Archive for March, 2010

Sixth sense

A brief moment to reflect on how the Phillies could be sixth-best in the league overall in runs allowed if their starters were seventh best and their relievers were ninth best.

There were five teams in the NL last year that allowed fewer runs than the Phils. They were the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Braves and Cubs.

By runs allowed per nine innings there were six teams whose starters were better than the Phils in ’09. They were the five above plus the Rockies.

By runs allowed per nine innings there were eight teams better relievers than the Phils. The five above plus the Reds, Brewers and Padres.

If every team plays a similar amount of innings, it’s tough to allow fewer runs overall if both your starters and relievers are worse than the Phils at preventing runs per nine innings. So I don’t think there’s a lot of confusion about how the teams that didn’t have better starters or relievers wound up allowing more runs overall than the Phils. Here’s how the total runs allowed for the four teams that had better starters or relievers than the Phils in ’09 looked for the season:

 

Runs allowed

  Starters Relievers Total
COL 469 246 715
CIN 509 214 723
MIL 568 250 818
SD 504 265 769
       
PHI 477 232 709

Despite the fact that they allowed more runs per nine innings, the Phillies relievers allowed fewer runs overall than Milwaukee or San Diego. The Brewers bullpen threw 52 more innings than the Phillies pen while the Padres threw 79 2/3 more.

The Phils scored two in the ninth to top the Yankees 3-2 yesterday. Timing, fellas. Halladay struck out three in two perfect innings and was followed by Kendrick , Contreras and Carpenter, who each threw two scoreless frames. Ozzie Chavez doubled in Juan Castro to put the Phils up 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh. Sergio Escalona got hit in the top of the ninth, yielding two runs on four hits as the Phils fell behind 2-1. Paul Hoover tied it up with an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth and Wilson Valdez’s infield single scored pinch-runner Dewayne Wise to give the Phils the win. Polanco made a throwing error at third and dropped a wind blown foul ball. Release the hounds.

Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer are expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils face the Blue Jays.

Um, really?


Phils hopeful about their pitching just as long as nobody moves them to the ACC

While the Phils struggled some in the early innings last season, it was still the relievers who had more trouble overall. The table below shows the Phillies rank in the NL for starters and relievers for 2009 in ERA, ratio, runs allowed per nine innings and runs allowed per batter faced:


NL Rank
  ERA Ratio Runs
allowed per 9 innings
Runs
allowed per batter faced
Starting
Pitchers
7 6 7 7
Relief
Pitchers
9 7 9 9

Of the 16 teams in the NL, it seems fair to say that the Phillies starters were seventh best in the league and the relievers were ninth best in the league.

That’s a little misleading, though, because the Phillies had some awful problems with their rotation in 2009. They started the season terribly. At the end of May, Phillies starters had thrown to a 5.86 ERA and a 1.51 ratio over 48 games. They had an awful stretch to end the season as well. They didn’t get a quality start in their last 12 games, pitching to a 6.60 ERA and a 1.66 ratio over those games. They were pretty good in between, though. Here’s their ERA and ratio by month for 2009:

Month ERA Ratio
April 6.35 1.68
May 5.53 1.39
June 4.10 1.39
July 3.02 1.09
August 3.16 1.27
Sept/Oct 4.39 1.33
     
Total 4.29 1.34

In June, July and August, Phillies starting pitchers threw 499 1/3 innings with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. Atlanta’s starters had the best ERA in either league in ’09 — they threw to a 3.52 ERA with a 1.27 ratio for the season.

The Phils beat Florida State 13-6 last night in their first spring training action, a game that was most notable for an ugly debut for Phillippe Aumont. Aumont got hit hard in the third inning, getting just two outs while being charged with five runs on three walks and two hits, including a three-run homer. The Phils outscored Florida State 13-1 after finding themselves in a 5-0 hole in the third. Dane Sardinha went 2-for-2 with a double and four RBI and the Phillies walked 16 times in the game. Drew Naylor, Joe Savery and Jesus Sanchez threw four perfect innings to end the game and struck out nine batters combined. Happ got the start and allowed a single and a walk over two scoreless innings.

The Phils play the Yankees this afternoon, with Halladay and Kendrick expected to pitch.


Second inning wretch

The second, fifth and ninth were pretty clearly the problem innings for the Phils in 2009. When your closer puts up a 7.21 ERA for the season you don’t have to look real hard to figure out what went wrong in the ninth, but it surely means there were some guys pitching a lot and getting hit real hard in the second and the fifth, too.

So who were they? Well, opponents put up an .802 OPS against the Phils in the second inning in 2009. There were three pitchers who faced at least 100 batters in the second and allowed an OPS worse than .802 — Moyer, Blanton and Happ. Opponents hit to a .786 OPS against the Phils in the fifth. Two Phillies pitchers faced a hundred or more batters with an OPS worse than that — Blanton and Moyer.

Blanton and Moyer are on both lists. Moyer just had a rough year all around and his numbers for the second and fifth weren’t remarkable compared to the other innings in ’09, but here’s what batters did against Blanton in the second and fifth innings compared to what they did against him in all other innings in 2009:


Second and Fifth Innings

Other innings
AVG OBP SLG OPS AVG OBP SLG OPS
306 351 532 883 240 306 392 698

Nine of the 128 batters that Blanton faced in the fifth inning in 2009 homered (7%), but just four of the 266 (1.5%) he faced in the third and fourth innings.

Happ notably got hit real hard in the second and the sixth and pretty much not at all any other time in the game. Overall, the sixth wasn’t a big problem for the Phils. It was for Happ, though. Here’s his second and sixth versus all the other innings he pitched in 2009:


Second and Sixth innings

Other innings
AVG OBP SLG OPS AVG OBP SLG OPS
344 395 586 981 200 273 318 592

Happ was pretty much untouchable when he pitched in the fourth or fifth innings last year. The 190 batters he faced combined to go 35-for-171 against him (205/271/304). Apparently the batters were resting up for the sixth, though, when they pounded him to the tune of 362/402/649. So there was some drop off.

Happ starts tonight against Florida State. Phillippe Aumont is also scheduled to pitch. Victorino will not play with a sore shoulder.

The article linked above also suggests that Amaro is not currently pursuing any trades or signings.

Interesting stuff on Happ in this article.

Phillies opening day payrolls 1986-2010 here.


Second inning retch

Last week I looked at where the Phils pitching got worse by inning in 2009 compared to 2008. I also wanted to look at how their runs allowed per inning compared to the rest of the National League in 2009

The table below shows the Phillies rank in the league for runs allowed by inning per game in which the team played that inning (so, for example, a team that played 158 games in which they pitched the eighth inning would have their total runs allowed in the eighth divided by 158 while a team that played 161 games in which they pitched eighth inning would have their total runs allowed in the eighth divided by 161). Remember that the Phils were sixth-best in the NL in runs allowed overall, so any inning in which they were worse than sixth they were worse than they were overall compared to the rest of the league.

Inning NL Rank
Runs allowed per game
First 7
Second 10
Third 4
Fourth 6
Fifth 13
Sixth 5
Seventh 2
Eighth 8
Ninth 14

The post from last week showed that, compared to their 2008 season, the Phillies dropped off the most in the second, fifth and ninth innings. Those are the same innings the Phillies fared the worst in during the 2009 season when you compare their runs allowed per game to the other teams in the league.

Hamels is working on improving his curve ball and adding a cutter.

This suggests that Chan Ho Park had an opportunity to stay in Philadelphia and make $3 million on a one-year contract. He eventually signed with the Yankees and will make $1.2 million with a chance to make an additional $300,000 in incentives.

JC Romero is trying to be ready for opening day but needs to be realistic.

JA Happ will start tomorrow’s game against Florida State. Halladay, Kendrick and Andrew Carpenter will pitch Thursday against the Yankees. Hamels and Moyer on Friday against Toronto. Blanton on Saturday when the Phils play the Pirates.

Victorino has a sore shoulder and may not play in Wednesday’s game against Florida State.

This lists the Phillies top prospects as ranked by Baseball America for 2008, 2009 and 2010.


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