Archive for August, 2009

Utley and Howard committed to hitting as many solo home runs as it takes to get the Phillies some wins

The Phils got enough pitching against the Braves to win the series — Joe Blanton gave them yet another fantastic start last night, Moyer was great in game one when Pedro’s start was cut short by rain and Lidge came up huge twice in two tries. What is a little less impressive was how badly the Phils need great pitching these days if they want to win a game. The Phillies have scored 18 runs in their last six games.

The curious things about scoring 18 runs over the last six games is that Utley and Howard are both on fire. They combined to hit four home runs in the series against the Braves, which drove in five runs (the two-run shot that Howard hit in game one drove in Utley). The Phillies scored three other runs in the three-game series and two of them came on a ball last night that should have been caught.

Howard is 9-for-23 with three home runs and seven RBI over the last six (391/440/870) while Utley has gone 9-for-24 with three home runs (375/423/833) and three RBI. All those home runs aren’t driving a lot of guys in and that’s because there’s not a whole lot of guys on base. Rollins and Victorino combined to go 3-for-24 (.125) with three singles and no walks against the Braves.

Brad Lidge had a fantastic series, which is sure to be noticed by Phillies fans rightfully worried about the back of the pen. Lidge has had some nice stretches before this season, though, so as much as we’d all love to see him back throwing like he did in 2008 it’s going to take a while to make believers out of everyone. As good as Lidge was in the series, it’s also almost just as hard not to notice that Madson, who has been great most of the year, is suddenly not. Madson has been charged with runs in four straight games. And he’s not even trying to close anymore.

The Phillies are 75-53 on the year after taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves at home. They are in first place in the NL East. The Braves and Fish are tied for second-place and both teams trail the Phillies by eight games.

Twenty-two games above .500 ties them for their high mark on the season. If they had won game two of the series they would have been twenty-three games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies won game one 4-2. The game was delayed twice by rain, forcing Pedro from the game having thrown two scoreless innings. Howard put the Phils on top 1-0 with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. Moyer came on in relief of Martinez and the Phils took the one-run lead into the bottom of the fourth when Howard again homered, this time a two-run shot that put the Phillies up 3-0. A single, an error by Feliz and an RBI-double by Matt Diaz got the Braves a run in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. Ibanez led off the seventh with a triple and came in to score when Feliz followed with a single to make it 4-1. Madson pitched the eighth and had a miserable day, but held Atlanta to a single run in the frame despite allowing a double, two singles and a walk in the inning. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.

Cliff Lee got lit up in game two and the Braves won 9-1 in eight innings. A first inning run home run from Utley put the Phils up 1-0, but that was all the offense they would get in the game. Lee gave up a five runs in the fourth inning on a three-run homer by Garrett Anderson and a two-run shot by Matt Diaz. Yunel Escobar hit a solo homer off of Lee in the fifth to make it 6-1. Durbin pitched the sixth and he gave up three runs, including a two-run homer by Chipper Jones, putting the game out of reach.

Blanton made a nice start in game three and the Phils held on for a 3-2 win with the help of another save from Lidge. Prado put the Braves up 1-0 with a homer in the first, but Utley tied things up with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fourth. Ruiz delivered a two-run double off the glove of Anderson in the seventh to put the Phils up 3-1. Madson got into trouble in the eighth, allowing the only three batters he faced to reach base. The Braves put a run on the board to make it 3-2 and had men on first and second when Eyre relieved Madson to pitch to McCann and Eyre got McCann to hit into an odd double-play. McCann hit the ball hard to Utley. Utley went to second for the first out and Rollins threw to third when Prado was eventually tagged out to complete the double-play. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a one-run lead to earn the save.

The Phillies threw 26 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.31 ratio.

The Phils got a very good start from Blanton in game three and an awful start from Lee in game two. Martinez threw two scoreless innings in his start in game one. Overall the starters threw to a 4.50 ERA with a 1.36 ratio in 14 innings. The Braves hit four home runs against the Phils’ starters, three against Lee in game two and one against Blanton last night.

Martinez started game one and went two scoreless innings before being forced from the game by rain. He allowed a single and a walk and struck out one. He has a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio after four starts with the Phillies.

Lee got blasted in game two, allowing six runs over five innings. All six of the runs he allowed came on the three home runs he surrendered. It was the first time in six starts with the Phillies that he had allowed more than one earned run in a game.

Blanton got the start in game three and managed to get a win despite the fact that the Phils scored just three runs in the game. Blanton went seven innings and allowed a run on three hits and four walks while striking out seven. After throwing to a 1.21 ERA in four starts in July, Blanton has thrown to a 2.81 ERA with a 1.18 ratio in six starts in August.

The bullpen went 12 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. Those numbers are masked by Moyer’s nice outing in game one in which he threw 4 1/3 innings in relief of Pedro and was charged with one run. Madson had bad outings in games one and three and Durbin got lit up in game two.

Eyre played a big role in last night’s game. He entered in the top of the eighth with nobody out, men on first and second and the Phillies down 3-2 to face Brian McCann. McCann smashed a ball to second and the Phillies started a bizarre double-play in which Rollins threw to third to get the second out. Eyre got Anderson on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Eyre has made 38 appearances on the season and been charged with one or more runs in three of them.

Moyer took over from Pedro in game one after Martinez had to leave his start after just two innings. Moyer started the third with a 1-0 lead and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out five. He didn’t walk a batter and lowered his ERA on the year to 5.12. He left with one out in the top of the seventh with nobody on base and the Phillies up 3-1. In his last two appearances Moyer has allowed one run on six hits and no walks over 10 1/3 innings.

Park took over for Moyer in the seventh inning of game one with one out, the bases empty and the Phillies up 3-1. He got the two men he faced to set Atlanta down.

Durbin started the sixth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-1. He walked the leadoff man and the Braves bunted the runner to second. It looked like Durbin might get away with the leadoff walk when he got Diaz to ground out for the second out. Didn’t happen, though. Martin Prado delivered an RBI-single to make it 7-1 before Chipper hit a two-run homer. Durbin struck out McCann to end the frame.

The outing sent Durbin’s ERA for the season to 5.17.

Walker pitched the seventh and eighth innings of game two with the Phillies down 9-1. He allowed two singles but no runs and dropped his ERA to 1.99 for the year.

Madson started the eighth inning of game one with a 4-1 lead. Matt Diaz led off with a double and moved to third when Martin Prado followed with an infield single. Chipper grounded out and Diaz scored with Prado forced at second, making it 4-2 with one out and a man on first. Madson got Brian McCann on a fly ball for the second out, but Garrett Anderson singled and Yunel Escobar followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Atlanta. Madson got Adam LaRoche on a fly ball to center to end the frame.

He also pitched last night, starting the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. He hit the first man he faced and then allowed back-to-back singles. The second single drove in a run to make it 3-2 with nobody out and men on first and second. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann.

Madson has now been charged with runs in four appearances in a row. In those four outings he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.50 ratio in four innings.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with a 4-2 lead and set the Braves down in order to earn his 26th save of the season.

He also pitched the ninth inning last night, entering with a 3-2 lead and retiring three in a row to end the game.

Fantastic series by Lidge. I’d love to see the Phillies have him back the rest of the way. He has had some other stretches in the season where he’s pitched well, though. He had back-to-back perfect innings to start June and ended June with an ERA near six for the month. He had five appearances from May 26 through June 1 where he was fantastic. In those five outings he allowed one hit and one walk in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. After that stretch he allowed five runs in two innings over his next three times out.

Nobody in the pen has pitched on back-to-back days. Madson, Eyre and Lidge all threw less than 15 pitches last night and the Phillies are off today.

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

Rollins was 2-for-12 in the series and is hitting 244/290/415 for the season. He has one walk in his last 41 at-bats.

Victorino was 1-for-12 without a walk in the series. 305/374/464 for the year. He hasn’t walked in his last 26 at-bats.

Utley was 5-for-12 with two home runs in the series, solo shots of course as nobody ever gets on base in front of him. He’s hitting 304/423/554 for the season. 362/470/681 in his last 83 plate appearances.

Howard hit two home runs in game one of the series and drove in three of the four runs that the Phillies scored. He was 6-for-11 with a double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 273/352/569 for the year and 349/415/831 with 11 home runs in his last 94 plate appearances.

Werth went 3-for-11 with a double and a walk in the series. 271/373/520 on the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-9 with a triple and three walks. 278/347/563. He hit .193 in August with one home run.

Feliz was 4-for-8 with a double to raise his line on the year to 275/322/393.

Ruiz had a big double in last night’s game and went 4-for-5 with two doubles in the set. His line is at 242/340/411 for the season. Bako started the middle game of the series with the righty Lowe on the mound for Atlanta.

Bako was 1-for-3 with a double in the series and is hitting 200/273/329 for the year.

Bruntlett did not play in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.

Francisco didn’t play in the series and is hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series. 2-for-18 with two singles this year.

Stairs was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the series to drop his line on the year to 195/352/356. 1-for-33 since the end of June.


Fans flock to Phillies pen to nail down the blown saves category in their roto leagues

The Phils played three games in Pittsburgh and gave up three huge home runs late. Two of them were too much for the Phillies to overcome and the Pirates took two out of three. The Phils offense managed to score just ten runs in the three-game set, which is going to make it tough for the team to overcome much of anything.

The Phillies are 73-52 on the season after losing two of three to the Pirates. They are in first place in the NL East and lead both the Braves and Marlins by seven games. They came into the series at 22 games above .500 for the year, which was their high mark for the season.

The Phils lost a heart-breaker in game one, falling 6-4. Rollins put them up 1-0 with a solo shot in the first and up again at 2-1 with another in the top of the third. The Pirates scored twice off of Blanton on a two-run homer by Stephen Pearce in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, which held till the Phils hit in the top of the ninth. Ruiz doubled with one out in the ninth and Francisco followed with a double of his own that tied the game at 3-3. With two outs and Francisco on third, Victorino lined a ball to center that Andrew McCutchen misplayed into a triple that put the Phils up 4-3. Lidge came on in the bottom of the inning to protect the one-run lead, pitching for his fourth straight day. Single, wild pitch, single with the ball dropped by Werth in right tied the game at 4-4 with nobody out and a man on second. McCutchen lined a 1-0 pitch out to center.

The Pirates rallied in the ninth again in game two, but this time a big blast from Howard in the tenth got the Phils out with a 4-1 win. Hamels made a brilliant starts in the game. Thanks to his eight shutout innings and an Utley homer in the first the Phils took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. With Lidge having worked for four straight days, Madson tried to nail down the save but gave up a pinch-hit homer to Brandon Moss that tied the game at 1-1. Rollins and Victorino got on to start the tenth before Howard delivered a three-run blast to right that put the Phils up to stay at 4-1.

Happ pitched well in game three as well, but Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer off of him in the bottom of the eighth and the Pirates won 3-2. The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first, but managed to get just one run on a ground out by Howard before Werth popped to second and Ibanez flew out. The Pirates tied things up at 1-1 with a run off of Happ in the bottom of the first, but Bako hit a solo shot in the top of the second to make it 2-1. That’s how the score stayed until the bottom of the eighth when Jones took Happ deep to put Pittsburgh on top.

Overall the Phillies pitched to a 3.46 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 26 innings in the series. They allowed six home runs.

The starters were better than the relievers. Hamels made a brilliant start in game two, throwing eight shutout innings. Blanton and Happ combined to allow six runs in 14 innings in the other two games. As a group the starters threw to a 2.45 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. They allowed four home runs in 22 innings, two by Blanton and two by Happ.

Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. All of the runs he allowed came on home runs by the Pirates, a solo shot and a two-run blast. Blanton has allowed more than three runs in a start once in 15 outings since the end of May. He has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.18 ratio in 20 starts since the end of April. A 2.74 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 15 starts since the end of May.

Hamels was great in game two. He went eight shutout innings, allowing five singles, two doubles and two walks while striking out seven. He didn’t allow a home run in the start for his first time in four outings. Hamels also made a fantastic start on July 28 against the Diamondbacks, holding the Snakes to a run on four hits over eight innings while striking out nine, but followed that up by going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.78 ratio over his next four outings.

Happ went eight innings in game three, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. All three of the runs that Happ allowed came on home runs — a solo shot by McCutchen and the two-run shot by Jones in the bottom of the eighth. Happ hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last six outings. He has a 1.85 ERA and a 1.16 ratio in those appearances.

The relievers struggled. They pitched just four innings but allowed four runs. Walker threw two strong innings in game one, but Lidge got blasted later in the same game. Madson allowed a run over two innings in game two. As a group the pen threw to a 9.00 ERA with a 1.75 ratio in four innings.

Eyre did not pitch in the series. He has not pitched since August 16.

Moyer did not pitch in the series. This says that Moyer will start games in two double-headers in September. The Phils play two against the Mets on September 13 at home and two against the Marlins on September 22 in Florida.

Park did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched three innings since August 12.

Durbin did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched two innings since August 15.

Walker started the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies down 3-2, pitching for the first time since August 11. He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff walk to Garrett Jones, who was bunted to second. Walker walked the next hitter intentionally and got the next two. Two nice innings in the game for Walker kept the Phillies close enough to pull ahead in the top of the ninth.

Madson got a chance to save game two, entering in the ninth with the Phils up 1-0. He struck out the first man he faced before pinch-hitter Brandon Moss homered to center to tie the game at 1-1. Madson got the next two and Howard put the Phils up 4-1 in the top of the tenth. Madson came back to pitch the bottom of the tenth. He gave up a leadoff single to Delwyn Young, but got Garrett Jones on a fly ball and then Andy LaRoche hit into a double-play to end the game.

Madson has made 12 appearances in August in which he’s thrown to a 1.42 with an 0.87 ratio while striking out 14 in 12 2/3 innings. He’s allowed runs in each of his last two appearances — the only two runs he’s allowed for the month.

Lidge entered the ninth inning of game one with a 4-3 lead. Luis Cruz led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian Bixler ran for Cruz with Brandon Moss at the plate. Moss singled to right. Werth charged and gloved. Bixler stopped at third, but took off for home when Werth dropped the ball. Werth probably would have had Bixler at the plate with a perfect throw, but we’ll never know. The throw was up the first base line and Bixler scored to tie the game at 4-4. McCutchen was next and smashed a 1-0 pitch out to center to end the game.

The pen should be well-rested with no relievers throwing in last night’s game. Madson threw 28 pitches in two innings in game two.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the three-game set and three of them came on a single swing by Howard in game two.

Rollins hit two home runs in game one to give him seven for August. The last time he hit seven homers in a month was July of 2007. He was 5-for-14 with double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 246/292/420 for the season. 304/352/565 in 234 plate appearances since July 2. 205/250/319 in 329 plate appearances through July 1.

Victorino was 3-for-14 with a triple in the series. 310/380/473 for the year.

Utley was 4-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 301/423/544 for the year.

Howard hit a huge home run in game two and was 3-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. He drove in four of the ten runs the Phillies scored. 267/347/555 for the year. He has walked just nine times in August, which is the fewest number of walks he has drawn in any month since April (when he also walked nine times). He’s slugging .625 in August and has hit 295/365/807 with nine home runs in 63 plate appearances since August 13.

Ibanez was on the bench for game two with the lefty Paul Maholm on the mound for Pittsburgh. He was 0-for-7 in the series and is hitting 281/348/568 for the year. 188/274/294 with 26 strikeouts in his last 93 plate appearances.

Werth didn’t start game one with Stairs in right. He was 3-for-9 with two doubles in the series. 271/374/523 on the season.

Feliz was 1-for-13 with a double in the series. 272/318/389 for the year. He now has an OPS for the year of .706. If the season ended today it would be the fourth straight year in which he has ended the season with an OPS in the .705 to .709 range. He’s hitting 184/227/320 in his last 110 plate appearances.

Ruiz started games one and two with Bako behind the plate for game three. He was 1-for-6 with a double in the series. 231/332/396 on the season. He has three home runs in August, which is the most he has had in any month of his career (he’s never had three in any other month).

Bako started yesterday’s game and was on-base four times. 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks in the series. 194/270/313 on the year.

Bruntlett was 1-for-1 with a double in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-10 to raise his line on the year to 167/224/240.

Francisco had a huge hit in the ninth inning of game one to tie the score at 3-3. He started in left in game two with Ibanez on the bench. 1-for-5 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo didn’t play in the series and hasn’t seen any action since replacing Dobbs on the roster on Sunday.

Stairs started in right in game one and was 0-for-4 with a walk in the series. He’s 1-for-31 since the end of June.

Charlie Manuel thinks JA Happ should be Rookie of the Year. The linked article also says that Myers will make another rehab appearance tomorrow and Bastardo will make another on Monday.


The worn reborn?

Cole Hamels made a brilliant start for the Phillies last night, but they have been a less frequent this year coming off of a 2008 season in which Hamels was just fantastic. The Phillies won the fifth game of the World Series on October 29, 2008. Hamels went six innings in the game and was announced World Series MVP that night. He turned 25-years-old almost two months later, on December 27, 2008.

Hamels was a monster in ’08, first in the regular season and then in the post-season. The 24-year-old threw 227 1/3 innings in the regular season, going 14-10 in 33 starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.08 ratio. The Phillies wouldn’t have won the World Series without him as he tossed 35 post-season innings with a 1.80 ERA and an 0.91 ratio.

Only one pitcher in the National League threw more regular season innings than Hamels, but Johan Santana, who threw seven more frames than Hamels in the regular season, didn’t throw any in the post-season. Among pitchers who pitched at least part of the year in the AL, Roy Halladay threw about 19 more innings in the regular season than Hamels, but also didn’t pitch in the playoffs. Workhorse CC Sabathia led all baseball in innings pitched with 253 and added 3 2/3 more in the post-season to give him a total of 256 2/3 between the regular and post-season. That’s still not as many as Hamels, who threw 262 1/3 innings between the regular and post-seasons to lead everyone. A lot of the other guys weren’t 24-years-old.

The 2009 season has been a different story than 2008 for Hamels and that must have a whole lot to do with how many innings he threw last year, mustn’t it? Between 2004 and 2008 there were ten pitchers who threw 220 innings when they were in their age 25 season or younger. Here’s a look at their ERA, ratio and strikeouts per nine innings in the year they did it and the year after — the seven who got worse the next year are in the top group and the three who got better, Lincecum, Haren and Buehrle, are in a group at the bottom:


Year

Player(age)

ERA

ERA next

Ratio

Ratio next

SO/9

SO/9 next

2008

Hamels (24)

3.09

4.78

1.08

1.35

7.8

7.7

2006

Willis (24)

3.87

5.17

1.42

1.60

6.4

6.4

2005

Willis (23)

2.63

3.87

1.13

1.42

6.5

6.4

2005

Zambrano (24)

3.26

3.41

1.15

1.29

8.1

8.8

2005

Garland (25)

3.50

4.51

1.17

1.36

4.7

4.8

2004

Sheets (25)

2.70

3.33

0.98

1.07

10.0

8.1

2004

Santana (25)

2.61

2.87

0.92

0.97

10.5

9.2
               

2008

Lincecum (24)

2.62

2.43

1.17

1.04

10.5

10.4

2006

Haren (25)

4.12

3.07

1.21

1.21

7.1

7.8

2004

Buehrle (25)

3.89

3.12

1.25

1.18

6.1

5.7

So in seven of those ten seasons the player had a worse ERA and a worse ratio the season after he threw more than 220 innings at age 25 or younger. The three guys at the bottom each got better in both ERA and ratio the year after (except for Dan Haren’s ratio, which stayed at 1.21 in both 2006 and 2007).

Just three of the ten pitchers struck out more batters the next season per nine innings than they had the previous season (Haren, Zambrano and Garland). Willis’s numbers show 6.4 strikeouts per nine for 2006, but his rate was down a tiny bit in 2007.

Hamels numbers for ERA and ratio have taken a big hit compared to the other six pitchers who were worse after throwing a huge number of innings at a young age. Even after a brilliant start last night, his ERA for 2009 is still up about 146% from last year. The only change in ERA that is worse than that is Willis’s difference between 2005 and 2006 — his ERA went up 147%, but he still threw to a 3.87 ERA in 2006 after a ton of innings in ’05 at age 23. Willis’s ’05-’06 difference in ratio is also the only one that is worse than Hamels for ’08 and ’09. Willis saw his ratio rise 126% compared to 124% for Hamels.

So of the seven pitchers who got worse, Willis probably got the most worse from ’05 to ’06, but Hamels from ’08 to ’09 was second.

The other thing that I think is critical is how many innings Hamels threw in the post-season. The 227 1/3 innings that Hamels threw in the regular season is a lot. But the 35 innings he threw in the post-season is a ton. Forgetting age, the last time that any player threw that many innings in the post-season was 2003 when Josh Beckett threw 42 2/3. Beckett was just 23 years-old, but he had thrown just 142 innings in the regular season.

So has there ever been a player 25 or younger that threw 220 innings in the regular season and then threw 35 or more in the post-season? No drum roll, please, cause while I’m sure there’s someone out there who knows the answer I’m also sure it isn’t me. What I do know is that there’s nobody 25 or under that threw 220 innings in the regular season and then threw 38 or more innings in the post-season that year. Baseball-Reference’s list only goes to the top ten and the guys at the bottom of the list threw 38 innings in the post-season. Of the guys that threw at least 38 innings in the post-season, Fernando Valenzuela may be the closest to doing it. In 1981 Valenzuela threw 40 2/3 innings in the post-season at age 20 but had thrown only 192 1/3 frames in the regular season.

This suggests that all three of Condrey, Romero and Bastardo are expected to return this season.

Brett Myers struck out five in two innings for Reading last night without allowing a hit or a walk.


Four??! Goodness sake

Charlie Manuel made an awful decision last night, bringing in a guy with a 6.75 ERA to pitch for the fourth straight day in a game the Phillies led by one run. It didn’t work out well. Lidge didn’t get an out and the Pirates tied the game up before Andrew McCutchen delivered a two-run walkoff homer to give Pittsburgh the win.

Lidge has a 5.23 ERA and a 1.94 ratio this year when pitching on three or more days of rest. So I’m thinking four days in a row might not be the way to go.

It’s just been a miserable season for Lidge. Here’s how his rates of striking out hitters and allowing hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs for ’09 compare to what he did in ’08 and what he’s done for his career:

  H/100 PA
BB/100 PA
(2B+3B)/100 PA
HR/100 PA SO/ 100 PA
2008 17.12 11.99 3.77 0.68 31.51
2009 24.03 12.02 5.58 4.72 20.60
Career 18.92 10.60 4.37 2.32 31.88

Lots of problems for Lidge this year if you compare his numbers to his lights out ’08 campaign. One thing that isn’t a problem is the walks — he’s issuing walks at about the same rate this year as he did last.

What he’s not issuing at the same rate as last year is home runs. He’s allowed home runs at nearly seven times the rate he did in 2008. Here’s how his rates for ’08 and ’09 compare to each other and his career rates:

  H/100 PA BB/100 PA
(2B+3B)/100 PA
HR/100 PA SO/100 PA
2009 vs 2008 1.40 1.00 1.48 6.89 0.65
’09 vs Career 1.27 1.13 1.28 2.04 0.65
’08 vs Career 0.91 1.13 0.86 0.30 0.99

So, for example, in 2009 Lidge allowed 1.40 times the hits per 100 plate appearances he did in 2008, about the same number of walks, 1.48 times the doubles and triples, 6.89 times the home runs and struck out about 65% of the hitters he struck out the previous year.

Interestingly, 2008 was Lidge’s best year by a wide margin but his rates of allowing walks and striking out hitters were both below his career levels. Compared to his career levels his hits were down a little in ’08, but what was really down was his rates of allowing extra-base hits and home runs. This is especially evident when you look at his ’09 vs ’08 rates of allowing home runs and then his ’09 rate of allowing home runs compared to his career rates. As I mentioned above, his rate of allowing home runs in 2009 is almost seven times what is was in 2008, but it’s only about two times higher than his rate of allowing home runs for his career.

The Phillies will send eight players to the Arizona Fall League, including Scott Mathieson and Domonic Brown.


And down the stretch they come

The Phillies still have forty games left to play, almost a quarter of the season, but it sure looks like they’re going to the playoffs again in 2009. A look at the standings shows there are eight teams in the National League within eight games of a spot in the playoffs. The Phils, Cardinals and Dodgers lead the three divisions. The Rockies would be the Wild Card team if the season ended today and Atlanta, Florida, Chicago and San Francisco are all less than eight games behind in the chase for the playoffs.

The table below shows what those eight teams did in the first half of the season. Their record, winning percentage, the number of runs they scored per game, the number of runs they allowed per game and the difference between the number of runs they scored per game and the number of runs they allowed per game.

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 48 38 .558 5.35 4.79 0.56
ATL 43 45 .489 4.24 4.31 -0.07
FLA 46 44 .511 4.61 4.76 -0.14
             
STL 49 42 .538 4.43 4.12 0.31
CHI 43 43 .500 4.13 4.10 0.02
             
LAD 56 32 .636 5.03 3.84 1.19
COL 47 41 .534 5.02 4.60 0.42
SF 49 39 .557 4.18 3.68 0.50

The Dodgers were the best team in the NL in the first half of the season by a wide margin. Their pitching was almost as good as the Giants and their offense was better than any team except for the Phillies. They scored 1.19 runs more per game on average than they allowed. The Phillies were second-best in the NL in that differential and the Dodgers were more than twice as good as the Phillies.

Atlanta, Florida and Chicago all had weak first halves of the season compared to the rest of the group. The Giants had fantastic pitching, the best in the league, but a weak offense. The Cards were in the middle of the pack in both scoring and preventing runs while the Rockies put a lot of runs on the board but allowed more per game than any teams other than the Phils and Marlins. The Phils scored the most runs per game of the eight teams but also allowed the most.

Here’s what the eight teams have done since the All-Star break:

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 24 12 .667 5.19 3.56 1.64
ATL 23 13 .639 5.28 3.44 1.83
FLA 19 15 .559 5.09 4.71 0.38
             
STL 23 12 .657 4.63 3.60 1.03
CHI 19 17 .528 4.94 4.47 0.47
             
LAD 18 19 .486 4.32 3.78 0.54
COL 24 13 .649 5.30 4.00 1.30
SF 18 19 .486 3.70 3.95 -0.24

The Cards, Phillies, Braves and Rockies have all been fantastic in the second half. Each of the four teams has played to a winning percentage of .639 or higher. Of the four teams, the Braves have a 23-13 record to give them the worst winning percentage of the group. By run differential per game, though, Atlanta has been the best of the eight teams since the break. They have been the best of the eight teams at preventing runs while only the Rockies have scored more. The Braves have played 36 games since the break and won 23, scoring 190 runs and allowing 124. Pythagoras has them expecting to have won more games — 25-11 rather than their actual 23-13.

While those four teams have taken off, the Dodgers and the Giants have tanked out West with each team under .500 in the second half. The Giants still can’t score runs, but their pitching is no longer outstanding compared to the rest of the group. After being the best team at preventing runs in the first half of the year, the Phils, Braves, Cards and Dodgers have all done a better job keeping teams from scoring in the second half.

The Dodgers were second-best of the eight in preventing runs in the first half, but have been passed by the Phils, Braves and Cards in the second. They have a monster offense in the first half of the year, scoring more runs per game than any team other than the Phillies. The hitting has been meager since the break and the 4.32 runs per game the Dodgers have scored is worse than every team in the group other than the Giants.

The Cubs are just two games over .500 for the year at 62-60. The Fish have played to a .559 winning percentage in the second half, but their ability to prevent runs was seventh-best in the first half of the year and last in the group in the second. Not sure they have enough offense to make up for that.

Here’s what the numbers for the eight teams look like when you combine the first and second halves of the year:

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 72 50 .590 5.30 4.43 0.88
ATL 66 58 .532 4.54 4.06 0.48
FLA 65 59 .524 4.74 4.74 0.00
             
STL 72 54 .571 4.48 3.98 0.51
CHI 62 60 .508 4.37 4.21 0.16
             
LAD 74 51 .592 4.82 3.82 1.00
COL 71 54 .568 5.10 4.42 0.68
SF 67 58 .536 4.04 3.76 0.28

It’s hard to argue that anyone but the Dodgers have been the best team in the NL this season. Despite their struggles since the break, LA has the best winning percentage on the season and the best differential per game in the number of runs they’ve scored and allowed. The Phils are aren’t far behind, though.

So who’s going to the playoffs in the NL this season? We’re going to have to wait and see. If I had to guess, though, the guess that things will stay the same seems like the best by a wide margin — the Phils, Cards and Dodgers win the divisions with the Rockies as the Wild Card team. I’m going to be real surprised if the Fish, Cubs or Giants make the playoffs. Neither are likely, but I think the other two scenarios that are more possible are 1) The Rockies win the West with the Dodgers as the Wild Card or, a lot less likely than that, 2) The Braves pass either the Rockies or the Dodgers to win the Wild Card.

This article makes it sound like we shouldn’t be expecting Condrey or Romero to return from the DL any day now.

Brett Myers threw a scoreless inning for Lakewood yesterday and says he is throwing 93-94 miles per hour in this article.


Better halves

No team in the National League has played to a better winning percentage than the Phillies since the All-Star break. The Phils went 23-12 in their first 35 games since the break. That .657 winning percentage is tied for the third-best in baseball and trails only two AL teams. The Yankees have gone 27-9 since the break (.790) and the Angels are 25-11 (.694). The Cardinals have matched the Phils in the second half, also playing to a 23-12 record in their 35 games since the break.

In the first half of the year the Phils went 48-38 for a .558 winning percentage. That mark was fifth-best in all of baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox and Angels all posted better marks while the Dodgers went 56-32 for a .636 winning percentage that was the best for either league. The Giants were also fantastic before the break. They put up a 49-39 record, which gave them the sixth-best winning percentage in either league just a tick behind the Phillies.

The Dodgers and the Giants have both struggled in the second half. The Dodgers are 18-19 and the Giants 18-18. LA maintains a 3 1/2 game in the NL West while the Giants are three games out in the Wild Card hunt.

The Phillies have improved overall in the second-half because their pitching has been much better. Here’s the rate at which the Phillies have scored runs before and after the All-Star break this season:

  W-L G R R/G NL Rank
R/G
First Half 48-38 86 460 5.35 1
Second Half 23-12 35 181 5.17 4

So in the 35 games after the break the Phillies have played to a .657 winning percentage and in the 86 games before the break they played to a .558 winning percentage, but they scored more runs per game before the break. In the first half there was no NL team that scored more runs per game. In the second-half the Braves, Rockies and Brewers all have scored more runs per game. That probably means they have been a lot better at preventing runs in the second half. They have.

  W-L G RA RA/G NL Rank
RA/G
First Half 48-38 86 412 4.79 13
Second Half 23-12 35 126 3.60 3

The Phillies were thirteenth-best of the 16 NL teams at preventing runs in the first half of the season. They are third-best in the second half of the year and have allowed more than a run less per game in the second-half of the year.

Only the Braves have allowed fewer runs per game in the second-half of the season. The Cardinals and the Phillies are tied behind the Braves — both St Louis and the Phillies have allowed 126 runs in their first 35 games of the second half.

Notably, the Braves have both scored more runs per game than the Phillies and allowed fewer runs per game than the Phillies in the second-half of the season. The Phils have managed the better winning percentage, though, going 23-12 (.657) while the Braves have gone 23-13 (.639).

The Phillies have gone 7-2 in nine games since the last post. They took two of three from the Braves in Atlanta, swept the Diamondbacks at home and won two of the first three games of a four-game set against the Mets in New York.

Dobbs strained his right calf in Friday’s game and was put on the DL. Cairo was called up to take his roster spot and Bastardo was put on the DL to make room for Cairo on the 40-man roster.

Brett Myers was supposed to pitch for the Single-A BlueClaws yesterday but the game was rained out. This suggests that Myers may be ready to return to the Phillies by early September.


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