Archive for May, 2009

Support report

As well as he pitched last night, Joe Blanton didn’t need a lot of help from the Phillies offense. He got it, though, getting big blasts from Howard and Werth. Based on his history with the Phils, you have to believe that Blanton goes to the mound expecting the Phils are going to put a lot of runs on the board — he has benefited from tremendous run support in his time with the team.

In 23 games this season, the Phillies have scored 135 runs. That’s about 5.87 runs per game. Not all their starting pitchers have benefited equally from the offense. In 2008, the Phillies scored about 4.93 runs per game. Here’s the average number of runs the Phillies have scored in games started by starting pitcher for 2009 and 2008:

Pitcher Runs
scored per start 2008
Runs
scored per start 2009
Moyer 5.21 7.80
Myers 4.33 4.40
Hamels 4.61 4.50
Blanton 5.62 6.80
Park - 5.50

In both 2008 and 2009, the Phillies have scored fewer runs than their team average overall for the year in games started by Myers and Hamels. For Blanton and Moyer they have scored more runs than their average in both years. Moyer has gotten fantastic run support in 2009, the Phillies have scored 30 runs over his last three games. After scoring none in his first start of the year, the Phils have put up 9, 11, 13 and six over his last four starts.

More important, or at least more useful, than the total number of runs a team has scored in games started by a particular pitcher is how regularly they score a large number of runs in games started by a pitcher (because if a team’s going to score 24 runs over three starts by a starter, the starter is better off if they score eight runs three times than score 22 in the first game and one in each of the next two).

Here’s how the categories below shape up for 2009:


Pitcher

0 to 3 RS

%

4 to 7 RS

%

More than 7

%

Moyer
1
20.0
1
20.0
3
60.0

Myers
2
40.0
2
40.0
1
20.0

Hamels
2
50.0
2
50.0
0
0.0

Blanton
2
40.0
1
20.0
2
40.0

Park
0
0.0
4
100.0
0
0.0

Total
7
30.4

10

43.5
6
26.1

So, for example, if you compare Blanton and Park for 2009, the Phillies have scored more runs overall in the games started by Blanton. In five of his starts they have put up 13, 12, 2, 1 and now six runs. That’s an average of 6.8 per game, which is better than the 5.87 per game the Phils have scored on average. On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to win a game when you score two runs or one run — the Phils lost both of those starts by Blanton. Park, on the other hand, has gotten 7, 5, 6 and four runs in his four starts and the Phillies have gone 3-1. Overall he’s received just 5.5 runs of support per start, which is worse than both Blanton’s mark and the team’s average for the year. What he hasn’t had is the two starts with the very low run support than makes it very hard to win (or, for that matter, the two starts with the very high run support, which makes it very hard to lose).

Here are how the categories broke down for 2008 for the four guys in the ’09 rotation that pitched for the Phils last year (by percentages of their starts that fall into each category):

Pitcher 0 to 3
runs scored
4 to 7
more than
7
Moyer 36.4 39.4 24.2
Myers 43.3 43.3 13.3
Hamels 39.4 45.5 15.2
Blanton 30.8 38.5 30.8
       
Whole team 36.4 44.4 19.1

Myers seems to have the best case for lack of support. The Phillies have scored more than seven runs in a game he has started five times since the start of 2008 (he has made 35 starts). As I mentioned above, they’ve done it three times in the last four starts made by Moyer. They’ve also scored more than seven in six of the 18 starts than Blanton has made as a Phillie.

Chan Ho Park has apparently lost his freedom from his thoughts. That doesn’t sound good. He’s made it a little hard for him to escape freedom from Phillies fans’ thoughts as well.


Start me down

Two more games, two more bad starts from a Phillies rotation that came into the series with the Mets with a 6.45 ERA for the season and saw it go up even further. The bullpen bailed the starters out, though, giving the Phils 8 2/3 innings without being charged with a run, and it helped the Phils outlast the Mets in game two. Game three of the set was rained out.

The Phillies split a two-game, rain-shortened series with the Mets this weekend. They are 12-10 on the season.

The Phillies couldn’t overcome a miserable start by Park in the opener and lost 7-4. Park didn’t make it out of the fifth, but managed to allow five extra-base hits and walk six in the game. Utley hit a solo homer and Ibanez had a two-run single, but despite four scoreless innings from the bullpen the Phils never found their way out of the big hole.

The Phillies won game two 6-5 on a tenth inning bases-loaded walk by Victorino that forced in Feliz. Moyer started the sixth up 4-2, but allowed back-to-back homers to David Murphy and Ramon Castro. Alex Cora followed that with a triple and came in to score after Eyre relieved Moyer, putting New York up 5-4. Ibanez tied the game at 5-5 with a solo homer in the sixth. Great bullpen work from Condrey, Madson, Lidge and Taschner kept the Mets off the board after the sixth. The Phils pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the tenth on an infield single, a hit batter and two walks.

Overall, Phillies pitchers threw 19 innings in the two games. They pitched to a 5.68 ERA with a 1.95 ratio.

Again the starters were very bad. They allowed 12 earned runs in 15 innings over 10 1/3 innings in two starts, walking ten and allowing 15 hits. That’s a 10.45 ERA and a 2.42 ratio. They gave up three home runs, two by Moyer and one by Park.

In 22 games this season, Phillies starters have pitched to a 6.71 ERA. That’s the worst mark of any team in baseball by nearly a run — Boston’s starters have been second-worst. The Red Sox have thrown to a 5.75 ERA.

Park was terrible in the series opener. He allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, with the last run scoring when Mike Pelfrey blooped a single to right off of Durbin. Tatis, who had doubled off of Park earlier in the inning, scored. In 4 2/3 innings Park allowed eight hits and six walks. That is awful.

Moyer took a two-run lead into the sixth in game two, but couldn’t collect his 250th career win. Things fell apart for him after he got the first two outs in the sixth, allowing two home runs and a triple all in a row. He was charged with five runs on seven hits and four walks. The fifth run scored after Moyer had left the game, thanks to another poor outing by Eyre.

Despite Eyre’s struggles, the pen was good. They did allow a run charged to Moyer in game two, but they were not charged with any runs in 8 2/3 innings in the two games. They walked seven but gave up just five hits and didn’t allow a home run. They threw to a 0.00 ERA and a 1.38 ratio over the 8 2/3 innings overall.

Happ started the seventh inning of game one with the Phils down 7-3 and pitched very well. He went two scoreless innings, allowing a walk and working around an Utley error to keep the Mets off the board.

Taschner pitched the top of the tenth in game two with the score tied at 5-5. He allowed two singles, but got Beltran to hit into a double-play to get out of the jam.

Eyre came in to pitch to Reyes in game two with two outs in the top of the sixth with the score tied at 4-4 and a man on third. He didn’t get an out, walking Reyes, giving up an RBI-single to Castillo and hitting Beltran to load the bases before Condrey replaced him to pitch to Sheffield with the bases loaded.

It was Eyre’s second-straight outing without getting an out.

Durbin relieved Park with two outs in the fifth in game one. He allowed a bloop RBI-single to Pelfrey with the run charged to Park. Durbin came back to throw a scoreless sixth.

Condrey threw a perfect ninth in game one with the Phils down three runs. He entered game two in the sixth with the bases loaded and got Sheffield on a ground ball. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Condrey has made 14 appearances on the season and has not been charged with a run in 13 of them. He has a 1.26 ERA and an 0.77 ratio on the year and has struck out 11 in 14 1/3 innings.

Madson allowed a walk and two hits in the eighth inning of game two with the score tied, getting the third out with the help of a great throw by Werth. He allowed a hit and two walks in the inning.

Lidge started the top of the ninth in game two with the score tied at 5-5. He walked two, one intentionally after Wright walked and stole second, but kept the Mets off the board.

With the rainout on Sunday, the pen should be well-rested. Condrey has pitched for two straight games, but I would assume he’s available tonight after yesterday’s game was rained out.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the two games of the series.

Rollins was dropped to fifth in the lineup after taking an 0-for-4 in game one. 1-for-8 with two walks in the set. He’s hitting 2004/247/278 for the year.

Victorino. In game two, with one out and the bases loaded, Victorino hit a ball hard back to the pitcher Takahashi. Takahashi knocked it down and threw home for the first out, but Moyer fell down between first and second and the Mets were able to double him up. He walked in the bottom of the tenth in that game to force in the winning run. 3-for-10 with a double, a triple and a walk in the series. 287/340/489 for the year. He has hit in 12 straight games, going 18-for-his-last-53.

Utley made an error on a ground ball hit by Church to start the seventh inning in game one. He started game two on the bench with Bruntlett playing second. 1-for-3 with two walks and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 342/474/671 for the year.

Howard didn’t field a ground ball Oliver Perez hit down the first base line with two outs in the top of the second in game two cleanly. Perez was safe with a single, keeping the inning alive for the Mets. It didn’t matter, though, cause Reyes followed and popped out on the infield. 2-for-9 with two singles and four strikeouts in the series. 281/360/494.

Werth made a strong throw to nail Omir Santos trying to score from score on a single by Beltran to end the top of the eighth in game two with the score tied at 5-5. He was 1-for-7 with a double and two walks in the series. He’s hitting 250/368/425 after going 2-for-his-last-18.

Ibanez made a nice sliding catch in left-center in the fifth inning of game one. Park needed all the help he could get. He moved up to second in the lineup in game two of the series, with Rollins hitting fifth. 3-for-8 with a double, a home run and four RBI in the series. 360/424/733.

Feliz. In game two, with one out in the third, Sheffield hit a ball down the third base line past Feliz and into left for a double. It’s a play that Feliz usually makes, and it cost Moyer and the Phils a run cause it moved Castillo to third and Wright followed with a sac fly that Howard took moving backwards into right. Later in game two, Feliz started the bottom of the tenth with an infield single. He came in to score the winning run on a two-out walk by Victorino. 4-for-9 with four singles and an RBI in the series. 338/400/473.

Coste started game one and threw Wright out stealing second in the fifth inning, giving Park some much-needed help in the frame. In game two he hit for Taschner with two outs in the tenth and drew a critical walk. It loaded the bases for Victorino and Victorino’s walk forced in Feliz to get the Phillies the win. He was 1-for-4 with a walk in the series. 182/280/273.

Ruiz was activated for the second game of the series. He put down a pretty tag on Santos on Werth’s throw in the top of the eighth in game two. 0-for-2 with two walks. He’s 3-for-13 with a double on the year.

Bruntlett started at second in game two with Utley on the bench. Also 0-for-2 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting 158/250/316 for the year.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 in the series. He’s 3-for-20 with three singles on the year.

Stairs was hit by a pitch in game two. He’s 4-for-13 with two homers on the season.

Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series and is 0-for-8 this year.

Park stays in the rotation for now and Hamels’ next start will be pushed back to Friday.


As Jimmy goes so go the Phillies, except when they don’t

The Phillies offense is off to a nice start in 2009, helping the team win with pitching, starting pitching especially, that has been very bad.

Ibanez and Utley are the guys with the really eye-opening numbers to start the season. The Phils have gotten offense from other places as well. Feliz has been very good early. Howard hasn’t hit the ball out of the yard as often as he does when he’s on a roll, but his numbers are solid as well. Not everyone has had a good April, though. Rollins has had some high-profile struggles. Forced into more regular action by the injury to Ruiz, Coste has also struggled with the bat.

There are eight Phillies who have gotten at least 45 plate appearances this season. The charts below compare their rates for hits, walks, strikeouts, extra-base hits and home runs for this season so far to their career numbers.

Hits
Ibanez 1.20              
  Feliz 1.17            
    Howard 1.08          
      Utley 1.07        
        Victorino 1.0      
          Werth 0.97    
            Rollins 0.77  
              Coste 0.59

As an example of how to read the chart, Ibanez has 28 hits in 90 plate appearances on the season. He’s gotten a hit in about 31.1% of his plate appearances. Over his career he’s had 5,387 plate appearances and gotten 1,397 hits. That’s a hit about 25.9% of the time. Based on his career numbers we would have expected him to get 23.31 hits in his 90 plate appearances this season. He actually has gotten 28, which is 1.20 times as many as 23.31.

At the other end of the chart, Coste has seven hits in 46 plate appearances (15.2%) for the year and 180 hits in 697 plate appearances for his career (25.8%). So at his career level we would expect 11.87 hits rather than seven. Seven is 0.59 of 11.87.

Walks
Feliz 2.22              
  Coste 1.84            
    Utley 1.65          
      Ibanez 1.45        
        Werth 1.18      
          Victorino 1.10    
            Howard 0.74  
              Rollins 0.47

Just three walks in 88 plate appearances for Rollins put him way below his career levels.

Feliz has set the bar pretty low for himself, but he’s walking more than twice as often in 2009 as he has over his career.

Strikeouts
Victorino 0.45              
  Feliz 0.58            
    Werth 0.59          
      Ibanez 0.75        
        Utley 0.78      
          Howard 0.79    
            Rollins 1.13  
              Coste 1.37

Low numbers are good in the case of strikeouts. Victorino has whiffed just five times so far in 2009 in 95 plate appearances (5.3% of the time). He struck out about 11% of his plate appearances last year and about 12.2% of them in 2007.

Extra-base hits
Ibanez 1.54
Victorino 1.13
Werth 1.10
Coste 1.03
Howard 0.96
          Feliz 0.89    
            Utley 0.83  
              Rollins 0.63

Utley’s extra-base hits numbers are down early in the season just because he hasn’t hit as many doubles as he usually does. He’s hit seven home runs, but just one double so far. That means his home run rate is way up and, for the time being, his rate of extra-base hits is down. I would be surprised if he doesn’t hit at least 40 doubles again in 2009, which would be the fourth-straight year for him (and he hit 39 in 2005).

Home runs
Ibanez 2.22
Utley 1.84
Victorino 1.57
Feliz 0.75
Werth 0.67
          Howard 0.62    
            Rollins 0.53  
              Coste 0.00

The home run numbers are pretty fragile because so few of them are hit. Ibanez and Utley are both on pace to hit 56 for the year, for example, and that might not even happen.

Ibanez has been better than his career numbers in all five categories.

Victorino is better in everything except for hits, and his hit rate is virtually identical to what it has been for his career. He has 24 hits in 95 plate appearances for the year (a hit in 25.26% of his PA) and 453 of 1,791 (25.29% a tiny bit better, but very, very close) for his career.

Utley is up in everything except for extra-base hits.

Feliz is up in hits, walks and strikeouts, but down in extra-base hits and home runs.

Werth is better in walks, strikeouts and extra-base hits, but down in home runs and hits.

Coste has better rates for walks and extra-base hits, but his hits, strikeout and home run rates are all worse.

Howard has been better than his career numbers with hits and strikeouts, but worse with walks, extra-base hits and home runs.

Rollins is worse in all five categories.


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