In 2008, when they won the World Series, the Phillies were the third-best NL team at preventing runs. Only the Cubs and the Dodgers allowed fewer. In 2009, the Phillies were pretty good at preventing runs compared to the rest of the NL again, but dropped to sixth-best in the league.

Returning to the issue of left-handed pitchers, the drop off from the 2008 season to the 2009 season had a lot more to do with what Phillies did against right-handed batters than what they did against left-handed batters. Despite the fact that they got worse overall compared to the rest of the league in 2008, Phillies actually got better against left-handed hitting in 2009. They got a lot worse against right-handed hitting.

For each of the past four seasons, here’s what left and right-handed batters have done against Phillies pitching as well as the OPS rank for each (for the rankings, a ’1′ means the best pitching team in the league against that side batting by OPS and a ’16′ means the worst pitching team in the league against that side batting by OPS).

Vs left-handed batters

Vs right-handed batters
Year OPS
Rank Year OPS
2009 .735 4 2009 .769 12
2008 .772 9 2008 .717 5
2007 .825 16 2007 .780 12
2006 .814 11 2006 .788 14

With the exception of the drop against lefties from 2006 to 2007, everything had been trending very nicely for the Phillies pitching against batters from both sides until righties started to hammer the Phils in 2009.

With the question of who the lefties are going to be out of the bullpen, I think you have to wonder if the Phils are going to give some of that progress back in 2010. The bigger issue, though, seems to be if they’re going to be able to get righties out this year. Cause there are a lot of ‘em.

This suggests Romero may be ready to pitch in spring training games by the second week of March.

Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. Today is the official beginning of spring training workouts.