Archive for July, 2012

One for the money

Cliff Lee’s first win of the year came in his 14th start. Yesterday the Phils finally ended their six-game losing streak, beating the Mets 9-2 to even the series at a game each.

Things progressed just about as expected through the first six innings yesterday in New York. The Phils found themselves down 2-0 going into the seventh when the bats suddenly came alive. Utley hit a two-run shot to tie the game and Ruiz followed that up with a solo homer. The Phils scored three more in the eighth and three again in a ninth inning that featured a two-run shot from Wigginton.

The Phillies had scored a total of seven runs in their previous four games. It is the first time in 2012 they won a game in which Utley had appeared — they’re now 1-5 in games in which Utley has played.

The Phillies are 37-46 on the year after beating the New York Mets 9-2 last night. The teams have split the first two games of the series. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 12 games out of first place.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a walk. He struck out nine.

He struck out two in a 1-2-3 first.

Ike Davis singled with two outs in the second, but Lee got Andres Torres on a fly ball to right to leave Davis at first.

Ruben Tejada doubled to center with two outs in the third. Lee got Daniel Murphy on a ground ball he handled himself for the third out.

With one out in the fourth, Scott Hairston hit an 0-2 pitch out to left, putting the Mets up 1-0. Lucas Duda followed with a single, but Lee struck out Davis and Torres to end the inning.

Tejada and Murphy singled back-to-back with two outs in the fifth, putting runners on the corners for David Wright. Wright singled to right, scoring Tejada to make it 2-0 with Murphy moving up to third. Hairston flew to center to leave the runners stranded.

Lee walked Duda to start the sixth, but got the next three hitters behind him.

Up 3-2 and likely in shock, Lee set the Mets down in order in the seventh.

Up 6-2, he struck out Wright and Duda in a 1-2-3 eighth.

Papelbon set the Mets down in order in the ninth with the Phils up 9-2.

First appearance for Papelbon since June 26. He threw nine pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Young went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Pence (6) Victorino (7) Polanco (8) Mayberry. Utley starts games in back-to-back days for the second time on the year. Pierre in left against the righty. Mayberry at first with Wigginton on the bench.

The Phillies went in order in the first, second and third.

Pierre singled to left with one out in the fourth, stole second and moved up to third when Utley flew to center for the second out. Ruiz flew to right to leave him at third.

Down 1-0, Pence singled to start the fifth. Victorino fouled out to third and Polanco hit into a double-play.

Down 2-0, the Phils went in order in the sixth.

Pierre led off the seventh with a single to right and Utley hit a 1-0 pitch out to right behind him, tying the game at 2-2. Ruiz was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 3-2. Pence, Victorino and Polanco went in order behind Ruiz.

Second home run of the year for the Utley and the second time in which Ruiz has homered in the next at-bat. They went back-to-back in the first inning on June 27 against the Pirates as well.

Mayberry singled off of righty Miguel Batista to start the eighth. Lefty Tim Byrdak came in to pitch to Lee and Lee bunted Mayberry to second with the first out. Rollins doubled to center and Mayberry scored. 4-2. Wigginton hit for Pierre and the lefty walked him intentionally, putting two men on for Utley. Utley flew to center for the second out. Righty Jeremy Hefner came in to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz singled to right, scoring Rollins (5-2) and moving Wigginton to second. Pence was next and hit a ground ball to short that Tejada didn’t handle. The ball rolled away from the shortstop and Wigginton scored to make it 6-2 with Ruiz moving up to second. Victorino grounded to third to end the frame.

Polanco led off the ninth with a single and was forced at second for the first out when Mayberry grounded to third. Pridie hit for Lee and moved Mayberry to third with a single to left. Rollins grounded to second with Pridie forced at second for the second out as Mayberry scored (7-2). It brought Wigginton to the plate with Rollins at first and Wigginton hit a 1-0 pitch out to left to extend the lead to 9-2. Utley grounded to second to end the frame.

Third home run of the game for the Phils on a 1-0 count. Pridie’s first hit with the Phillies.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double and two RBI in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-24.

Pierre had a great game, going 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a run scored. Did his very best to make a run on his own in the fourth inning and scored on Utley’s homer in the seventh. Twenty stolen bases on the year and been caught stealing just three times. He’s 4-for-his-last-7. One walk in his last 49 plate appearances.

Utley 1-for-5 with a two-run homer. 6-for-22 on the year with a walk and two homers.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. He has four home runs in his last 30 plate appearances.

Pence 2-for-4 with an RBI. 405/479/738 over his last 48 plate appearances.

Victorino was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 1-for-12 to start July. 226/293/310 against right-handed pitching for the season.

Polanco 1-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-15. 298/351/411 at home for the year and 242/281/288 on the road.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 3-for-his-last-30 with three singles and 11 strikeouts.

Hamels (10-4, 3.08) faces righty RA Dickey (12-1, 2.15) tonight. Hamels threw to a 4.20 ERA in six June starts. Dickey hasn’t allowed any earned runs in six of the last seven games he has started.

The five-year disengagement

First, a disclaimer. Today’s post is about Game Score. I understand Game Score isn’t a great stat for a whole lot of reasons. That said, I think we can use Game Score to help illustrate part of what’s wrong with the Phillies so far in 2012.

One day, maybe not too long from now, people are going to remember back fondly to the 2008 Phillies and how Halladay and Lee and the starting rotation led the Phils to World Series glory. That will be wrong, of course. Halladay and Lee weren’t on the 2008 Phillies and the rotation wasn’t very good at all. Myers, Kendrick and Eaton combined to make 79 starts for the Phillies in which they threw to a 5.14 ERA with a 1.51 ratio.

The relievers were the part of the 2008 team that dominated. The offense was very good, but the bullpen was great. Phillie relievers threw to a 3.22 ERA in 2008, the best mark in the league.

In 2012, the Phillies have played 81 games and won 36 of them. Looking at those 81 games, though, and using Game Score as the measure, in 46 of them the combination of the Phillies starting pitcher and the Phillies offense was better than the combination of the other team’s starting pitcher and their offense.

The Start Log tracks the Game Score of the starting pitcher for the Phillies for each game as well as the Game Score for the Phillies’s opponent. It also tracks, for each game, whether the Game Score for the Phillies starting pitcher was better or worse than the Game Score for the starting pitcher of their opponent. Here’s the team’s actual record in 2008 and in 2012 and the number of games the Game Score for their starting pitcher was better or worse than the Game Score of their opponent.

Year Actual record Game Score better/worse than opponent +/-
2008 92-70 77-85 +15
2012 36-45 46-35 -10

So, in 2008, the Phillies actually went 92-70. In those 162 games, though, the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the game score of their opponent just 77 times.

So far in 2012, the Game Score of the starting pitcher for the Phillies have been better than the Game Score of the opponent’s starting pitcher in 46 of 81 games.

The Phillies haven’t won 46 games this year or even come close. In 2008, they won 15 games more (92 for the year) than the number of games in which the Game Score for their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score for the other team’s starting pitcher. In 2012, they have won ten fewer games than the number of games in which the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s starting pitcher.

So if the Phillies had just won the game in which their offense and starting pitcher combined to be better than the other team’s offense and starting pitcher (at least according to Game Score), they would be 46-35 right now instead of 36-45.

They didn’t.

There have been three games this season that the Phillies won when the Game Score of their starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s starting pitcher. There have been 13 games in which the Game Score of the Phillies starting pitcher was better than the Game Score of the other team’s pitcher and the Phillies lost.

Here are the three games that they won despite a worse game score:

  • May 1: Phillies 4, Atlanta 2. Hamels Game Score 56, Brandon Beachy’s Game Score 61. The Phils go in to the top of the eighth tied 2-2 and score two runs off of Jonny Venters.
  • May 24: Phillies 10, St Louis 9. Blanton 19, Westbrook 21. Blanton and Westbrook were both terrible in the game, but Blanton a little worse according to Game Score. The Phils scored four runs charged to the St Louis bullpen after Westbrook left while the Cardinals scored just two runs in 4 2/3 innings off of the Phillies pen after Blanton left.
  • May 30: Phillies 10, Mets 6. Lee 51, Dillon Gee 56. Lee allows three runs over six innings while Gee allows two runs over 6 2/3. Both pens are terrible in the game, but the Phillies outscore the Mets 7-3 after the end of the seventh inning.
  • That’s the complete list of games so far in 2012 when the Game Score of the other teams starting pitcher has been better than the Game Score of the pitcher for the Phillies and the Phillies have won the game anyway.

    Here’s the list of the games the Phillies have lost despite a better Game Score from their starter. This one’s longer (13). For one thing it happened in two of the first three games of the season:

  • April 7: Pittsburgh 2, Phillies 1 (ten innings). Lee 66, Jeff Karstens 59. Lee and Karstens both pitch well. The game goes to extra-innings and the Pirates win it with a run off of Blanton on a double, a hit batter and a single.
  • April 8: Pittsburgh 5, Phillies 4. Worley 62, James McDonald 57. Worley and McDonald both pitch well with Worley a little better. Both starters are gone after six innings with the Phils up 2-1. The Phillies score two off of the Pirate pen in the seventh to go up 4-1, but two runs off of Stutes in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 4-3. Kendrick and Bastardo combine to allow a run in the bottom of the eighth, with Matt Hague singling off of Bastardo to drive in Andrew McCutchen and tie the game at 4-4. Herndon allows a leadoff double to Casey McGehee to start the bottom of the ninth and the Pirates win the game on a walkoff single by McCutchen off of Herndon.
  • After dropping two in a row over the first three games of the season, it didn’t happen again until early May.

  • May 7: Mets 5, Phillies 2. Halladay 65, Niese 52. Halladay pitches way better than Niese, allowing two runs over seven innings while Niese allows two runs over five. The teams go into the ninth inning with the score tied at 2-2 and Papelbon allows a three-run homer to Jordany Valdespin.
  • May 8: Very next day. Mets 7, Phillies 4. Blanton 52, Batista 39. Blanton leaves in the seventh with the Phils up 4-2, one out and runners on first and second. Qualls allows a two-run single with both runs charged to Blanton (4-4) and Bastardo allows another RBI-single, which puts the Mets up 5-4. Schwimer is charged with two runs in the top of the ninth.
  • May 9: Third day in a row. Mets 10, Phillies 6. Lee 59, Gee 37. Lee outpitches Gee and leaves up 4-2 after six innings. Kendrick allows three runs in the seventh (down 5-4) and comes back to start the eighth for reasons unknown. He’s charged with two more in the eighth, one of which scores on a two-run shot by Ike Davis off of Contreras. Contreras is charged with two more runs in the seventh and Sanches allows a solo homer in the ninth.
  • May 12: Padres 2, Phillies 1. Halladay 64, Edinson Volquez 59. Bullpen didn’t blow anything in this one. Halladay allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out ten, giving him a better Game Score than Volquez, who allowed a run over six innings.
  • June 5: Dodgers 2, Phillies 1. Lee 70, Chad Billingsley 63. Blame this one on Manuel, not Game Score or the pen. Lee and Billingsley are both very good. Lee starts the eighth with a 1-0 and allows hits to four of the first five men he faces, the last of which is a two-run double to Elian Herrera on his 122nd pitch of the game.
  • June 7: Dodgers 8, Phillies 3. Hamels 51, Aaron Harang 46. Dodgers lead 4-3 after six. Phillies don’t score in the last three innings. Qualls faces six men in the ninth. One reaches on an error and the other five get hits as he is charged with four runs in a third of an inning.
  • June 9: Baltimore 6, Phillies 4. Worley 62, Tommy Hunter 51. All three runs Worley allows over six innings are unearned. Thome singles home Pierre in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4. BJ Rosenberg makes his major league debut in the bottom of the twelfth and faces two batters, walking Chris Davis before giving up a walkoff homer to Adam Jones.
  • June 10: Baltimore 5, Phillies 4. Lee 48, Hammel 43. Hammel and Lee both allow four runs over six innings. Savery starts the bottom of the tenth. Jones reaches on an error by Wigginton with one out before Matt Wieters’s walkoff double wins the game for Baltimore.
  • June 15: Toronto 3, Phillies 0. Worley 62, Drew Hutchison 52. Toronto starter Hutchison has to leave after two-thirds of an inning (Game Score is virtually worthless in games where a starter leaves very early due to injury). Worley goes seven innings and allows three runs, all three of which are unearned. The Toronto bullpen throws 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
  • June 21: Colorado 4, Phillies 1. Worley 61, Jeff Francis 54. Worley starts the seventh with a 1-0 lead and allows a two-run homer to Chris Nelson with two outs. Schwimer allows a two-run homer to Wilin Rosario in the ninth.
  • June 24: Tampa Bay 3, Phillies 2. Hamels 75, Price 70. Hamels throws seven shutout innings and Bastardo starts the eighth up 1-0. Bastardo walks two of the first three men he faces before giving up a three-run homer to Carlos Pena. The Phils score a run on three hits in the bottom of the eighth but lose by a run.
  • For nine of those 13 I would say the pen at least a major contributor to the loss if not the primary cause (4/7, 4/8, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9, 6/7, 6/9, 6/10 and 6/24).

    More generally, whether it is a failure by their offense or a failure by their bullpen, the Phillies are not winning when they get solid starting pitching.

    Here are the records the Phillies have put up in games where their starter recorded a Game Score of 51-70 over the last six years:

    Year Record Winning PCT % of games
    2012 22-19 .537 50.6
    2011 45-25 .643 43.2
    2010 47-20 .701 41.4
    2009 42-21 .667 38.9
    2008 47-19 .712 40.7
    2007 41-18 .695 36.4

    A higher percentage of the games in that 51-70 window for the Phillies this year with worse results. The Phils are 22-19 (.537) in 2012 in games in that window. Coming into the 2012 season they were 222-103 (.683) in games where their starter had a Game Score in that range.

    The next update to Philliesflow won’t be until Thursday.

Half bad

The Phillies have played half their season. Let’s hope it’s the bad half, cause they looked absolutely awful this weekend as they were swept by the Marlins.

After 81 games, the Phils are on pace to 72-90 for the season and win 30 games less than they won in 2011.

Blanton pitched okay yesterday in game three of the series, but Bastardo allowed a two-run homer in the eighth that opened up a one-run game, which the Marlins went on to win 5-2.

The Phillies are 36-45 on the year after losing to the Miami Marlins 5-2 last night. The Marlins sweep the three-game series. The Phils are nine games under .500 for the first time since July 25, 2006. They are 11 games out of first place and have lost five in a row.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. Blanton has been un-terrible over his last two starts, allowing five earned runs over 13 innings (3.46 ERA and a 1.23 ratio). Still way to many home runs — he’s allowed 17 over his last 55 1/3 innings. The Phillies have won four of the last five games he’s started.

Up 1-0, he set the Marlins down in order in the bottom of the first.

Logan Morrison singled to right to start the second. Justin Ruggiano was next and singled to left, but Pierre threw Morrison out at third for the first out. Greg Dobbs grounded to Blanton for the second out with Ruggiano moving up to second. Omar Infante was the next batter for Miami and he doubled to left, scoring Ruggiano to tie the game at 1-1 with two down and a runner on second. John Buck followed with a double to right. Infante scored. 2-1. The pitcher Ricky Nolasco flew to center to end the inning.

Again, Blanton isn’t walking anyone but he is giving up way too many hits. No walks but four hits in the frame gets the Fish two runs. Would have been more without the throw by Pierre. Buck doubles home the second run in front of the pitcher with first base empty.

Blanton got the first two in the third before Giancarlo homered to right to extend the lead to 3-1. Blanton walked Morrison before striking out Ruggiano to end the inning.

At least he walked someone.

Dobbs led off the fourth with a single, but Blanton struck out Infante, Buck and Nolasco in a row behind him.

Blanton struck out Hanley Ramirez and Stanton in a 1-2-3 fifth.

It was 3-2 when he started the sixth. He walked Ruggiano with one out, Blanton struck Dobbs out swinging for the second out and Ruggiano was caught stealing for the third.

Schwimer threw a 1-2-3 seventh with the Phils still down a run. Righty Austin Kearns hit for Nolasco and struck out for the third out.

Over his last nine appearances, Schwimer has been charged with one earned run over 11 innings (0.82 ERA with a 1.00 ratio). Yesterday he was throwing for the second straight day.

Bastardo started the eighth. He walked Reyes. Reyes stole second before Ramirez homered to center, extending the Miami lead to 5-2. Bastardo got the next three, striking out Stanton and Ruggiano for two of the outs.

Bastardo has a 9.45 ERA and a 2.25 ratio over his last seven appearances.

Two innings for the pen in which they allow two runs on a hit and a walk. With the off day today, everyone should be ready tomorrow.

The Phillies lineup against righty Ricky Nolasco went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Pierre in left against the righty and the lefty Fontenot at second. Victorino continues to play center against righties despite a 230/299/317 line against them for the season coming into the game. I’d guess we might see the lefty Pridie get some chances in center against righties before too long. Wigginton plays first and he came into the game on-basing .307 and slugging .364 against righties.

Pierre tripled to right with one out in the top of the first. The Marlins played the infield back, but when Pence grounded to third, Ramirez fielded and threw home. He would have had Pierre with a better throw, but it was high and on the first base side of the plate. Pierre slid in safe to put the Phils up 1-0 with Pence safe at first. Ruiz hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Down 2-1 they went in order in the third.

They were down 3-1 when they hit in the fourth. Pence and Ruiz both struck out as the Phils went in order.

Victorino singled to right to start the fifth. Polanco and Wigginton both popped out before Fontenot moved him to third with a single to right. Blanton stuck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins struck out to start the sixth, but Pierre bunted for a single up the first base line behind him. Pence was next and rocketed a single into left, moving Pierre up to second and putting two men on for Ruiz. Ruiz flew to shallow center for the second out with the runners holding. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch before a 2-1 pitch skipped through Buck’s legs, allowing both runners to advance again. Pierre scored and the Miami lead was cut to 3-2. Victorino grounded to first 3-2 to leave Pence at third.

Fontenot reached on an error by Reyes with two outs in the seventh. Pridie hit for Blanton, making his debut with the Phillies, and flew to left for the third out.

Lefty Mike Dunn started the eighth for the Marlins and got Rollins on a fly ball to center for the first out. Mayberry hit for Pierre. Righty Steve Cishek came in to pitch to Mayberry and Mayberry singled to center. Pence struck out for the second out before Ruiz singled to left, moving Mayberry up to second. Victorino flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

Righty Health Bell got Polanco, Wigginton and Fontenot in order in the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and 0-for-11 in the series. He’s hitting 259/313/404 for the season.

Pierre was 2-for-3 with a triple. He was 3-for-7 with a triple in the series. 318/357/390 for the year.

Pence 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts in the game and 6-for-12 with two home runs in the series. He’s 14-for-his-last-35 with five walks, three doubles, a triple and three home runs (400/475/800). 285/350/495 for the year.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 3-for-12 with two doubles in the set. 356/420/579 for the year.

Victorino was 1-for-4 in the game and 3-for-11 in the series. He’s hitting a miserable 254/322/386 for the season. 231/298/315 against right-handed pitching for the season.

Polanco 0-for-4 yesterday and 2-for-12 with two singles in the series. June was his best month of the year — he hit 284/361/392. 273/317/353 for the season.

Wigginton was 0-for-4 in the game and 0-for-6 in the series. 167/219/283 over his last 64 plate appearances. 243/312/387 for the year. 252/300/352 against right-handed pitching in 170 plate appearances against righties for the year.

Fontenot was 1-for-4 with a single yesterday and 1-for-4 in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-12 with three singles. 315/359/370 over 78 plate appearances for the year.

The Phillies don’t play today. Mets tomorrow night.

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