Archive for September, 2009

Late, close and watching

Question of the day is why doesn’t Tyler Walker pitch to more batters when the game is close. Answer of the day is “I don’t know” — given that’s the answer at least I can demonstrate that he doesn’t pitch to a lot of batters when the game is close.

First things first: Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies this season. He came into yesterday’s games with a 2.35 ERA for the year and a 0.98 ratio. Opponents were hitting .204 against him for the season and on-basing .258.

Still, as the back of the bullpen implodes Walker virtually never is pitching in situations when the game is close. The chart below lists all of the Phillies pitchers who have faced at least one batter this year, how many total batters they have faced, how many batters they have faced when the score was tied or one of the teams was winning by one run and the percent of batters faced when the score was tied or with the Phils up or down one. It is divided into three sections — pitchers who have worked only as starters are at the top, pitchers who have worked only as relievers are at the bottom and pitchers who have pitched both as starters and as relievers are in a group in the middle (the chart does not include yesterday’s games).

  Total PA PA tie or
within one
% tie or
within one
Pedro
Martinez
171 115 67.3
Cole Hamels 740 483 65.3
Joe Blanton 753 488 64.8
Cliff Lee 275 128 46.5
Antonio
Bastardo
102 46 45.1
       
Brett Myers 294 159 54.1
Kyle Kendrick 66 32 48.5
JA Happ 623 300 48.2
Jamie Moyer 648 277 42.7
Chan Ho Park 362 161 44.5
Andrew
Carpenter
32 13 40.6
Rodrigo Lopez 137 52 38.0
       
JC Romero 68 40 58.8
Ryan Madson 298 126 42.3
Clay Condrey 156 64 41.0
Brad Lidge 263 107 40.7
Scott Eyre 119 39 32.8
Chad Durbin 285 93 32.6
Jack Taschner 138 24 17.4
Sergio
Escalona
34 4 11.8
Tyler Walker 125 14 11.2
Steven
Register
11 0 0.0

So the only player who has pitched for the Phillies this season and thrown to a lower percentage of the batters he’s faced with the score tied or the Phils up or down one run is Steven Register, who appeared in one game and faced 11 hitters.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for the answer to why questions you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t know. If I had to guess my guess would be that Manuel is terrified of the prospect of Walker facing a left-handed hitter with the game close. Walker has been great against lefties in 2009 — they’ve hit 209/271/302 against him, which is actually better than the 200/250/343 that righties have hit against Walker. In 2008, however, lefties smoked Walker to the tune of 319/372/597. Over his career lefties have hit an ugly 281/352/459 against Walker.

Aside from Walker, I think that the chart shows some other interesting things. First and most obvious is that starting pitchers generally face more batters with the game close and a higher percentage of their batters than relief pitchers do.

I think the difference in the percentage of the hitters that Romero and Eyre faced in tight games is telling. Both would like be used primarily as situational lefties in the post-season if available, but Manuel has given Romero a lot more of his chances in tight games. Eyre has been better.

Condrey has faced a higher percentage of hitters in one run or closer games than Lidge. His percentage is also higher than Durbin. Durbin has a low percentage of hitters faced in tight games compared to other regulars in the group. It’s also down from last year. In 2008, Durbin faced 364 batters and faced 174 of them (47.8%) with the score tied or the Phils up or down a run. I don’t think any of that bodes well for Durbin.

Myers has a strained back. The Phillies hope he will return before the end of the regular season.

The article linked above says that Happ will start on Thursday, Lee on Friday and (hopefully) Pedro on Saturday.

It also says that Dobbs was not ready to play third yesterday with his calf. I still find starting Cairo to be very odd. Even if Dobbs does not go I don’t understand why it would be Cairo and not Bruntlett. I’ve been saying for a while that I think Bruntlett is on the post-season roster because he’s the only choice to back up the middle infield. That’s not literally true, of course. It’s also notable that Bruntlett does not have an at-bat this month. We’ll see.

The same article says that Eyre needs surgery but is cleared to pitch, pitched yesterday and felt good. It also says that Romero threw 50 pitches yesterday and will throw again tomorrow and that Park could pitch next week.


Durbin definitely either getting worse, improving or staying about the same

Chad Durbin was a huge part of the Phillies bullpen in 2008. In 2009 he has struggled, but a lot of his numbers make it look like ’09 has been a better year for Durbin than ’08. Opponents are hitting .230 against him this season after hitting .254 against him last year. He’s struck out a whole lot more hitters this year than he did in ’09 than he did in ’08, too, striking out about 8.2 batters per nine in ’09 after striking out about 6.5 batters per nine in ’08. He’s faring better against lefties this year as well — lefties have hit 240/370/394 against him in ’09 after hitting 311/401/394 against him in 2008.

Something’s wrong, though, maybe more than one something. Here’s the rates he has allowed runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs, walks and struck batters out per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
2008 9.1 22.3 3.3 1.4 9.6 17.3

The extra-base hits and the walks are both way up. He’s allowing home runs at about twice the rate he did last year and walks at about 1 1/2 times the ’08 pace.

As I mentioned above, Durbin has actually been a little better against lefties in ’09 than he was in ’08. Righties have been hitting him a little harder this year, connecting for more extra-base hits, but the bigger problem is that despite the fact that righties are hitting just .222 against Durbin in ’09 they are on-basing .355. A year ago he held them to a .214 average but they on-based just .284 for the year.

When you look at Durbin’s numbers for the year, the thing that’s more worrisome than comparing his numbers for the season to last year’s numbers is comparing his numbers for the season to his career numbers. Durbin has put up a 4.88 ERA and a 1.52 ratio for the season, but both of those numbers are better than his numbers for his career. Over his career Durbin has a 5.25 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. Even given that he spent most of his career in the American League that still shouldn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Here’s how his numbers for the year compare to his career numbers for the categories in the chart above:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
Career 14.4 24.4 4.8 3.3 9.8 14.0

Again, Durbin was in the AL for most of his career, but still in 2009 he has been better at preventing runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs and at striking batters out than he has been over his career. The only thing that’s worse for him is the walks.

This article suggests that Myers and Park may pitch again this season, that Romero may face hitters this week and that the Phils hope Romero and Eyre will both return soon.


Feast of the East

It’s not clear how the season is going to end for the Phillies, but one thing I think we can say at this point is that the Phils are better than the other teams in the NL East. The Phils have one more big stop to make in Florida, but they have plowed through the other teams in the division in their recent stretch, going 10-3 against the Nats, Mets and Braves over their last 13 games.

The Phillies are 27-9 on the season against the Mets and Nationals. 60-52 against the other teams in baseball.

The Phillies are 87-61 on the season after taking two of three from the Braves in Atlanta. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by eight games. After winning the first game of the series they were twenty-six games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies won the first game of the series 9-4. Martin Prado put the Braves up 1-0 in the bottom of the third with a home run off of Happ. Happ left after three innings for precautionary reasons after a mystery injury that may or may not have been related to his oblique. Howard put the Phils up 2-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth and Kendrick took over for Happ and delivered four scoreless frames. The Phils extended the lead to 3-1 on another home run by Howard, this one a solo shot in the sixth. Werth drove in two runs with a single in the eighth and it was 5-1, but Brian McCann got Atlanta back in the game with a two-run homer off of Walker in the bottom of the eighth. A three-run homer by Rollins and a solo shot from Francisco pushed the Phillies lead to 9-3 and Atlanta scored a run charged to Durbin in the bottom of the ninth.

The Braves won game two 6-4. Again the Phillies saw their starter leave early as Pedro left after three innings with a stiff neck. Martinez did well to get out of the second allowing just one run after the Braves saw their first two hitters reach on a double and a single. Atlanta extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the second on four hits and a hit batter. Durbin took over for Martinez after the early exit, allowing three runs over 2 2/3. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t find the answer to Javier Vazquez. Vazquez tossed seven shutout innings and the Braves took a 6-0 lead into the top of the ninth. The Phils scored four times in the top of the ninth, with Howard delivering the big blow, a two-run homer off of Rafael Soriano. With two outs and men on first and second, Francisco flew to right to end the game and snap a six-game winning streak for the Phils.

The Phils played sloppy yesterday. They gave away outs on the bases, got ejected arguing about it, overthrew the cutoff man, executed one of the worst rundowns you’ve ever seen and dropped the ball — and that was all in the first inning. They pitched well enough to win anyway, taking the game 4-2. The Braves went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first with a run off of Cliff Lee. Francisco doubled in Rollins in the third to tie the game at 1-1 and Ibanez and Feliz drove in runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-1. A triple by Utley in the top of the fifth brought in Rollins and it was 4-1 before a long rain delay that forced Lee from the game. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Lee before Lidge allowed yet another run in the ninth.

The Phils threw 26 innings in the series with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.27 ratio.

All three of the starts were cut short. Happ and Martinez had their starts cut short by injury and Lee exited after four yesterday due to rain. The three combined to throw just ten innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.80 ratio. Happ and Lee both pitched pretty well, but Martinez allowed three runs on seven hits over three innings. They allowed just one home run, which Prado hit off of Happ.

Happ left game one of the series after three innings in which he allowed a run on five hits including the solo homer to Prado.

Pedro went three innings in game two before leaving with neck stiffness. In his three innings he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. The loss in game two was the first time the Phillies had lost a game that he had started.

Lee only got to throw four innings in his start as well before he was forced from the game by rain. He went four innings, allowing a run on three singles and a pair of doubles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. He’s allowed one run in 13 innings over his last two starts. 7-2 with the Phils with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. He’s walked just nine over 68 innings.

The pen had to throw a ton of innings in the set with three early exits from the starters. As a group the pen threw 16 innings in the three games, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with an 0.94 ratio. They allowed just 11 hits in 16 innings. Kendrick was fantastic in game one, throwing four shutout innings in relief of Happ, but Walker and Durbin both got hit hard later in that game. Durbin was hit hard again in game two, with Escalona and Condrey pitching well after that. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to pitch four scoreless innings yesterday before Lidge gave up a run in the ninth.

Escalona entered game two in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies down 6-0 to pitch to lefty Brian McCann. He got McCann on a line drive to third to end the game. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday with the Phils up 4-1. He hit Nate McClouth with two outs and Condrey came on to face the righty Prado.

Escalona sure seems like he should be getting consideration for the post-season roster given the problems for Eyre and Romero, but Manuel makes it sound like there’s not much of a chance. He has a 2.16 ERA and an 0.84 ratio in 8 1/3 innings on the year.

Kendrick took over for Happ in the fourth inning of game one, entering with a 2-1 lead. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three singles and not walking a batter. He has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in 16 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season.

Walker started the eighth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead. He allowed a one-out single that was followed by a two-out home run by Brian McCann. Walker was pulled for Madson after getting just two outs.

Walker also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering in the bottom of the fifth after the rain delay with the Phillies up 4-1. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He came back to start the sixth and allowed a leadoff single to Chipper. He got the next two hitters before walking Omar Infante, then struck out David Ross to leave both runners stranded.

Walker has been fantastic for the Phils. He deserves to throw important innings in the post-season and I think he will.

Madson entered game one with two outs and nobody on, the Phillies up 5-3. He got Omar Infante on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Madson also pitched the eighth inning yesterday, entering with a 4-1 lead, and struck out the side.

Durbin started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-3 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Garret Anderson and Anderson came around to score on a one-out single by Adam LaRoche. Durbin got the two hitters after LaRoche to end the game.

Durbin also pitched in game two. He entered in relief of Pedro to start the fourth with the Phillies down 3-0. Nate McLouth led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Bako. A sac fly by Prado brought him in to make it 4-0. Durbin came back for the fifth and got the first two before allowing a walk that was followed by a two-run homer by LaRoche. 6-0. He started the sixth as well. McLouth led off with a single and Durbin got the next two before Escalona came on to pitch to the lefty McCann.

Not a good series for Durbin, who the Phils could sure use. He has walked 42 in 62 2/3 innings on the season after walking 35 in 87 2/3 innings in 2008. His walk rate for the year is the worst for his career.

Condrey pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-0. In his first action since July 22 he set the Braves down in order.

Condrey also pitched yesterday, entering in the seventh with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies up 4-1 to pitch to Prado. Prado grounded to third to end the inning.

These are critical innings for right-handed pitchers for the Phils looking to make the playoff roster. The Phils have a whole lot of righties — Myers and Durbin aren’t pitching well and Park is hurt.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning yesterday, coming into the game with a 4-1 lead. He got the first two batters he faced. He walked Brooks Conrad with two outs and Conrad took second on defensive indifference. McCann was next and delivered a single to right, scoring Conrad to make it 4-2. Lidge struck out McLouth to end the game.

Lidge has allowed runs in three straight appearances. In his last three times out he has given up four runs on five hits and a walk over three innings. He’s really making it tough for the Phils to think about using him in close games in the playoffs.

The pen can surely use the off day today after throwing 16 innings in the series. Condrey and Escalona have both thrown two days in a row.

The Phillies scored 17 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 3-for-13 with a double, two walks and a home run in the series. 247/292/415 for the year.

Francisco started game one in center with Victorino out with stomach problems. 5-for-13 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 270/304/554 with the Phillies.

Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a walk in the set. 294/411/533 for the season. He’s hitting .229 in September.

Howard was 4-for-11 with a double and three home runs. 271/354/564 on the year. After hitting three home runs in the series he still has just four for September after hitting eleven in August.

Ibanez was 2-for-11 with a double in the series and is hitting 277/347/559 for the year. In a bizarro coincidence he is also hitting .277 and on-basing .347 in September (but slugging .538).

Werth went 3-for-8 with three walks in the series. 274/377/523 on the year.

Feliz was 3-for-12 in the set and is at 264/310/382 on the year. He’s on-basing .234 in September after on-basing .257 in August.

Ruiz left game one after the top of the sixth with problems with his left wrist. He was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is hitting 255/355/426 on the year. 317/411/538 since the start of August.

Bako started games two and three and went 1-for-7 in the series. He’s hitting 190/277/298 on the year.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in games one and two but did not have an at-bat in the series. He has not gotten an at-bat this month or in any of his last six appearances. 167/224/240 on the season. Need to let him hit if he’s going to be on the post-season roster (he is).

Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a double to improve his line on the year to 200/241/473 over 55 at-bats. Those are the at-bats I’d rather see Bruntlett getting.

Dobbs was 1-for-1 in the series and is hitting 261/309/413 for the season.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a double and a walk in the series. 208/367/406 on the year.

This suggests that:

  • Carlos Ruiz could be available tomorrow.
  • Eyre felt good throwing yesterday and will throw again tomorrow.
  • Park could pitch again during the regular season.
  • Pedro’s neck isn’t feeling good.

Brett Myers will see a doctor about soreness in his right shoulder. Happ’s status seems to be unclear.


Phillies rotation doing their best to improve the reputation of the team’s hitters

Citizens Bank Park might always have a reputation as a great place to hit, but the Phillies starters sure made it look like a good place to pitch against the Nationals. The Phils starters combined to allow one run in 23 innings in the series, continuing a string of outstanding performances from the rotation.

Over the last seven games for the Phillies, their starting pitchers have allowed nine runs. In 52 innings they’ve thrown to a 1.56 ERA with a 1.08 ratio and the Phils have gone 6-1. Five of the nine runs that the starters have allowed were surrendered by Moyer in the September 12 game the Phillies lost to the Mets 10-9 on David Wright’s second-two run homer in two innings. In the other six starts, five different starting pitchers, Hamels, Kendrick, Martinez, Lee and Blanton, have combined to allow four runs in 45 innings, pitching to an 0.80 ERA with a 1.07 ratio.

The Phillies are 85-60 on the season after sweeping the Washington Nationals in a three-game set in Philadelphia. They have won five games in a row and are 25 games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season. After they won game two of the series they were 24 games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the NL East by 7 1/2 games.

Cliff Lee threw a complete game shutout and the Phillies won game one 5-0. Rollins started the bottom of the first with a double and came around to score on a single by Utley to put the Phils up 1-0. The Phils jumped out to a 5-0 lead with four runs in a second inning that featured a three-run double by Ruiz. Lee was fantastic, allowing five singles and a double in the game while walking three and striking out nine.

Jayson Werth delivered the big blow in game two, a grand slam in the seventh, and the Phillies won 6-1. Blanton threw six shutout innings and was replaced by Park in the seventh with the Phils leading 2-0. Park injured his right hamstring as Ryan Zimmerman lined into a double-play to end the top of the seventh. The Phils had nobody on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Utley was hit by a pitch and stole second. Howard was walked intentionally and Ibanez unintentionally. It loaded the bases for Werth and Jason Bergmann got ahead of Werth 1-2 before Werth smashed a ball out to left to put the Phillies up 6-0. Walker allowed a run on a pair of hits in the top of the ninth.

The starting pitching was great again last night. Hamels went eight strong innings and the Phils won 4-2. Rollins doubled Feliz in to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the fifth. The Phils extended their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the sixth — Ruiz walked with the bases loaded to force in the first and Hamels followed with an RBI-single. The Nats managed a run on three singles in the seventh to get on the board at 3-1. A walk to Utley and two wild pitches helped the Phils score another run in the bottom of the seventh. Lidge came on in the ninth with a 4-1 lead and allowed a one-out triple to Elijah Dukes. Dukes would score but Lidge held on for the save.

The Phillies pitching was silly good in the series. They allowed three runs in the series. Hamels allowed one in his start last night, Lidge allowed another in relief last night and Walker was charged with a run in game two. Overall they threw to a 1.00 ERA with a 1.07 ratio in 27 innings. In 27 innings they allowed 20 hits and no home runs while striking out 27.

If the pitching overall was silly good we’re going to need new words for the starters. Lee, Blanton and Hamels combined to allow one run over 23 innings in the three games. They threw to an 0.39 ERA with a 1.04 ratio and struck out 26.

Lee threw a complete game shutout in game one of the series, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out nine. He has now thrown nine innings in three of his nine starts with the Phils. He’s 7-2 with the Phils with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.06 ratio.

Blanton went six shutout innings in game two, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out seven.

Hamels allowed a run in eight innings in game three. He gave up three singles, a double and a triple and walked one while striking out ten. Over his last five starts Hamels has thrown 37 2/3 innings with a 1.43 ERA and an 0.96 ratio. He’s dropped his ERA on the year from 4.78 to 4.07 in those five starts. In all five of the starts he’s allowed less than three walks and has not allowed a home run.

The relievers weren’t quite as good as the starters, but they didn’t have much to do. They tossed just four innings in the set and were charged with two runs. As a group they pitched to a 4.50 ERA with a 1.25 ratio. The worst news for the relief corps coming out of the series is that Park looks lost for the season.

Park started the seventh inning of game two with a 2-0 lead. Pete Orr led off with a single and moved to second when Willie Harris followed and reached on an error. Cristian Guzman bunted back to Park and Orr was forced at third base for the first out of the inning. Zimmerman was next and Howard made a nice play to catch the ball and double Guzman off of first to end the inning.

Park injured his right hamstring on the play and looks likely to miss a lot of time and perhaps the rest of the season.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game two with a 6-0 lead. He allowed a leadoff walk but kept the Nats off the board with the help of a double-play he induced from Ian Desmond.

Walker started the ninth inning of game two with a 6-0 lead. He allowed a leadoff single to Justin Maxwell before retiring the next two hitters. Maxwell took second without a throw and came in to score on a Willie Harris single to make it 6-1. Walker got Guzman on a popup to end the game.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning last night, entering the game with a 4-1 lead. Dukes tripled with one out and scored when Ian Desmond followed with ground out to first. Willie Harris was next and flew to center to end the game.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Lidge threw 16 pitches last night.

The Phillies scored 15 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 5-for-13 with two doubles in the series and is hitting 247/291/412 for the year. He has on-based .285 hitting in the first spot in the order. There are 40 players between the two leagues who have at least 150 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter — Rollins’s .285 on-base percentage is 39th (Kaz Matsui has on-based .279 in the #1 spot).

Victorino was 1-for-10 in the series. 296/362/453 on the season. He’s hitting 231/265/369 in September. Rollins is on-basing .299 in September, so there’s not a lot going on at the top of the order these days.

Utley was 3-for-10 with a walk in the series. 296/414/537 on the season. He’s hitting just .228 in September.

Howard was 1-for-8 with a single and three walks in the set. 269/351/550 on the year. He has one home run in September in 2009 after hitting 11 in September in 2008.

Ibanez was on the bench last night with Francisco in left against the lefty Ross Detwiler. He was 2-for-5 with a double and four walks in the series. He’s hitting 280/350/566 for the season and a snazzy 296/367/593 in September to come out of a long slump.

Werth was 6-for-11 with a walk and a home run. 272/374/525 on the year with 34 home runs and 88 RBI.

Feliz was 0-for-10 with two walks in the series to drop his line on the year to 264/312/385. He’s hitting 198/245/337 over his last 185 plate appearances.

Ruiz started all three games and went 3-for-11 with two doubles and a walk. 256/354/427.

Francisco started in left field last night in game three a lefty on the mound. 1-for-4 in the series and hitting 246/277/508 in 61 at-bats with the Phils. It would be nice to see him getting some more at-bats, cause the Phils are going to need him in the playoffs. Not sure how, though, especially if you never need to hit for your pitcher.

Dobbs returned to action with a pinch-hit at-bat in game two. 0-for-1 in the series and 255/305/409 on the year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 in the set and is hitting 200/356/389 on the year. It would be snazzy if Dobbs and Stairs were playing well for the post-season. For Stairs it sure seems like he’s dangerous at any time regardless of what he’s done recently. For Dobbs I’d be a lot happier to see him get into a groove in the last handful of games.

This says that Park will not start to rehab for two to three weeks.

The article linked above also says that Shane Victorino, who came out of last night’s game with gastrointestinal complications, expects to play to night.

This article suggests that Manuel thinks Myers is not yet ready to be a closer.


Panama jacks

Carlos Ruiz came into the season with 13 career home runs, but started last night’s game hitting 287/381/515 with six home runs in 162 plate appearances since the All-Star break. That .896 OPS for the second half was better than the second half OPS put up by a bunch of his teammates, including Utley, Ibanez, Rollins and Victorino. Of the eight regulars for the Phillies, only Howard and Werth have put up a better OPS in the second half.

Ruiz hit 235/335/367 in the first half of the season, but his second-half thunder has him up near the top of the list of the best hitting catchers in the league for the season. Here’s the list of the players in the league for the season who have posted the best OPS while playing the position and gotten at least 250 plate appearances (does not include yesterday’s games):

Player OPS
M Montero .861
B McCann .826
C Ruiz .791
J Baker .784
C Ianetta .781

In the AL there were three players going into yesterday’s games with at least 250 plate appearances for the year as a catcher and an OPS better than Ruiz’s .791. Mauer (1.090), Posada (.905) and Pierzynski (.814).

Here’s how Ruiz’s numbers overall in the second half look compared to the five players in either league who have posted a better OPS for the season while behind the plate (they are ordered by their OPS for the second half of the year):

   
Second half
  Season OPS PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Mauer 1.090 240 372 429 596 1.025
Montero 861 199 337 387 576 963
Ruiz 791 162 287 381 515 896
Posada 905 182 276 346 540 886
Pierzynski 814 198 339 378 443 820
McCann 826 211 260 303 490 793

Ruiz is third in that group for OPS since the break. Fourth in batting average, third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage.

Chan Ho Park hurt his right hamstring in last night’s game. It sounds and looked like we shouldn’t expect to see him again any time soon.


Getting the order in order

Two big items on the to-do list for the Phillies before the post-season starts. The biggest is getting some stability at the back of the bullpen, but also critical for the team will be getting the offense looking like the offense again. The Phils led the NL in runs scored in the first half of the season, scoring about 5.35 runs per game, but have slipped to the middle of the pack in the league in the second half, scoring about 4.56 runs per game since the break.

Here’s the rate at which the eight regulars for the Phillies registered runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs and strikeouts per 100 plate appearances in the first half of the season:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB
Ibanez 18.3 27.7 6.9 7.6 7.6
Utley 16.6 25.7 5.1 5.3 13.9
Werth 16.3 22.0 4.3 5.4 14.1
Howard 14.0 22.5 5.8 5.8 10.8
Victorino 16.0 27.5 7.6 1.5 9.4
Feliz 10.9 26.9 5.7 1.8 6.6
Ruiz 5.7 20.2 6.2 1.6 11.9
Rollins 13.4 21.0 5.8 1.8 7.1

And here are the numbers for the second half (not including last night’s game):

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB
Ibanez 12.8 21.3 6.2 4.3 10.0
Utley 16.0 22.4 4.2 4.6 13.1
Werth 12.5 23.7 4.9 5.8 11.6
Howard 14.9 26.0 6.2 6.6 9.9
Victorino 13.4 25.5 7.8 1.7 7.8
Feliz 8.5 21.9 4.0 2.2 4.9
Ruiz 12.7 23.4 7.0 3.8 12.7
Rollins 13.2 25.2 7.0 4.3 3.9

And here’s how their rates for the second half compare to the rates for the first:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB
Ibanez 70% 77% 89% 56% 131%
Utley 97% 87% 83% 87% 94%
Werth 77% 108% 113% 107% 82%
Howard 106% 116% 106% 114% 91%
Victorino 84% 93% 102% 113% 83%
Feliz 78% 81% 70% 123% 74%
Ruiz 222% 116% 112% 244% 106%
Rollins 98% 120% 121% 232% 55%

So, for example, Ibanez is scoring about 70% of the runs per 100 plate appearances in the second half of the season that he did in the first.

Ruiz is having a monster second half.

Utley is down in all five categories in the second half. Feliz and Ibanez are down in four. Victorino is down in three.

Ibanez’s numbers for home runs are way down in since the break and Utley’s rate of long balls is down as well, but the rest of the group is hitting more home runs. The Phillies lead the NL in home runs since the All-Star break. By a lot. They’ve hit 82 — Arizona is second and they’ve hit 70.

What they’re not doing more of is walking. With the exceptions of Ibanez and Ruiz, everyone is drawing walks at a worse rate in the second half than they did in the first. Rollins’s walk rate for the year started out bad in the first half and has been atrocious in the second half. Thanks to his walk-free second-half, Rollins is now drawing walks for the season at a rate that is lower than the serial non-walker Feliz. Including last night’s game Rollins has now walked 37 times for the year in 643 plate appearances. That’s once every 17.4 plate appearances or 5.8 walks per 100 plate appearances. Feliz has walked 34 times in 599 plate appearances — once every 16.4 plate appearances or 6.1 walks per 100 plate appearances.

Condrey has been activated. The linked article also says that Happ hopes to be back in the rotation on Friday and that Eyre threw lightly without pain. Dobbs went 0-for-2 rehabbing at Lakewood.


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