Archive for October, 2009

Pitch account

Here’s the number of runs allowed by the Phils and Yankees for 2009 and how that compares with the other teams in the leagues they played in and with all 30 MLB teams combined:

  Runs allowed RA/G League
Rank
MLB Rank
NYY 753 4.65 6 14
PHI 709 4.38 6 7

Neither the Phillies or the Yankees were exceptionally good at preventing runs. Five of the 14 AL teams allowed fewer runs than the Yankees and five of the 16 teams in the NL allowed fewer runs than the Phillies.

By OPS, both teams fared better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters:

  R OPS against League MLB L OPS against League MLB
NYY .742 6 15 .724 1 3
PHI .769 12 23 .735 4 7

By OPS against by opposing batters, the Yankees were better against left-handed batters than every team in the AL and also better than every team in the NL except for the Dodgers and Giants. Left-handed batters didn’t do a lot against lefty CC Sabathia — they hit just 198/250/310 against him for the season. They fared better against his left-handed rotation-mate Andy Pettitte. Lefties hit 282/321/409 against Pettitte. The New York bullpen had a lot of luck against left-handed batters. Righties Mariano Rivera and Alfredo Aceves were both very good against lefties. They hit 182/328/273 against Rivera and 212/255/305 against Aceves. Lefties also didn’t do much against lefty relievers Phil Coke and Damaso Marte. They hit just 195/218/366 against Coke. Marte missed about a hundred games this season and faced just 28 left-handed batters. The 28 he did face, though, went 3-for-25 with two walks (120/214/280).

Coke did give up a bunch of home runs, though, ten for the year in just 60 innings. Lefties can hit under .200 against them all they want, but I refuse to fear Coke and Marte in this series. If you’re new to the Phillies, the middle of the Phillies order goes Utley-Howard-Werth-Ibanez 3-4-5-6, which is three good left-handed hitters split up by Werth, who was among the best hitters in baseball this season against left-handed pitching. Among the 132 players in the leagues combined who got at least 150 plate appearances against lefties, Werth’s 1.080 OPS was third best.

The Phillies pitchers, meanwhile, weren’t good at all against right-handed hitting while A-Rod, Teixeira and Posada all hammered righties.

Pitching in the National League, the starters for the Phillies pitched to a better ERA and ratio than the Yankees starters:

 
Starters
  ERA League MLB Ratio League MLB
NYY 4.48 5 13 1.41 5 19
PHI 4.29 7 9 1.34 6 8

For NL teams for the season, the average ERA was 4.30 and the average ratio was 1.37. So the Phils starters had an ERA that was almost the same as the starting pitchers in their league and a ratio that was a little better.

For AL teams for the season, the average ERA was 4.62 and the average ratio was 1.41. So the ERA for the Yankees starting pitchers was better than the league average while their ratio was about the same.

Neither team has outstanding pitching. Sabathia was clearly the best starter for the Yankees on the season and he went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.15 ratio. Cliff Lee went 14-13 between the Phillies and Indians, throwing to a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio.

The Yankees’ bullpen was much better than the bullpen for the Phillies:

 
Relievers
  ERA League MLB Ratio League MLB
NYY 3.91 5 13 1.25 1 1
PHI 3.91 9 14 1.38 8 15

Yankees’ relievers allowed 7.78 hits per nine innings. Of the 30 teams in MLB, that rate was second-best. They also walked just 3.48 batters per nine, which was third-best of 30. What they did do was give up a whole lot of home runs. They allowed 72 in 515 innings, which is 1.26 homers per nine or 30th of the 30 MLB teams for relief pitchers.

A big part of the problem for the Yankees this year in the bullpen home run department was that Sergio Mitre, Brett Tomko, Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Michael Dunn and Anthony Claggett combined to allow 27 homers in 117 innings. You don’t want to be holding your breath waiting to see those guys in this series. Chances are good you could see Phil Coke, Chad Gaudin and Damaso Marte, though — those guys combined to allow 16 home runs in 84 1/3 innings in relief.

Among the guys who look likely to be pitching out of the pen for the Yankees, Aceves (1.00), Coke (1.50), Gaudin (2.45) and Marte (2.03) all allowed at least one home run per nine innings while pitching in relief this season.

The Philadelphia pen, meanwhile, was worse overall but gave up a lot more hits and walks but fewer homers. 8.36 hits per nine innings was eleventh-best among the 30 teams and 4.08 walks per nine was just 22nd-best. They did a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, though, giving up just 46 homers in 492 relief innings for a rate of 0.84 per nine innings that was ninth-best among teams in either league.

Pedro will start game two for the Phillies with Hamels starting game three. The linked article also mentions the possibility that Lee will pitch game four. Hope that works, but I would have liked to have seen the Phillies go with a four-man rotation that went Lee, Blanton, Martinez, Hamels. This way does allow Blanton to pitch out of the pen and the Phils could sure use some help in the pen. If he doesn’t pitch in relief he could start game four. I would much rather they just put their relievers like Condrey or Walker on the roster and let the starters start, though. Happ makes a lot more sense out of the pen to me than Blanton.

This suggests that Bastardo and Myers could be on the roster for the World Series. Myers makes more sense to me than Bastardo to be the third lefty in the pen.


The best offense that money can rent

The Yankees can hit. The Phillies can hit too, but there’s little question that the Bronx Bombers were the better offense of the two this year and the best-hitting team in baseball during the regular season.

Here’s the runs scored for the Phillies and Yankees for the season and how that ranked compared to the other teams in their leagues and in both leagues:

  Runs R/G League
Rank
MLB Rank
NYY 915 5.65 1 1
PHI 820 5.06 1 4

New York was one of three AL teams to score more runs than the Phillies this year, along with the Red Sox and Angels.

The American and National Leagues don’t play by the same rules, of course, and the more DH means more runs. While the Yankees and Phils led their respective leagues in runs scored, the Yankees outscored the average AL team by a little more than the Phillies outscored the average team in the NL. The average AL team scored 781 runs this year. New York scored 915, which is 117.2% of 781. The Phillies scored 820 runs compared to 718 for the average NL team. 820 is 114.2% of 718.

The Yankees have eight players who played regularly in 2009 (400 PA or more) with an OPS+ of 120 or better. Posada, Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez, Damon, Swisher and Matsui. The only player on their team with 400 of more plate appearances with an OPS+ for the season under 100 is Melky Cabrera (Cabrera hit 274/336/416 with an OPS+ of 97). The Phillies had four players with 400 plate appearances or more with an OPS+ of 120 or better — Howard, Utley, Ibanez and Werth. Their two least productive offensive players who played regularly, Rollins and Feliz, were both worse than Cabrera offensively. Rollins’ OPS+ for the year was 85 and Feliz’s was 80.

By OPS, the Yankees were the best-hitting team in baseball against both right and left-handed pitchers in ’09:

  OPS v R League MLB OPS v L League MLB
NYY .837 1 1 .846 1 1
PHI .779 2 5 .787 2 7

The Phillies were really good theirownselves. The Rockies were better against right-handed pitching by OPS and the Brewers were better against lefties. But the Phils were very good.

The Yankees were better than very good. They hit 282/360/476 against right-handed pitching. By OPS, the second-best team in baseball against right-handed pitching was the Red Sox and they hit 268/349/454. Among the 342 players in either league who got 150 plate appearances against righties, Rodriguez, Teixeira and Posada were all in the top 30 by OPS.

The margin was similar against lefties. New York hit 286/365/480 against lefties. Again Boston was second, this time with a 274/359/453 line. Jeter and Teixeira were in the top 30 by OPS of the 132 players with 150 plate appearances against lefties.

This article says that Raul Ibanez will continue to play despite a small muscle tear near his abdomen.

Todd Zolecki suggests that Hamels or Martinez will probably start game two. I am hoping for Blanton in game two.


Shift happens

I’m not sure you want to spend a whole lot of time looking for evidence from this season that the Phillies are better than the New York Yankees. The Yankees won 103 games in a league widely believed to have a higher level of play than the National League. Beyond that, even during their brilliant run of the past two seasons the Phillies have been pulverized by the AL in interleague play — after going 6-11 this year they are 10-23 in regular season action since the start of 2008.

I do think there’s a good case to be made for the Phillies in the World Series, however. The Phils are unique among the teams in either league in that the last time they lost a game they couldn’t afford to lose was in 2007. Just about everyone will roll their eyes when you say there’s something special about the Phillies and the way they shift into a higher gear for the playoffs. And with good reason. I would roll my eyes, too. It’s there, though. You can see it by watching them play. I can, at least. If you can’t, you can see it in the numbers. Over the past two years, the Phillies have simply been a better team in the post-season than they have in the regular season. They are 18-5 in 23 playoff games since the start of 2008.

Here’s how the runs the Phillies have scored and allowed over the past two years compare for the post-season and the regular season:

  G R RA R/G RA/G Diff
Post 23 119 75 5.17 3.26 1.91
Regular 324 1619 1389 5.00 4.29 0.71

Facing better teams, the Phillies have scored more runs per game and allowed a lot fewer.

The margin by which they are winning playoff games also has increased this year compared to 2008:

  G R/G RA/G Diff
’09 post-season 9 6.11 3.44 2.67
’08 post-season 14 4.57 3.14 1.43

The Phillies are on a tear with the bats. They’ve scored 55 runs in nine games. Their pitching hasn’t been as good as it was last year, but it’s been good and the offensive boost has been enough to get their difference between the average number of runs they’re scoring and allowing way up in 2009.

Runs allowed per game up or not, the Phillies are still pitching rather well this post-season. If you allowed 3.44 runs per game over a complete season you would give up about 557 runs. This year the Giants and the Dodgers were the best NL teams at preventing runs and they each allowed 611.

It may seem like the Phillies haven’t had the dominating pitching they had in the ’08 post-season this year. And they haven’t, in the bullpen especially. But the starting pitching has been a little better:

    ERA Ratio
2009 Starters 3.11 1.02
2009 Relievers 3.24 1.44
       
2008 Starters 3.70 1.19
2008 Relievers 1.79 1.21

If you’re looking for stuff to worry about you may want to go with hoping that Cliff Lee stays healthy and keeps pitching well. The Phillies have four great starts in their nine post-season games so far. Lee has made three of them and Pedro made the other. In those four games the Phillies starters allowed two earned runs in 31 1/3 innings. They allowed 16 hits and three walks, throwing to an 0.57 ERA and an 0.61 ratio. That will do some nifty things for your team numbers for starting pitchers.

In the other five starts, Phillies starters have thrown to a 6.46 ERA and a 1.56 ratio.

The bullpen hasn’t been the same in the playoffs in ’09 as it was in ’08. It was pretty spectacular in ’08, though. The relievers have kept their ERA down in the playoffs in ’09, but they have allowed a lot of base-runners. In 25 innings they’ve allowed 25 hits and 11 walks. Sure wish they would get that walk rate down, but it’s been bad all year and it might be bad all post-season, too. The Phillies bullpen walked about 4.08 batters per nine innings in the regular season and have walked about 3.96 batters per nine innings in the post-season.


Over and out

The transmission from Citizens Bank Park was loud and clear and now it’s ended. The Phillies have made a compelling case that they are the class of the National League and are headed back to the World Series after topping the Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS.

Vicente Padilla simply didn’t bring his game two magic to game five and it didn’t take long to tell. He walked Utley in the first and then pitched around the big lefty Howard behind him. It brought Werth to the plate and Werth set the tone for the night, blasting a three-run homer out to right. Werth and Victorino would be the driving force for the Phils’ offense in the game. The pair combined to go 5-for-8 with three home runs and seven RBI last night while the other six regulars for the Phils went 3-for-20.

Charlie Manuel deserves his share of the credit for the win as well. Manuel managed like a man who thought he had a chance to go to the World Series, pulling his starting pitcher with one out in the fifth and a three-run lead. It meant he was going to have to walk a tightrope with his shaky pen the rest of the way. He did. LA put the tying run on deck in the bottom of the eighth, but the bullpen came through for Manuel and the Phils.

Andre Ethier put LA up 1-0 with a homer off of Hamels in the first. Werth put the Phils up 3-1 with his first homer of the day in the bottom of the inning. James Loney hit yet another homer off of Hamels in the second. 3-2. A homer from Feliz in the bottom of the second made it 4-2. An Ibanez double got the Phillies rolling in the fourth and they added two more to make it 6-2. A pinch-hit homer from Orlando Hudson off of Hamels to start the fifth made it 6-3 and Manuel went to his pen. Victorino hit a two-run homer off of Clayton Kershaw in the sixth. 8-3. Werth hit a solo shot off of Hong-Chih Kuo in the seventh. 9-3. The Dodgers made rallied in the eighth, putting their first four men on base to make it 9-4 with nobody out and the bases loaded. Madson snapped back to life just in time, though, getting the next three batters and leaving the runners stranded. A single by Rollins that was followed by a double by Victorino helped the Phils add another run in the bottom of the eighth and end the scoring at 10-4.

The Phillies have won the NLCS, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven NLCS. They will play either the Yankees or the Angels in the World Series, which starts on Wednesday.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and didn’t pitch well. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and three home runs. He struck out three. Hamels simply doesn’t have it these days, and it’s hard not to wonder what the Phils can do about that for the World Series. Over his last six starts he’s allowed 40 hits in 31 1/3 innings, throwing to a 6.89 ERA with a 1.50 ratio. He’s allowed six home runs in 14 2/3 innings in three starts this post-season.

The Dodger lineup facing Hamels went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Belliard (2B/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Kemp (CF/R) (6) Loney (1B/L) (7) Martin (C/R) (8) Blake (3B/R That’s the same lineup they used the last time the Phillies started a lefty, which was Lee in game three, except that Blake and Martin are switched in the 7-8 spots at the bottom of the lineup. Blake was a miserable 2-for-15 in the series coming into the game, but I still think he should hit higher against a lefty. He was fifth in the order when Hamels started game one.

The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.

Furcal led off the game and got ahead 3-0 on a couple of close pitches, but struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Belliard flew to right on a 2-1 pitch. Hamels got ahead of Ethier 1-2, but couldn’t put him away. Ethier fouled off four pitches in a row and Ruiz came out to the mound. Whatever they talked about didn’t work, cause Ethier hit Hamels’ next pitch out to right to put LA up 1-0. Manny followed and singled to right on the first pitch of his at-bat. Kemp struck out looking 1-2 to leave him stranded.

Tiny strike zone in the first for Hamels. He threw 23 pitches in the inning. Another big hit against him for a lefty. Loney homered off of him in the opener.

He started the second up 3-1. Loney led off and hit a 1-2 pitch way out to right, cutting the lead to 3-2. Martin grounded to short on a 3-1 pitch. Blake grounded to third 0-2. Padilla flew softly to left 1-2 to set LA down.

Eighteen pitches in the inning had Hamels at 41 for the game. Again with the lefties. Third home run off of Hamels this year for Loney.

Phils were up 4-2 when Hamels started the third. Furcal got behind 0-2 and grounded to second. Belliard popped to Rollins 1-1 for the second out. Ethier struck out swinging 3-2 to set LA down.

Not a single homer off of Hamels in that inning. Thirteen pitches had him at 54.

Manny grounded to short 1-2 for the first out of the fourth. Kemp was next and he grounded to short too. Loney drew a two-out walk, but Martin popped to second to leave him stranded.

The walk to Loney broke a string of eight in a row set down by Hamels. Hamels had thrown 76 pitches after throwing 22 in the inning.

He started the fifth with a 6-2 lead after a bottom of the fourth that took about half an hour. Blake led off and popped to Utley 3-2 for the first out. The switch-hitter Hudson hit for pitcher George Sherrill and hit a long home run down the left field line. 6-3. Belliard was next and he lined a double to left, which was enough to chase Hamels. Happ came in to pitch to Belliard and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere near the plate. Happ did get the lefty Ethier, though. Ethier flew to left on the first pitch of his at-bat for the second out. It brought up Manny with two outs and two on and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to him. Durbin got ahead of Manny 0-2. Ramirez tried to check his swing 2-2, but hit a dribbler down the third base line. He was slow getting out of the box, giving Durbin plenty of time to throw him out and leave the runners stranded.

Third home run in the game allowed by Hamels. Hudson isn’t even left-handed. I was very surprised to see Happ gone after facing just two hitters — I was assuming he was in for a while after the early exit by Hamels. Great job by Durbin to get Manny in a big spot. It did leave me wondering what the plan was for the rest of the game. I was guessing it was Park-Madson-Lidge in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but had little clue what Manuel was thinking for the top of the sixth and had no idea what might be Plan B if Park, Madson or Lidge struggled. Not sure Manuel did, either.

Turns out he was thinking Durbin for the sixth and Durbin was fantastic. Kemp struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. The lefty Loney grounded to short 0-1 for the second. Martin swung at the first pitch and grounded back to the mound to set LA down.

Fantastic work from Durbin who has had an outstanding post-season. He made four appearances in the series, throwing three innings without allowing a hit or a walk.

Speaking of fantastic, Park pitched the seventh with an 8-3 lead. He struck Blake out looking 2-2. Juan Pierre hit for the pitcher Clayton Kershaw and he grounded to first 0-2 for the second out. Furcal flew to center 0-2 to set LA down.

Eleven pitches in the seventh for Park after Durbin threw just eight in the sixth.

Park came back to start the eighth with a 9-3 lead. Things got interesting quickly, as Belliard and Ethier started the inning with back-to-back singles that put men on first and third with nobody out for Ramirez. Madson came in to pitch to Ramirez and walked him on five pitches to load the bases. Kemp lined an 0-1 pitch into center that dropped in front of Victorino for a single and moved everyone up a base, brought in Belliard and made the score 9-4 with the bases still loaded and nobody out. Dubee came out to talk to Madson. Don’t know what he said, but whatever it was, things got better quick. Loney swung at the first pitch and fouled out to Feliz. Martin struck out swinging 2-2. Madson got ahead of Blake 1-2 and delivered what looked for sure like strike three. Madson walked off the mound towards the dugout, but didn’t get the call. Ruiz slammed his glove on the plate, but the at-bat continued. Blake grounded to second 2-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Park ends the series having thrown to an 8.10 ERA, charged with three runs in 3 1/3 innings. He pitched way better than that, though. He looked great in the first inning he pitched. Less great in game two pitching on back-to-back days and less great last night trying to come back for a second inning.

Madson allowed six hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings in the series. That’s a 2.70 ratio, which isn’t what you’re looking for.

Lidge started the ninth with a 10-4 lead. Mark Loretta hit for the pitcher Ronald Belisario and struck out swinging 2-2. Furcal fouled out to Ruiz on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Belliard hit a soft fly ball to center field on a 2-1 pitch. Victorino took it and the Phils had won the National League and were headed to the World Series.

Three appearances for Lidge in the series in which he threw 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three.

Still wonder what Manuel would have done if Park, Madson or Lidge hadn’t been able to get the job done in their inning. I assume Eyre was next in line, but things would have gotten pretty dicey after that.

Lefties Loney and Ethier were the two Dodgers with an OPS of .800 or better in the series. Loney was a monster, going 6-for-17 with two home runs to post a 353/421/706 line. Ethier was 5-for-19 with a double and a home run (263/333/474). Manny was 5-for-19 with a home run and two RBI. Kemp hit .250 and struck out eight times in 20 at-bats. Furcal, Blake and Martin combined to go 9-for-56 (.160).

Very good pitching for the Phils in the series. They held LA to 16 runs over five games. Overall the Phillies threw 44 innings with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.14 ratio.

Thanks to brilliant starts from Pedro and Lee in games two and three, the numbers for the starting rotation were very good. The starters threw 30 2/3 innings in the set, pitching to a 2.93 ERA and an 0.91 ratio.

Martinez and Lee were amazing in the middle of the series, combing to throw 15 shutout innings in games two and three in which they allowed five hits and did not walk a batter. Blanton allowed four runs in six innings in game four. Hamels started the other two games and didn’t pitch well in either. Over the two starts he threw 9 2/3 innings with a 6.52 ERA and a 1.55 ratio. The Phillies offense scored 18 runs in the two games he started and 17 in the three that he did not.

The starters threw 30 2/3 of the 44 innings the team pitched in the series. That’s 69.7%. They were charged with 11 of the 16 runs that LA scored — that’s 68.75%.

The rotation allowed six home runs in the series. Five off of Hamels and Kemp’s shot off of Blanton in game four.

The bullpen did not allow a home run in their 13 1/3 innings. What they did allow was a lot of walks, giving up eight to go with 14 hits. Overall the bullpen threw to a 3.38 ERA with a 1.65 ratio in the series.

Madson got hit hard in game one and was charged with two runs on four hits. Park struggled in game two, trying to pitch back-to-back days after a long time away, and was charged with two runs while getting just one out. Park was charged with another run last night in game five when he came back for a second inning and gave up back-to-back singles to start the eighth.

Happ managed to escape the series without being charged with a run, but he pitched terribly. He made three appearances, walking three batters and getting two outs. It seems like he surely would have been Manuel’s choice to give the Phils some innings in relief of Hamels last night if he had been pitching better.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.

The Phillies hit in the bottom of the first down 1-0. Rollins flew to Manny just in front of the track for the first out. Victorino bounced back to the mound 0-1 for the second. Utley took a 3-1 pitch high for a walk. Howard was next and Padilla looked like pitched around him, walking him on four pitches. Werth got ahead 3-0 then took two strikes to run the count full. He blasted a ball down the third base line but just foul before he smoked a ball out right to put the Phils up 3-1. Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.

Padilla threw 23 pitches in the first inning. The pitch-around of Howard costs the Dodgers.

The lead was cut to 3-2 when they hit in the second. Feliz hit Padilla’s first pitch just out to right. 4-2. Ruiz grounded to second. Hamels struck out looking 1-2 for the second out. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2.

Fourteen pitches in the inning for Padilla, 37 for the game. The Dodgers had lots of action in their pen after Feliz led off with a homer, but Padilla got the next three hitters and got to stay in the game.

Victorino fouled out to Blake on an 0-1 pitch to start the third. Utley struck out looking 2-2. Howard grounded to Loney.

Padilla had retired six in a row since the Feliz homer. He needed just nine pitches to go through 2-3-4, which put him at 46 for the game.

Werth led off the fourth and singled into left on a 1-2 pitch. Ibanez ripped a 2-2 pitch into the right-center field gap. Ethier had a little trouble picking the ball up and Werth scored from first to put the Phils up 5-2. That was it for Padilla. Righty Ramon Troncoso came in to pitch to Feliz and Feliz grounded to third for the first out with Ibanez holding second. Ruiz was next and Troncoso walked him on four pitches to put men on first and second. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third. It brought up Rollins with two down and Troncoso nipped him with a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. Lefty George Sherrill came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino got ahead 3-0 before Sherrill hit him with a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez scored to make it 6-2. Sherrill struck Utley out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

Wasn’t expecting to see Sherrill in the fourth.

The Phils led 6-3 when they hit in the fifth. Lefty Clayton Kershaw was on the mound for LA and he walked Howard on a 3-2 pitch. Werth got ahead 2-0, but Kershaw came back to strike him out looking 3-2 for the first out. Ibanez hit a double-play ball to second, but Belliard had trouble getting the ball out of his glove for the flip to second and LA got just one out. Feliz struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded at first.

Kershaw snapped out of it after getting behind Werth 2-0.

He got the first two hitters to start the sixth. Ruiz flew to right on a 3-1 pitch for the first out. Cairo was next, hitting for Durbin, and he grounded to short 1-0 for the second. Rollins was next and Kershaw hit him in the foot with a 1-1 pitch, the third time in the game the Dodgers had hit a batter. Victorino was next and he blasted Kershaw’s first pitch to him well out to left, putting the Phils up 8-3. Utley struck out swinging to end the inning.

Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo pitched the seventh for LA. He struck Howard out looking 0-2, took a brief break for Werth to hit an 0-2 pitch out to center to make it 9-3, and then struck Ibanez and Feliz both out swinging.

Righty Ronald Belisario pitched the eighth with the Phils up 9-4. Ruiz led off and hit a ball to center, but Kemp made a nice diving catch for the first out. Stairs hit for Madson and popped to the catcher for the second out. Rollins was next and he singled back up the middle. Victorino followed and lined a 1-2 pitch that would have hit high off the wall in right if a fan had not reached over and tried to catch it. Victorino was given a double on fan interference and Rollins had to hold third. It cost the Phillies a run, but only for a minute. Belisario’s 1-0 pitch to Utley was inside and low and Martin couldn’t handle it. Rollins scored to make it 10-4 and Victorino took third. Utley grounded to second on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.

Rollins was 1-for-3 in the game and was hit by two pitches. 5-for-22 in the series with two doubles. His double to end game four was the biggest hit of the series. The difference between that single at-bat to end game four was the difference between the series being tied or the Dodgers needing to win the next two games to tie the series.

Victorino had a monster game last night, going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI. 7-for-19 in the series with a double, a triple and two home runs. 368/478/842 in the series and led the team in total bases with 16.

Utley was miserable last night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk. 4-for-19 with four singles and four walks in the series.

Howard was 0-for-2 with two walks and did not drive in a run for the first time in his last nine post-season games. He was 5-for-15 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the series. He led the Phils with eight RBI. He also walked six times, which was the most on the team. 333/524/933, which was good enough to get him named MVP of the series.

Werth was 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI. 4-for-18 with three home runs and a single in the series.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 3-for-18 with a double and a home run in the series. The home run was a huge one, though, a three-run shot off of Sherrill the Phils needed to win game one. 167/211/389.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a home run in the game and 2-for-17 with a triple and a home run in the series. 118/167/412.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk last night and 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and five walks in the set. 385/579/692.

Ruiz, Howard and Victorino all on-based .478 or better in the series. All three also hit .333 or better.

Howard, Victorino, Werth and Ruiz all slugged .692 or better.

Feliz, Ibanez and Utley combined to go 9-for-54 (.167).

Stairs was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-1 in the series with a big walk in game four.

Cairo was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-2 in the series.

Francisco seems sure to be a big part of the World Series. He did not play last night and was 0-for-3 in the series.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the series.

Bruntlett didn’t bat in the series but made an appearance as a pinch-runner for Stairs in game four and scored a critical run.

Bako did not play.

The pitching was terrible for LA in the set as they allowed 35 runs in five games. Overall, the Dodgers’ pitchers threw to a 7.38 ERA and a 1.38 ratio over 42 2/3 innings. They allowed ten home runs. In the regular season they pitched 1,473 1/3 innings and allowed 127 homers. If they had allowed home runs at their NLCS pace over the regular season and thrown the same number of innings they would have allowed 345. The Brewers were the only NL team to allow more than 200 home runs this season — they allowed 207.

Padilla made a great start for LA in game two. That was it for the starting pitching, though. Padilla was bad last night, Kershaw bad in game one and Kuroda awful in game three. Wolf allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in game four. Overall the starters pitched 21 2/3 innings in the series for the Dodgers, throwing to a 8.72 ERA and a 1.48 ratio. Excluding Padilla’s game two start they made four starts in which they threw a total of just 14 2/3 innings with a 12.56 ERA and a 1.88 ratio.

The starters threw just 50.7% of the team’s innings for the series and allowed 60% of the runs LA gave up.

Coming into the series a big question was whether the Phils would be able to do anything against the mighty pen of LA. They would. The LA relievers had to throw almost as many innings as their starters in the five games. In 21 innings they gave up just 14 hits, but walked 13, which is way too many, and gave up four home runs. Overall they threw to a 6.00 ERA with a 1.29 ratio in the series.

Ibanez hit a huge three-run homer off of Sherrill in game one. The LA pen pitched well in game three, but they had a lot of work to do after Kuroda didn’t make it out of the second. Belisario was charged with three runs in an inning in that game. Broxton allowed a huge two-run double to Rollins in game four. The Phils scored four runs off of Kershaw, Kuo and Belisario in the last four innings of last night’s game.

Kuo and Troncoso pitched pretty well in relief for the Dodgers in the series. Troncoso wasn’t charged with a run in three innings over three appearances. He didn’t give up a hit but walked three. Kuo struck out six in four innings and allowed one run on the homer by Werth.

No game today. The first game of the World Series is Wednesday.


Starting five

The Dodgers needed to get one more out in game four to tie up the series before Jimmy Rollins delivered his game-winning double. If they want to tie things up now they’ll need to win the next two games. The Phils sure don’t want to see that happen and they’ll try to end the series tonight as they send Cole Hamels to the mound to face righty Vicente Padilla.

Padilla pitched for both the Rangers and the Dodgers this season. He made 18 starts for Texas to start the season, going 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. The Rangers released him in mid-August and he was signed by the Dodgers. He made eight appearances for LA, seven on them starts, and threw to a 3.20 ERA and a 1.22 ratio.

He was much better against righties than lefties on the season. Righties hit just 246/301/363 against him for the year, lefties 303/384/453.

This article suggests that not all of his Texas teammates missed him after he left the Rangers. It also mentions a game in June in which Padilla hit Mark Teixeira twice before the end of the fourth inning.

Padilla faced Pedro Martinez in game two of the series. Both pitchers were fantastic. Howard put the Phils up 1-0 with a solo homer in the fourth inning. Martinez threw seven shutout innings and was lifted in the eighth. LA scored two times in the eighth, starting the inning with a single off the glove of Feliz. The Phils failed to turn a key double-play in the frame and the Dodgers pulled ahead to stay at 2-1 when Happ walked Ethier with the bases loaded.

Padilla was very good. He went 7 1/3 innings in the game, allowing a run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Utley singled in the first, Ruiz singled in the third, Howard homered in the fourth and singled in the seventh. Padilla walked Ruiz with one out in the eighth with the Phils up 1-0 and when Dobbs hit for Pedro, LA brought Kuo in to pitch to Dobbs.

Except for the Howard home run, Ruiz is the only runner who made it to second for the Phils in game two. Ruiz stole second with two outs after he singled in the third, but was left stranded when Victorino popped to Furcal.

Hamels went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.29 ratio over 32 starts in 2009. He went into the All-Star break with an ugly 4.87 ERA, but threw to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.19 ratio in 15 starts after the break. He was also much better at home this year than away from Citizens Bank Park. 3.76 ERA and a 1.12 ratio at home and a 4.99 ERA and a 1.48 ratio away. He was tough on lefties this year (242/295/416). Righties hit .282 against him, but he didn’t walk many of them, holding their line for the year against him to 282/320/447.

Hamels faced Clayton Kershaw in game one of the series. He didn’t pitch very well, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings.

Loney put LA up 1-0 with a second inning home run in the game — he had also homered off of him on May 14 in Philadelphia as the Dodgers topped Hamels and the Phils 5-3. With Kershaw in control, the score held at 1-0 until the Phils hit in the fifth. In the fifth, Ruiz got the Phils on the board with a three-run homer and Howard extended the lead to 5-1 with a two-run double. LA put men on first and third in the bottom of the fifth and Hamels should have been out of the inning when he got Ethier to hit a double-play ball to short, but a miserable throw from Utley kept the inning alive as the runner scored from third to make it 5-2. To make matters worse, Ramirez followed with a two-run blast to make it 5-4. Hamels came back to get just one out in the sixth for the Phils, but it all ended well nonetheless. Ibanez delivered a three-run blast off of George Sherrill in the top of the eighth to make it 8-4. LA scored two runs charged to Madson in the bottom of the eighth to end the scoring at 8-6.

Hamels didn’t do a good job in game one of controls his emotions on the field, throwing his hands in the air after Utley threw the double-play ball into the dugout in the bottom of the fifth. This came after a similar reaction in game two of the NLDS when a bad throw from Howard kept the Phils from getting Carlos Gonzalez stealing second after Hamels picked him off. After being told that Manuel had said that he needed to do a better job of controlling himself, Hamels said, “He can say that all he wants, but I’m not going to change my emotions.”

That there is the kind of quote that one should try to keep out of the newspaper near one’s name. I’m pretty sure that Manuel was suggesting Hamels change what he says and does more than his emotions.

After ending the regular season by going 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA and a 1.50 ratio in his last three starts, Hamels has thrown to a 6.97 ERA and a 1.55 ratio over 10 1/3 innings in two starts this post-season.

Pedro says he could pitch game six if needed. Let’s hope it’s not. I would be surprised if Lee didn’t start game six if there is one.

Ryan Howard tied Lou Gehrig’s record of eight consecutive post-season games with an RBI in game four and has a chance to make it nine tonight.


Deja Voodoo

Another day, another miraculous finish for the Phillies. This time the nearly-impossible-to-believe drama came from Jimmy Rollins, who roped a two-out double to right-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to turn a Dodgers’ lead into a walkoff win for the Phillies.

Ryan Howard put the Phils up 2-0 in the first with yet another home run, this one off of LA starter and former Phil Randy Wolf. Blanton was perfect through three innings, but the Dodgers got to him in the fourth when LA scored twice on RBI-singles by James Loney and Russell Martin to tie game at 2-2. A Matt Kemp homer off of Blanton in the fifth put LA up 3-2 and a throwing error by Feliz helped open the door in the sixth as LA tacked on an unearned run to extend the lead to 4-2. Wolf had lulled the Phils offense to sleep since the Howard homer — between the first inning homer from Howard and the start of the sixth inning the Phils managed just one two-out walk by Ruiz in the fifth. Victorino snapped the team out of it with a one-out triple down the left field line. Utley followed with a single to right that cut the lead to 4-3. Wolf left after 5 1/3 and the mighty LA pen shut the Phils down after that, for a while at least. Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth to protect the one-run lead. Stairs drew a pinch-hit walk with one out and Ruiz followed and was hit by a pitch. With two outs and men on first and second, Dobbs popped a ball to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and Rollins delivered, splitting the gap in right-center to clear the bases and give the Phils a 5-4 win.

It was hard not to think of what had happened in game four of the NLCS between the same two teams the year before. In that game the Phillies got to Broxton, too, as a two-run homer by Stairs in the eighth broke a 5-5 tie.

The Phillies lead the best-of-seven NLCS with the Dodgers three games to one after winning game four last night 5-4.

The Dodgers lineup against Blanton went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Kemp (CF/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Belliard (2B/R) (7) Martin (C/R (8) Blake (3B/R). That’s similar to the lineup that Pedro faced in game two until you get to 6-7-8. In game two it went Blake-Belliard-Martin, but Blake was dropped to eighth for this game. It sure doesn’t seem like Loney, who hit 13 home runs, should be your five-hitter protecting Manny against righties if you want to go to the World Series. He slugged .396 against righties. Loney is having a good series for LA, though.

The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.

Furcal led off the game and flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Kemp grounded to third 2-2 for the second. Ethier hit a ground ball to first 1-2 and Howard took it to the bag for the third.

Eleven pitches in the inning for Blanton, eight of which were strikes.

He set LA down in order again in the second, pitching with a 2-0 lead. Manny grounded to short on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Loney struck out looking 0-2 for the second. Belliard flew to left on a 1-2 pitch to set LA down.

Ten pitches in the inning for Blanton. 21 for the game.

Martin started the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center, but Werth took it on a run for the first out. Blake grounded to short 2-1 for the second out. Wolf got behind 1-2 and hit the ball hard, but Howard took it at first and beat Wolf to the bag to end the frame.

Blanton was perfect through three. Eleven pitches in the inning, 32 for the game. Twenty-three strikes.

Furcal started the fourth and grounded to Howard on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Blanton got ahead of Kemp 1-2 but lost him, walking him on a pitch outside to give LA their first runner of the game. Ethier was next and he crushed a 2-2 pitch to center, but Victorino tracked it down just in front of the wall for the second out. Ramirez was next and he ripped a 1-2 pitch down the third base line. Kemp would have scored easily if it had gotten to the corner, but it didn’t. It bounced off of the stands in left field and Kemp held third with Ramirez safe at first with a long single. Loney was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2 before Loney laced a single to right. Kemp scored to cut the lead to 2-1 with Ramirez taking second. It brought up Belliard with two outs and two men on. Blanton walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was low and outside to load the bases. Martin lined a single to left and everyone moved up a base. Ramirez scored and it was 2-2. Blanton got Blake to ground to second on a 3-2 pitch to leave the runners stranded. Utley made a strong and accurate throw, but there were some nervous Phillies fans as he did.

Long inning for Blanton. Thirty-seven pitches. Nineteen strikes and 18 balls. He had thrown 69 pitches in the game.

Wolf flew to left for the first out of the fifth. Furcal followed and he grounded to Utley. Kemp hit a 2-0 pitch just out to center, putting LA up 3-2. Ethier hit a 1-2 pitch hard, too, but Utley snared the line drive that looked ticketed for center field for the third out.

Blanton was up to 84 pitches after throwing 15 in the inning. Kemp, who got things going with a walk in the fourth, is the guy who got him again.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a ground ball to deep third. Feliz fielded and threw in the dirt to Howard. Howard tried to scoop the ball but didn’t come up with it and Ramirez was safe on the error by Feliz. Loney flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Belliard was next and he blooped a ball into shallow left-center field. Rollins went back and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch but couldn’t come up with it. Belliard had a single and Ramirez went to second. Martin struck out looking 1-2 for the second out, but Blake followed and he singled into right. Ramirez scored to make it 4-2 with Belliard going to third. Blake stole second with Wolf at the plate, but Wolf flew to center 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Twenty-one and 105 for Blanton. Third straight inning that Blanton had been charged with runs. Two plays that could have been made hurt him in the inning, but the catch by Rollins would have been a fantastic play. The Phils let Blanton hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth.

Park started the seventh with the Phils down 4-3. Furcal hit a ball back to the mound for the first out. Kemp struck out swinging 2-2 for the second. Ethier walked on a 3-2 pitch that was in the strike zone, putting a man on for Ramirez. Park got ahead of Manny 1-2 and Ruiz gunned Ethier down to end the frame as the count went 2-2 on Manny.

Great throw by Ruiz, but it meant that Manny would lead off the eighth.

That wasn’t a problem for Madson, who pitched the eighth for the Phils still down a run at 4-3. Madson struck Ramirez out on three pitches to start the inning. Loney was next and Madson got ahead of him. He struck him out 1-2 and didn’t get the call, struck him out 2-2 and didn’t get the call before Loney reached on an infield single back up the middle. Belliard got behind 0-2 and hit a ground ball to short with Loney forced at second for the second out. No chance for a double play as Rollins had to come in on the ball. Belliard stole second as the count went 3-0 on Martin. He was actually out, too, as his leg was caught on Utley’s foot and Utley put the tag on in time despite an offline throw from Ruiz, but LA got the call. Martin walked to put two men on, but Madson struck Blake out swinging 1-2 to leave them both stranded.

Eyre started the ninth, facing switch-hitter Orlando Hudson who had been double-switched into the game in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson lofted a high fly ball to right that Werth took at the foul line for the first out. Furcal was next and he singled into center. Lidge came in to pitch to Kemp and Furcal stole second as Kemp struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Lidge’s 1-2 pitch to Ethier was in the dirt and blocked by Ruiz, allowing Furcal to take third. Ethier struck out looking 2-2 to leave Furcal stranded.

Fantastic day for the pen in relief of Blanton. They went three shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks.

Loney and Martin are the only regulars for LA who have an OPS of .800 or better for the series so far. Loney is 5-for-14 with a homer and a walk. Martin is 4-for-12 with a double and a walk. Blake and Furcal are a combined 4-for-31 with four singles. Manny is 4-for-16 without a walk in the series. Ethier is the only player on LA with more than one walk — he has two. LA has outhit the Phils in the series, getting 30 hits so far to 28 for the Phils. The Phillies have six home runs to the Dodgers’ three, though, and 19 walks to nine for LA.

Kemp’s home run is the only extra-base hit the Dodgers have against Phillies pitching in the last three games.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Wolf went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.

Rollins swung at Wolf’s first pitch in the first and singled to left. He was running on the 1-1 pitch to Victorino, but Victorino popped it up to second. Ethier took it right behind second base for the first out and Rollins had to hurry back to the bag. Utley swung at the first pitch and popped to first for the second out. Howard was next. Wolf didn’t get the call on a 2-1 pitch that had a lot of the plate and Howard hit the 3-1 offering out to right for a two-run homer that put the Phils up 2-0. Werth flew to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Wolf threw 18 pitches in the first.

He set the Phils down in order in the second. Ibanez flew to left 2-2 for the first out. Feliz popped to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Furcal made a very nice play for the third. Ruiz broke his bat hitting a ball that Furcal bare-handed behind second base on a big hop. Furcal made a strong throw to get Ruiz at first and set the Phillies down.

Seventeen pitches in the game had Wolf at 35.

Blanton led off the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right for the first out. Rollins got ahead 3-0 on three pitches that all could have been called strikes before he flew softly to right on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and popped out to Blake in foul territory on a 3-1 pitch.

13 and 48 for Wolf through three.

Utley led off the fourth with the score tied at 2-2 and flew to right on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Howard struck out looking 1-2. Werth struck out swinging 0-2.

After throwing 12 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 60 for the game.

Ibanez flew to center for the first out of the fifth with the Phils down 3-2. Feliz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and fouled out to Loney. Ruiz was next and he drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch that probably was a strike. Despite two weak innings in a row, with Happ warming in the pen, Blanton hit for himself and grounded softly to short with Furcal fielding and tagging second to force Ruiz and end the inning.

After throwing 13 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 73 for the game. Ruiz’s walk broke a string of twelve in a row set down by Wolf.

The Phils trailed 4-2 when they hit in the sixth. Rollins grounded to third for the first out. Victorino was next and he tripled down the left field line. Manny missed the cutoff man, but I don’t think they would have had Victorino at third anyway. Utley followed with a single into right, scoring Victorino to cut the LA lead to 4-3. Howard drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch to put men on first and second. That was it for Wolf and righty Ronald Belisario came in to pitch to Werth after throwing 28 pitches the night before in game three. Werth shattered his bat grounding an 0-1 pitch to third. Blake threw to second for one but Belliard dropped the ball and the Dodgers were unable to turn the double-play. With two outs and men on first and third, lefty Hong-Chih Kuo came in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez swung at the first pitch and lined a ball to left, but Ramirez took it at his shoestrings to leave the runners stranded.

Kuo was back to pitch the seventh and set the Phillies down in order. Feliz struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ruiz hit a ground ball to short for the second out. Francisco hit for Park and got ahead 3-1 but flew to left field for the third out.

Lefty George Sherrill started the eighth for LA with a 4-3 lead. Rollins worked the count full but grounded out on a nice play by Blake at third for the first out. Victorino was hit in the back foot by a 2-2 pitch. Utley got ahead and swung at a terrible 3-1 pitch that was outside and in the dirt. He missed, but Victorino took second on the pitch. Utley walked and it put two men on for Howard. Howard struck out swinging 1-2. Righty Jonathan Broxton came in to pitch to Werth and Werth flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Broxton was back for the ninth with a 4-3 lead. Ibanez got ahead 1-0 and grounded out to second for the first out. Stairs hit for Feliz, setting up a rematch of last season’s confrontation with Broxton, and walked on four pitches. Bruntlett ran for Stairs at first. Ruiz was next and Broxton’s first pitch to him drilled him, putting men on first and second for the pitcher’s spot and Dobbs hit for Lidge. Dobbs fisted an 0-1 pitch softly to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and he lined a 1-1 pitch into right-center. The ball rolled all the way to the way as Ethier chased. Bruntlett and Ruiz roared around the bases and each of them scored without a throw. 5-4.

Wow. Great inning for Manuel among other things. Stairs for Feliz and letting Ruiz hit was a great move. Again Stairs gets it done against Broxton, starting the rally with a walk. He’s been on the team all year long for a very tiny number of big at-bats. That was one of them and it worked out pretty well.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a game-winning double and two RBI. He’s 4-for-19 with two doubles in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the series. He’s 5-for-15 with a triple and a home run in the series. Big hit for him in the sixth to break Wolf’s spell over the Phils.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 4-for-15 with four singles and three walks in the series. Good throws from him all night long.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer. 5-for-13 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the set. Eight RBI for the Phils in the series. Nobody else on the team has more than four.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-14 with a home run in the series.

Werth 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-14 with a home run and two walks in the series. The Phils have scored 16 runs in the last two games and Ibanez and Werth have combined to go 1-for-14, although the one was a big homer from Werth off of Kuroda in the first inning of game three.

Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and is 1-for-13 in the series. Werth, Ibanez and Feliz are a combined 4-for-41 in the series.

Ruiz 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch in the game. 5-for-10 with a double, a home run, four walks and a .667 on-base percentage in the series.

Stairs had a huge at-bat in the ninth, drawing a walk off of Broxton.

Francisco got a pinch-hit at-bat in the game and flew to left against Kuo. He’s 0-for-3 in the series.

Dobbs 0-for-1 in the game and the series.

No game today. Game five is tomorrow.

Here is a post from the end of last year that has the Phillies post-season pitching stats for 2008.

And here’s a post with the post-season hitting stats from 2008.


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