Archive for July, 2009

The ninth fate

Phillies pitching is getting hit hard in the ninth inning this year. Here’s what opponents have hit against the Phils in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings this season and last season:

  2009 2008































So, by OPS that opposing hitters have put up against them, the Phillies are about the same in the seventh, better in the eighth and much worse in the ninth this year than they were in ’08.

Home runs have really been the problem for the Phillies in the ninth inning in 2009. In 2008 they allowed seven ninth inning home runs all season long. Lidge himself has allowed eight in the ninth inning already in 2009. The team has allowed 15 and is on pace to allow 28 ninth inning home runs. That’s four times as many homers in the ninth.

Lidge has obviously been worse in the ninth in 2009 than he was in 2008. But the pitchers that aren’t Lidge who have pitched in the ninth for the Phils this season have, by OPS that opposing hitters have posted against them, been better:

Total 323 266 342 476 817
Lidge 141 301 379 569 948
Not Lidge 182 239 313 405 718
Pace 608 266 342 476 817
Total 565 243 323 339 663
Lidge 276 183 281 254 535
Not Lidge 289 298 364 419 782

Lidge is on pace to thrown about 60 1/3 innings this season after throwing 69 1/3 in 2008. The percentage of the batters that the Phillies face in the ninth inning that are faced by Lidge is also down. In 2008, about 48.8% of the hitters the Phillies faced in the ninth were faced by Lidge. This year it has been about 43.7%. Finally, since so many hitters have reached base against him this year he has had to face more batters per inning pitched. In 2008 he faced 292 batters over 69 1/3 innings, which is about 4.21 per inning. So far in 2009 he’s faced 152 in 32 innings, which is about 4.75 per inning.

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal and put him on the DL. This says that Pedro could be ready to pitch for the Phillies in the series against the Giants that starts on July 30.


The starting pitching has improved month-to-month for the Phillies this year and so has the pitching overall. So far in July it has been fantastic. The Giants are the team in the NL that has been the best at preventing runs this season — they have allowed 324 over 88 games or 3.68 runs per game. The Phils have allowed 3.65 runs per game this month.

Phillies’ pitchers have allowed a huge number of home runs this season, so you might think that the way they’ve consistently improved is by cutting down on the home runs. It isn’t, though. They still allow a ton of home runs — not as many as they allowed in April, but a lot. Here’s the rate the pitching overall has allowed runs, hits, walks and home runs per nine innings for each month this season so far:

Month R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9
April 5.63 10.06 3.72 2.01
May 4.76 8.99 3.37 1.25
June 4.64 9.95 3.74 1.23
July 3.65 7.81 1.87 1.27
Total 4.77 9.37 3.36 1.42

The runs allowed per nine innings has dropped every month since April. The pitching was just awful the first month of the season and the Phils allowed 40 home runs in 179 innings, which is more than two home runs per nine innings. The rate has dropped a lot since April, but it’s still a lot of home runs the Phils give up. The average NL team has thrown 785 innings for the season and allowed 86 home runs — that’s 0.98 per nine innings, which is a lot less than Phillies pitchers have allowed in any month this year.

It sure seems like we should be able to blame all of the home runs that the Phillies give up on Citizens Bank Park. And, sure enough, the Phillies pitching has allowed both runs and home runs at a worse rate at home this year than they have away:

  R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9
Home 4.94 9.48 3.50 1.53
Away 4.59 9.25 3.21 1.31
Total 4.77 9.37 3.36 1.42

The problem with blaming it on the yard, though, is that the Phillies are scoring more runs in their games away from home than in their games at Citizens Bank Park.

  Runs per
HR per
Home 5.11 1.38
Away 5.61 1.46
Total 5.35 1.42

So even if Citizens Bank Park is a great place to hit, the Phillies hitters have managed to find some other places that are greater. And while it might be a great place to hit home runs, the Phillies are hitting more on the road.

The AL beat the NL 4-3 in the All-Star game. Victorino had a single and scored a run. Utley 0-for-2. Ibanez 0-for-2. Howard had a big at-bat in the eighth with two on and the NL down a run with two outs, but Joe Nathan struck him out. Werth 0-for-1.

This suggests the Phillies have signed Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal that is worth $1 million with incentives that could be worth up to an additional $1.5 million.

And maybe after Pedro we can find someone to take over for that Utley guy

The Phillies appear to be on the brink of signing Pedro Martinez to bolster the struggling starting rotation. The rotation has been awful this season. The starters have thrown to a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than all but four of the 30 teams in the Major Leagues. The 91 home runs the starters have allowed is the most of any team in either league and Phillies starters have thrown fewer innings than every NL team except for the Padres.

Partly they’ve thrown fewer innings than other NL teams because they’ve played fewer games. The Phillies have played just 86 games at the break, which ties them with the Cubs for the fewest played. The 5.78 innings per start they have thrown is ninth most of the 16 NL teams. In 2008 the starters went about 5.97 innings per start, which was fourth most in the league.

So as a group they have a miserable ERA, give up a ton of home runs and don’t pitch deep into games. What they haven’t done, though, is struggle recently. The starting pitching started out awful but has gotten better every month this season — so far in July the starting pitching has been excellent. Here’s what the starters have done by month in 2009:

  ERA Ratio K/9 BB/9 H/9
April 6.35 1.68 7.19 3.09 12.04
May 5.53 1.39 6.95 2.91 9.63
June 4.10 1.39 6.71 2.72 9.77
July 3.70 1.09 5.62 1.67 8.12
Total 4.98 1.41 6.72 2.70 9.97

The ERA, ratio and rates of hits and walks allowed for the starters have gone down steadily. Oddly, however, the starters were striking hitters out a lot more regularly earlier in the season. For example, they struck out 86 in 107 innings in a miserable April (7.19 per nine) but have been much better overall so far in July and struck out just 47 in 75 1/3 innings (5.62 per nine).

The Phillies clearly need to get help in the rotation — it’s just a little odd that it looks like it’s finally coming just as the rotation starts to pitch a whole lot better.

This suggests the Phillies will sign Pedro Martinez if his passes his physical. The physical is supposed to be today.

Ryan Howard hit 15 home runs in last night’s home run derby, which was won by Prince Fielder.

Raul Ibanez and Pat Gillick are best friends forever and Lou Piniella didn’t care for Ibanez.

Take five

The Phillies went an ugly 4-14 between June 12 and July 2. Near the end of June, manager Charlie Manuel held a team meeting and told the team they weren’t playing as well as they are capable of playing. They are now. They go into the All-Star break on a monster tear, winners of five in a row and nine of their last ten. They have outscored their opponents 66-27 in their last ten games.

The Phillies are getting fantastic and timely hitting and great pitching from a large number of sources. They’ve gotten their All-Star left fielder back from the DL. They’ve seemingly gotten their all-everything shortstop back from wherever he had been for most of the first half of the year.

They sure look like a team with a good chance to make another run deep into the playoffs.

The three biggest issues facing the team as they head to the second half of the season as I see them are these: First, and most importantly, the starting pitching has been very good recently but is going to need an upgrade. Second, Brad Lidge just isn’t right. He pitches badly regularly. Sometimes it costs the Phillies are sometimes it doesn’t. And finally, the catching situation just isn’t very good. The Phillies surely have enough hitting on the team to overcome it, but they’ve let Chris Coste go and right now it’s looking like Carlos Ruiz and Paul Bako are going to carry the load the rest of the way. Neither of them is hitting much at all.

The Phillies head to the All-Star break at 48-38 after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set. They’ve won five in a row and are in first place in the NL East. They’re four games ahead of the second-place Marlins and six ahead of the third-place Braves. The Mets are 6 1/2 back.

The Phillies won game one 3-2 behind a great start by Blanton. Blanton gave up a solo homer to Garrett Jones in the top of the first. Werth hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third and that was it for the scoring. Blanton exited with one out in the eighth win a man on second, but Romero came in and set the Pirates down. After Romero got the first out of the ninth, Lidge came in and gave up a two-out homer to Brandon Moss before striking out Delwyn Young to end the game.

The Phillies won game two in nearly impossible fashion. Down 7-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, Stairs led off the frame with a home run. Howard delivered a one-out grand slam that tied the score at 7-7. Ibanez followed with a double then Werth was walked to set up the double-play. Feliz reached on an infield single to load the bases and Bako singled to left to give the Phils an 8-7 win. Hamels got roughed up in the game, giving up five runs in the first two innings. A weak top of the seventh from Durbin in which he gave up a hit and two walks and got just one out led to two more Pittsburgh runs.

The Phils got a grand slam from Feliz in a five-run first inning and another great start from Happ as they won game three 5-2.

More good pitching from the Phillies in the series. They threw 27 innings over three games with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. They gave up just 23 hits and six walks over 27 innings. They did allow six home runs in the three games, however, which is too many.

The starting pitching was better than the pen in the set. Blanton and Happ both made very good starts with Hamels hit hard in game two. As a group they threw to a 3.10 ERA with an 0.89 ratio in 20 1/3 innings. They allowed four home runs, three of which were given up by Hamels, but walked just three.

Blanton started game one and allowed a run over 7 1/3 innings on four hits and a walk. His ERA was 7.11 after his start against the Reds on May 21. Since then he’s allowed more than three runs in a start once in nine outings and has brought his ERA down to 4.44.

Hamels struggled in game two. He allowed five runs over six innings on seven hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. He allowed three home runs in the first two innings. After the first two innings he allowed just two hits, both doubles, over the next four frames. Hamels goes into the break with an ugly 4.87 ERA. He has a 7.06 ERA over his last four starts. He isn’t walking anyone, just four walks over 21 2/3 innings in his last four starts, so his ratio in those outings is a less terrible 1.43.

Happ went seven innings in game three, allowing a single run on four hits and two walks. He has just been awesome in the first half of the season. He lowered his ERA on the year to 2.90 with yesterday’s outing and has thrown to a 1.17 ratio. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last five outings. His walk rate is too high for the season, but over his last four outings he’s gone 30 innings and walked four hitters. That’s 1.2 per nine innings.

The numbers for the pen weren’t good for the series. 5.40 ERA with a 1.65 ratio over 6 2/3 innings. Lidge gave up a run in game one. Durbin pitched badly in game two and was charged with two runs. Romero gave up a home run late in game three.

Romero entered game one in the top of the eighth with one out and a man on second, the Phillies up 3-1. He got two ground balls to leave the runner stranded. He came back to start the ninth and got lefty Adam LaRoche for the first out before Lidge came in to pitch to righty Andy LaRoche.

Romero also pitched the ninth inning yesterday with the Phils up 5-2. He gave up a leadoff homer to lefty Garrett Jones and got the next three. It’s the only run Romero has given up over his last seven appearances. He rarely gives up home runs to lefties — he came into the game having given up 11 against them for his career. They had slugged .290 against him for his career.

Eyre entered game one with one in the top of the seventh, the bases loaded and the Phils down 5-3 to pitch to Garrett Jones. He walked Jones. 6-3. Then he got Ryan Doumit to hit what should have been a home-to-first double-play ball to third, but Dobbs booted it. Dobbs recovered in time to get one out at first, but another run scored to make it 7-3. Eyre got the next batter to pop to Utley to end the frame.

He came back to pitch the eighth inning and gave up a one-out triple to Andy LaRoche. He kept Pittsburgh off the board, though, getting the next hitter to pop to the catcher and then getting the pitcher to ground to first. Working around the one-out triple didn’t look like much at the time given that the Phils were down four late, but it turned out to be important when the Phils mounted a huge rally in the ninth.

Park did not pitch in the series after throwing 43 pitches against the Reds on Thursday.

Durbin started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 5-3 and having just gotten back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. The first two men he faced reached on a single and a walk before a ground out. With men on first and third and one down, he walked Freddy Sanchez to load the bases. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Jones.

Walker pitched the ninth in game two with the Phils down 7-3. He allowed a two-out single, but got Doumit to pop to Feliz to end the frame.

Madson pitched the eighth inning yesterday with the Phillies up 5-1. He gave up a double and a soft single in the frame but kept the Pirates off the board with the help of a base-running mistake from McCutchen. With two outs and men on first and third, Sanchez flew to right and Werth doubled McCutchen off of first to set the Pirates down.

Madson hasn’t been charged with a run in his last five appearances, allowing just two hits and no walked over 5 2/3 innings. He hasn’t walked a hitter since June 30, which was six appearances ago.

Lidge entered game one in the top of the ninth with one out and the Phils up 3-1. He struck out Andy LaRoche for the first out and had Moss down 1-2, but Moss homered to right to cut the Phillies lead to 3-2. Jack Wilson was next and he singled. Lidge got behind pinch-hitter Delwyn Young 3-0, but came back to strike him out swinging 3-2 to end the game.

The bullpen gets a long rest before they will need to pitch again.

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

Rollins was 3-for-10 with two doubles and three walks in the series. He goes into the break hitting 229/287/355. 14-for-his-last-42 with ten walks and seven extra-base hits. He’s hitting 378/500/578 in July.

Victorino went 4-for-12 with two doubles. 309/375/464. 400/464/600 in July.

Utley was 5-for-11 with a walk. 313/430/573 for the year.

Howard was 3-for-7 with an enormous home run in game two. Four RBI and five walks in the series. 257/341/529 for the year. Nine walks in his last 17 at-bats.

Werth went 1-for-9 with a double, three walks and two RBI. He’s at 263/371/513.

Feliz’s grand slam yesterday gave the Phillies all the offense they would need to win the game. 3-for-9 with a double and a home run in the series. Dobbs started game two at third. Feliz is at 293/338/418 for the season.

Mayberry started in left in game one. He was 0-for-4 in the series to drop his line to 184/231/469. 1-for-his-last-24 with 12 strikeouts.

Bako caught the first two games of the series and continues to see his role with the team expand. He had a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth in game two. 2-for-8 in the series. He’s hitting just 214/267/250 for the year.

Ruiz started yesterday and was 0-for-3. 235/335/367 on the season. 3-for-his-last-22.

Bruntlett’s first half has been a disaster. He didn’t play against the Pirates and is hitting 139/207/208 for the year.

Ibanez started games two and three in left field. He went 2-for-9 with two doubles and an RBI. 309/367/649 for the year. If he slugs .649 all season long it would be a career-high.

Dobbs started at third in game two. 0-for-2 with an RBI in the series. 269/311/463 on the year. He’s hitting .344 in July after hitting .342 in June.

Stairs was 1-for-1 in the series with a game two home run in the ninth inning. He is hitting 283/434/517 on the year.

This says that Pedro Martinez will fly to Philadelphia today for a physical.

The house that roared

After struggling at home for most of the year the Phillies have roared to life at Citizens Bank Park in early July. Coming off of a three-game sweep of the rival Mets at home, the Phillies pounded the Reds in a four-game set and now look to finish the first half of the season strong as the Pirates come to town.

The Phillies have won six of their last seven. In those games they’ve thrown 63 innings with a 2.29 ERA. The bullpen has been charged with one run in 19 innings (0.47 ERA) while throwing to an 0.63 ratio with 26 strikeouts. Jimmy Rollins has gone 12-for-28 with five extra-base hits and seven walks and sparkled defensively. The team never makes an error. They scored ten runs in an inning and 22 runs in a game. Jayson Werth homers every day. Victorino has played himself into the All-Star game. Rollins, Victorino and Utley combined to go 22-for-51 atop the lineup in the last four games.

The Phils are 45-38 on the year after taking three of four from the Cincinnati Reds. The Phils are in first place in the NL East, two games ahead of the Florida Marlins. The Mets and Braves are tied for third place, both teams are five games back.

The Phillies blasted the Reds in game one, winning 22-1. They scored ten runs in the bottom of the first, getting two-run homers from Victorino and Dobbs and a three-run shot from Utley. Hamels was fantastic. He allowed a solo homer to Johnny Gomes in the top of the second, but went seven innings and allowed just three hits without walking a batter. The Phils were up 16-1 by the fourth inning and Werth hit a grand slam in the bottom of a six-run eighth.

The Phils lost a close one in game two, falling 4-3. Happ gave them another impressive start, but the Phillies had a lot of trouble with situational hitting and failed several times the bring a runner home. They got a run in the third but couldn’t get any more after putting men on first and second with nobody out. They got a leadoff triple from Ruiz in the fourth but left him stranded. In the eighth they put men on first and third with one out but didn’t score. Home runs from Werth and Howard helped put the Phils up 3-0 by the end of the third. Brandon Phillips connected for a two-run homer off of Happ in the fourth, though, and Phillips tied the game at three with another home run in the sixth. Lidge entered the ninth with the score still tied. He gave up a leadoff double to Joey Votto and Votto came around to score on a Ramon Hernandez single to put Cincy up 4-3. The Phils went quietly in the bottom of the ninth.

The Phillies took game three 3-2 thanks to solid pitching and a show-stealing performance from Victorino. Lopez made his second start for the Phils and gave up a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Victorino made a run out of almost nothing in the bottom of the inning. He led off and reached on an infield single, stole second, went to third on a sac fly by Utley and scored on a two-out single from Howard to cut the Reds’ lead to 2-1. Lopez had to leave with a strained shoulder after five innings after throwing 82-mph fastballs in the top of the fifth. Werth blasted a home run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. Durbin, Romero and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings and the game went to the bottom of the ninth still tied at 2-2. Feliz led off with a single, moved to second on a two-out walk from Rollins and came in to score the game-winner on a single to center from Victorino.

The Phils won an ugly 9-6 game yesterday. Moyer didn’t have a good start and the Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. The Phils came back with two in the bottom of the third, thanks to an inside-the-park home run from Utley that was followed by back-to-back doubles by Howard and Werth. Edwin Encarnacion put the Reds up 4-2 with a solo homer in the fourth, but a two-run single from Victorino in the bottom of the inning tied the game at 4-4. Another home run off of Moyer, this one a two-run shot from Brandon Phillips, made it 6-4 in the fifth. The Phillies got four walks and two singles in the bottom of the fifth to go up 8-6 and a solo homer by Werth in the sixth put them up 9-6. Park was awesome in relief of Moyer, entering in the sixth with an 8-6 lead and going three scoreless innings. Lidge got the save in the ninth.

Outstanding pitching for the Phillies in the series. They threw 36 innings to a 3.25 ERA and an 0.89 ratio. This comes off a series against the Mets where the Phils threw to a 1.00 ERA and an 0.89 ratio over three games. So they’ve been pitching rather well.

Three great starts in the series for the Phils and one bad one yesterday. 24 innings with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.00 ratio for the starting pitchers combined. The starters allowed five home runs — one by Hamels, two by Happ and two by Moyer. They walked just two in 24 innings. Lopez and Moyer both walked one and Hamels and Happ didn’t walk any.

Hamels was awesome in game one. He allowed two singles and a solo homer over seven innings.

Happ went seven innings in game two and allowed three runs, all of which scored on a pair of homers by Phillips. Aside from the two homers Happ allowed four singles without walking a batter and struck out seven. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last four starts.

Lopez went five innings in game three, allowing two runs on five singles and a walk. The Phillies have won both of his starts and he’s pitched to a 3.18 ERA with a 1.15 ratio, walking just two in 11 1/3 innings.

Moyer allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings yesterday, raising his ERA on the year to 5.99. He’s allowed five home runs in 16 1/3 innings over his last three starts.

The bullpen allowed one run in 12 innings, the run the Lidge gave up in the ninth inning of game two. 0.75 ERA and an 0.67 ratio coming off of seven scoreless innings against the Mets with an 0.57 ratio. The pen didn’t allow a home run against the Reds and gave up just five hits and three walks in 12 innings. The trio of Durbin, Romero and Madson were particularly impressive in game three. Park was fantastic last night, going three scoreless innings in relief of Moyer.

Romero entered game three with two outs in the seventh, men on first and second and the score tied at 2-2 to pitch to Chris Dickerson. Romero struck him out looking to end the frame.

Eyre made his first appearance for the Phils since June 11 in the ninth inning of game one. He entered the game with a 22-1 lead and allowed a single and a double to the first two men he faced, but kept the Reds off the board by getting the next three hitters on a fly ball and two strikeouts.

The outing will surely help his splits for career ERA when pitching with a 21-run lead.

Durbin started the sixth inning of game three with the Phillies down 2-1. He got the first two men he faced before hitting Phillips. He got Laynce Nix on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

He came back to start the seventh in game three. Hernandez led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by the pitcher Homer Bailey before Durbin hit Edwin Encarnacion. It put men on first and second with nobody out. Durbin struck Johnny Gomes out looking for the second out and Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Dickerson.

Three good outings in a row from Durbin have lowered his ERA from 4.50 to 4.09. He allowed three home runs in 12 2/3 innings in April to start the year. He’s given up just three in 21 1/3 innings over 26 appearances since.

Park entered yesterday’s game in relief of Moyer in the top of the sixth with an 8-6 lead. He allowed a one-out walk in the sixth, but got the next two men he faced. He came back to strike out the side in the seventh and throw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Huge outing for Park in a tight game. Over his last six appearances he’s allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks over 8 1/3 innings. That’s a 1.08 ERA and an 0.84 ratio. Park made six appearances in May, four starts and two in relief. He walked 15 in 22 innings (and 12 in his 18 innings as a starter). So far in June and July he has walked six in 20 2/3 innings.

Walker threw the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies up 16-1 and set the Reds down in order.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game two with the score tied at 3-3. He set the Reds down 1-2-3.

He also pitched in game three, entering in the eighth with the score tied at 2-2. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and a 1-2-3 ninth.

Fantastic series for Madson, pitching three shutdown frames at critical times.

Lidge entered game two in the top of the ninth with the score tied at 3-3. Joey Votto led off with a double to right, was bunted to third and scored on a single by Hernandez before Lidge got out of the inning with a double-play ball.

He also pitched last night in game four, entering in the ninth with a 9-6 lead. He walked Willy Tavares with two outs, but struck Chris Dickerson out to end the game and earn his 17th save.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw 43 pitches last night, so I wouldn’t be expecting to see him in tonight’s game.

The Phillies scored 37 runs in the four-game series (22 in game one).

Rollins was fantastic in the series, both with his glove and with the bat. 7-for-17 with a double and four walks. He is hitting 227/281/351 on the season. He’s 14-for-his-last-32 and hitting .400 in July.

Victorino was pretty fantastic hisownself. He won game three with a walkoff single that scored Feliz and had a monster game one in which he drove in four runs. 8-for-17 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. 309/375/463 on the year.

Utley hit an inside-the-park home run yesterday. With two outs and nobody on he hit the ball high off the wall in center. It came off the wall and rolled along the track while Utley hustled around the bases and scored without a close play at the plate. 7-for-17 with two doubles and two homers and six RBI in the series. 307/427/578, so Victorino has a higher batting average on the season, which probably won’t last long.

Howard went 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and three RBI. He’s at 253/332/522 on the year. Everyone in front of him is on fire these days, so there are a ton of RBI chances for Howard. He’s hitting just 200/333/333 in July, though.

Werth homered in every game in the series. 6-for-15 with a double, four walks, four homers and nine RBI. 268/373/522 on the year. He’s slugging .885 in July. He hits a lot of home runs with Ryan Howard not on base.

Dobbs starting left field for all four games and went 7-for-16 with a double and a home run. 274/319/472. He was hitting 172/246/310 after 0-for-1 against the Blue Jays on June 17. He even drew a walk in last night’s game, which gives him two since the end of May.

Feliz was 5-for-18 with five singles and is at 292/339/407 for the year.

Ruiz started games one, two and four of the series and went 3-for-9 with a triple and a walk. He’s hitting 239/340/374 for the year. 3-for-his-last-19.

Coste was 0-for-1 in the series to drop his line for the year to 245/342/382. He has two at-bats in July.

Bako started game three. He was 1-for-6 in the series and is hitting 200/273/250 in 20 at-bats on the year. In the last three games that Bako has started the team the Phillies were playing has scored two runs twice and one run once. Coincidence? Probably.

Bruntlett was 1-for-5 with a double in the series. 139/207/208.

Mayberry was on the bench to start all four games with the Reds starting four righties. He was 0-for-2 with a walk in the series. 200/250/511 for the year in 36 at-bats. He’s 1-for-his-last-20 with 11 strikeouts.

There’s a whole lot of things going right for the Phillies. One of the things that isn’t and that has been a problem for a long time is right-handed hitting off the bench. Bruntlett, Coste and Mayberry aren’t in a groove. Need some help.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with three walks in the series. His line is at 271/427/458 for the year. Just one extra-base hit, a double, since he homered against the Fish on May 27.

Shane Victorino won the vote and made the All-Star team.

Things are heating up with Pedro Martinez. Martinez will throw for the Phillies again this afternoon. Todd Zolecki seems to think there’s a good chance the Phils will get Pedro.

Lopez says he should be able to make his next start, which could be on July 20.

Update: Jayson Werth has also made the NL All-Star team, taking the place of the injured Carlos Beltran. The addition means that all three of the Phillies starting outfielders will join Utley and Howard on the team.

More update:
The Phillies activated Ibanez from the DL and designated Chris Coste for assignment. Coste was claimed by the Astros.

JA don’t go awa

Every now and again you hear a rumor that the Phillies might trade JA Happ as part of a package to get starting pitching. Whether that’s a good idea or not probably depends on the pitcher you’re trading for and what else you have to give up. Happ has been fantastic in ’09, though, arguably the best pitcher on the team so far this season.

There are 11 pitchers on the Phillies who have thrown at least 20 innings for the team this season (nothing in this post includes results from last night’s game). For the six categories below, for each of those 11 pitchers there’s a “Yes” in his cell if he has been better than Happ in the category this year and a “No” in the cell if he has been worse than Happ in the category this year:

Better than Happ this year?





















































































So, for example, Blanton has a worse ERA, worse ratio, worse hits per nine and has allowed more extra-base hits per nine innings, but has better rates for strikeouts and walks.

Nobody in the group has a better ERA or ratio than Happ. Only Durbin has been better at preventing hits. Opponents are hitting .230 against Happ and .219 against Durbin (they’ve actually hit just .228 against Madson, but Happ’s hits per nine innings rate is better). Happ doesn’t strike people out and his walk rate is too high — he has walked 3.38 per nine, which is worse than the mark for the other guys on the list who have started games for the Phils other than Park.

If Happ hasn’t been the best pitcher on the staff this season it has to be somebody. Who could it be? I don’t think it can be anyone who hasn’t thrown 20 innings. I don’t think it could be anybody that has started games, because Happ has a ratio that’s better and an ERA that’s at least a run better than anyone who has started at least three games for the Phils this year. Moyer is the only guy on the team with more wins, but Moyer’s ERA is 5.72.

Lidge and Taschner both have ERAs over five. That leaves Durbin, Madson and Condrey. Condrey has walked hitters more regularly and struck them out less regularly than Happ has, and lots of guys on the team have better rates than Happ in those categories. Durbin has been better at getting strikeouts and preventing hits, but his walk rate isn’t just worse than Happ it’s a whole lot worse. Opponents are hitting just .219 against Durbin, but they’re on-basing .346.

I think the guy with the second-best case on the team is Madson. But I think Happ has been better.

  IP ERA Ratio H/9 BB/9 SO/9 XBH/9
Madson 41.7 3.24 1.25 7.78 3.46 9.29 2.16
Happ 80.0 3.04 1.20 7.43 3.38 6.41 2.70

Madson has fantastic strikeout numbers that Happ can’t match. He’s also been the best pitcher on the team of the guys who have thrown at least 20 innings at preventing extra-base hits. He didn’t allow a home run on the year until June 18 (none in his first 33 appearances). Still, Happ has been better at preventing hits and walks, his ERA is better and he’s thrown almost twice as many innings.

I’ll do an update later this morning to the Happ/Madson table to reflect the two strong innings that Madson threw last night.

You can still vote for Victorino for the All-Star team at the Phillies web site. Voting ends today at four.

This says that there are players in the Phillies minor league system that the team would not trade to get the best player in the Major Leagues. It also says that they are Kyle Drabek, Jason Knapp and Dominic Brown. I find both elements of that tough to believe — it’s a little easier for me if you add the stipulation that the hypothetical best player in the Major Leagues also has an enormous contract. I would be surprised if it was not the case that the Phils were willing to trade one or more of the three players listed above for someone who was not the best player or even the second-best player in the Major Leagues if he didn’t have a huge contract.

This says that Ibanez may play in two games in the series with Pittsburgh this weekend and that Condrey will start a rehab assignment soon.

Update: Here’s Madson and Happ after two scoreless innings from Madson in last night’s game:

  IP ERA Ratio H/9 BB/9 SO/9 XBH/9
Madson 43.7 3.09 1.19 7.42 3.30 9.07 2.06
Happ 80.0 3.04 1.20 7.43 3.38 6.41 2.70

In the top chart, Madson hops ahead of Happ in hits per nine innings and walks per nine innings. It’s still almost twice as many innings pitched for Happ, though.

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