Archive for June, 2009

Pat the who?

Pat Burrell may be a fan favorite, but Raul Ibanez is doing his best to make us all forget. Ibanez delivered a three-run blast to right-center last night to help give the Phillies their second-straight win in extra innings and is on pace to hit 59 home runs with 162 RBI this season. The Phils remain atop the NL East after taking two of three against the rival Mets in New York.

The series featured Ryan Madson filling in for DL’ed closer Brad Lidge. Madson was more than up to the task, coming through twice to nail down two saves. After a fantastic season in which Madson shined in the post-season he now has a 2.08 ERA and a 1.02 ratio in 2009. He has struck out 32 in 30 1/3 innings. He wasn’t the only Phillies reliever pitching well out of the pen in New York. The Phillies’ relievers struggled in game one, giving up the lead, but came back to throw ten scoreless innings in games two and three of the set as the Phils won twice in extra-innings.

The Phillies are 35-23 on the year after taking two of three from the Mets. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Mets by four games. The Dodgers are the only team in either league with a better winning percentage.

New York took the first game of the set 6-5. The Mets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a pair of home runs off of JA Happ — Wright hit a solo shot and Beltran a two-run homer. Howard and Ibanez went back-to-back off of Santana in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2 and a two-run homer by Rollins in the sixth put the Phillies on top at 4-3. Happ and Condrey faltered in the bottom of the sixth as New York scored a pair of runs to take the lead for good. The Mets padded their lead with a run off of Durbin in the seventh. Utley hit another home run off of Santana in the eighth, the fourth of the game for the Phils, but it was only good enough to get the Phillies within one and the Mets pen shut them down from then on.

The Phillies won the middle game 5-4 in eleven innings. The Mets took a 1-0 lead with a run off of Hamels in the bottom of the third, but Utley tied things up with a solo shot off of Pelfrey in the top of the fourth. New York got five singles and a walk in the bottom of the fourth to pull ahead 4-1. The Phils tied the score at 4-4 in the seventh with three runs on four singles and an error by Wright. Hamels left after five innings and the bullpen went six scoreless innings after that. Utley won it with his second home run of the day, a solo shot in the top of the eleventh after Werth had made a fantastic diving catch to end the tenth and keep the game alive.

Last night Ibanez hit a three-run homer in the top of the tenth and Madson closed it for the second-straight day. Moyer allowed three runs over six innings. A big double by Coste put men on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh and Stairs tied the game at 3-3 with a pinch-hit RBI ground out. After going six scoreless frames in game two, the bullpen allowed one hit and didn’t walk a batter in four scoreless innings last night.

Overall the Phillies threw 29 innings in the series, pitching to a 4.03 ERA and a 1.55 ratio.

The starting pitching wasn’t good. Happ struggled in game one, allowing four walks and a pair of homers. Hamels went just five. Moyer had the best start of the three. As a group they threw to a 6.06 ERA in 16 1/3 innings with a 1.90 ratio.

Happ started game one and allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings on six hits and four walks. It was the worst of Happ’s four starts on the year and also the first time he allowed more than one home run in a game — he had allowed three on the season coming into the start.

Hamels went just five innings in game two, allowing four runs on ten singles, a double and two walks. Two of his last three starts have been bad with a gem against the Dodgers in the middle.

Moyer was the starter for game three. He allowed three runs over six innings on eight hits and didn’t walk a batter. Over his last three starts he has a 2.84 ERA and has allowed 15 hits and no walks in 19 innings (0.79 ratio).

As a group the bullpen threw to a 1.42 with a 1.11 ratio.

Eyre came in to face Daniel Murphy with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh in game two. He struck Murphy out swinging to end the inning.

He also pitched in game three, entering in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to face Fernando Martinez. Eyre got Martinez on a soft liner to third, but injured his calf during the at-bat. In the linked article Manuel suggests that Eyre may be out for a while.

On April 27 Eyre allowed four runs against the Nationals. He has allowed one run since, which was unearned, over 17 appearances and 10 2/3 innings. So, yeah, the Phillies are going to miss him.

Taschner took over for Hamels in game two. He threw a perfect sixth with the Phillies down 4-1.

Romero threw a perfect eighth in game one with the Phillies down 6-5.

He also pitched the eighth inning of game two with the score tied at 4-4. He allowed a single and a walk to the first three men he faced, but got the next two to leave both runners stranded.

He’s allowed one run in five appearances with the Phillies this season. The run was unearned.

Park entered game two in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at 4-4. He allowed back-to-back singles with two outs, but got Luis Castillo on a ground ball back to the mound to send the game to extra innings.

He came back to pitch the tenth inning in game two. He allowed a one-out single. With the winning run on first, Wright hit a line drive to the gap in right-center that may have ended the game if Werth had not made a diving catch.

Park dropped his ERA to 6.50 for the season with the outing. He has thrown five scoreless innings over his last two appearances.

Durbin started the seventh inning of game one with the Phils down a run. He faced four batters, getting three outs and allowing a solo home run to Ryan Church. It was the fifth home run he had allowed on the year after allowing five all of last season.

He also started the seventh inning of game two. With the score tied at 4-4 he faced five hitters and allowed a single and two walks, one of which was intentional. After New York loaded the bases with one out, Durbin got a critical second out when Omir Santos popped to second. Durbin left with the bases loaded and two outs when the Mets called on lefty Daniel Murphy to pinch-hit.

Durbin started the ninth inning of game three with the score tied at 3-3. He faced two batters and got them both before Eyre came in to pitch to lefty Fernando Martinez.

Condrey relieved Happ with one out in the bottom of the sixth in game one. There was one out and a man on first with the Phillies up 4-3. It didn’t go well. The first batter he faced moved the runner on first to second with a single before Santana pulled back his bunt and slapped a double into the right field corner. It put men on second and third with the score tied at 4-4. Condrey got a popup for the second out before Alex Cora delivered an RBI single into center that made it 5-4 with men on first and third. Condrey walked Beltran intentionally and struck Sheffield out to end the inning.

Bad outing for Condrey. One of the runs he allowed was charged to Happ. Santana’s double hurt a lot.

He entered game three in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at 3-3. He pitched the seventh and the eighth, facing six batters and setting down all six. He’s allowed two runs over 12 2/3 innings in his last 11 appearances.

Madson got the chance for the save in game two with Lidge on the DL. He entered in the bottom of the eleventh with a 5-4 lead and set the Mets down in order on three ground balls.

Great job by Madson — would have been a bummer to lose that one in extra-innings as he debuts as closer.

Great job again in game three. Madson entered in the bottom of the tenth with the Phils up 6-3. He allowed a leadoff single but set down the next three.

The Phillies scored 16 runs in the three-game series.

Victorino led off in game one and hit second for the other two. He had a big hit in the top of the tenth last night, getting a single to start the rally that ended with the Ibanez home run. He was 2-for-13 with two singles and a walk in the series and is hitting 288/336/450 for the year.

Utley had a monster game in game two of the series, hitting a pair of solo home runs. Mike Pelfrey would apparently prefer he not step out of the batter’s box as well. He was 5-for-13 with a double and three home runs in the series. 302/438/588 for the season.

Werth made a fantastic catch on a ball hit in the right-center gap with two outs in the bottom of the tenth in game two. He was 3-for-13 with three singles in the series. 263/391/425 for the year. He doesn’t have an extra-base hit in June. He hit third in game one and dropped to sixth after Rollins returned to the leadoff spot.

Howard was 2-for-13 with a home run in the series. 253/331/567. He’s hitting .195 with a .292 on-base percentage in June.

Ibanez made a great play in game one, fielding a double off the wall by Sheffield on a hop and throwing Sheffield out at second. He also threw Wright out at second in last night’s game. 3-for-14 with two home runs in the series. 322/377/674 for the year. If he slugs .674 for the whole season it would be a career high. Just one walk in his last 54 at-bats. He’s on-basing .298 in June.

Rollins had a big day in the first game of the set, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer. In the top of the ninth inning he absolutely blew up Alex Cora at second base to ruin what should have been a double-play and keep the game alive. He hit sixth in the first game of the series and led off the other two. 4-for-13 with a home run in the series, 1-for-9 after game one. 226/262/333 for the year. Hasn’t drawn a walk in his last 59 at-bats.

Feliz was 5-for-13 with a double in the set. 312/362/427 for the year. He has two home runs on the year, the last of which came on April 28. He has walked once in his last 65 at-bats.

Ruiz started the first two games of the set and went 0-for-7. 287/410/475 for the year.

Coste caught game three. He was 3-for-5 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 253/356/440 for the year.

Bruntlett drew a walk in game one, his only plate appearance of the series. He’s hitting 152/226/239 for the season. 4-for-his-last-29 with four singles.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a single. 196/276/353 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-2 with an RBI. Big at-bat last night to tie the game with a ground out. 306/479/583.

Bako was 0-for-1 in the series and is 0-for-1 with the Phils.

Pablo Ozuna was suspended 50 games.

The Phillies reached an agreement with Kelly Dugan, their top pick of the 2009 draft.

Update: Eyre to DL, Kendrick called up. Kendrick has made 12 starts at Triple-A, throwing to a 4.03 ERA with a 1.36 ratio. Still has some problems with lefties, who are hitting .315 against him in the minors this year and have hit four of the five home runs he has allowed.

Doctor, doctor, give me the news I’ve got a bad case of not giving up any hits

I was pretty much in support of putting Brad Lidge on the DL after he struggled in the series against the Yankees. So when the Phillies did earlier this week my first reaction was that the move was necessary and maybe even a little overdue. Lidge did pitch well after the games in New York, though, and a Feliz error in LA was a huge part of one of Lidge’s two blown saves in that series.

Lidge has made 28 appearances for the Phillies this season and the results have been very bad. In his last seven appearances before hitting the DL he was a lot better, though. Here are his numbers and what opponents hit against him in his first 21 appearances of the season, ending with the series against the Yankees, and what he did in his last seven appearances before the Phillies put him on the DL:

4/6 thru 5/24 21 19.7 9.15 2.08 337 420 640
5/25 thru 6/6 7 6.3 1.42 0.95 182 250 364

I understand why the Phillies put him on the DL. I also think it was the right move — Brad Lidge of 2009 simply hasn’t been Brad Lidge of 2008 and Ryan Madson has a better chance to get the job done at the end of the game the way both pitchers are throwing. At the same time, it’s not hard to see why Lidge would be less than thrilled with the news or wonder how much the error by Feliz that contributed to the first blown save in LA contributed to his current situation.

This suggests the Phillies are looking at several right-handed hitters, including Ryan Spilborghs. Spilborghs would be a great addition.

This suggests that Raul Ibanez has not ruled out legal action against the person who wrote this.

This says that Lidge is hopeful he we will be able come off the DL near the June 23 date he is eligible to return.

Order reform

Not counting last night’s game, the Phillies were on pace to score 890 runs this season a year after being tied for second in the NL with 799 runs scored. The Phillies have had the best offense in the league so far this season — they are second in the NL in runs scored but trail only the Dodgers who have played four more games than they have.

Not only has the rate at which the team scores runs been changing, but the positions in the batting order that are scoring the runs is also changing. Here’s how many runs each of the positions in the batting order have scored this season, the pace that each of the spots in the order is on pace to score this season, the percent of the team’s runs that accounts for and the runs scored and percentages for last year:

  2009 2009 on
% of runs 2008
% of runs
1 33 97 10.9 106 13.3
2 43 127 14.2 119 14.9
3 46 135 15.2 108 13.5
4 37 109 12.3 106 13.3
5 46 135 15.2 93 11.6
6 30 88 9.9 78 9.8
7 25 74 8.3 67 8.4
8 18 53 6.0 75 9.4
9 24 71 7.9 47 5.9
Total 302 890 100 799 100

The Phillies are on pace to score 91 more runs than they did in 2008. Of the nine positions in the batting order, five are accounting for a lesser percentage of the runs that the scored last season. Just four spots, three, five, six and nine, are accounting for a higher percentage.

The sixth spot in the order is up, but just by a tiny bit. The consistency in the percentage of the team’s runs scored by that position has been surprising. In 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the number six hitters in the Phillies lineup have scored either 9.8% or 9.9% of the Phillies runs every season.

Surprising to me was that the nine hitters are scoring a higher percentage of the runs this season. That may have more to do with what the non-pitchers are doing in the nine-hole than the pitchers. Not including last night’s games, the non-pitchers hitting in the nine-hole had gone 25-for-87 (.287) with five home runs and 17 RBI on the year. In 2008, non-pitchers hitting in the nine-hole went 58-for-233 (.222) with six home runs and 36 RBI for the season.

The middle of the order is where the Phillies are seeing the biggest increases in terms of their runs scored. Despite the fact that the team overall is on a pace to score nearly a hundred more runs than they did last year, the top two hitters are on pace to score fewer runs than they did in ’08. In 2008 the top two hitters in the lineup scored 225 runs — through the first 55 games they are on pace to score 224 in ’09.

The fifth spot in the order is the place where the Phillies have seen the most dramatic increase in the number of runs scored. They are on a pace to have their five-hitters score 42 more runs than they did in ’08. Werth and Ibanez have both been good hitting fifth for the Phils this year, but a big factor in the increase in the runs scored also has to be the improvements with the bats by Feliz and Ruiz. Feliz and Ruiz have combined to drive in 42 runs in 331 plate appearances this season. In ’08 they combined to drive in 89 in 836 plate appearances. At the rate they are driving in runs in ’09 they would knock in 106 if they got 836 plate appearances.

The MLB Network’s The Pen, a reality show featuring members of the Phillies bullpen, will debut on Sunday.

Raul Ibanez insists he did not use steroids. And you know what? I believe him. I’m pretty sure a whole lot of people do. I’m also sure that the culture of guilty-until-proven-innocent must be nearly impossible for players who haven’t used performance enhancing drugs to deal with these days. He goes to the parent’s basement card a little early, though. He definitely solved all the problems one can solve by calling the person you have an issue with a coward and an idiot. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t any blogger in any basement anywhere that created the culture of suspicion that he and everyone else in baseball has to live with now — it was so many baseball players using steroids and lying about it to so many people under so many different circumstances.

Adios to scoring runs for Carlos

Carlos Ruiz has been a monster at the plate this season, posting a 309/435/511 line. Among the 18 NL players who have gotten at least 100 plate appearances as a catcher his .945 OPS at the position is best in the league.

Thanks mostly to Ruiz, the Phillies have been much better offensively at the position in 2009 than they were in 2008.

2009 270 387 455 842 2
2008 243 327 367 694 10

Whether it lasts or not the whole line is just impressive, especially considering that with the exception of an early contribution from Marson it’s mostly been the same guys in ’09 that played in ’08. The .387 on-base percentage for the position is particularly impressive.

The thing that’s not impressive is that while the Phillies have generally had their catcher hitting in the same spot in the order in both 2008 and 2009, their catchers are scoring less runs this year than they did last.

Year POS G Runs R/Game
2009 C 55 17 .309
2008 C 162 74 .457

The guys playing catcher last year were terrible with the bat. This year they’ve been great, but they score a lot less often.

Ruiz has scored eight runs on the season and gotten 116 plate appearances. He has three home runs, so that leaves five times on the season he’s been driven in by some other player. He’s on-basing .435. In 2008 he got 373 plate appearances and scored 47 runs — if he continues to score runs at his current rate this year and again gets 373 plate appearances he will score about 26 runs. In 2008 he on-based .320.

Given how often the catchers hit eighth your first instinct may be to blame the pitchers. But while the pitchers sure aren’t good, they are at least as good with the bats as they were last year:

2009 110 219 165 384 7
2008 124 176 151 326 9

The .110 batting average won’t inspire much sonnet-writing, but the .219 on-base percentage is the best mark for NL-pitchers with the bat.

While there is surely more than one reason the catchers aren’t scoring regularly, a big part of the problem seems like it has to be Jimmy Rollins and the top of the order. Even if the pitcher’s slot doesn’t make an out, there’s a pretty good chance the top of the order will. Here’s what the guys batting leadoff for the Phils have done:

2009 216 253 314 567 16
2008 286 356 453 810 5

When you think of the struggles Rollins has had at the plate this season you probably think first of the problems it causes starting rallies. And that’s a big problem. But as long as Ruiz continues to put up huge numbers in the eight hole the Phillies are going to need someone at the top of the lineup who can finish them off as well.

The question for the Phillies is how long the situation will continue or if it will continue at all. The combination of Ruiz being great with the bat and Rollins struggling has hurt them so far this season. We saw them in LA try to deal with the struggles that Rollins is having in different ways. But whether Rollins works out his problems in the short term or not, the chances that Ruiz will continue to OPS .945 and Rollins will continue to on-base .261 in the leadoff spot are close to zero.

Phillies Nation will hold a game-watching-for-charity event at McFadden’s on Thursday night to support The Arc of Philadelphia.

Update: The Phillies sent Brad Lidge to the DL with a strained right knee and called up Paul Bako. Bako has hit 357/372/381 in 42 at-bats at Reading with one extra-base hit, a double. He bats left-handed and turns 37 later this month. Career line of 231/305/317 over 2,341 at-bats.

And one out of three ain’t bad

To the degree a team can have a whole lot of problems when they sit comfortably in first place coming off a year in which they won the World Series, the Phillies have had three big ones so far this season. The starting pitchers have been awful, Brad Lidge of 2009 doesn’t look much like Brad Lidge of 2008 and Jimmy Rollins hasn’t looked like much of anything.

One of those problems appears, for the moment at least, to have been solved. The starting pitching is suddenly fantastic. Antonio Bastardo didn’t make it through the sixth inning last night, but did hold LA to two runs over five frames. For the Phils it was the first time in eight games that they did not get a quality start. On May 30, Hamels allowed six runs over six innings against the Nationals. Since then the Phillies have played eight games in which their starters have thrown to a 1.70 ERA with an 0.83 ratio. In 53 innings they’ve walked six and struck out 35.

One down, two to go. The other two problems certainly didn’t get any better in Los Angeles. Lidge blew two saves, one with the help of a huge error by Feliz. Rollins went 0-for-10 in the first two games of the set, didn’t start the third and hit sixth in the fourth. As if on a mission to remind us all of how important Rollins is to the team, the Phillies scored eight runs in the first three games.

The Phillies are 33-22 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Dodgers in LA. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Mets by three games. The Dodgers are the only team in either league that has a better winning percentage than the Phillies. After the Phillies took game one of the series they had won seven games in a row.

The Phils took game one 3-0 behind a complete came shutout from Hamels. Hamels allowed four singles and a double in the game. Werth, Howard and Ibanez drove in the Phillies runs.

The Dodgers won game two 4-3. The Phils took an early 3-0 lead thanks to an RBI groundout by Ibanez and a two-run double by Utley. Moyer pitched very well, allowing two runs over seven innings. Lidge started the ninth with a 3-2 lead and got the first two hitters before a single by Casey Blake and a walk to Rafael Furcal put men on first and second. Russell Martin hit a ground ball to third that Feliz booted, keeping the game alive with the bases loaded. Andre Ethier delivered a double to right to score two runs and give LA the win.

The Phils got more good starting pitching in game three, but another blown save from Lidge as LA took the game 3-2. An Ethier home run off of Blanton gave LA a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Stairs put the Phils up 2-1 with a pinch-hit two-run single in the top of the seventh. Furcal hit a solo shot off of Lidge with one out in the ninth to tie it up. Eyre and Durbin kept the Dodgers off the board in extra-innings until Ethier connected for the game-winning home run off of Durbin with two outs in the bottom of the twelfth.

Last night Bastardo got his second win in two starts as the Phils rolled to a 7-2 win. The Phils scored twice in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead, but the Dodgers got a run in the bottom of the sixth to get within one. Home runs from Victorino and Ruiz in the seventh put the Phillies on top to stay. Park pitched very well in the game in relief of Bastardo — he came on with nobody out in the sixth and went three scoreless innings.

The Phillies got fantastic pitching in the series. Over 38 1/3 innings their pitchers threw to a 1.64 ERA and an 0.97 ratio.

The four starters allowed just five runs over 27 innings, throwing to a 1.67 ERA and an 0.85 ratio. Blanton gave up a home run to Ethier, which was the only homer the starters allowed in the set. The starters struck out 17 and walked just two.

Hamels got the start in game one and allowed five hits over nine shutout innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

Moyer allowed two runs on three singles and a double in game two. He struck out three and didn’t walk a hitter. He has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.04 ratio in his last four starts. His ERA for the year is down to 6.27. He’s allowed just three walks in his last 25 innings.

Blanton held LA to a run over six innings in game three, allowing five hits and just one walk. That’s three very good starts in a row for Blanton, who has his ERA for the year down to 5.46. Over his last three outings he has a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio.

Bastardo got his second start in game four and was impressive again. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings. He need 107 pitches to get through five innings. He came out to start the top of the sixth and faced two hitters, but both got hits and Park came on in relief.

11 1/3 innings of relief in the set for the Phils. The relievers allowed four runs, only two of which were earned (the two runs Lidge allowed in the Feliz error game were unearned). Lidge allowed three runs in the series and Durbin one. 1.59 ERA and a 1.29 ratio overall for the pen in the four games. They did allow two critical home runs — Furcal off of Lidge in game three and Ethier off of Durbin later in the same contest.

Eyre started the tenth inning of game three with the score tied at 2-2. He allowed singles to the first two men he faced. It pen men on first and second with nobody out, but Eyre got the next two before Durbin relieved him to pitch to the righty Matt Kemp.

Taschner did not pitch in the series and has thrown one inning since May 20. That’s a terrible use of a roster spot.

Romero pitched the eighth inning of game two with a 3-2 lead. He allowed a walk and a stolen base, but no runs.

He came in for Condrey in the bottom of game three with one out and men on first and second. He picked Juan Castro out at second for the second out of the inning and it saved him a run, cause Juan Pierre followed with a single. Romero got Orlando Hudson on a fly ball to left to end the inning.

Park entered game four with a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, nobody out and men on first and third. He pitched very well. He got Matt Kemp to hit into a double-play, allowing a run to score that was charged to Bastardo, then got the next hitter to get out of the sixth. He came back and pitched the seventh and the eighth, allowing one hit and one hit batter.

Great outing for Park. The score of the game didn’t make the score look close, but Park got some critical outs when it was.

Durbin entered game three with two outs in the bottom of the tenth and men on first and second. He struck Kemp out to end the inning.

He returned for the bottom of the eleventh and set LA down in order. With Park and Taschner well-rested, he came back for the bottom of the twelfth. He got the first two before Ethier hit a 3-2 pitch out to center to give LA the win.

The Phils lost game three on Durbin’s 36th pitch of the game, which came to a lefty who had already homered in that game. Durbin was pitching well, but the Phillies had better options. Even if Taschner isn’t going to come into the game, with the slumping righty Russell Martin due to hit next it was a good time not to groove one to the not-slumping Ethier.

Condrey started the seventh inning of game three with a 2-1 lead. He faced three hitters and got one out while allowing two singles.

Madson interestingly did not pitch the eighth inning of game two with a one-run lead. He did pitch the eighth inning of game three with a 2-1 lead. He allowed a leadoff walk but got the next three.

He pitched the ninth inning of game four with a 7-2 lead and allowed a leadoff single but got the next three. I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring in Madson in with a five-run lead, off-day today or not. Taschner never, ever pitches and you don’t need to let Madson’s innings continue to pile up.

Lidge came into the ninth inning of game two with a 3-2 lead. He got the first two men he faced before allowing a hit and a walk. The game should have been over when Martin followed with a grounder to third, but Feliz did not handle it. Ethier followed with a two-run double to give LA the win.

He entered game three with a 2-1 lead in the ninth. He retired three of the four men he faced, but Furcal hit a pinch-hit home run off of him to tie the game.

The Phillies scored just 15 runs in the series — eight in the first three games and seven yesterday.

Rollins went 0-for-10 in the first two games of the series, didn’t start the third batted sixth last night. He was 2-for-16 in the series and is hitting 222/261/322 for the season. No walks in June and three in his last 91 at-bats.

Utley was 4-for-15 with three doubles and five walks in the set. 296/438/548.

Werth hit second in game three of the series and third in the other three games. He was 5-for-16 with five singles and four walks. 256/355/437. One extra-base hit, a double, in his last 42 at-bats. He played center field in games one and two with Victorino out of the lineup.

Howard was 3-for-17 with a double and a home run in the series. 259/337/577.

Ibanez was 4-for-17 with two doubles. 329/386/676 for the year. If he slugs .676 for the whole season it would be a career high.

Victorino was out of the lineup for games one and two. In games one and three he was in the leadoff spot. 2-for-10 with a home run and three strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 295/343/467 for the season.

Feliz made a critical error in game two. He’s made three errors on the season, but two of them have been critical ones late in games that were big factors in a loss. He was 6-for-15 with a double in the set and is hitting 306/361/425 for the year.

Ruiz was 4-for-8 with a home run in the series. 309/435/511. Coste started game two with Ruiz starting the other three.

Coste started game two with Moyer pitching. 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in the set. 229/341/414 for the year.

Bruntlett started game three at shortstop with Rollins on the bench. He also started games one and two in right field with the Dodgers throwing lefties. 2-for-9 with a walk in the series. 152/212/239. He’s really not the guy you want starting back-to-back games in right field.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line to 188/273/354 for the season.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a big two-run single in game three. He’s hitting 324/500/618 for the season.

Phils glad to have Romero back, but may be sad he didn’t bring three guys who can get righties out with him

Cole Hamels was brilliant last night, but overall the Phillies pitched far better in 2008 than they have so far in 2009. Aside from watching the Phils play baseball, this can be demonstrated in a number of ways. In 2008 they allowed 680 runs over 162 games, about 4.2 runs per game. In 2009 the Phils had allowed 254 runs through their first 51 games, about 4.98 runs per game. Coming into last night’s game their team ERA of 4.88 was 15th-best of the 16 NL teams in ’09. In 2008 they posted a 3.88 ERA as a squad, which was fourth-best in the league.

So what’s the problem? Well, as you know, the starting pitching has been the problem. What hasn’t been the problem when you look at the pitching staff’s numbers overall is what they’ve done against left-handed hitters. The Phillies have actually been better against lefties in ’09 than they were in 2008 (nothing in this post includes the results from games played yesterday):

Left-handed batters vs PHI pitching

2008 2572 270 346 425
2009 849 249 335 399

In all three of the categories they are better in ’09 than they were in ’08. Given that lefties haven’t been the problem you can probably guess what has:

Right-handed batters vs PHI pitching

2008 3655 252 317 399
2009 849 281 345 507

The .852 OPS that right-handed hitters have hit against Phillies’ pitching is the worst mark for any team in either league. The .507 slugging percentage is 30th of 30, the .345 on-base percentage 24th and the .281 average 28th.

So they aren’t doing well against righties.

At least compared to last season, the problems against righties aren’t about strikeouts or walks. They are striking right-handed hitters out at about the same rate. The walk rate is up, but just a little bit. The hits are up and the extra-base hits are up even more. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances by right-handed batters that have ended with a hit, walk, strikeout, single, extra-base hit or home run in ’08 and ’09:

Right-handed batters vs PHI pitching
Year % H % BB % SO % 1B % XBH % HR
2008 22.7 7.8 17.6 14.9 7.9 2.5
2009 25.0 7.9 17.6 15.1 9.9 4.8

The Phillies are giving up more hits to right-handed hitters, but the bigger problem has been how many more hits have been going for extra-bases.

In 2008, the Phillies faced 3,655 right-handed batters and gave up 831 hits. 544 of the hits were singles and 287 went for extra-bases.

This season they’ve faced 1,153 right-handed batters and given up 288 hits. 174 for singles and 114 for extra-bases.

In ’08, 14.9% of plate appearances by righties ended in a single. If 14.9% of the ’09 plate appearances by righties had ended in singles, the Phillies would have allowed 172. That’s just two fewer than they actually have allowed. If they were allowing extra-base hits and home runs at ’08 levels, though, they would have given up 91 extra-base hits and 29 home runs. They’ve actually allowed 114 extra-base hits and 55 home runs.

Here’s what it looks like if you use the rates for ’08 and compare them with the results for ’09 for hits, extra-base hits and home runs:

Right-handed batters vs PHI
’09 expected
at ’08 pace
262 172 91 29
’09 actual 288 174 114 55
actual/at ’08
1.10 1.01 1.25 1.90

So on a per-plate appearance basis against righties this season, the Phillies have given up 110% as many hits as they were giving up, but just 101% as many singles as they did last year. The other two numbers are much bigger — 125% of the extra-base hits and 190% of the home runs.

Brett Myers had surgery on his hip and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Shane Victorino’s hip has him day-to-day, which may mean Bruntlett will start in right again tonight with the Dodgers starting another lefty.

Finally, if you haven’t noticed, the Phillies starting pitching has been great of late. The starters have made five straight quality starts. In those five games the starters have gone 35 innings with a 1.29 ERA and an 0.74 ratio. Only once in the last five games has the starting pitcher allowed more than one run (Blanton allowed three runs to the Padres over seven innings).

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