Archive for June, 2009

Who’s your padre?

The Phillies scored 20 runs in their three-game set with the Padres, so they didn’t really need great starting pitching. They got it anyway, though, as Blanton, Bastardo and Happ were outstanding for a team that has gotten by with starting pitching that has been unimpressive just about all season long.

After the three great starts the Phillies’ starters no longer have the worst ERA in baseball. With their 5.58 they’ve slipped ahead of the Nationals and their 5.63.

Bad starting pitching or not, the Phillies are on a monster role. They’ve won six straight and continue to put distance between themselves and the second-place Mets. After sweeping their second straight series the Phils are 31-20 on the season. Eleven games over .500 is their best mark for the season. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the injury-riddled Mets by three games.

The Phils won game one of the set 5-3 behind a solid start from Blanton. The Padres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on two singles and a ground out in the bottom of the second, but the Phils scored two in the second and got homers from Utley and Howard in the top of the fifth to make it 4-1. Scott Hairston and Adrian Gonzalez went back-to-back in the sixth to get San Diego within one at 4-3. But Eyre and Lidge were solid in relief, Lidge got his fourth save in four days, and doubles by Dobbs and Victorino in the top of the eighth gave the Phils an insurance run.

Antonio Bastardo made his debut in game two and was electric. Bastardo held the Padres to a run over six innings and the Phils took the game 10-5. The Phils jumped out to a 4-0 lead off of Jake Peavy in the top of the first and never looked back. Ibanez had two home runs and five RBI on his 37th birthday. Park got hit hard for four runs in the bottom of the seventh after Bastardo left the game, but the Phils started the frame with a 10-1 lead.

The Phils won 5-1 last night behind seven shutout innings from JA Happ. Howard hit a two-run homer to give the Phils the lead in the first and they never looked back. JC Romero made his season debut with the team and threw 1 1/3 innings.

Overall the Phillies got very good pitching in the series. They threw 27 innings to a 2.67 ERA and a 1.15 ratio.

The starters were fantastic. They went 20 innings and threw to a 1.80 ERA with an 0.90 ratio. They gave up four runs, three of which came on home runs. Blanton gave up two home runs and Bastardo gave up one.

Blanton pitched well in the first game of the series, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. It makes it two good starts in a row for Blanton, who has dropped his ERA from 7.11 to 5.86 over his last two outings. In his last two starts he’s given up three runs in 14 innings on just 11 hits and three walks.

Bastardo allowed three singles and a solo home run over six innings in his major league debut. He walked just one.

Happ was fantastic in game three as well. He allowed three singles, a double and a walk over seven shutout innings. He’s 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and an 0.87 ratio in his three starts on the year.

The relief pitching for the Phils wasn’t outstanding in the series, although the numbers look bad mostly because Park got hammered in game two pitching with a 10-1 lead. As a group the relievers threw to a 5.14 ERA with a 1.86 ratio. They allowed five runs, only four of which were earned. All four of the earned runs were charged to Park.

Eyre started the eighth inning of game one with a 5-3 lead and set the Padres down in order. He has made 22 appearances on the year and allowed runs in just two of them. Four of the five runs he’s been charged with on the year were given up in a single appearance against the Nationals on April 27.

Escalona was sent back to the minors to make room on the roster for JC Romero.

Taschner did not pitch in the series. He has not pitched since May 27. Three is especially a lot of lefties to have in your pen if you’re never going to use one of them.

Romero started the eighth inning of game three with a 5-0 lead and allowed a run on two hits and a walk. Probably would have been worse except Kevin Kouzmanoff lined into a double-play with two men on to end the inning. Romero came back to start the ninth and got the only batter he faced.

Park relieved Bastardo in the seventh inning of game one with a 10-1 lead. Didn’t go well. He allowed four runs on four singles and two walks. He had gone a week without pitching, so it wasn’t like he wasn’t rested. He’s allowed ten earned runs in 6 1/3 innings over his last four appearances.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 eighth in game two with a 10-5 lead. He came back to pitch the ninth and San Diego loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Madson relieved him to get the final out of the game.

Nice job by Manuel not to automatically use Madson in the eighth inning just cause it was the eighth inning.

Condrey did not pitch in the series.

Madson got the last out of game two, coming in to face Kevin Kouzmanoff with two down, the bases loaded and the Phils up 10-5. Kouzmanoff grounded to third to end the game.

He also came into game three, entering with a 5-1 lead with one out in the ninth. He got the only two men he faced. Madson hasn’t been charged with a run since May 16. He’s thrown 8 2/3 scoreless innings in ten appearances since, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out ten.

Lidge got his fourth save in four games in the first game of the set, allowing just one walk. It was his fifth straight appearance without allowing a run.

Madson is the only guy who has thrown more than one day in a row and he’s thrown six pitches or less in each outing.

The Phillies scored 20 runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 4-for-15 with a double. He’s hitting 229/270/336 for the season. He has one walk in last 43 at-bats.

Victorino was 5-for-12 with two doubles and a triple. 300/349/465 for the season. 30-for-his-last-86 (.349).

Utley was 4-for-11 with a home run. 298/437/556 for the year.

Howard was 3-for-11 with a double, two home runs and five RBI. He also walked three times. 266/348/591 for the year.

Ibanez went 6-for-15 with two doubles and two home runs. He’s hitting 337/395/703 for the year. If he slugged .703 for the whole season it would be a career high. He’s on pace to hit 60 home runs with 165 RBI.

Werth did not start the third game of the series with Dobbs playing right against right-hander Chris Young. He went 2-for-9 with three walks and an RBI in the series. 251/346/448 on the year. After going 2-for-4 with a home run against the Yankees on May 22 he was hitting 279/378/521. 7-for-43 (.163) since. He did play some center field last night, taking over for Victorino, which is nice to see. Also glad to see Dobbs get a chance in the outfield.

Feliz was 2-for-9 with three strikeouts in the series. 298/356/421 for the year.

Ruiz caught the first two games of the series and went 1-for-7 with two walks. He’s hitting 291/419/477 for the season.

Coste caught game three. 0-for-2 with two walks in the series. 246/364/446.

Bruntlett was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 135/190/243 for the year.

Dobbs started in right field with righty Chris Young on the mound for the Padres in game three. He was 4-for-7 in the series with two doubles and a home run. He’s up to 200/288/378 on the year. I don’t think he’s a good defensive corner outfielder, but I’d like to see him get more time in the outfield for the Phils.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a single in the series and is hitting 303/477/606 for the year.


Month-to-month

Nine Phillies batters have gotten at least 20 plate appearances in each of the first two months of the ’09 season. Notably absent from the list of the guys who have are Bruntlett, Stairs and Ruiz. Bruntlett got 19 PA in May and Ruiz and Stairs each got 15 in March and April.

For each of the nine, their career OPS and the OPS they put up in each of the first two months of the season are on the charts below. The first graph has the three outfielders and Coste:

ofc45.jpg

Ibanez is way above his career levels. Victorino and Werth have done about what they’ve done over their careers in each of the two months. Coste doesn’t get the at-bats the other guys do, but in the ones he got in April he was awful and in the ones he got in May he was fantastic. Coste went 9-for-23 (.391) with three doubles, five walks and two home runs in May.

And here are the infielders:

if45.jpg

Utley hit just .253 in May after a monster April. Howard has been a little below his career marks for each of the first two months of the year. Feliz had a huge April and still batted .289 with a .343 on-base percentage in May but without a home run. Rollins has been miserable, but a little better in May than in the first month of the season. There was no place to go but up for Dobbs after going 2-for-18 with two singles in the first month of the year.


Glorious Bastardos

Lefty Antonio Bastardo makes his major league debut tonight as the Phils face the Padres in San Diego. The 23-year-old has been undeniably impressive this season at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Here are his numbers for the season between the two stops:

G GS IP ERA Ratio H BB SO
11 7 47.7 1.89 0.88 32 10 51

Opponents are hitting just .194 against him, he’s struck out more than a batter an inning and allowed just two home runs in 47 2/3 innings.

The Phillies signed Bastardo as a non-drafted free agent in June of 2005 and has been pitching well for them since. In 2006 he threw just 23 innings in the Gulf Coast League. In 2007 and 2008 he worked full-time as a starter. In 2009 he has made four appearances as a reliever, but the other seven have been starts. Here’s his rates for hits, walks, strikeouts and home runs for the past three seasons:

Year Level IP ERA Ratio H/9 BB/9 SO/9 HR/9
2007 A 96.7 2.14 1.17 6.3 4.2 10.2 0.3
2008 A, AA 97.7 2.95 1.26 7.0 4.3 10.0 1.4
2009 AA, AAA 47.7 1.89 0.88 6.1 1.9 9.7 0.4
                 
Career - 264.7 2.55 1.18 6.7 3.9 10.1 0.7

The strikeouts are impressive. He’s struck out 297 in his 264 2/3 career innings in the minors and so far this year he’s kept his strikeout rate up near where it had been at the lower levels. Beyond that, two things stick out. The first is that he’s walked far fewer hitters in 2009 than he has in the two previous seasons. After walking 92 in 194 1/3 innings in ’07 and ’08 combined, he’s walked just ten hitters in 47 2/3 innings in 2009. Between ’06 and ’07 Bastardo walked more than four hitters per nine innings and that’s just too many. By way of comparison, Myers has walked 3.14 batters per nine over his career, Blanton 2.57, Hamels 2.34 and Moyer 2.58. He hasn’t walked much of anybody at all so far in ’09 — let’s hope that trend continues.

The other thing is the home runs. In 2007 and 2009 he allowed just five in 144 1/3 innings, but last year he allowed 15 in 97 2/3 innings. Of the 15, 13 came in the 67 innings he pitched at Double-A Reading. He’s been great at keeping the ball in the yard so far in ’09. Like the walks, let’s hope it’s a trend that continues.

John Mayberry will be sent down to AAA to make room for Bastardo on the roster. Sergio Escalona was called up into Myers’ roster spot.

JC Romero can be activated after tonight’s game.


Nats can’t allay the Phils in May

The Phillies end May having benefited hugely from beating up on the Washington Nationals. After sweeping a four-game set in Washington in the middle of the month, the Phils ended May by winning three straight against them in Philly. Over their last 21 games the Phils are 7-0 against Washington and 6-8 against everyone else.

In addition to three big wins the Phillies got outstanding performances from Brad Lidge and Jamie Moyer this weekend. The Phils need both of those guys badly and both had struggled. Moyer earned his 250th career win yesterday with a great outing. Lidge saved three games in three days. The entire pen was very good over the three game series, but Lidge and Madson stood out as they combined to make six appearances and throw six scoreless innings.

The Phillies are 28-20 after sweeping the Nationals in a three-game set this weekend. Eight games above .500 is their best mark for the season. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Mets by a half game.

The Phillies took game one 5-4. Happ pitched five strong innings but left in the top of the sixth with two men on base and both came around to score when Durbin relieved him. Victorino had four hits in the game and two RBI from Ibanez helped stake the Phils to an early 5-1 lead. Lidge looked solid earning the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Phils overcame a weak outing by Hamels to win game two 9-6. Howard stole the show with two long home runs, a solo shot in the second and a grand slam one inning later. Lidge again closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Yesterday Jamie Moyer earned career win number 250 as the Phils topped the Nats 4-2. The Phillies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on an RBI-double by Utley in the first and a solo homer by Coste in the second. Josh Willingham cut the lead to 2-1 with a solo shot in the fourth, but it was the only run that Washington would get off of Moyer. Willingham hit another solo homer in the seventh, this one off Condrey, which cut the lead to 3-2. An RBI-triple by Howard in the bottom of the frame put the Phils up by two again and Madson and Lidge held the Nationals off again in the eighth and ninth.

The pitching was good for the Phils in the series. Overall they threw 27 innings with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.04 ratio.

The starters pitched to a 5.19 ERA and a 1.04 ratio in 17 1/3 innings. All three of the starters, Happ, Hamels and Moyer, allowed a home run.

Happ got the start in game one and pitched better than his line. He allowed two men to reach in the top of the sixth and both of them came around to score after Durbin relieved him. Happ allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings on three hits and three walks.

Hamels started game two and did not pitch well. He allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. After nine starts he has a 5.21 ERA for the season. The Phillies need him to pitch better and longer into games. He’s gotten an out in the seventh in just one of his nine outings.

Moyer was fantastic in game three, allowing a single run on three hits over six innings. He allowed two singles and a solo homer and didn’t walk a batter.

The bullpen pitched very well in the series. Over 9 2/3 innings they allowed just one run, a home run by Willingham off of Condrey in game three. 0.93 ERA with a 1.03 ratio. They struck out 11 in 9 2/3 innings.

Eyre pitched the top of the seventh in game one with the Phils up 5-4 and set the Nats down in order.

He started the seventh inning in game two with the Phillies up 9-6. He faced three hitters. Two of them singled and he got one out. Condrey relieved him with one out and men on first and second with the righty Josh Willingham at the plate.

Taschner did not pitch in the series.

Park did not pitch in the series. In game three Manuel chose to bring in Condrey on back-to-back days with a three-run lead in the seventh rather than Park.

Durbin entered game one in the top of the sixth. He relieved Happ with one out, men on first and second and the Phillies up 5-1. Both of the runners would score when the first man Durbin faced, Josh Bard, doubled and Anderson Hernandez followed with a single. Durbin wasn’t charged with a run in the outing, but he didn’t pitch well.

He has allowed runs in four of his last six appearances (and five of his last eight).

Condrey entered game two with one out in the top of the seventh, the Phils up 9-6 with men on first and second. He got righties Willingham and Kearns to leave both men stranded.

He came back to pitch the seventh inning of game three with the Phils up 3-1. Willingham led off the inning with a home run before he got the next three hitters.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game one with a one-run lead. He allowed a hit and a walk but kept the Nationals off the board.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth in game two with the Phils up 9-6.

He also pitched the eighth inning of game three, this time with a 4-2 lead. Two of the first three men he faced reached on a single and a walk, but he got the next two to leave both men stranded.

He hasn’t allowed a home run in 25 appearances on the season and dropped his ERA for the year to 2.49. He has 28 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth in game one with the Phils up 5-4.

He entered game two in the ninth with the Phils up 9-6. He allowed a leadoff single, but got Nick Johnson to hit into a double-play and then struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the game.

Pitching for the third straight day, Lidge set the Nationals down in order in the ninth with a 4-2 lead in game three.

Madson and Lidge have both pitched three days in a row.

The Phillies scored 18 runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 4-for-15 with two doubles in the series. He’s hitting 226/270/337 for the season.

Victorino hit second in all three games and went 6-for-12 with two walks and a double. 293/342/449 for the year.

Utley was 4-for-11 with two doubles and two walks. 294/430/550 for the year.

Howard went 4-for-13 with a double, a triple, two home runs and six RBI. 266/340/573.

Ibanez was 3-for-13 with a triple and two RBI. 332/394/684 for the year. If he slugs .684 for the entire season it would be a career high.

Werth made an error that cost the Phillies a run in game one. He went 3-for-13 with a double and a walk in the series. 253/342/460 for the season.

Feliz was 3-for-12 with a triple and three RBI. 302/365/432.

Ruiz started the first two games of the series and went 3-for-4 with three doubles, two walks and an RBI. 304/427/506 for the year. He’s hitting 309/440/529 in May.

Coste started game three of the set and went 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks. 254/356/460 for the year. Phillies’ catchers combined to go 5-for-7 with four walks, three doubles and a home run in the series.

Bruntlett did not get an at-bat in the series.

Mayberry had a big at-bat in game one. He hit with one out and the bases loaded with the Phils up 5-4 and struck out. He was 0-for-1 in the series and is 2-for-9 since joining the Phils.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 with a walk in the set. 132/250/211 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, dropping his line on the season to 281/465/594.

23-year-old lefty Antonio Bastardo will make Myers’ start on Tuesday.


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