Archive for June, 2012

Papelbon strongly urged to stop talking about who should be sent back to Triple-A, mostly cause it makes about half the guys on the team really, really nervous

The Phils lost their third straight last night, falling to the Dodgers 4-3. Three games after topping out at a season-high three games over .500, the Phillies are back even for the year and remain in last place in the NL East.

Vance Worley returned to the rotation and didn’t pitch well, allowing three runs and needing 80 pitches to get through his four innings. The bullpen was fantastic after that, though, as Savery and Bastardo combined to toss four shutout innings. Papelbon came on in the ninth in a 3-3 game and allowed a leadoff triple, which was followed by a single passed a drawn in infield that plated the run that would decide the game.

The ninth inning triple came off the bat of Dee Gordon, a pitch after Papelbon thought he had struck Gordon out looking on a pretty 1-2 offering near the inside of the plate. About a month after Hamels let fly with what almost everyone assumed would be the hands-down winner of the team’s most ill-advised comments of the year award, Papelbon went out of his way to put himself in contention after the game (although given their current pace and the fact there are 106 games left, who knows what might happen). “I thought he sucked. It’s that simple.” Papelbon said of the home plate ump in a long tirade, going on to add, “He probably needs to go back to Triple-A.”

No question about it, the umpiring, and particularly the balls and strikes calls were bad last night. But anyone who watched the game knew that and it’s twice in 30 days (May 6 was the Bryce Harper game) that a Phillies pitcher made news with their post-game comments. It’s not hard to remember that when the Phils were really good, and it wasn’t long ago, that didn’t happen much at all and it certainly didn’t happen twice in 30 days. You also didn’t have to spend a lot of time wondering if there was anyone in charge of the team. Assuming there is, let’s hope they know there’s a whole lot more wrong with the Phillies than a ball two called with the bases empty on pitch the umpire might have gotten right.

The Phillies are 28-28 on the year after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 last night. They have lost three in a row.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four. He has allowed 11 runs in 16 innings over his last three starts, puffing his ERA for the season from 1.97 to 3.38.

Elian Herrera walked with one out in the top of the first and stole second before Andre Ethier walked, putting runners on first and second for Juan Rivera. Rivera hit a 2-2 pitch from Worley into right for a single, scoring Herrera to put the Dodgers up 1-0 and moving Ethier up to third. With men on the corners, Bobby Abreu singled to left, scoring Ethier (2-0) and moving Rivera to second. Worley struck AJ Ellis out swinging for the second out before the runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. Jerry Hairston grounded to second to leave them both stranded.

Long, long inning for Worley in which several very close or good pitches were called balls by the home plate umpire. Worley threw 32 pitches in the inning, which had an enormous impact in the game.

Adam Kennedy blooped a double to left to start the second and pitcher Clayton Kershaw bunted him to third with the first out. Dee Gordon was next and reached on an infield single that scored Kennedy, making it 3-0. Ruiz threw Gordon out trying to steal second before Worley struck Herrera out to end the frame.

Gordon stole second easily, but came off the bag after he had and Rollins applied the tag for the second out.

Worley struck out Abreu setting LA down in order in the third.

He started the fourth with the game tied at 3-3. Hairston singled with one out and moved up to second on a ground out by Kennedy. Worley walked Kershaw in a nine-pitch at-bat, putting men on first and second for Gordon. Gordon lined a ball to right, but Pence made a nice diving play to retire the side.

You want to avoid walking the pitcher when you can, but a nice play from Pence helps Worley keep the Dodgers off the board in the frame. Worley had thrown 80 pitches through four innings.

Savery started the fifth and set LA down on three ground balls.

He was back to strike out the side in the sixth, getting Abreu swinging ahead of Ellis and Hairston both looking.

Kennedy bunted for a single off of Savery to start the seventh and Kershaw bunted him to second with the first out. Savery hit Gordon, putting runners on first and second for the switch-hitter Herrera. Bastardo came in to pitch to Herrera and struck him out swinging. Ethier popped to Polanco in foul territory to leave both runners stranded.

Very nice outing for Savery, who goes 2 1/3 scoreless innings after Worley has to leave early.

Bastardo was back to start the eighth. He struck Rivera out for the first out before Abreu singled to left. Alex Castellanos ran for Abreu at first and took second on a wild pitch before Bastardo hit Ellis, putting runners on first and second with one down. Bastardo struck out Hairston for the second out and righty Ivan DeJesus hit for Kennedy. DeJesus hit a ball to third that Polanco didn’t handle for an error, loading the bases for Kershaw. Lefty James Loney hit for Kershaw and Bastardo got him on a ground ball to first to end the frame with the bases loaded.

LA calls on the lefty Loney to hit against Bastardo with the bases loaded with righty backup catcher Matt Treanor on the bench.

Bastardo strikes out three in 1 2/3 innings in his appearance. Two of his last four outings haven’t been great those as he’s allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings in those outings (5.79 ERA and a 1.71 ratio).

Papelbon started the ninth with the game still tied. Dee Gordon led off and Papelbon thought he had struck him out on a 1-2 pitch that was looked pretty good but was called a ball. Gordon ripped the next pitch from Papelbon into right-center for a triple. Herrera was next with the infield in and squirted a ball between short and third and into left for a single, scoring Gordon to put LA up 4-3. Papelbon got the next three to end the frame.

The 1-2 pitch to Gordon was probably a strike. It was close, though. It started out inside and may have tailed back away from Gordon to catch the plate. It wasn’t like the pitch was right down the middle and the ump just missed it completely, though. I thought it was a ball watching it live and it looked better on the replay.

Papelbon’s ERA rose to 2.31 with the outing. He came in to the game having allowed one run over 11 appearances since May 7.

Overall the pen went five innings, allowing one run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight. Savery threw 33 pitches in the game, Bastardo 26 and Papelbon 17.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Clayton Kershaw went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Wigginton (7) Mayberry (8) Galvis. Ruiz hits cleanup for the seventh time this season. Mayberry in left and Wigginton at first.

Down 2-0, the Phillies went in order in bottom of the first. Abreu made a nice sliding catch in left on a ball hit by Rollins for the first out.

Down 3-0, they went in order in the second.

Mayberry lined a double to left to start the third and came around to score when Galvis followed with a single, cutting the lead to 3-1. Worley bunted Galvis to second with the first out before Rollins popped to short for the second. Polanco hit Kershaw’s first pitch out to left for a two-run homer, tying the game at 3-3. Pence went down on a foul ball handled by the catcher to end the inning.

Ruiz started the fourth with a single into center, but Victorino and Wigginton both struck out behind him. Mayberry was next with two down and a man on first and he hit a ball to third. Kennedy handled it, but lost the ball transferring it to make the throw. Mayberry was safe on the error and the Phils had men on first and second. Galvis popped to short to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins tripled with one out in the fifth. Polanco was next and he hit a ball hard, but right at short. Gordon handled it and threw home, where Rollins was tagged out for the second out. Pence went down on a ball handled by the pitcher Kershaw to end the inning.

No run for the Phils after putting a runner on third with one out. Polanco hit the ball hard, just into an out.

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

Galvis singled to left with one out in the seventh. Luna, who had been double-switch into the game in the top of the inning with Bastardo, was next and he struck out swinging for the second out. Rollins and Polanco followed the strikeout with back-to-back singles, loading the bases for Pence. Pence grounded out to second to leave them loaded.

Righty Ronald Belisario got Ruiz and Victorino to start the eighth. Fontenot hit for Bastardo and smashed a ball back up the middle, but it went off of Belisario’s body. The pitcher picked the ball up and threw to first, retiring Fontenot and the Phillies.

Fontenot hit the ball really hard.

The Phillies were down 4-3 when they hit in the bottom of the ninth with righty Kenley Jensen on the mound for LA. Mayberry struck out swinging for the first out. Galvis was next and lined a ball into center, where Herrera robbed him of a hit with a diving play for the second out. Luna struck out swinging 3-2 to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a triple. 5-for-18 with two triples so far in June. His last walk came on May 20 and he’s on-basing .292 for the season.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 8-for-16 to start June.

Pence 0-for-4 and left four men on base. Made a nice catch in the fourth for the third out to keep runs off the board. 0-for-his-last-8.

Ruiz was 1-for-4.

Victorino 0-for-4. 2-for-11 to start June. He hit 228/276/380 in April and 267/348/431 in May.

Wigginton 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 1-for-his-last-10 with four strikeouts. Luna took over for him at first late in the game and had two at-bats, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

Mayberry was 1-for-4 with a double. 1-for-8 so far for the month.

Galvis 2-for-4 with an RBI. He also had another hit taken away by Herrera in the ninth. He has one walk since May 15.

Lee (0-2, 3.00) faces righty Chad Billingsley (2-4, 4.09) tonight. Lee has a 4.95 ERA over his last three starts. Over those starts opponents have hit .304 against him. Billingsley had a great April, going 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA and an 0.95 ratio, but threw to a 5.52 ERA in six starts in May. He walked 18 hitters in 31 innings in May.

Didn’t you used to be Carlos Zambrano?

Game three of the set with the Marlins didn’t have a lot to recommend it, but the guy who played the Carlos Zambrano character sure looked good. Zambrano held the Phils to a run on four hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings as the Marlins won 5-1 to take the game and the series.

If Zambrano is looking a little out of character these days with his 2.81 ERA for the year, Joe Blanton has become uncomfortably consistent in his recent starts. Blanton was good early yesterday, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers through six innings, but was charged with three runs in the top of the seventh as the Marlins pulled away.

Over his last four starts, Blanton has thrown to a 10.98 ERA and allowed 38 hits, including ten home runs, over 19 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .389 against him in those games.

The Phillies are 28-27 on the year after falling to the Miami Marlins 5-1 yesterday. The Marlins take the series two games to one. The Phillies have lost three of their last five, but are also 7-4 over their last 11 games. After winning game one of the series, the Phillies were three games over .500 for the first time this season.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out six.

He set the Marlins down in order in top of the first.

Greg Dobbs reached on an infield singled on a ball deflected by Blanton with one out in the second. Blanton struck out Logan Morrison and John Buck to leave him at first.

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano hit the first pitch from Blanton out to left center with one out in the third, putting Miami up 1-0. Blanton got the next two hitters behind him.

Hanley Ramirez hit an 0-2 pitch out to left to start the fourth, making it 2-0. Blanton got Giancarlo Stanton on a ground ball to second before Dobbs singled to left, but Blanton got the next two hitters behind Dobbs to turn the Fish away.

Jose Reyes and Omar Infante singled back-to-back with two outs in the fifth, putting runners on first and third for Ramirez. Blanton struck him out swinging 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Blanton set the Marlins down in order in the sixth.

Things went bad in the seventh. He walked the leadoff man Buck on a 3-2 pitch and Chris Coghlan singled behind Buck, putting men on first and second. Zambrano bunted, but the Phils didn’t get an out and the bases were loaded for Reyes. Reyes doubled to the gap in right center, scoring Buck and Coghlan and putting Miami up 4-0 with runners on second and third and nobody out. Qualls came in to pitch to the righty Infante and got him on a ground ball to second with the runners holding for the first out. It brought Ramirez to the plate and Zambrano scored from third on a wild pitch (5-0) and Reyes moved up to third before Ramirez hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and came home where Reyes was tagged out by Schneider for the second out. Stanton moved Ramirez up to second with a single, putting men on first and second with two down. Diekman came in to pitch to the lefty Dobbs. Righty Justin Ruggiano hit for Dobbs and flew to left to leave both runners stranded.

Qualls appeared in all three games in the three-game set, allowing a hit over 1 2/3 scoreless innings to drop his ERA on the year to 4.43. He has thrown three days in a row, but faced a total of just five batters.

Buck and Coghlan singled back-to-back off of Diekman with one out in the eighth, putting runners on first and second for Zambrano. Zambrano hit for himself and bunted again, this time popping up into an out on a ball handled by Schneider in foul territory. Reyes grounded to second for the third out.

Diekman pitched in games one and three of the set, allowing four hits over 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out one. He has 13 strikeouts in eight innings for the season.

Schwimer threw a 1-2-3 ninth with the Phillies trailing 5-1. Pence made a nice play to take a hit away from Ramirez for the second out.

Schwimer appeared in games two and three of the set and has thrown two days in a row. Four of his first five appearances with the team were awful. The other two were his two outings in this series and he allowed a walk over 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Overall, the pen went three scoreless innings in the game, allowing three hits without a walk or a strikeout. Diekman threw 19 pitches in the game. Schwimer threw nine pitches and has pitched two days in a row. Qualls has pitched three straight days and threw 14 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Carlos Zambrano went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Luna (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Luna at first and Schneider behind the plate.

Pierre singled to left with one out in the bottom of the first and took second on a wild pitch before Pence grounded to the pitcher Zambrano for the second out. Luna drew a walk, but Victorino grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Polanco walked to start the second. Galvis bunted, but popped it up for the first out. Schneider hit a ball hard, but Morrison took it at first and flipped to Zambrano for the second. Blanton struck out to end the inning.

Down 1-0, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Down 2-0, they went in order in the fourth.

Schneider and Blanton both struck out as they went in order in the fifth.

Pierre’s bunt found left field for a one-out double in the sixth, but Pence and Luna both struck out to leave him at second.

Down 5-0, the Phillies went in order in the seventh.

Schneider reached on an infield single to start the eighth. Fontenot hit for Diekman with the righty Zambrano still on the mound for the Marlins and Schneider took second on a wild pitch before Fontenot struck out. Rollins flew to center for the second out before Pierre singled into center, scoring Schneider to get the Phils on the board at 5-1. Righty Steve Cishek took over for Zambrano and struck out Pence to leave Pierre at first.

Cishek got Luna on a fly ball to left to start the ninth before Victorino and Polanco singled back-to-back, putting men on first and second for Galvis. Righty Heath Bell came in to pitch to Galvis and Galvis grounded to second with Polanco forced at second for the second out. Galvis took second on defensive indifference before Schneider grounded to first to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. 3-for-14 with a triple in the three-game set. He’s hitting 237/289/312 for the year.

Pierre was 3-for-4 with a double in the game and 5-for-8 with a double and a walk in the game. He’s hitting 340/378/386 for the year.

Pence was 0-for-4 with a great catch in right. 4-for-10 with a walk and two home runs in the series. 269/338/505 for the year. 280/366/584 in 145 plate appearances since the end of April.

Luna was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. He also started game one of the series in left field, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. 9-for-27 with the Phils with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI. Mayberry didn’t play yesterday and was 0-for-4 in the series. Wigginton didn’t play yesterday and was 1-for-7 with a walk in the set.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a strikeout yesterday and 2-for-7 with a walk in the series. Mayberry played center for most of game one. Victorino is 4-for-his-last-30 and hitting 251/319/405 for the year.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk. 6-for-12 with a walk and a double in the series. 290/319/361 for the season.

Galvis 0-for-4 and left three men on base yesterday and 2-for-11 with two doubles in the series. 227/255/370 for the year.

Schneider was 1-for-4 yesterday and 1-for-5 in the series. He’s hitting 276/300/431 for the year. 333/351/583 in 38 plate appearances since May 9.

Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07) comes off the DL to face lefty Clayton Kershaw (4-3, 2.42) tonight as the Phils start a series with the Dodgers at home. Worley had a 1.97 ERA for the year through his first five starts then allowed eight runs in 12 innings over his next two before hitting the DL. Kershaw allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start, which came at home against the Brewers. He had a 1.16 ERA in his four starts previous to that outing.

52 dropoff

After 52 games, the Phillies are 27-25 and in last place in the NL East. Their 2011 campaign, which ended with 102 wins and the best record in baseball, seems like it was a long time ago.

Here’s what the Phillies did through and after game 52 in 2011 and through 52 games in 2012:

Games 1-52 Games 53-162
2011 33 19 4.13 3.25 69 41 4.53 3.27
2012 27 25 4.25 4.06 - - - -

The biggest news for me there is that the 2012 Phillies have outscored the 2011 Phillies through the first 52 games of the season. In 2011, the Phillies were fourth in the NL in runs scored in April and 12th in May. In 2012, they were 12th in April and 4th in May.

Overall, though, they scored more runs in their first 52 games of 2012 than they did in 2011, plating 221 runs so far in 2012 after having scored 215 in the first 52 games of 2011.

The 2012 Phils fared well with the bats in May, but it’s easier to forget how badly they struggled in the same month in 2011. Rollins hit .242 and on-based .306 in 134 plate appearances. Howard hit 208/317/434 over 123. Polanco on-based .289 and slugged .294 at third. Mayberry and Francisco were both terrible — Mayberry got 80 plate appearances and put up a 194/275/319 line while Francisco hit 167/315/300 in his 74.

Important to remember is that the offense got way better after 52 games for the Phils in 2011. In games 53-162, they plated 4.53 runs per game, more than they had through the first 52 games of the year and more than the ’12 Phils have through the first 52 games of the year.

The Phillies ended 2011 having allowed the fewest runs in the National League by an enormous margin. They allowed 529 and the Giants were second having allowed 578. They 578 runs that the Giants allowed is about 3.57 per game — a lot worse than the Phillies allowed in either the first 52 games of 2011 or games 53-162.

The 2012 Phillies are on pace to allow 657 runs.

Early in 2011, the Phillies got outstanding performances from both their starters and relievers. In the first 52 games of 2012, the starters for the Phillies have been good, probably the second or third best rotation in the NL behind the Nats and maybe the Dodgers, but their bullpen has been atrocious.

Here’s how the numbers compare for 2011 and 2012 for games 1-52:

2011 338 3.17 1.17 141 1/3 2.67 1.27
2012 341 1/3 3.48 1.16 126 4.64 1.33

The starting and relief pitching for the Phillies in 2012 were both worse than they were in the first 52 games of 2011. The starters were worse and the pen has been a whole lot worse.

One thing we need to understand about the 2012 Phillies is that they have, to this point a least, a terrible bullpen.

Also, looking at the 2011 Phillies, after game 52, the pen got worse but the starters, which were already better than the 2012 starters through 52, got a whole lot better.

In games 53-162, the starters for the Phils combined to throw to a 2.71 ERA with a 1.08 ratio. The relievers threw to a 3.85 ERA with a 1.34 ratio. The starters threw a whole lot more innings (about 72.8% of the innings games 53-162) so the overall numbers come out great for the Phils when you combine starters and relievers after game 52. In games 53-162, the Phillies overall threw to a 3.02 ERA. For the season in 2011, the Phils led the NL in ERA and the Giants were second at 3.20. The 2011 Phillies threw to the same 3.02 ERA in games 1-52, but without the huge gap in the performance between the starters and the relievers.

So far in 2012, the Phillies have thrown to a 3.79 ERA, which is seventh-best in the NL.

Finally, the fact that the bullpen is terrible in 2012 surely hasn’t been lost on the Phillies and Charlie Manuel. In 2011, Phillies relievers threw the fewest innings in the NL with 412 1/3. Through the first 52 games of 2012, they have thrown 126 innings, which is again the fewest in the NL and puts them on pace to throw about 392 2/3 for the season. I have written about how few innings the bullpen throws for recent Phillies teams often over the last couple of years, including this post and this one. So far in 2012, the number of bullpen innings continues to drop.

And that’s a surprise to me, given who’s starting for the Phils in 2012. Here’s a look at who started the first 52 games for the Phillies in 2011 compared to who started the first 52 in 2012:

Pitcher Starts games 1-52 in 2011 Starts games 1-52 in 2012
Halladay 11 11
Hamels 11 10
Lee 11 8
Oswalt 8 0
Blanton 6 10
Worley 3 7
Kendrick 2 6

In the first 52 games of 2011, 41 of the starts (78.8%) were made Halladay, Hamels, Lee or Oswalt. In 2012, just 29 of the first 52 starts (about 55.8%) were made by that group of four, yet the 2012 starters went deeper into games and the bullpen pitched less (although much, much worse).

Looking closer at the numbers, most of the guys in the rotation this year have simply pitched deeper into games than they did in 2011. Oswalt also averaged just 5.63 innings per start in his first eight starts of 2011. Halladay’s innings per starts over the first 52 games are down in 2012, thanks in large part to a two-inning outing his last time out, but just about everyone else is up. Of the six guys who have made starts for the Phillies in 2012, all six have averaged at least six innings per start and everyone other than Halladay who started in both 2011 and 2012 have gone deeper into games this season.

When you compare the 2011 Phillies to what the 2012 Phillies have done to this point, the bottom line is that the 2011 Phillies created an enormous advantage relative to the rest of the league by preventing runs. The 2012 Phillies don’t have that advantage and it’s not close. The 2011 Phils threw to the best ERA in the league by a wide margin and led the league in fewest runs allowed by a wide margin. The 2012 Phils are seventh in ERA and eighth in runs allowed. The 2011 Phils also saw their offense take off after game 52, a step forward it’s not clear how the 2012 Phillies are going to make.

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