Archive for April, 2010

Liftoff

The Phillies have started the 2010 season doing just about everything well. They’ve scored seven runs a game, but it was the pitching that was on display in Houston as they swept the Astros in a three-game set.

Happ threw five solid innings in game one of the series. Halladay threw a complete game yesterday as the Phils won 2-1. Just as impressive was the performance of a much-maligned bullpen, which gave the Phils four scoreless innings in the first game of the set and helped overcome a weak start by Moyer in game two by holding the Astros to a run over three innings in a tight game.

The Phillies are 5-1 on the season after winning three against the Astros.

The Phils rolled to an 8-0 win in game one. Happ threw five scoreless innings and was backed up by four scoreless innings thrown by the group of Herndon, Baez and Contreras. Ibanez’s bat sprang to life in the game — he was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBI. Polanco was 4-for-5 in the game, driving in a pair of runs.

In game two the Phils gave Moyer an early 4-0 lead, but the Astros put up five against him in the bottom of the third. With two outs and nobody on in the seventh, Utley drew a walk and Howard followed with his third home run of the year, putting the Phils up 6-5. Werth, Ibanez and Victorino followed that up with back-to-back singles, with Victorino’s bringing in Werth to make it 7-5. Victorino hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to put the Phils up 9-5. Madson gave up a leadoff double to Michael Bourn to start the ninth and he came around to score, but that’s as close as the game got. It ended 9-6.

Halladay was awesome yesterday, throwing a complete game as the Phils won 2-1. Rollins led off the game with his first home run of the season and the Phils extended the lead to 2-0 in the second thanks to a leadoff double by Ibanez. Halladay had some trouble fielding bunts in the sixth inning and his error on one put down by Jeff Keppinger helped the Astros score an unearned run in the frame to get them within one. Halladay continued to roll after that, shutting them down the rest of the way. Halladay allowed six singles in the game and didn’t walk a batter, improving his mark as a Phillie to 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA after two starts.

The Phillies got great pitching in the series overall. In 27 innings, their pitchers allowed seven runs on 26 hits and just three walks. One of the runs was unearned. That’s a 2.00 ERA and 1.07 ratio.

The starters went 20 innings, pitching to a 2.25 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. All five of the earned runs that they allowed were charged to Moyer, who also gave up both of the home runs they surrendered.

Happ got the start in game one and threw five scoreless innings, allowing six hits and a pair of walks while striking out five. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double.

Moyer’s weak start in game two was one of the few things that went wrong for the Phils in the set. Moyer went six innings in game two, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a pair of two-run homers. He didn’t strike out a batter.

Halladay was fantastic yesterday. He threw a complete game, allowing one unearned run on six hits and no walks. He struck out eight.

The relievers were even better than the starters, allowing one earned run over seven innings on four hits and no walks while striking out eight. That’s a 1.29 ERA and an 0.57 ratio.

Bastardo didn’t pitch in the series.

Herndon threw two innings in game one of the series and was very good. He entered in the sixth with the Phillies up 7-0, nobody out and men on first and second. He got out of the inning with the help of a big double-play ball he induced from JR Towles. He came back to throw a scoreless seventh — he allowed back-to-back singles with one out, but struck out Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee with men on first and third.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 seventh in game two with the Phils up 7-5.

Contreras pitched the ninth inning of game one with an 8-0 lead and set the Astros down in order.

Figueroa didn’t pitch in the series.

Baez pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phils up by eight runs. He had a 1-2-3 frame, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. He also pitched in game two, entering in the bottom of the eighth with the Phillies up 7-5. Again he threw a 1-2-3 inning, getting two ground balls and a strikeout.

Madson pitched the ninth inning of game two with the Phillies leading 9-5. He gave up a leadoff double to Bourn and Bourn came in to score on a one-out single by Jason Michaels. Madson got the next two to end the game.

Everyone in the pen should be ready to go this afternoon, thanks to the complete game from Halladay on Sunday.

The Phillies scored 19 runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 4-for-12 with a double, a home run and three walks in the series. He’s scored eight runs in six games, putting him on pace to score 216 for the season. He’s 9-for-23 on the year.

Polanco made his first error of the season in game one. 6-for-13 in the set with a double and a walk. 13-for-27 on the year. He’s one of three Phillies, Howard, Rollins and Polanco, who have an OPS above 1.200 for the season.

Utley was 3-for-11 in the series with a double, a home run and two RBI. He also walked three times, giving him seven in six games. 8-for-23 on the year.

Howard was 4-for-13 with two doubles, a triple and a home run in the series. He drove in four runs. 10-for-28 after six games. He’s on pace to hit 81 home runs with 270 RBI.

Werth 5-for-12 with a double and three RBI. 9-for-25 on the year.

Ibanez bounced back nicely from an ugly start against the Nationals, going 5-for-13 with three doubles and three RBI in the series. 6-for-24 on the year.

Victorino is one of two regulars for the Phils that is on-basing under .400 for the year. He’s at .241 and Ibanez is at .345. He was 3-for-14 with a home run in the series. 5-for-27 on the season.

Ruiz caught the first and third games of the series, going 1-for-8. He’s 4-for-14 on the year.

Schneider caught game two and went 0-for-3 with two walks. He’s 0-for-6 on the season.

Cole Hamels (1-0, 3.60) and righty Jason Marquis (0-1, 13.50) go this afternoon in the Phillies home opener. It will be a rematch of game two of the season, which the Phillies won 8-4.


Luckless Kendrick draws the start on Hammer the Ball to All Fields Day at Nationals Park

Much like his fellow starter Cole Hamels, the 2010 season didn’t start the way that Kyle Kendrick was hoping. After an impressive showing in 2009 and an awesome spring training, Kendrick came out flat to start 2010 and the Washington Nationals jumped all over him. Kendrick allowed one extra-base hit in 26 1/3 innings for the Phils in 2009. In 2010 he had allowed more than that before he got an out.

Kendrick bounced back a bit after the miserable start, setting down nine in a row before giving up another pair of runs in the fourth. He didn’t pitch in the fifth, though, and that’s a big problem given the unproven pitchers manning the bullpen and the injuries to key relievers. It was the second day in a row that the Phillies starter didn’t get an out in the sixth inning. That’s not going to work.

Despite getting behind early, the Phils battled back and made a game of it. What they didn’t do was hit when they needed to most, going 1-for-14 in the game with runners in scoring position. Raul Ibanez, who was so fantastic at the start of 2009, has started 2010 cold. Down a run with a runner on third and one out in the ninth, Ibanez couldn’t bring the run in as his average dipped to .091 on the very early season.

Despite yesterday’s frustrations, the offense is looking quite healthy. They lead all teams in either league in runs scored and have five regulars (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ruiz and Polanco) with an OPS for the season that’s over 1.000 after three games.

The Phillies are 2-1 on the season after losing to the Washington Nationals 6-5 yesterday.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles, a triple and a home run. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. It’s going to be a long year for him if he allows an extra-base hit an inning.

Nyjer Morgan led off the bottom of the first for Washington and drove a ball to the wall in right field that went for a triple. Cristian Guzman followed and singled into center, scoring Morgan to put the Nats up 1-0. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he doubled to left, sending Guzman to third. Adam Dunn was next and he hit a ground ball to first. Howard took it for the out, but both runners moved up a base with Guzman scoring to make it 2-0. It brought Josh Willingham to the plate with one down and Zimmerman on third. Willingham hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Zimmerman to tag and score. 3-0. Willie Harris lined to first to end the inning.

Ew.

It got better after that. For a while anyway.

Adam Kennedy, Wil Nieves and the pitcher Craig Stammen went down in order in the second with the Washington lead cut to 3-1.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 third, too, getting two ground balls and striking out Zimmerman.

The bottom of the fourth started with the Phils down 3-2. Dunn led off and singled to right. Willingham lined to Polanco at third for the first out, but Harris was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to right center to put Washington ahead 5-2. Kennedy followed with a double, but Kendrick got the next two hitters to leave him stranded.

Jose Contreras pitched the fifth with the lead cut to 5-4. He got Morgan to start the inning, but Guzman followed doubled to right. A ground out by Zimmerman moved Guzman to third with two down, but Contreras got Dunn to ground out to Utley to end the inning.

Just added to the roster today, Nelson Figueroa started the bottom of the sixth with the game knotted at 5-5. He got the leadoff man Willingham before Harris drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Kennedy popped to short for the second out and Harris stole second with Nieves at the plate. Nieves grounded to short for the third out.

Right Alberto Gonzalez pinch hit for the pitcher Tyler Clippard to start the seventh. Figueroa, also a righty, walked him on five pitches. That’s not the way to start the inning. Figueroa almost got away with it, but not quite. Morgan bunted Gonzalez to second and a ground out by Guzman put him on third with two down. It sure looked like Figueroa had struck Zimmerman out on a 1-2 pitch, but it must have been low cause Figueroa didn’t get the call. Zimmerman popped a ball down the right field line that landed just fair for a double. Gonzalez scored and the Nats led 6-5. The lefty Dunn was walked intentionally and Figueroa got the righty Willingham to foul out to Polanco.

Nice outing for Figueroa. He sure look like he got Zimmerman and the fact that he didn’t had a big impact on the game. A lot of bad stuff can happen when you walk the leadoff man.

Bastardo pitched the eighth, having thrown one pitch in an appearance the day before. He got Harris swinging and Kennedy on a fly ball to right. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Nieves and Nieves reached on an infield single. Righty Ian Desmond hit for the pitcher and hit a ball back up the middle, but Rollins made a great diving play and threw to second to force Nieves and end the inning.

Bastardo does the job against two lefties. Herndon emerges unscathed against a pair of righties despite allowing the infield hit. Bastardo can’t pitch to the righty Nieves with two outs and nobody on? Nieves is 32-years-old and has two career home runs.

Figueroa threw 41 pitches in the game, so don’t expect to see him any time soon. Everyone else was under ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Craig Stammen went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Schneider. Schneider gets his first start of the year. Everything else is the same as it was for the first two games.

Rollins swung at the first pitch of the game and flew to left. Polanco grounded to third for the second out before Utley singled into right. Howard grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Down 3-0, Werth started the second with a double and moved to third when Ibanez followed with a ground out to second. Victorino grounded to second, too, scoring Werth to make it 3-1. Schneider grounded to short to set the Phillies down.

Kendrick went down to start the third, but Rollins followed with a single and Polanco moved him to third with a double. Utley hit a ground ball to first and both runners moved up with Rollins scoring to cut the Washington lead to 3-2. Howard grounded to second to end the frame.

Werth doubled to start the fourth and Ibanez struck out behind him. Victorino moved Werth to third with a ground out to second base, but Schneider grounded back to the pitcher to leave Werth stranded.

Tough day for Ibanez. His strikeout after the leadoff double hurt the Phils in that at-bat.

Down 5-2, Gload hit for Kendrick to start the fifth and delivered a single off of Stammen. Rollins flew to right for the first out, but Polanco was next and hit a ball into center that Morgan misplayed badly, letting it get by him. Polanco wound up at third and Gload scored to make it 5-3. Polanco was given a single and an error was charged to Morgan. Utley grounded back to the pitcher for the second out with Polanco holding third, but Howard picked him up with an RBI-single to center. Polanco scored and it was 5-4. Werth was next and he doubled to left. Howard should have held third, but he went too far around the base and the throw came in behind him. Howard was tagged out to end the inning and the threat.

Not good base-running from Howard. Unusual to see the Phillies give away outs on the basepaths. Utley didn’t deliver that time with one out and a man on third.

Ibanez and Victorino walked back-to-back to start the sixth. Schneider bunted, moving them to second and third. With lefty Sean Burnett on the mound, Francisco hit for Contreras. Righty Tyler Clippard came on to pitch for the Nats and Manuel let Francisco hit. Clippard hit him with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Rollins delivered a fly ball to right deep enough to score Ibanez and move Victorino to third with the score tied at 5-5. Polanco grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Manuel had already used Gload, but he didn’t hit Dobbs for Francisco. He no doubt thought it was too early, but even though Francisco got on base I still would have rather seen Dobbs hit there. Phils get a run after putting men on first and second with no outs and loading the bases with one out, but scoring just one run there was huge in the game.

Howard singled with one out in the seventh, but Werth grounded out behind him and Ibanez struck out.

The Nats were up 6-5 when the Phillies hit in the eighth. Righty Brian Bruney got Victorino and Schneider to start the inning before Dobbs hit for Figueroa and drew a walk. Rollins lined a double to right, but Dobbs had to hold third. With two outs and men on second and third, Polanco grounded to third to set the Phillies down.

Big at-bat for Polanco with two outs. Dobbs can’t score from first on the two-out double. It sure seems like Dobbs should be to blame, but I don’t think so. Rollins ripped the ball into the right field corner, but Harris was playing really deep and got to the ball quick. When it came off the wall it went right to him. Dobbs isn’t fast, but not many runners would have scored there.

Still down a run, Utley started the top of the ninth with a double off of Washington closer Matt Capps. Howard was walked intentionally and Werth hit a fly ball to center deep enough to move Utley to third. It brought up Ibanez with one out and men on first and third. Ibanez flew to left and the runners had to hold. Victorino popped to short and the game was over.

Ibanez can’t tie the game with a runner on third and one out. He also didn’t bring the runner home in the ninth inning of game two of the series with one out and a man on third in a much less critical situation.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double and another run scored. Still on pace for more than 150, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. He was 5-for-11 in the series with two doubles, a triple and four walks. His 1.381 OPS leads the team.

Polanco had a great series. 2-for-5 with a double yesterday. 7-for-14 with two doubles and a home run in the set.

Utley 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI yesterday. 5-for-12 with a double and four walks in the series.

Howard didn’t homer yesterday for the first time this season. 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 6-for-15 with a walk, a double and two home runs in the series.

Werth was 3-for-5 with three doubles yesterday after going 1-for-9 in the first two games. 4-for-13 with two walks and three doubles in the series.

Ibanez had a miserable start to the season. 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts yesterday. 1-for-11 with three walks in the series.

Victorino 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 2-for-13 with two walks and two RBI in the series.

Ruiz did not play yesterday but was 3-for-6 with four walks in the series.

Schneider was 0-for-3 yesterday in his only action of the series.

JA Happ makes his first start of the season tonight as the Phils face righty Bud Norris and the Astros in Houston. Norris, a 25-year-old righty, pitching in 11 games for the Astros in ’09, throwing to a 4.53 ERA and a 1.51 ratio.

Andrew Carpenter was sent down to make room on the roster for Figueroa.

Next post to Philliesflow will be after the weekend. Monday probably.

The Start Log for 2010 is up. You can access it using the START LOG and START LOG HISTORY links at the top of the page.


Top guns

Game two of the Phillies season looked a lot like game one but without the great starting pitching. Rollins, Polanco and Utley at the top of the order continued to tear things up and Ryan Howard hit another home run. That’s a combination that is going to make it pretty tough for the Phillies to lose.

As a group, Rollins, Polanco and Utley are 11-for-23 (478/606/783) for the season with two doubles, a triple, a home run and eight walks.

Rollins walked two more times last night, giving him four for the season. In 2009 he walked for the fourth time on the season on May 1. He’s on pace to score 243 runs.

In the stuff that didn’t go right category, Hamels allowed three runs over five innings. He battled a small strike zone all night, but the Phillies could have used a big outing from him given their bullpen and the fact that they were playing their first of six games in six days. He looked a lot more like the Hamels of 2009 than the Hamels I was hoping for.

How worrisome is the bullpen? Well, the Phillies claimed Nelson Figueroa off of waivers yesterday and there’s a chance the Phils are going to need him in today’s game and it’s hard to see any of that as anything but an improvement.

The Phils are 2-0 on the season after beating the Washington Nationals 8-4 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing three runs on five and four walks. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

Nyjer Morgan led off the bottom of the first with the Phillies up 2-0 and Hamels walked him on four pitches to start his season. Morgan stole second, but Hamels struck out Ian Desmond for the first out. Ryan Zimmerman moved Morgan to third with a ground out to Utley, but Hamels got Adam Dunn on a ground ball to third to leave him stranded.

Josh Willingham started the second with a single. Hamels got Ivan Rodriguez on a fly ball to center for the first out. Mike Morse struck out swinging for the second out. Willingham stole second before Hamels retired Adam Kennedy on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Still up 2-0, Hamels got the pitcher Jason Marquis and Morgan to start the third. Desmond was next, though, and he hit an 0-1 pitch out to center to cut the lead to 2-1. Hamels threw eight balls in the next nine pitches after that, walking Zimmerman and Dunn back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Willingham and Willingham singled into left. Zimmerman scored to tie the game at 2-2 and Dunn went to second. Rodriguez reached on an infield single, loading the bases with two down. Morse grounded softly to third and Hamels was out of the inning.

Hamels had a 3-2 lead when he started the fourth. He set the first two batters down quickly and should have been out of the inning when Morgan hit a hard ground ball to first. Howard tried to backhand it going towards first, but the ball went off his glove and Morgan would up on first. Desmond was next and he laced the first pitch of his at-bat into the left field corner for an RBI double that tied the game at 3-3. Hamels stuck Zimmerman out swinging to leave Desmond stranded.

Howard should have made the play, but he made up for it in with a big blast in the top of the fifth. Second time in two innings that Desmond had a big blow against Hamels. Unfortunate to see Hamels unable to pitch around the two-out error.

The Phils were up 6-3 when Hamels started the fifth. Dunn led off and Hamels walked him on a close 3-2 pitch. Willingham lined to center for the first out. Rodriguez hit a ball hard into left that Ibanez tracked down after a short run for the second out. Morse swung at a 3-2 pitch in the dirt to end the inning.

Hamels really labored in the inning, throwing 25 pitches to put him at 103 for the game. Willingham and Rodriguez both hit the ball well and Morse helped him out by swinging at a bad pitch.

Durbin started the sixth and got Kennedy on a fly ball to deep center that Victorino took at the wall for the first out. Righty Alberto Gonzalez was next, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Tyler Walker. Gonzalez hit a ball back up the middle and off of Durbin’s leg, but the ball bounced to short and Rollins made a nice play to nail Gonzalez at first. Morgan tried to bunt for a hit, but Durbin made a nice play to come off the mound, barehand the ball and throw to first to end the inning.

Durbin was back for the seventh, pitching with a 7-3 lead. He struck Desmond out looking for the first out before Zimmerman dropped a single in front of Werth. Dunn struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out, but Willingham drew a walk to put men on first and second. Durbin got Rodriguez on a ground ball to Utley to leave the runners stranded.

Baez started the eighth facing defensive replacement Cristian Guzman. Guzman hit a ball high off the wall in center that rolled away from Victorino for a triple. Kennedy flew to right and Werth made a fantastic throw, but Guzman slid in just ahead of it to cut the lead to 7-4. Willie Harris was next, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Tyler Clippard, and he drove a ball into right for a double. Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Morgan. Morgan popped to short on Bastardo’s first pitch for the second out. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Desmond, who was having a big night with a double and a home run. Madson quickly got ahead 0-2 and struck him out swinging.

Even given what Desmond had already done in the game, I don’t think I would have asked Madson to get a four-out save given that Desmond wasn’t the tying run. He sure looked good against Desmond, though.

Madson came back for the ninth with the Phils up 8-4. He struck out Zimmerman before Dunn lined a single into left. Willingham was next and he singled into center, moving Dunn to second. Rodriguez swung at the first pitch he saw from Madson and hit into a double-play to end the game.

Long night for the pen, forced to go four innings after Hamels went just five. Durbin, Bastardo and Madson were all pretty impressive, with the possible exception of the two hits that Madson gave up in the ninth. It ended well, though. Baez couldn’t make it through his inning. Durbin threw 36 pitches and is surely unavailable today. Madson 13, Baez six and Bastardo one. Nice to see Madson keep the number of pitches he threw down despite having to get four outs.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Marquis went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. That’s the same lineup they used against lefty John Lannan on opening day.

Rollins led off the game with a walk. Polanco followed and was hit by a pitch. Utley singled to right and the bases were loaded. Marquis got Howard to hit into a double-play, with Rollins scoring from third to put the Phils up 1-0. With two down and Polanco on third, Werth drew a walk. Marquis uncorked a wild pitch with Ibanez at the plate, scoring Polanco to make it 2-0 with Werth on second. Ibanez would walk, putting two men on for Victorino, but Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

The walk by J-Roll gets the Phils rolling.

Rollins doubled to left with two outs in the second, but Polanco lined to short to leave him stranded.

Marquis set Utley, Howard and Werth down in order in the third.

The game was tied at 2-2 when the Phils hit in the fourth. Ibanez grounded out for the first out, but Victorino reached on an infield single and Ruiz dumped a single into left. Hamels delivered a solid single up the middle and into center, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 3-2 with one out and men on first and third. Rollins hit into a double-play to end the rally.

The fifth started with the game tied again, now at 3-3. Polanco led off with a double. Utley was next and he hit a ball into the outfield behind short. Willingham charged and tried to field on one hop, but the ball went off his glove, which allowed Polanco to score easily and make it 4-3. Howard was next and he blasted a 1-0 pitch out to center for his second home run in two games. 6-3. That was it for Marquis. Former Phil Tyler Walker came in and got Ibanez and Victorino to end the frame.

Walker was back for the sixth and set the Phils down in order. Gload hit for Hamels with one out, fouling out to third.

Polanco led off the seventh with lefty Jesse English on the mound for the Nats. He hit it hard, back up the middle and off the body of English for a single. Utley was next and he walked on five pitches. Howard lined a 3-1 pitch into center, but Morgan took it for the first out. Righty Tyler Clippard came in to pitch to Werth and walked him to load the bases. Ibanez got to hit against the righty and he flew to right for the second out. The ball wasn’t hit very deep, but Polanco tagged and scored to put the Phils up 7-3 with two outs and men on first and third. Victorino flew to center for the third out.

Ruiz singled to right off of Clippard to start the eighth. Dobbs followed, pinch-hitting for Durbin, and popped to the Nats new right fielder Cristian Guzman for the first out. Rollins walked again, taking a high 3-2 pitch to put men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco chopped a ball back to the mound into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

With Matt Capps on the mound for Washington, Utley reached on an error by Desmond to start the ninth. Howard was next and he pounded a double to center, scoring Utley to put the Phils up 8-4. Werth flew to center deep enough to move Howard to third with one out, but Ibanez flew to left for the second and Howard had to hold third. Victorino drew a walk and Ruiz was walked intentionally to load the bases because the Nats knew that the closer Madson would hit for himself. Madson did and struck out to end the frame.

Ibanez can’t bring the runner in from third with one out. Manual bringing in Madson with two outs in the eight means that Washington can put Ruiz on and Madson will hit for himself.

Rollins was 1-for-3 with a double and two more walks. Four walks in the first two games for Rollins.

Polanco is a monster. 2-for-3 with a double last night and three runs scored.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Howard was 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI. He made an error that helped the Nats score an unearned run charged to Hamels.

Werth 0-for-3 and walked twice.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a walk.

Figueroa should be added to the roster today and may take Carpenter’s spot.

Kyle Kendrick makes his first start of the season this afternoon against righty Craig Stammen. Stammen made the Nats with the help of a strong spring training performance in which he threw to a 3.72 ERA and a 1.14 ratio over 19 2/3 innings. He had a 5.11 ERA for Washington in 19 starts in 2009. He has never faced the Phillies.


Addition by addition

The Phillies kicked off their 2010 season with the new guys leading the way to an 11-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Roy Halladay allowed a run over seven strong innings. Third baseman Placido Polanco hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, leading a top three in the order that combined to go 6-for-12 in the game with five walks and seven RBI.

Looking to quibble, one might want suggest a weak Nationals lineup was a big factor in Halladay’s outstanding performance. It’s important to remember, though, that the Nats’ offense wasn’t all that weak in 2009. The Nationals finished ninth in runs scored overall and eighth after the All-Star break. They outscored the Phillies for a big stretch of the second half last year.

Halladay is just good.

If you’re intent to quibble, I’d go with he can’t bunt, or at least he didn’t yesterday, and there’s not a lot that happened in game one that should make you feel much better about Bastardo or Herndon pitching out of the pen. You might find a better time for quibbling if you wait long enough, though.

The Phillies won their first game of 2010 yesterday, beating the Nats 11-1.

Halladay made his debut with the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out nine.

Nyjer Morgan led off the bottom of the first for the Nats with an infield single and stole second before Halladay struck Willie Harris out for the first out. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he doubled to center, scoring Morgan to put the Nats up 1-0. Halladay struck out Adam Dunn for the second out before Josh Willingham drew a walk that put men on first and second for Adam Kennedy. Kennedy lined to short to end the inning.

Ivan Rodriguez led off the bottom the second with a double, but Halladay struck out Ian Desmond and the pitcher John Lannan behind him before getting Morgan to line softly to second for the third out.

Harris flew to left to start the third. Halladay struck out Zimmerman and Dunn behind him.

Halladay started the bottom of the fourth up 5-1. Willingham led off and lined his first pitch into left for a single. Halladay struck Kennedy out swinging for his seventh strikeout of the game. Rodriguez was next and he chopped a ball to Polanco. Polanco started the Phillies first double-play of the season, which was turned with the help of a nice scoop from Howard on Utley’s relay.

Halladay walked Desmond on four pitches to start the fifth, but righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Jesse English and hit a double-play ball to Utley that cleared the bases. Morgan grounded to short to end the inning.

I was pretty sure at the time that walking Desmond on four pitches to start the inning was the beginning of the end for the day for Halladay, but the Gonzalez double-play ball was huge. It’s still one of those things you want to try to avoid, what with the .388 career minor league slugging percentage and whatnot.

Up 7-1, Halladay set the Nats down in order in the sixth. Utley made a nice play moving to his left to field Harris’s ground ball for the first out.

Halladay started the seventh up 11-1. He struck out Willingham for the first out, but Kennedy and Rodriguez singled back-to-back to put men on first and second. Desmond struck out for the second out and switch-hitter Cristian Guzman hit for the pitcher Jason Bergmann. Guzman grounded to first to turn Washington away.

Bastardo started the eighth for the Phils. Morgan led off with a double and Harris followed with a fly ball to right for the first out that moved Morgan to third. Bastardo struck Zimmerman out swinging for the second out, but walked the lefty Dunn on four pitches to put men on first and third. Danys Baez came in to pitch to the righty Willingham and got him to ground to second to leave both men stranded.

Bastardo gets the righty Zimmerman to strike out with one out a man on third, but Baez bailed him out from an unimpressive outing. Bastardo faced four batters and allowed a double and a four-pitch walk, both to lefties. Harris hit his ball well, too.

Herndon made his major league debut in the ninth with a ten-run lead. Kennedy grounded to first for the first out before Rodriguez delivered an opposite field double. Mike Morse, who had entered defensively at first in the top of the inning, followed with a single to left. Ibanez’s throw back to the infield didn’t hit the cutoff man, allowing Morse to take second. Ibanez was charged with an error and the Nats had men on second and third with one out. Herndon got out of it, though, striking out Guzman and getting Willy Tavares, another defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, on a ground ball to short to end the game.

Herndon threw 18 pitches in the game, Bastardo 13 and Baez two. I’d guess they would all be available for game two of the series with an off day today.

The Phillies lineup against lefty John Lannan went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. We’ll have to wait and see if Polanco hits second against righties as well — he surely will on Wednesday coming off of six RBI, but I mean on normal days. Even if he does to start the season, I think we’ll see Victorino moving up in the order and Polanco down before too long. Werth breaks up three lefties in the lineup 3-4-5-6.

Rollins led off the game with a single to left and stole second with Howard at the plate after Polanco and Utley both flew out. Howard hit a ball to short that Desmond didn’t handle for an error. Rollins tried to score, but Dunn’s relay from Desmond nailed him at the plate to end the inning.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second.

Ruiz led off the third with a walk. Rodriguez took Halladay’s bunt in front of the plate and nailed Ruiz at second for the first out. Rollins flew to left and Polanco grounded to short.

No bunt for Halladay in his first chance.

The Phils were still down 1-0 when they started the fourth. Things got better real fast, though. Utley walked. Howard smashed the first pitch of his at-bat way out to right. 2-1. Werth blooped a single to right. Ibanez moved Werth to third with a single that dribbled into right. Victorino was next and he had a real single, a line drive into left that scored Werth to make it 3-1 and moved Ibanez to second with nobody out. Ruiz drove a ball well to right that Harris took on the track, moving the runners up to second and third. Halladay dribbled a ball down the third base line that Lannan fielded and tried to shovel home, but the throwish was wide and Ibanez scored (4-1) as Victorino moved to third. Rollins walked and the bases were loaded. Polanco lined a ball to left. It was well-hit, but right at Willingham who took it for the second out. Victorino tagged and scored to make it 5-1 with Rollins and Halladay holding first and second. Utley was next and he singled into center. Halladay couldn’t score, though, so the bases were loaded for Howard. The Nats brought in lefty Jesse English to make his major league debut and English got Howard on a ground ball to second to set the Phils down.

Halladay doesn’t score from second on the single with two outs. The Nats take the lefty out of the game and bring in another lefty to pitch to Howard with the bases loaded. You might have too if you had seen how hard Howard hit his home run in the inning. It worked, too, and kept the game from being blowner open for a while.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Righty Miguel Batista took over for Washington in the sixth. Ruiz led off with a walk and again Halladay couldn’t bunt him over, this time striking out as he bunted three straight pitches foul. Rollins picked him up, though, lining Batista’s first pitch to him into center for a triple. Ruiz scored and the Phils lead was 6-1. Polanco followed with a single to left. 7-1. Utley walked to put two men on, but Howard and Werth both grounded out to leave both men stranded.

Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Victorino fouled out before Ruiz singled into right, sending Ibanez to second. Halladay hit for himself and hit a ground ball out in front of the plate. Rodriguez took it and threw to first for the second out. With two outs and men on second and third, Rollins got ahead 3-0 and the Nats put him on intentionally to load the bases for Polanco. Right Jason Bergmann came in to pitch to Polanco and Polanco hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a grand slam that put the Phils up 11-1. Utley flew to center for the third out.

Lefty Sean Burnett threw the eighth for Washington. Howard led off with a single and Werth moved him to second with a ground out to the pitcher for the first out. Ibanez struck out, though, and Victorino was called out looking at a pitch that didn’t look like it was in the strike zone.

Ruiz started the ninth with a walk off of righty Brian Bruney. Dobbs hit for Baez and flew out for the first out. Rollins struck out looking at a close 3-2 pitch. Polanco got another hit, a single to center that sent Ruiz to third with two down. Utley walked to load the bases for Howard again. Howard flew to the warning track in center on a 3-2 pitch for the third out.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a triple, two walks and an RBI.

Polanco 3-for-5 with grand slam and six RBI.

Utley was 1-for-3 and walked three times.

Howard 2-for-6 with a two-run homer and eight men left on base.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a bloop single.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and made an error in the field.

Victorino 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Ruiz 1-for-2 and walked three times.

Nine walks in the game for the Phillies. Three for Ruiz, three for Utley and two for Rollins. Rollins walked twice in his first 64 plate appearances in 2009 and walked more than once in a game just four times.

No game today.

Cole Hamels faces righty Jason Marquis on Wednesday night. Marquis had his best year in a while in 2009, going 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA for the Rockies in 33 starts. Hamels had a disappointing 2009 and wasn’t good in spring training either, throwing to a 6.00 ERA. He’s going to be good tomorrow, though. Start to worry if he’s not, but not before.


Joe no

Pedro wasn’t the only Phillies pitcher who was better at preventing extra-base hits with men on base in 2009. Among the players who faced at least 100 batters, all of the pitchers on the chart below were also better at preventing extra-base hits when they pitched with at least one runner on base. The “Bases Empty” and “Men On” columns show how many extra-base hits the pitcher allowed in ’09 per 100 plate appearances and, on average, how many bases those hits went for when they did. The right-most column shows how many times larger their rate of allowing extra-base hits with the bases empty was than their rate of allowing extra-base hits with at least one runner on base.

Bases Empty Men On
XBH per 100 PA TB per
XBH
XBH per
100 PA
TB
per XBH
Empty/On
Chan Ho Park 7.1 2.43 6.7 2.45 1.1
Chad Durbin 8.1 2.86 4.9 2.71 1.7
Scott Eyre 8.3 2.60 4.4 3.33 1.9
J.A. Happ 8.8 2.76 6.4 2.84 1.4
Jamie Moyer 8.8 2.92 8.2 2.96 1.1
Brad Lidge 10.2 2.73 8.1 3.27 1.3
Jack Taschner 10.5 3.17 4.7 2.00 2.3
Rodrigo Lopez 13.4 2.67 11.4 2.00 1.2
Brett Myers 14.6 2.89 7.6 3.33 1.9
Pedro Martinez 17.3 2.78 2.3 2.50 7.5

So, for example, Chan Ho Park allowed 7.1 extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances with the bases empty and 6.7 per 100 plate appearances with at least one man on base. 7.1 over 6.7 is about 1.1. The XBH he allowed with the bases empty went for an average of 2.43 total bases and the XBH he allowed with at least one man on went for an average of 2.45 total bases.

Again, Pedro was the king of not allowing extra-base hits with men on base, allowing them more than seven times more with the bases empty.

Here are the pitchers on the Phillies from last year who were more likely to give up an extra-base hit with men on base than with the bases empty:

Bases Empty Men On
XBH per 100 PA TB per
XBH
XBH per
100 PA
TB
per XBH
On/Empty
Kyle Kendrick 0.0 - 2.2 4.00 -
Clay Condrey 3.0 3.33 8.2 2.83 2.8
Tyler Walker 3.8 3.00 8.3 3.00 2.2
Ryan Madson 5.3 2.89 6.7 2.60 1.3
Antonio Bastardo 7.9 2.80 16.3 2.57 2.1
Joe Blanton 8.1 2.90 8.7 2.90 1.1
Cliff Lee 8.6 2.19 9.3 2.92 1.1
Cole Hamels 8.7 2.73 9.4 2.72 1.1

Bastardo was kind of the anti-Pedro, allowing extra-base hits to more than 16% of the batters he faced with men on base. Bastardo didn’t get a whole lot of chances to face batters with men on base, just 43 plate appearances, but opponents hit 385/442/667 in the chances they did get, which is something he might want to improve upon. Condrey and Walker were among the best pitchers at preventing extra-base hits with the bases empty last year. I’m just saying.

The Phils beat the Pirates yesterday 4-2. Moyer pitched well, allowing two runs on solo homers over six innings to drop his spring ERA to 1.53. Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk, raising his average to .207. Werth and Ibanez combined to go 0-for-4. Werth’s average is down to .167 while Ibanez is hitting .122.

In the problem department, however, the Phillies have bigger fish to fry. They put Joe Blanton on the DL yesterday with a strained oblique — the team’s third starter is expected to miss three to six weeks. Kendrick will take Blanton’s spot in the rotation and Andrew Carpenter is likely to be added to the roster to pitch out of the bullpen.

That’s really not good. Losing Blanton potentially till the middle of May is a big deal, but I think it’s an even bigger problem for a bullpen that was weak to start with.

Josh Fogg seems like he would be a better choice for the roster spot than Carpenter, but Fogg has struggled with a muscle in his side this spring and did not pitch for the Mets in spring training before he was given his release.

This, from The Denver Post’s Troy Renck, suggests the Phils may be interested in Tim Redding. Redding has an ERA over five for the past two seasons and threw to an 8.76 ERA with a 2.03 ratio for the Rockies this spring, allowing 21 hits in 12 1/3 innings.

Brad Lidge and JC Romero are eligible to be activated from the DL on April 10. I would advise against holding your breath.


Wile E Pedro

Flummoxed by how much better Pedro Martinez was at preventing runs than Cole Hamels in 2009 despite the fact that Hamels allowed fewer total bases plus walks per inning pitched, I thought I’d look at those two guys a little more closely.

Here’s the percentage of plate appearances that ended in these results for each of the pitchers in 2009:

BB or HBP 1B 2B 3B HR
Hamels 5.9 16.3 5.4 0.6 2.9
Pedro 6.3 14.7 6.3 0.5 3.7

Hamels gave up a lot more singles than Pedro did. And, much less importantly, triples at a slightly higher rate. Still, given that Hamels gave up walks, doubles and home runs less frequently, that didn’t help me a whole lot.

Neither did this:

% of PA
XBH
TB per XBH
Hamels 9.0 2.73
Pedro 10.5 2.75

So Hamels gave up extra-base hits less frequently. On average, when he did, the extra-base hits went for slightly less bases.

If it’s not an issue about how many, maybe it’s a question of when. In this case I think it was. Look:

% of PA
XBH
TB per XBH
Hamels, bases empty 8.7 2.73
Hamels, men on 9.4 2.72
Pedro, bases empty 17.3 2.78
Pedro, men on 2.3 2.50

Opposing hitters were about as likely to get extra-base hits against Hamels with runners on base or with the bases empty — a little more likely with men on. Batters that faced Pedro with the bases empty had a better than 1-in-6 chance to get an extra-base hit. With men on base, though, Pedro faced 87 hitters and allowed one double and one triple. Hitters posted a 224/294/263 line against him with men on base compared to 310/337/630 with the bases empty. With men on base, batters were more than four times as likely to get an extra-base hit against Hamels than they were against Martinez.

The Blue Jays beat the Phillies 5-2 yesterday. Halladay gave up four runs in the first inning, two of which came on a two-run homer by Aaron Hill. Halladay would pitch just three innings in the game, allowing four runs on five hits to raise his spring ERA to 3.46. Polanco and Francisco hit solo home runs to account for the Phillies scoring. Rollins was 2-for-3 to raise his spring average to .297.

Joe Blanton had a bullpen session yesterday that was cut short by a sore left abdominal muscle. The linked article suggests that the issue could prevent him from starting the third game of the season.

Brad Lidge had a cortisone shot on Tuesday and will not throw again until tomorrow.

The Phillies signed Josh Fogg and Ty Taubenheim to minor league contracts. The 33-year-old righty Fogg pitched well for the Rockies in 2009, mostly in relief, throwing 45 2/3 innings with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. Taubenheim is a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher who has thrown 46 major league innings in his career between the Blue Jays and Pirates.

The article linked above says the Phils will head to Philadelphia after today’s game with the Pirates.


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