Archive for July, 2011

Rule V mash

Things looked bad early for the Phils last night, but Cliff Lee made it through a shaky start to his start and Michael Martinez delivered another big hit. Down 2-0, Utley doubled in a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. The Phils rallied for two more in the ninth, getting two-out singles from Francisco and Rollins before Martinez cleared the bases with a two-out double.

For Martinez it was his second huge offense game in the last three the Phils have played. He’s hitting 297/357/459 in 37 at-bats in July. In the five games since the All-Star break, he’s driven in more runs than Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Brown and Ruiz combined. The day before the All-Star break, he went 4-for-5 against the Braves.

The Phillies are 60-36 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 last night. They lead the NL East, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Reed Johnson led off the bottom of the first and doubled to right on a 3-2 pitch. Starlin Castro was next and he hit Lee’s first pitch out to left, putting the Cubs up 2-0. Aramis Ramirez was next he doubled to center. Jeff Baker lined to short for the first out before Marlon Byrd hit a ball hard towards third that Martinez snared. Martinez went for first for the second out with Ramirez holding second. Lee struck Alfonso Soriano out looking 1-2 to end the inning with Ramirez at second.

Not a great start for Lee. First three batters he faces deliver extra-base hits, followed by a line drive out and a ball hit hard to third.

Carlos Pena started the second with a double and moved to third when Geovany Soto followed with a single. The pitcher Matt Garza tried to bunt Soto to second but couldn’t and struck out for the first out. Lee struck Johnson and Castro out back-to-back to leave runners on the corners.

Lee threw a 1-2-3 third and a 1-2-3 fourth.

Johnson doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Castro was next and he hit a ball that was deflected by Rollins and went into left for a single that moved Johnson to third. Lee got Ramirez on a popup to short and struck out Baker to keep the Cubs from extending their lead.

No run for Chicago after putting men on first and third with one out.

Carlos Pena singled to right with two outs in the sixth. Lee got Soto on a ground ball to third to leave him at first.

Stutes took over for Lee in the seventh. Johnson singled to left with one out and Castro flew to right behind him for the second. Ramirez moved Johnson to second with a single into center and lefty Blake DeWitt hit for the righty Baker. Stutes got DeWitt on a fly ball to center to leave both runners stranded.

Stutes was back to pitch the eighth with the score tied at 2-2. He got the first two batters before getting behind the lefty Pena 2-0. Pena was walked intentionally and Stutes struck Soto out to leave him at first.

Not a fan of walking Pena or much of anyone with two outs and nobody on base.

Bastardo started the ninth with a 4-2 lead. Lefty Kosuke Fukudome hit for the pitcher Sean Marshall and the lefty Bastardo struck him out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Johnson struck out swinging 0-2 for the second. Castro fouled off fives pitches before striking out looking 1-2 to end the game.

Three scoreless innings for the pen. Stutes threw 37 pitches in the game, Bastardo 18. Neither of them have thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Garza went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Ibanez (7) Brown (8) Ruiz. Victorino returns to the lineup and Mayberry goes back to the bench. Martinez continues to play third and hit second for Polanco. Second is too high for Martinez.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Ibanez and Brown walked back-to-back with two outs in the second and the Phils down 2-0. Ruiz grounded to second to end the frame.

The Phils went in order in the third and again in the fourth.

Brown doubled to left with one out in the fifth, but was left stranded at second when Ruiz fouled out to Pena and Lee struck out swinging.

Martinez walked with one out in the sixth, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Soto. Utley struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out and Howard struck out swinging 3-2 to leave Martinez at third.

Utley and Howard can’t put the ball in play against the righty Garza and the Phils don’t score with one out and a man on third. Martinez turned out to be the hero in the ninth, but did his best to make a run for the Phils out of almost nothing in the sixth.

Brown singled to center with two outs in the seventh and moved to second when Ruiz followed with a single to right. With the righty Garza still pitching for Chicago, Gload hit for Lee and flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Gload is 1-for-his-last-14.

Rollins led off the eighth and singled to right off of Garza. Lefty Sean Marshall took over for Garza and Martinez singled softly to center, moving Rollins to second. Utley was next he hammered a 1-1 pitch to the gap in left-center. The ball landed on the track and bounced off the wall. Both runners scored and the game was tied at 2-2 with nobody out and Utley on second. Utley stole third as Howard struck out swinging for the first out. Victorino was next and chopped a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw home, where Soto tagged out a sliding Utley on a close play for the second out. Ibanez struck out swinging to leave Victorino at first.

Third strikeout of the game for Howard.

With the lefty Marshall on the mound, Mayberry hit for brown and grounded to short to start the eighth. Ruiz struck out swinging for the second out. Francisco hit for Stutes and singled to center. Rollins was next and he reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Ramirez at third, putting men on first and second for Martinez. Martinez flared an 0-1 pitch into right that dropped inside the line. Both runners scored, putting the Phils up 4-2. Martinez was caught be between second and third and was tagged out sliding into third for the third out.

Manuel takes Brown out of the game with the score tied, letting Mayberry hit for him against the lefty. Francisco delivers a big pinch-hit single that keeps the frame alive for Rollins to single and Martinez to double and put the Phils ahead.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with two singles. He’s 8-for-his-last-18 and hitting 365/412/492 in July.

Martinez was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a stolen base and two RBI.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He’s 2-for-his-last-18.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. 1-for-his-last-19.

Victorino 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk.

Brown 2-for-2 with a double and a walk and removed for a pinch-hitter against a lefty in a tie game. He’s 2-for-his-last-12. I think the Phils should be considering both Mayberry and Francisco as potential platoon partners for Brown in right with Victorino back.

Ruiz was 1-for-4. He’s hitting 341/442/477 so far in July.

Worley (5-1, 2.15) faces righty Ryan Dempster (7-6, 4.68) this afternoon. Dempster threw to a 6.32 ERA in his first 13 starts of the year, but has gone 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.10 ratio over his last seven outings. Worley has allowed one run or less in seven of the nine starts he has made for the Phillies this season.

This suggests that Oswalt could return in early August if things continue to go well.

It’s not the heat, it’s . . . okay, let’s hope it’s the heat

The Phils got pounded by the Cubs last night, losing 6-1 in a game that was most remarkable for the circumstances surrounding the departure of Roy Halladay. Halladay left in the fifth inning looking very hot and not at all well. Word is that Halladay expects to make his next start.

The bullpen also scuffled in the game. Coming off of a series in which the relievers combined to allow nine runs in 9 1/3 innings, Carpenter and Herndon combined to surrender three runs in four innings in relief of Halladay. Going back to June 23 (when the pen allowed eight runs in six innings to the Cardinals), the bullpen has thrown to a 6.46 ERA and a 1.54 ratio over the last 20 games for the Phillies. In four of those 20 games the pen has allowed at least four runs in a game and in two others they allowed three. In the 75 games before the June 23 game, the bullpen threw to a 2.80 ERA and a 1.29 ratio.

The Phillies are 59-36 on the year after losing to the Chicago Cubs 6-1 last night. They are in first place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves. Atlanta is 44-24 since the end of April while the Phils have gone 41-28.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out one.

He got the first two batters to start the bottom of the first before Aramis Ramirez hit the first pitch he saw out to left center, putting the Cubs on top 1-0. Carlos Pena followed that with a single to center, but Halladay got Marlon Bryd to fly to center to end the inning.

He got three ground balls as he set Chicago down in order in the second.

The pitcher Rodrigo Lopez led off the third with a single to right and Kosuke Fukudome walked behind him. Starlin Castro followed that with a single to left, which loaded the bases for Ramirez. Ramirez flew to right for the first out, deep enough for Lopez to tag and score and Fukudome to take third. 2-0 with men on first and third. Pena singled to right and Fukudome scored. 3-0 with men on first and second. Halladay got Byrd and Alfonso Soriano on a pair of fly balls to prevent further damage.

It was 3-1 when Halladay started the fourth. Darwin Barney singled with one out and Lopez bunted him to second, but Halladay got Fukudome to fly to Brown in right to leave Barney stranded.

Castro started the fifth with a single to center and Halladay didn’t look real good after the at-bat, bent over with his hands on his knees. He left the game and Carpenter took over to pitch to Ramirez. Ramirez flew to center for the first out before Castro stole second. Carpenter walked Pena, putting men on first and second. Castro tried to steal third and thrown out for the second out. Byrd followed that with a ball off the glove of Martinez and into left for a single that moved Castro up to second. Soriano grounded to second to end the inning.

The caught stealing by Castro costs the Cubs a run. Close play at third, but I think he was out. Nice throw by Ruiz.

Carpenter walked Koyie Hill to start the sixth and Hill stole second before Barney doubled off the wall in left. Hill scored and Chicago led 4-1. Lopez bunted Barney to third before Fukudome doubled down the right field line, scoring Barney to make it 5-1. Carpenter got Castro on a line drive to Rollins for the second out and struck out Ramirez to end the inning with Fukudome stranded.

Carpenter goes two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks to raise his ERA on the year to 7.11. He has been charged with at least one run in three of his four appearances on the year.

Herndon started the seventh and Pena homered on a 3-1 pitch to put Chicago up 6-1. Byrd followed that with a double on a ball that was deflected by Brown in right, but Herndon struck out Soriano and Hill and got Barney on a fly ball to center to leave Byrd stranded.

Herndon set the Cubs down in order in the eighth.

Two innings for Herndon, allowing a run on two hits and no walks. He’s had four bad outings in a row going back to June 30. Over those four appearances, he’s gone 6 1/3 innings and been charged with six runs on 13 hits. True to form he hasn’t walked anyone. In three of the four outings he’s allowed a home run and opponents are slugging .781 against him.

Carpenter and Herndon both threw 31 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Rodrigo Lopez went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Mayberry. Martinez plays third with Polanco on the DL and Mayberry continues to handle center for Victorino.

The Phils went in order in the top of the first.

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

It was 3-0 when Rollins led off the fourth and hit a 1-0 pitch from Lopez out to right for his ninth home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-1. Martinez and Utley went down behind him before Howard hit a ball that Barney didn’t handle for an error. Ibanez went down on a popup that Barney handled in foul territory to leave Howard at first.

Mayberry doubled to center with two outs in the fifth, but Halladay struck out behind him.

Martinez singled with one out in the sixth and moved to second when Utley was hit by a pitch. Howard got an extra chance when Soriano dropped a foul ball in left for an error, but flew to Byrd for the second out. Ibanez struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Ruiz singled to start the seventh with the Phils down 5-1, but Brown grounded into a double-play behind him. Mayberry followed that with a single into center, putting a man on first for Carpenter with two outs. With the righty Lopez still pitching for the Cubs, Orr hit for Carpenter and Chicago brought lefty James Russell in to pitch to him. Francisco hit for Orr and grounded to second to set the Phils down.

Francisco is 4-for-his-last-14 with three doubles. He’s still doing nothing against lefties for the season, having hit 198/301/309 against them so far. His numbers against right-handed pitching aren’t so far off his career levels — he’s hitting 242/351/395 against righties compare to a career mark of 259/327/434.

Down 6-1, the Phils went in order in the eighth.

Ruiz and Brown walked back-to-back with two outs in the ninth, but Mayberry struck out swinging 3-2 to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a home run. He’s hitting 362/413/500 in 63 plate appearances in July so far. It wasn’t a factor last night, but he’s been miserable against left-handed pitching this year, hitting 232/267/295.

Martinez was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Utley 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch. He’s 1-for-his-last-14 and 4-for-his-last-28. 250/337/341 over his last 102 plate appearances.

Howard 0-for-4 to drop his average to .249. 1-for-his-last-15. 5-for-his-last-33 with five singles. 203/306/297 over his last 85 plate appearances.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 357/372/667 in 43 plate appearances over his last nine games, raising his line on the year from 231/279/386 to 246/290/421.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 8-for-his-last-19 with a double, a home run and four walks.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-10.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double. He’s played eight full games since July 6, hitting 286/306/629 (10-for-35 with six doubles, two home runs, a walk and 12 RBI).

Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.82) faces righty Matt Garza (4-7, 3.97) tonight. Two of Garza’s last three starts have been very good. On July 2 he threw a complete game against the White Sox, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. In his most recent start he threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins. In between he was hammered by the Nats, charged with seven runs in two innings. In nine starts at home this year he’s 3-3 with a 2.88 ERA. Lee has had one bad start since the beginning of June, which came on July 3 when he allowed seven runs to the Blue Jays in 7 1/3 innings. In his other six starts since the end of May, Lee has gone 5-0 and allowed two earned runs in 50 innings (0.36 ERA with an 0.68 ratio).

The Phils are expected to activate Victorino for tonight’s game. Orr was sent to Triple-A.

The unusual suspects

The Phils capitalized on some fantastic individual performances this weekend as they took two of three for the Mets. Mayberry and Martinez had huge games with the bats and Kendrick held New York to a run over seven innings yesterday as the Phils took the rubber game.

The bullpen was notably unspectacular in the set. Called on to pitch 9 1/3 innings over the three games, the pen allowed nine runs on 13 hits and six walks, throwing to an 8.68 ERA with a 2.04 ratio.

On Friday, John Mayberry drove in five runs and Vance Worley pitched well as the Phils won 7-2. Mayberry’s two-run single in the top of the second put the Phils up 2-0 and was followed by a ground out by Worley that gave the Phils another run. Ibanez homered to right in the sixth to make it 4-0. Worley gave up two walks and a single in the sixth as the Mets cut the lead to 4-1 and Perez got the last two outs to end the inning. Mayberry hit a three-run double in the eight to make it 7-1. Carlos Beltran homered off of Stutes in the bottom of the eighth.

The Mets clubbed Hamels on Saturday, scoring seven runs charged to him in his 4 1/3 innings for the game. They scored a run on two hits in the first and two more in the third on two hits and two walks. Hamels walked two more in the fourth as New York scored again, upping their lead to 4-0. Daniel Murphy led off the fifth with a home run off of Hamels, and Nick Evans followed that with an RBI-triple two batters later that made it 6-0. Herndon took over for Hamels and Evans came in to score on a sac fly by Angel Pagan to extend the lead to 7-0. Singles by Ibanez, Ruiz and Valdez to start the inning helped the Phils score two in the seventh, but Baez got blasted for four runs in a bottom of the seventh that featured a three-run homer by Scott Hairston.

Yesterday the Phils got a great start by Kendrick and a monster game from Michael Martinez in an 8-5 win.

The Phillies are 59-35 on the year after beating the Mets 8-5 last night. The Phils take two of three in the series and are in first place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Braves.

Kendrick got the start and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He didn’t strike anybody out and dropped his ERA on the year to 3.44.

He started the bottom of the first up 1-0. With two outs he allowed back-to-back singles to Willie Harris and Daniel Murphy. It brought Jason Bay to the plate with men on first and third. Bay grounded to short to leave both men stranded.

Lucas Duda doubled to start the second, but Kendrick got the next three hitters behind him.

He walked Pagan to start the third, but got Justin Turner to hit into a double-play behind him. Harris followed that with a double and Murphy walked behind Harris, but Kendrick got Bay on a ground ball to short again, leaving the runners stranded at second and third.

He threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He was up 4-0 when he started the fifth. He walked pinch-hitter Jason Pridie to start the frame, but got the next three hitters behind him.

He set the Mets down in order in the sixth.

He was up 5-0 when he started the seventh. Ronny Paulino led off with a double to center. Ruben Tejada popped to Utley for the first out behind him before the righty Hairston hit for the pitcher Tim Byrdak and singled to left, scoring Paulino to make it 5-1. Kendrick got the next two to end the inning.

Perez started the eighth with the Phils up 8-1 and walked the bases loaded, walking Harris, Murphy and then Bay on four pitches. Madson took over for him and got Duda to hit into a double-play, with Harris scoring to make it 8-2 with two outs and a man on third for Paulino. Paulino singled to center, scoring Murphy. 8-3. Madson hit Tejada with a 2-2 pitch, putting men on first and second. Righty Nick Evans hit for the pitcher Ryota Igarashi and Madson walked him, loading the bases for Pagan. Pagan singled to right and everyone moved up a base. 8-4 with the bases still loaded for righty Justin Turner. Bastardo came in to pitch to Turner and got him swinging 2-2 to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Miserable outings for Perez and Madson and a big strikeout for Bastardo. Perez walked the only three batters he faced. Madson got the big double-play, but then allowed the next four men to reach on single, hit-by-pitch, walk, single.

Bastardo was back for the ninth. He allowed a one-out double to Murphy, but got bay on a foul ball handled by Howard for the second out. Duda was next and he tripled to center, scoring Murphy to make it 8-5 with a man on third for Paulino. Paulino hit a ground ball in the hole between third and short. Martinez made a nice play, moving to his left to field, then spinning and making a strong throw to first to get Paulino and end the game.

The pen allows four runs in two innings in the game a day after Baez gets hammered for four runs in the seventh. Stutes allowed the home run to Beltran in game one. So not a good series for the pen.

Bastardo threw 31 pitches in the game. Madson 22 and Perez 15. None of those guys have thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mike Pelfrey went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Brown (7) Mayberry (8) Schneider. Martinez starts at third in place of Polanco while Mayberry plays center for the sidelined Victorino. Schneider catches the day game with Ruiz on the bench.

Utley walked with two outs in the first and stole second. Howard was next and singled to right, scoring Utley to put the Phils up 1-0. Ibanez grounded to the pitcher Pelfrey for the third out.

No run for the Phils in the inning without the stolen base by Utley ahead of Howard’s single.

Schneider singled to center with two outs in the second and moved to second when Kendrick followed with a single. Rollins flew to right to leave the runners at first and second.

The Phils went in order in the third. Ibanez and Brown struck out as they went in order in the fourth.

In the fifth, Kendrick and Rollins singled back-to-back with one out. It put men on first and second for Martinez and Martinez hit a 2-0 pitch out to right for his first career home run, putting the Phils up 4-0. Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Huge hit for Martinez. Second hit in five innings for Kendrick.

Ibanez started the sixth with a single. Brown popped out behind him and Mayberry hit into a double-play.

Schneider started the seventh with a single and Kendrick bunted him to second with the first out. Rollins singled to right, moving Schneider to third. Martinez flew to left deep enough for Schneider to tag and score, putting the Phils up 5-0. Utley flew to right for the third out.

Up 5-1, Howard started the eighth with a fly ball to left that Bay just didn’t catch for an error that left Howard safe at first. Ibanez popped to Duda for the first out before Brown walked. Mayberry popped to a sliding Duda for the second out before a walk to Schneider loaded the bases. With the righty Pedro Beato on the mound for New York, Gload hit for Kendrick and walked, forcing in Howard. 6-1. Rollins followed that with a single to right that plated Brown and Schneider. 8-1. Martinez struck out swinging to leave the runners at first and third.

Howard walked with one out in the ninth and the lead cut to 8-4. A single by Ibanez pushed Howard to second, but Brown and Mayberry both struck out to leave both men stranded.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with two RBI in the game. He was 5-for-14 in the series with two RBI and is hitting 271/341/382 for the year.

Martinez 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and a sac fly. He was 1-for-10 with a walk, a home run and five RBI in the set. 215/257/301 for the year.

Utley 0-for-4. 1-for-11 with a double and three walks in the series. He’s hitting 268/364/423 for the year.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 1-for-11 with a single, a walk and an RBI in the series. 251/349/463.

Ibanez 2-for-5. 6-for-13 with a home run in the series. 333/347/625 in July and 249/293/426 for the year.

Brown 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. 0-for-7 with two walks and three strikeouts in the series. 240/322/390 for the season.

Mayberry 0-for-5 and left five men on base. 2-for-13 with a double and five RBI in the set. 235/311/419 on the season.

Schneider 2-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-4 with a walk in the series. 185/243/308 for the season.

Halladay (11-3, 2.25) faces righty Rodrigo Lopez (1-2, 4.02) tonight in Chicago. Lopez has been good over his last two starts, allowing three runs in 13 innings. Righties are on-basing .233 against Halladay for the year.

Victorino is expected to be activated for Tuesday’s game.

Wait ’til this year

Remember this? In 2010, the Phillies walked just 416 batters for the season, which was the fewest number of walks issued by an NL team since the Mets walked 401 in 1995. So far in 2011, the Phils have walked 226 batters in 91 games — that puts them on a pace to better their 2010 mark with just 402 walks.

The bullpen hasn’t been good at preventing walks at all. The pen has walked about 4.06 batters per nine innings pitched. Only two NL teams are allowing walks at a higher rate — the Chicago pen has walked 4.35 hitters per nine innings and the Reds relievers have walked 4.29. The NL average for relievers this year is 3.63.

So the relievers aren’t good at preventing walks. You know who have been, though? Halladay, Hamels and Lee.

Hamels and Lee
412 2/3 70 1.53
Rest of team 418 2/3 156 3.35

Two things are important there. One is that Halladay, Hamels and Lee don’t walk anyone, but the other is that they have thrown a huge number of innings for the Phils this year, about 49.6% of the innings that the team has pitched.

The rest of the team hasn’t been particularly outstanding at preventing walks, allowing 3.35 walks per nine. That’s higher than the average rate for the NL overall, which is 3.16 for the year so far in 2011. That’s misleading in this case, though, cause the walk rate is much better for starters overall than it is for relievers and most of the starting inning for the Phils in this example are taken up by Halladay, Hamels and Lee. So far in 2011, the average starter is walking 2.93 batters per nine. As mentioned above, the average reliever is walking 3.63 batters per nine.

Halladay has been the star of the team in both years in terms of preventing walks, leading the NL in fewest walks per nine innings in 2010 and so far in 2011. Hamels had a much higher walk rate in 2010 than he did in 2010, so he wasn’t a whole lot of help. Moyer was, however, walking just 20 batters in 111 2/3 innings in 2010.

Halladay and Hamels ’10 459 1/3 91 1.78
Not Halladay/Hamels ’10 997 325 2.93
Halladay and Moyer ’10 362 1/3 50 1.24
Not Halladay/Moyer ’10 1094 366 3.01

The Phillies have added another elite non-walker in 2011 in Lee — he’s seventh so far in the NL in BB/9 behind Halladay (1st) and Hamels (3rd). That’s why the Phils are on pace to walk even fewer in 2011 than they did in 2010, but they are not getting the kind of support up and down the pitching staff that they did in 2010 in terms of preventing walks in 2011.

Madson pitched a scoreless inning for Clearwater last night.

And tune in tomorrow and I’ll explain why it’s really great news that Martinez is on-basing .012 or whatever

Except literally.

Just about everything looks fantastic about Cole Hamels’s numbers for this year. He’s allowing fewer hits and walks than he has for his career and has cut his home run rate by more than half. Coming into the year he had allowed home runs to about 3.1% (122 homers to 3,884 batters) of the batters he faced and so far this year he’s allowed home runs to about 1.4% of the batters he’s faced (seven to 513 batters).

And then there’s this:

Year IP K K/9
2006-2010 945 1/3 897 8.54
2011 132 121 8.25

But is his strikeout rate really worse? Well, the number of hitters he’s striking out per nine innings is definitely down. But there’s a problem with that, and it has more to do with strikeouts per nine innings (or anything per nine innings) than it does with Cole Hamels. In 2011, the number of strikeouts he’s recording per nine innings is down, but the likelihood he will strikeout a batter is up. Here’s the percentage of batters he’s faced in the same time periods that he’s struck out:

Year Batters faced K % K
2006-2010 3,884 897 23.1
2011 513 121 23.6

The issue, of course, is that he’s facing fewer batters per inning in 2011. Here are the number of batters he’s faced per inning over his career:

Year IP Batters faced Batters faced per inning
2011 132 513 3.89
2010 208 2/3 856 4.10
2009 193 2/3 814 4.20
2008 227 1/3 913 4.02
2007 183 1/3 743 4.05
2006 132 1/3 558 4.22

For the first time in his career, Hamels is facing less than four batters per inning. And that’s good news for Hamels, for the Phillies and just about everything except the opposition and his strikeouts per nine innings number.

The NL won the All-Star game, topping the AL 5-1. Halladay threw two innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Lee went 1 2/3 and was charged with a run on three hits, including a solo homer by Adrian Gonzalez.

The Mets traded Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers.

This says that Lidge hopes to be back for the series with the Padres that starts July 22. After a scoreless inning with Reading on Monday, Lidge has now allowed a run on five hits and no walks over four innings in four appearances between Lakewood and Reading.

Well, well, well

Everything looks better when you win, but the numbers for the runs you’ve scored and allowed look a whole lot better. The Phillies have scored about 4.22 runs per game this year, but about 5.53 in games they’ve won and just 2.03 in the games they’ve lost.

It’s true of preventing runs, too. The Phils have allowed about 3.24 runs per game on average — about 2.09 in the games they won and about 5.18 in the games they lost.

Here’s what the starters and pen have done in the games the Phils won and lost so far this year:

In wins In losses
IP per Game ERA Ratio IP per Game ERA Ratio
Starters 7.12 2.02 0.96 5.66 4.87 1.43
Relievers 2.12 1.79 0.98 3.29 4.82 1.65

As good as those numbers are, the Phillies won some games in the first half without great or even good starting pitching. For example, on April 6, Blanton allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in his start, but the Phils won anyway, topping the Mets 10-7. In the same way, good starting pitching didn’t guarantee a win for the Phils in the first half. On May 10 and May 15, Halladay threw two complete games, allowing four earned runs in sixteen innings between the starts and the Phils lost both of them. And, of course, you can win with bad relief or lose with good relief. Opening day the pen allowed three runs in three innings in relief of Halladay and the Phils hung on to win 5-4 anyway. Three days later, the bullpen allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings and the Phils lost by six runs thanks to a miserable start by Hamels.

But, as the numbers above show, if you look at enough games the numbers for the games you won are a whole lot better than the numbers for the games you lost.

It did make me wonder, though, about the Phillies record so far this year based on how well their starters and relievers have pitched.

The Phils have played 91 games so far this year. The bullpen has pitched in 80 of them — all but the 11 complete games. The Phils went 9-2 in the 11 games where they got complete games, losing Halladay’s starts mentioned above on May 10 and May 15.

For starting pitchers, we have the quality start stat and know that the Phillies have gone 48-13 in their 61 quality starts so far this year. The table below also shows the Phillies record so far in games where either their starter or relievers have pitched well — pitching well in this case defined as throwing to both an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio of under 1.30 for that game.

G QS W-L Games pitched
well (ERA < 4.00 and ratio < 1.30)
W-L in those
Starters 91 61 48-13 55 43-12
Relievers 80 - - 41 32-9

Again defining pitching well as an outing where the starter threw to both an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio of under 1.30 or all the relievers who pitched in the game combined to do the same, here are the records for the Phillies for this year:

Record WPCT
SP pitched well 43-12 .782
SP didn’t pitch well 14-22 .389
Bullpen didn’t pitch 9-2 .819
Bullpen pitched well 32-9 .780
Pen didn’t pitch well 16-23 .410
Pen and SP both not good 2-14 .125
Pen and SP both good 20-1 .952
SP good but pen not 23-11 .676
Pen good but SP not 12-8 .600

Defining pitching well as throwing to an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio under 1.30 is far from ideal. For example, looking at the 2-14 record when both the starters and relievers pitched badly, one of the two wins came on May 27 against the Mets. On that day, Oswalt allowed just one earned run in his six innings, but because he allowed nine hits his ratio is above 1.30 and he doesn’t go into the pitched well category.

Finally, using that definition of pitching well, things worked out well for the Phils in the first half in games where both the starters and relievers pitched well. They went 20-1, with the only loss coming against Seattle on June 19 — in that game Hamels allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings and the pen added 1 2/3 scoreless, but the Phils didn’t score and lost 2-0.

Halladay will start tonight’s All-Star game.

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