Archive for August, 2009

Start chart

The Phillies have gone 59-45 in their first 104 games of the season. As you could no doubt guess, their starting pitchers have pitched much better in the games that they’ve won than in the games that they’ve lost. Here are the ERA, ratio and average Game Score for the Phillies starting pitchers for this year in games they won and in games they’ve lost (nothing in this post includes results from last night’s games):

  G IP ERA Ratio Avg GS
Wins 59 359.7 3.78 1.22 53.4
Losses 45 251.7 5.90 1.57 43.5

So in the 59 games that the Phillies have won their starting pitchers have thrown to a 3.78 ERA with a 1.22 ratio and an average Game Score of 53.4.

For each of the ten Phillies pitchers who have made at least one start this season, here’s how many starts they have made and how many of those starts they have thrown to an ERA of 3.78 or better, a ratio of 1.22 or better or a Game Score of 53.4 or better:

  GS ERA Rat GS All 3 % ERA % Rat % GS % all 3
Hamels 21 10 11 11 7 47.6 52.4 52.4 33.3
Moyer 21 7 4 7 4 33.3 19.0 33.3 19.0
Blanton 20 10 12 11 10 50.0 60.0 55.0 50.0
Happ 13 8 8 8 6 61.5 61.5 61.5 46.2
Myers 10 3 4 4 3 30.0 40.0 40.0 30.0
Park 7 2 3 2 1 28.6 42.9 28.6 14.3
Bastardo 5 2 2 2 1 40.0 40.0 40.0 20.0
Lopez 5 3 2 2 1 60.0 40.0 40.0 20.0
Lee 1 1 1 1 1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Carpenter 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
                   
Total 104 46 47 48 34 44.2 45.2 46.2 32.7

Even before Happ made his best start of the season last night, he and Blanton had accounted for a large number of the team’s starts when the pitcher threw to all three of an ERA of 3.78 or better, a ratio of 1.22 or better and a Game Score of 53.4 or better. Happ and Blanton had combined to do it 16 times in 33 starts, which is about 48.5% of the time. The other starters on the team combined to make 71 starts and do it 18 times (25.3% of the time).

Finally, it’s a good a time as any to remind that the starting pitching was absolutely atrocious early in the season. As you can see in the table above the Phillies have had a starting pitcher throw to an ERA of 3.78 or better in 46 of their 104 starts and that’s 44.2% of the games. They did it twice in their first 22 games on the year (9.1% of the time). They didn’t have a single start on the year in which the starting pitcher both threw to an ERA that was better than 3.78 and a ratio that was 1.22 or better until the 23rd game of the season. On that day Blanton wasn’t fantastic, but he allowed a run on four hits and a walk over six innings as the Phils beat the Cardinals 6-1. After that day, May 4, they did it four times in the next seven games.

Pedro Martinez struck out 11 in six innings in a start from Double-A Reading yesterday.

Durbin pitched well for Clearwater last night. Romero and Durbin are both expected to make rehab appearances tomorrow.


Maybe they should see if they can get So Taguchi back

Is this year’s Phillies team better than the 2008 team? Seems like a pretty easy question, but the answer you get is going to depend on who you ask and when and maybe whether or not the Phillies have just lost five of six.

First things first. In 2008 the Phillies went 92-70 in the regular season. Not counting last night’s game, nothing in this post includes results from yesterday’s games, the Phillies had a .573 winning percentage for 2009. That would put them on pace to go 93-69.

They score more runs per game in 2009 than they did in 2008:

  G R R per G
2009 103 547 5.31
2008 162 799 4.93

But they allow more runs per game than they did last year too:

  G R R per G
2009 103 475 4.61
2008 162 680 4.20

The rate they score and allow runs are both up compared to last year, but the rate they allow runs is up a little more than they rate they score them. In 2009 they have scored about 1.077 times the runs per game they scored last year, but they have allowed about 1.095 times the runs per game.

That means their run differential has gotten a tiny bit worse in 2009. In 2008 they scored an average of 4.93 runs per game and allowed an average of 4.20 runs per game. That’s a difference of .73 runs per game, which is a tiny bit more than their 2009 run differential of .70 runs per game (5.31 minus 4.61).

Cliff Lee to the rescue, I hear you cry? Maybe so. We’ll see. Raul Ibanez hit 343/407/702 in his first 46 games of the season, though, and that might not even happen again.

How about the Phillies in ’09 compared to the rest of the NL versus the Phillies ’08 compared to the rest of the NL? Here’s the Phillies rates for scoring and allowing runs for the last two years compared to the rates for the other 15 teams in the NL:

 
Other NL Teams

PHI
  R/G RA/G R/G RA/G
2009 4.36 4.50 5.31 4.61
2008 4.51 4.66 4.93 4.20

The Phils are scoring a monster 1.22 times as many runs per game as the average of the other teams in the league in ’09. That’s way up from 2008 when they scored more runs than the average of the other NL teams, but not by nearly as much. In ’08 they scored about 1.09 times as many runs per game as the other 15 teams in the league.

In 2008, though, they also allowed significantly fewer runs per game than the average of the other 15 teams in the NL. They allowed 4.20 runs per game, which is about .9 times (or 90%) the runs per game allowed on average by the rest of the league. This year they’ve allowed more runs than the average of the other teams — 4.61 per game, which is 1.02 times (or about 102% of) the runs that the other NL teams had allowed on average.

The Phillies have been better at scoring runs and worse than preventing runs in 2009 than they were in 2008. But have they been better overall? I think it’s very, very close. The Phillies may have slightly improved relative to the other teams in the NL, but compared to their ’08 incarnation I think the answer is no. The good news, though, is that the reason that the answer is no is that the pitching has been hugely unimpressive. Given how they score runs it doesn’t need to be that impressive — if the Phils can continue to improve their pitching and even get down to the point where they are allowing runs at the average level of the other teams in the league they should be in very good shape compared both to the rest of the NL in ’09 and the Phillies of ’08.

So Taguchi, by the way, signed a minor league deal with the Cubs in January. He’s 40 now and spent the year at Triple-A where he hit 277/380/379 in 177 at-bats. He hit his third home run of the season yesterday.

This says that Romero is scheduled to make a rehab appearance on Friday and that Durbin will make a rehab appearance tonight.


Order tracking

You may not have noticed watching the last few games, but the Phillies have scored more runs than any other team in the National League this season. Here’s how many runs each of their spots in the batting order have scored this year and where that ranks in the league (nothing in this post includes yesterday’s results):

  R NL Rank
1 65 8
2 84 1
3 83 T-1
4 67 T-2
5 76 1
6 53 T-3
7 50 2
8 32 14
9 37 T-1

So the Phillies are at least tied for third in the number of runs scored by each position in the batting order for every spot except the leadoff and eight hitters. Despite the fact that the team scores more runs than any of the other teams in the league, the Phillies’ leadoff men are in about the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored and only two teams have had their eight hitters score fewer runs.

In terms of the percentage of the team’s runs that are scored by each spot in the order, here’s how what the Phillies have done in 2009 compares to the rest of the league:

 
PHI

NL AVG
1
11.9

14.1
2
15.4

13.9
3
15.2

14.3
4
12.2

12.3
5
13.9

11.0
6
9.7

10.0
7
9.1

9.3
8
5.9

8.4
9
6.8

6.7

So, compared to the rest of the league, the Phillies have had a higher percentage of their runs scored by their two, three, five and nine hitters and a lower percentage of the runs scored by their one, four, six, seven and eight hitters.

The most dramatic difference for the Phils in terms of runs scored comes from their five hitters. Their five hitters have scored about 13.9% of the team’s runs compared to the NL average of about 11%. That number has actually fallen off significantly recently — in the middle of June the five hitters had plated more than 15% of the Phillies runs.

Compared to the rest of the NL, the places in the order where the Phillies are getting the lowest percentage of their runs scored are in the leadoff spot and the eighth position in the order. A strong July from Rollins has the percentage of runs scored by the leadoff hitter up from the post in June, but still below the average for the league. The eighth hitters have just struggled for the Phillies, hitting 208/302/350 overall in 2009 after hitting 245/325/363 in 2008.


Go West, young men, but don’t stay too long

The Phillies fantastic run was sure to come to an end sooner or later. And now it has. The Phils looked tired this weekend and yesterday they played for the fifteenth straight day. The Giants beat them three times in four games and the Phils have now lost four of five.

Despite the number of days in a row the Phillies have had to play without a break, it hasn’t been the pen that’s let them down in their recent funk. The bullpen wasn’t charged with a single run in San Francisco. The Phils got to start their three best starters in the four games against the Giants and still managed just one win. Two of them, Lee and Blanton, pitched great. But Blanton simply outgreatended by Tim Lincecum and Hamels got hit hard yesterday. Instead of the pen it has been the offense and fielding that both look tired. The Phils have scored just 14 runs over their last six games. They made three errors in the first game against the Giants, which makes it hard to win. Ryan Howard added a key miscue on a flip to Hamels in yesterday’s game.

The Phillies are 59-44 on the season after losing three of four to the Giants in San Francisco. They are in first place in the NL East, five games ahead of the second-place Marlins and seven ahead of the third-place Braves.

The Phillies lost the first game 7-2. Lopez didn’t pitch well and three errors from the Phillies didn’t help at all. Howard put the Phillies up 1-0 with an RBI-double in the first, but the Giants jumped on top 2-1 in the bottom of the inning. Pablo Sandoval made it 3-1 with a homer off of Lopez in the third. San Francisco blew it open with four more in the fourth, an inning that featured a two-run double from Sandoval. Kendrick and Walker both pitched well in relief for the Phils, combing to go four scoreless innings. Utley hit a solo homer in the sixth to get the Phils to within 7-2, but the Phillies couldn’t get any closer.

Cliff Lee made a brilliant debut as a Phillie in game two. He allowed a run on four hits while throwing a complete game. The Phillies won 5-1. Werth put the Phils up 1-0 with a solo homer in the second, which was how it stayed still the top of the seventh. The Phils scored three in the seventh on three walks, a hit batter and a single by Werth to pull ahead 4-0. Lee himself led off the eighth with a double and came in to score on a sac fly from Francisco to make it 5-0. Aaron Rowand led off the bottom of the eighth with a double that led to the Giants only run of the game.

Blanton was great in game three, but not quite as great as Tim Lincecum. Lincecum held the Phillies down over eight shutout innings and the Giants won 2-0 thanks to two sac flies from Juan Uribe.

Hamels took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth yesterday, but the Giants scored three in the fifth and three more in the sixth on their way to a 7-3 win. An RBI-triple by Aaron Rowand put San Francisco up 1-0 in the bottom of the second. The Phils jumped on top 2-1 in the fourth and extended the lead to 3-1 with another run in the top of the fifth. Hamels got the first two outs in the fifth without a problem before it all fell apart for him. Pitcher Barry Zito started a two-out rally for the Giants that went single-single-double-single and had the Giants pulling ahead 4-3. Hamels came back to start the bottom of the sixth and faced four more batters, all who reached base. Park did a pretty nice job coming into the inning with the bases loaded and nobody out, but did allow a single which plated two more runs charged to Hamels and made it 7-3.

The Phillies pitched pretty well in the series overall. In 33 innings they threw to a 3.27 ERA with a 1.30 ratio. They allowed 17 runs in 33 innings — all 17 were charged to a starting pitcher and five of the 17 were unearned. They allowed just one home run in four games.

The starters weren’t as good as the pen. Lee and Blanton were fantastic in the middle two games while Lopez and Hamels struggled in games one and four. Overall the starters tossed 25 innings with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.40 ratio. They allowed five unearned runs — if those runs had been earned their ERA would have been 6.12 instead of 4.32. Sandoval homered off of Lopez in game one, which was the only home run they allowed.

Lopez struggled in game one. He went just four innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks. Only four of the runs were earned. He has a 3.62 ERA on his five starts for the season but with an ugly 1.54 ratio. He has allowed 34 hits in 27 1/3 innings.

Lee was awesome in game two. He threw a complete game, allowing a run on four hits and a walk while striking out two. It made a nice break for the bullpen, too, as the Phillies were playing for the thirteenth straight day and were scheduled to play two more days in a row before getting a day off.

Blanton went seven innings in game three, allowing two runs on six singles and a double. He lowered his ERA on the year to 4.02.

Hamels was great for 5 2/3 innings yesterday, but then eight of the last nine men he faced reached base and it helped the Giants scored six runs. He allowed seven runs on ten hits and two walks in the game. Only six of the runs were earned. It was one of four starts for Hamels on the year in which he had allowed more than five earned runs.

The bullpen went eight innings in the series. They weren’t charged with a run, pitching to a 0.00 ERA with a 1.00 ratio. They struck out six in eight innings.

Eyre pitched the eighth inning of game four with the Phillies down 7-3. He allowed an infield single to start the inning but got the next hitter and then got a double-play.

Park pitched the eighth inning of game three with the Phillies down 2-0. He allowed a hit and a walk but kept the Giants off the board.

He also pitched yesterday in game four. He entered in the sixth inning with nobody out, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 5-3. He got a fly ball to left with the runners holding for the first out, but Eugenio Velez followed with a two-run single into right that made it 7-3 with the two runs charged to Hamels. Park got the next two to leave the runners stranded at first and third.

It was just the second time that Park had pitched on back-to-back days on the season (June 20 and June was the other).

Since the end of June Park has an 0.59 ERA with an 0.78 ratio. He has struck out 18 in 15 1/3 innings.

Kendrick pitched in game one of the series, entering to start the fifth inning of game one with the Phillies down 7-1. He allowed a two-out single in the fifth but got the next hitter. In the sixth he allowed a one out walk but got the next batter on a double-play.

Walker pitched the seventh and eighth innings of game one. He started the seventh with the Phillies down 7-2. He got the first two in the seventh before hitting a batter. Fred Lewis was next and he reached on an error by Utley, but Walker got Edgar Renteria on a fly ball to right to end the inning. He allowed a one-out walk in the eighth before striking out the next two hitters. The second, Eugenio Velez, struck out on a wild pitch and took first. Sandoval lined to short for the third out.

Madson pitched the seventh inning yesterday with the Phillies down 7-3. He allowed a two-out walk but got the next batter.

Great to see Madson get some rest lately. He has thrown just two innings since July 24.

Lidge did not pitch in the series.

With the off-day today, everyone in the pen should be ready for the Rockies.

The Phillies scored just ten runs in the four-game series.

Rollins was 5-for-16 with a double and a home run in the series. He also stole four bases. He’s hitting 239/290/389 on the season.

Victorino was mostly on the bench for the series with a bruised knee. He went 0-for-2 to drop his line on the year to 315/382/470.

Utley hit a home run in game one after Jonathan Sanchez threw a ball near his head early in the at-bat. He was 3-for-14 with a homer in the series. 301/420/546 on the year.

Howard made an error that cost the Phillies a run in yesterday’s game when he made a toss to Hamels covering first that went over the pitcher’s head. He was 2-for-15 with a double in the set. 263/347/529.

Ibanez got yesterday off with Bruntlett starting in left field. He was 1-for-10 with three walks in the series. 301/366/627 for the year. In honor of passing the 100-game mark I will no longer be mentioning that he is on-pace for a career high in slugging. He is, though. Before this season his high was .537.

Werth was in center for the last two games of the series after playing right with Francisco in center for the first two. 6-for-16 with a home run in the set. 270/381/503 for the year.

Feliz was 3-for-16 with a walk in the series. He’s hitting 289/337/395 for the year.

Ruiz started the first and last games of the series. He went 1-for-7 with a single. He’s hitting .177 (23-for-130) since the end of May.

Francisco started three games of the series with Victorino out with a bruised knee. He started games one and two in center and game four in right. 4-for-12 with two doubles.

Bruntlett started yesterday’s game in left field. He went 1-for-3 with a double in the series. 133/202/205 on the series. At least his slugging is back higher than his on-base percentage now, though.

Bako started games two and three of the series. He went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts to drop his line on the year to 167/231/208. I guess everyone can’t have a slugging percentage that’s higher than their on-base percentage.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line on the year to 256/299/424. He’s walked three times in his last 88 at-bats.

Stairs started in right in game three. 0-for-4 in the set to drop his line on the year to 230/380/419.


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