3-for-12 with three singles and three RBI in the set. 255/397/340. Coste started game two against Olsen.

Coste started game two. He went 3-for-6 with a double in the series. 236/333/400 for the year.

Bruntlett made another appearance as the Phillies’ top right-handed bat against a lefty in game one. Again it did not work. With two outs and runners on first and second, Dobbs hit for Blanton with righty Garrett Mock on the mound. The Nats brought in lefty Ron Villone, Bruntlett hit for Dobbs and Villone got Bruntlett to pop to shallow center. Bruntlett may be the Phillies’ best option off the bench against a left-handed hitter, but he’s not good enough to consistently burn Dobbs’ bat as teams have done time and again.

He started at second in game two of the series against the lefty Olsen with Utley on the bench. 1-for-6 with a double in the series. 138/206/276. His double yesterday is his only hit in May.

Dobbs started game three with Cabrera on the mound. 0-for-3 in the series. 125/200/125 for the year. 4-for-32 with four singles.

Stairs started game three in right with the righty Cabrera on the mound for Washington. 0-for-3 with two walks in the set. 318/500/636 in 22 at-bats for the year.

Cairo went 0-for-1 on Friday before being designated for assignment on Saturday when Carpenter came up. 118/118/118. 2-for-17 with two singles. Despite his right-handedness, he was never a good match for this team. There’s a bunch of other people in the world who are right-handed and aren’t a good match, either. Me, for example.

The fortunate 500

If I had told you before the start of the season that after 32 games the Phillies were going to have had the worst starting pitching in all of baseball, that their starters would have thrown the fewest innings in the NL, that Rollins would be on-basing .238 with a .296 slugging percentage and Lidge would have an 8.59 ERA and a 1.98 ratio, that Victorino would be 1-for-his-last-27 and bench-players Dobbs, Bruntlett and Cairo would have combined to go 9-for-68 (.132), you probably would have taken a .500 record.

You’re going to have to now. The Phils are in their first real skid of the year and the losses have mounted. The starting pitching has been terrible all season long and the current offensive struggles have reached ridiculous levels: Victorino, Utley and Howard combined to hit .028 in the three-game series with the Dodgers (1-for-36 with a single). Throw in an 0-for-7 from Feliz and that’s half of the hitters in the lineup combining to go 1-for-43 (.023). Feliz at least drew four walks. Utley and Howard were 0-for-22 with 12 strikeouts.

The Phillies lost the set with the Dodgers at home, dropping two of three to fall to 16-16 on the season. They have lost four of their last five and six of their last eight. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in five of the eight.

The Phils won game one of the set 5-3. If you knew that Pedro Feliz was going to walk four times and Werth was going to steal four bases in the same game you probably could have made a lot of money somewhere. Park made his second straight start that was very good for the Phils. Ibanez broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth. The Phils extended the lead to 5-2 with a run in the seventh. Lidge allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth but held on for a shaky save.

Moyer was the story in game two as his third straight bad start pushed his ERA for the year to 8.15 and gave the Phillies little chance to win. Rollins gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead with a home run in the second, but James Loney hit a three-run shot off of Moyer and the Dodgers scored five times in the fourth. Moyer got just one out in the fifth, but was charged with two more runs in the inning. Condrey surrendered a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to make it 9-1. A solo shot by Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth cut the lead to 9-2, which is how the game ended.

The Phils lost a heart-breaker yesterday, getting a great start from Hamels but not much offense. The Phils were down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth and down to their last strike before Ruiz delivered a two-out double to tie the game at 3-3. Durbin gave up a pair of runs in the top of the tenth and LA won the game 5-3.

The Phils were just sloppy yesterday. Rollins made an error that cost the team a run in the third. Ibanez added a less costly throwing error in the eighth. Hamels was picked off of first base to ruin a scoring opportunity in the fourth.

Overall, the Phillies threw 28 innings in the series with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.61 ratio.

They got two good starts from Hamels and Park and a miserable outing from Moyer. As a group, the three went 17 1/3 innings with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. They gave up two home runs, one by Hamels and one by Moyer.

Park got the game one start and allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Over his last two starts, Park has allowed two runs in 12 innings (1.50 ERA) while pitching to an 0.83 ratio.

Moyer allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in game two of the series. He’s allowed 22 hits and seven walks in 12 1/3 innings in May. That’s a 2.13 ratio to go with his 13.86 ERA in three May starts. Opponents have hit six home runs off of him in the 12 1/3 May innings.

Hamels got the start in game three and allowed two runs over seven innings, only one of which was earned. He struck out nine while allowing seven hits and walking one.

The bullpen threw to a 5.06 ERA and a 1.97 ratio over 10 1/3 innings. They allowed 16 hits, which is too many.

Happ took over for Moyer in the fifth inning of game two with one out and men on first and third. Both runners would score on a single, a walk and a sac fly before he got out of the inning.

Eyre got lefty Xavier Paul out to end the top of the seventh with the Phillies up 4-2 in game one.

Taschner started the sixth inning of game two with the Phillies down 7-1. He went two innings and didn’t allow a run, but gave up two hits, two walks and two stolen bases. He got Andre Ethier to hit into a double-play with men on first and third to end the sixth. The first two men got on to start the seventh, but Taschner set down the next three to leave them stranded.

The outing dropped Taschner’s ERA to 4.50 for the season, but he has allowed a ton of base-runners. Through his first 16 innings he has given up 16 hits and walked 12 (1.75 ratio). He had struck out just eight, putting his strikeout rate at 4.5 per nine innings, which is the lowest of his career.

Durbin started the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies up 4-2. He got the only two men he faced before Eyre came in to face lefty Xavier Paul.

He entered game three in the top of the tenth with the score tied at 3-3. He quickly set down the first two men he faced before allowing a walk, an RBI-double, an intentional walk to the lefty Loney and another RBI-double. The Dodgers were up 5-3 before Durbin struck Blake out with men on second and third to prevent any more damage.

Condrey started the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 7-1. He went two innings, allowing a two-run homer to Casey Blake in the ninth. He has been charged with runs in three of his last four outings. After allowing one home run in his first 16 appearances, he has given up two in his last two outings.

Madson started the eighth in game one with the Phillies up 5-2. He allowed a two-out single to Orlando Hudson, but got Ethier to fly to left to end the frame.

He also pitched the eighth inning of game three with the Phillies down 2-1. He allowed two singles but did not give up a run.

Lidge pitched the bottom of the ninth in game one with the Phils up by three runs. He allowed a run on three singles to raise his ERA on the season to 8.56.

In game three, Lidge entered in the bottom of the ninth with the Phils down 2-1. The Dodgers scored a run on a one-out triple by Matt Kemp and a sac fly by Blake. Xavier Paul also doubled off of Lidge, but LA only got one in the inning.

Lidge has been charged with at least one run in five straight appearances. In his last five outings he’s allowed seven runs on nine hits and two walks over five innings while striking out three (that’s a 12.60 ERA and a 2.20 ratio).

None of the guys in the bullpen pitched in both game two and game three. Durbin threw 29 pitches last night. Taschner and Condrey both had long outings in game two, with Taschner throwing 38 pitches and Condrey 40.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the three-game set. They’ve scored 14 runs in their last five.

Manuel tried a new lineup in the series, dropping the struggling Rollins to fifth in the order for the first two games. Victorino hit first, Utley second, Werth third, Howard fourth and Ibanez sixth. Things were back to normal for game three.

Rollins got a big at-bat early in game one. He came to the plate with men on first and second and nobody out in the fourth with the Phillies down 2-1. The Phils pulled off a double steal to put men on second and third with nobody out and Rollins delivered an RBI-single to right.

He went 3-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 200/238/296 for the season.

Victorino was 1-for-14 in the series and is 1-for-his-last-27. He’s down to 252/296/424 for the season.

Utley was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series. He’s 0-for-his-last-15, hitting .143 in May and 278/414/574 for the year.

Howard 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the set. 262/338/492 for the year. .217 in May.

Werth stole four bases in the first seven innings of game one. Most notably, with two outs, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Werth stole home when Martin lobbed the ball back to the pitcher.

In game three he went 0-for-4 and struck out four times. 3-for-10 with two walks in the series. 288/394/541.

Ibanez 4-for-9 with a double, a home run and two walks. He’s hitting 336/403/672 for the year. If he slugged .672 for the whole season it would be a career high.

Feliz walked four times in game one of the series. 0-for-7 with four walks in the series. 283/355/396 for the year but just 220/289/268 in May. Just two extra-base hits in May, both doubles.

Ruiz tied game three with a monster two-run double in the bottom of the ninth. 4-for-6 with three doubles and five walks in the series. Really he was. Look it up. 257/409/371 for the year.

Coste did not play in the series and is hitting 204/316/367 for the season.

Bruntlett was 0-for-2 in the series. 130/214/261. 1-for-17 since April 13.

Stairs 1-for-2 with a single. 368/520/737 in 19 at-bats for the year. I don’t know where, but I think you have to let him play until he’s not hitting 368/520/737 anymore.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a walk in the set. 138/219/138 for the year.

Cairo was 0-for-1 and is at 125/125/125 for the season.

Update 5/16: With Happ pitching last night, the Phillies will call up Andrew Carpenter to pitch the second game of today’s double-header. Carpenter has made six starts at Triple-A this year, throwing to a 4.72 ERA and a 1.34 ratio.

Bout of range

Like Ibanez, Victorino and Werth have both made more plays in the outfield so far in 2009 than they did in 2008. Victorino has made putouts in center at a slightly higher rate while Werth has made putouts in right at a much higher rate (all numbers for this post do not include last night’s game):

Victorino ’09 267.0 74 1 0 .277
Victorino ’08 1195.3 314 7 2 .263
Werth ’09 249.0 70 2 0 .281
Werth ’08 661.3 143 7 0 .216

You would certainly expect that Victorino, the center fielder, would be making putouts at a higher rate than Werth has as a right fielder. That has not been the case through the first 30 games, though. Werth’s rate has been higher.

When you compare the team’s range factor per nine innings at each of the positions to the rest of the league, the Phils are improved at both but below average at center field for 2009 and above average for right field for 2009. In 2008, they were below league average at both positions:

  2008 2009
PHI CF 2.47 2.55
NL AVG CF 2.65 2.78
PHI RF 2.05 2.62
NL AVG RF 2.13 2.15

So the Phillies have been below the average in center field in both 2008 and 2009, .18 lower in ’08 and .23 lower in the first 30 games of ’09. In right field they were .08 lower in ’08, but are well (.47) above the average rate for the league in 2009.

The curious thing about this is that the amount of plays that Victorino, a guy most Phillies fans at least consider to be an excellent defensive center fielder, isn’t especially impressive. This may have something to do with Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies pitchers, trying to shade towards left to help Burrell out or other factors, but it’s made more curious by the fact that Werth got to far more balls per inning while he was playing center field in 2008 than Victorino did (and got to them at a rate that exceeded league averages for the position). Werth made 73 putouts in 233 1/3 innings for the Phils in center in 2008, which is .313 per inning and much higher than Victorino’s rate of .263 per inning (314 in 1,195 1/3 innings).

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