Archive for March, 2011

First pitches

The Phils are 3-3 through six official spring games. Over the six games, they’ve scored 23 runs (3.83 runs per game) and allowed 26 (4.33 per game).

Of the 26 runs they’ve allowed, 12 of them have been charged to Justin De Fratus (who has allowed four runs over three innings, Eddie Bonine (four runs over two innings) and Michael Schwimer (four runs in one inning).

Overall, the pitchers have thrown to a 3.83 ERA with a 1.28 ratio and 42 strikeouts in 52 innings. Excluding the three guys above, the Phils have thrown to a 2.44 ERA with a 1.13 ratio and 39 strikeouts in 48 innings.

The 13 pitchers who (in my mind) with the best chance to make the Phils this year who have thrown so far (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Blanton, Kendrick, Worley, Lidge, Zagurski, Baez, Herndon, Madson and Romero) have combined to pitch to a 1.86 ERA with a 1.03 ratio and strike out 19 in 29 innings. Lidge is the guy of that group you might want to start worrying about a little — in two outings he’s allowed four hits, including a home run, and hit a batter over two innings.

Finally, the group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton has combined to throw 15 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and six walks. That’s a 1.80 ERA and an 0.87 ratio. They’ve struck out 11 in 15 innings.

On Wednesday, the Phils lost to Baltimore 6-5. Oswalt got the start and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over two innings. Lidge followed him, giving up a run on three singles. Worley was next, making his second spring appearance, and allowed a run on four singles over two innings. David Herndon and Brian Gordon both threw scoreless frames, while De Fratus and Brian Bass combined to allow three runs on six hits over two innings.

Michael Martinez and John Mayberry both hit solo homers for the Phils in the ninth. Mayberry also doubled in the game.

Hamels was fantastic yesterday as the Phils topped the Red Sox 2-0. He threw four shutout innings, allowing a single to Mike Cameron and a walk. Over six shutout spring innings, he’s allowed two hits and two walks. Cameron’s single off of Hamels was the only Boston hit on the day. Mathieson followed Hamels with two shutout frames before Michael Stutes tossed two scoreless innings of his own. Juan Perez allowed a walk in a scoreless ninth.

Nice outing for Mathieson after he allowed a pair of runs in two innings in his first appearance. Perez has now walked three in his two innings. Stutes has allowed two hits and struck out five in four scoreless frames without walking a batter — the 24-year-old righty threw to a 3.42 ERA with a 1.32 ratio in 53 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A for the Phils last year. In 76 1/3 innings he struck out 79.

Jeff Larish went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in the second that accounted for all the scoring in the game. He’s 1-for-7 with a walk so far. Delwyn Young was 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his spring average to .364. Francisco was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. He’s hitting .375. Brown 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, making him a hide-your-eyes 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts for the spring. Michael Martinez was 0-for-4 and is 1-for-12. Mayberry went 1-for-3 with a walk — he has an impressive 333/375/600 line after 15 at-bats. He also stole his second base of the spring yesterday.

Joe Blanton is expected to start today as the Phils face the Pirates.

No news is no news on Chase Utley. He can take batting practice, but not run or field. The most interesting part of the article may be Amaro’s quotes about the defense of Delwyn Young at second base. He doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic.

The article linked above also says that Brian Schlitter has a tender elbow and that Bastardo could pitch in today’s game.

Wilson Valdez took the wrong bus yesterday.

Carlos Ruiz left camp Wednesday for the birth of his second child and should return today.


Who’s on anywhere?

Here’s today’s guess on who starts the year with the Phillies.

First the hitters. If everybody is healthy, I think these 11 guys are on the team to start the year:

1 Ruiz
2 Schneider
3 Howard
4 Utley
5 Rollins
6 Polanco
7 Ibanez
8 Victorino
9 Francisco
10 Gload
11 Valdez
12
13

I think the last two spots are wide open. At least one of the two, if not both, needs to go to an outfielder, assuming you don’t believe Valdez or Gload can play the outfield. Mayberry and Brown and my guesses to fill those spots at this point. That said, I have no idea. If you told me they were going to go to Robb Quinlann and Delwyn Young (or just about anybody), I wouldn’t feel real comfortable arguing for Mayberry and Brown instead.

Also, I know that’s not how you spell Robb Quinlan’s name. Just amusing myself.

I think we know these ten pitchers will start the year with the Phils, barring injury:

1 Halladay
2 Lee
3 Oswalt
4 Hamels
5 Blanton
6 Madson
7 Lidge
8 Baez
9 Contreras
10 Romero
11
12

For better or worse, I think Baez is here to stay, despite getting hammered in a B-game on Saturday.

Assuming the Phils go with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers, that leaves two spots to fill with relievers with Romero as the sole lefty in the pen so far. I see Kendrick, Worley, Herndon and Bastardo as the front-runners for those spots. Forced to guess now I would go with Kendrick and Bastardo, despite the problems that Bastardo has had with illness and his elbow to start spring training. Kendrick’s probably a much safer guess there than Bastardo.

So here’s the final guess for today. Hitters (13): Ruiz, Schneider, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, Gload, Valdez, Mayberry and Brown. Pitchers (12): Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Madson, Lidge, Baez, Contreras, Romero, Kendrick and Bastardo.

The Phils are 2-2 in spring training after falling to the Tigers 6-2 yesterday afternoon. Lee started the game and allowed two runs over two innings. He hit one batter, walked another and gave up an RBI-triple to Will Rhymes. Kendrick followed Lee with two scoreless innings before Eddie Bonine allowed four runs in the fifth and sixth. Zagurski and Meyer pitched scoreless frames. Baez bounced back from Saturday’s ugliness with a scoreless eighth, although he did allow a two-out double to Robert Brantley.

Second appearance for Zagurski in official games. He’s allowed a hit and a walk in two scoreless frames.

Josh Barfield doubled with one out in the third and came in to score when Rollins followed with a single for the first run for the Phils. Ibanez singled to start the sixth and came in to score on a ground out by Francisco for the other run.

After a 2-for-3 day, Barfield is now 4-for-5 with a double in the early going. Domonic Brown went 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts, making him 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts in official spring action.

Oswalt is expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils play Baltimore.

Utley is hitting, but not running hard.


Right place at the right time

Question for the day is whether or not it makes sense for the Phillies to play Ben Francisco in left field against left-handed pitching instead of Raul Ibanez regularly in 2011.

I think the answer for the day is no. But not because Ibanez is a better hitter against lefties. He’s not. In big part, it’s cause there’s only one of Francisco.

Here’s what Francisco has done against lefties for his career:

PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
354 267 347 460 806

And Ibanez:

PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
1746 269 324 433 757

It makes sense that Francisco would be the better hitter against lefties. And he is. Ibanez has hit for a slightly higher average over his career, but just about everything else favors Francisco. Against lefties, Francisco has struck out less (16.4% of plate appearances compared to 19.8% of plate appearances for Ibanez) and walked more (10.5% for Francisco and 6.9% for Ibanez). Francisco has also been more likely to deliver an extra-base hit — 9.6% of plate appearances for Francisco and 8.5% for Ibanez.

Francisco has just been a better hitter against lefties over his career than Ibanez has.

The problem is that Francisco can only play one of the corner outfield positions at a time and Domonic Brown has 14 rather unimpressive career plate appearances against lefties. The question for Brown in 2011, at least to start the year, isn’t whether he’s good enough to play right field every day. It’s whether or not he’s good enough to play right field against righties. Regardless of the answer to that question, until Brown demonstrates that he’s ready, Francisco needs to be in the lineup against left-handed pitching and I think it’s likely he will be.

Given how things have gone for Brown early this spring training, Francisco might be seeing a whole lot of time in right no matter who is pitching.

The Phils beat the Blue Jays 6-3 yesterday. Halladay, JC Ramirez and Michael Stutes combined to strike out eight in six shutout innings. Juan Perez allowed a run in his inning and Scott Mathieson two in his. Matt Anderson threw a scoreless eighth (this article says he hit 96-mph on the radar guy while doing it). Brown was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, he’s 0-for-9 in official spring action. Francisco 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI — he’s 4-for-7 with three extra-base hits.

On Sunday, Blanton went three shutout innings, but the Phils lost to the Yankees 7-3. Justin De Fratus and Michael Schwimmer both were charged with runs and Brad Lidge gave up a solo homer in the ninth. Francisco was 2-for-4 with a home run and all three of the Phillie RBI.

Saturday they beat the Yanks 5-4. Hamels allowed an unearned run over two innings and Worley threw two scoreless frames. Pete Orr and Josh Barfield handled second for the Phils and combined to go 3-for-5 with an RBI. Francisco was 1-for-1 with a walk and a triple.

Cliff Lee pitches today as the 2-1 Phils face the Tigers.

This says that Bastardo will make his spring debut on Friday.

Chase Utley has tendinitis in his right knee and will play, well, some time.


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