2009 Phillies

And this year if you could win the World Series twice I think everyone will be happy with that

Did Ruben Amaro take a Phillies team that won the World Series and make it better? I think he did. Whether or you agree with that opinion or not, the Phillies are on pace to win more games in 2009 than they did in 2008. After last night’s game the Phillies are on pace to go 95-67 on the year, which would give them three more wins than they had in 2008.

With a win on Tuesday night the Phillies also did something they hadn’t done since the 1993 season. They went 23 games above .500. Here’s the most games above .500 they’ve been for each of the last 17 years:

Year Most games
above .500
1993 35
1994 3
1995 19
1996 5
1997 1
1998 5
1999 13
2000 0
2001 17
2002 3
2003 16
2004 10
2005 14
2006 9
2007 16
2008 22
2009 23

After topping out at 22 games above .500 in 2008, the Phils hit 23 games above .500 this week. But is the team better than the other teams in the last 17 seasons? Better than last year’s team? For each of the seasons through the last time they were 23 games above .500 or better, here’s the average number of runs the Phillies have scored and allowed per game, the difference between those numbers and how that difference compares to the other seasons in the group:

Year RS/G RA/G Diff Diff Rank
1993 5.41 4.57 0.85 1
1994 4.53 4.32 0.21 9
1995 4.27 4.57 -0.30 13
1996 4.01 4.88 -0.86 16
1997 4.12 5.19 -1.06 17
1998 4.40 4.99 -0.59 14
1999 5.19 5.22 -0.03 11
2000 4.37 5.12 -0.75 15
2001 4.60 4.44 0.17 10
2002 4.41 4.50 -0.09 12
2003 4.88 4.30 0.58 4
2004 5.19 4.82 0.36 7
2005 4.98 4.48 0.50 5
2006 5.34 5.01 0.33 8
2007 5.51 5.07 0.44 6
2008 4.93 4.20 0.73 3
2009 5.12 4.36 0.76 2

So, for example, the 1993 team scored an average of 5.41 runs per game and allowed an average of 4.57 runs per game. The difference between the average number of runs they scored and allowed is 0.85 and of the 17 teams in the list the 0.85 difference is the best (ranked one of 17).

After the 1993 team the 2009 Phillies are the team in the group with the best differential between the average number of runs they scored and allowed.

Amaro obviously didn’t do it all himself. The players, for example, deserve most of the credit. Still, just about everything has come up roses for Amaro in his first year as GM. There have been two enormous decisions that Amaro has made so far for 2009 and both of them have worked out really well for the Phillies. First, the Phillies brought in Ibanez to take over for Burrell. Despite the long slump with the bat, Ibanez has been better offensively and defensively. Second, the Phillies needed to make a deal for a pitcher at the deadline and did they ever — Amaro deftly navigated a dicey situation with Roy Halladay and pulled an ace in Cliff Lee without giving up the farm.

It’s hard to get too excited about it when Francisco is on-basing .261 with the team, but I think the addition of Francisco is going to be an important one down the stretch. The Phillies had an enormous need for a right-handed hitter and Francisco was a great fit. The Phils also answered the questions about who would be the fifth starter in Amaro’s first year — whoever was responsible for the decision to plug Happ into the role, Happ has gone 8-4 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in his 19 starts with the team.

I wasn’t a fan of the Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner deal, but I think it’s pretty tough to find much criticism for what Amaro has done this year. Even if the Phillies somehow tanked and didn’t make the playoffs or got bounced out of the playoffs early I don’t think I’d feel like that happened because the team was poorly constructed. I think there may be one exception to that and one big test left, which is what they are going to do at the back of the bullpen with Lidge. Lidge has been awful almost all year long and if a weak performance from Lidge costs the Phils in the post-season I think the team will have opened itself up to some criticism.

Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor won the Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and position player in the Phillies’ minor league system. Drabeck appeared in 25 games between Single-A and Double-A and went 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.21 ratio. Drabek turns 22 in December. Taylor played mostly at Double-A but also at Triple-A this season and hit 320/395/549 with 20 home runs and 21 steals. He turns 24 in December.

The article linked above says that Condrey and Bastardo will both make rehab appearances today. It also seems to suggest that the Phillies might have problems finding space for both Condrey and Walker on the post-season roster if there is a post-season roster and both are healthy. If both are healthy I would be surprised if both are not on the post-season roster.


North henceforth

Have you heard tell of the legend of Greg Maddux that had him allowing guys to hit home runs off of him during spring training so he could surprise them with a totally different approach in at-bats that count? Let’s hope that’s what Jamie Moyer was doing yesterday. With everyone. Especially with Ryan Zimmerman. Moyer got blasted yesterday as the Nats beat the Phils 12-10 in the final Florida game of the Phils’ spring training.

The Phils head north with a 12-18-2 spring training record.

Moyer went just four innings, allowing nine runs on 11 hits and two walks. Zimmerman homered off of him twice. Austin Kearns hit a solo shot in the fourth. Taschner tried to keep pace but fell short, allowing just two home runs. He only pitched an inning, though, so it’s remarkable nonetheless. Cristian Guzman and Alex Cintron both got Taschner for solo shots in the eighth. Condrey tossed two scoreless frames to drop his spring ERA to 1.46. Durbin allowed a run on two hits in the seventh.

Feliz had a huge day with the bat for the Phils, 4-for-5 with three doubles and a home run. He started the day hitting 205/220/231 for spring training and ended it with a slightly more impressive 273/283/432 line. Howard hit his tenth home run of the spring, a two-run shot off of Scott Olsen in the first. Stairs was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, raising his spring average to .255. Victorino went 1-for-4, dropping his average to .214.

The Phillies play Tampa Bay tonight in Philadelphia.

A number of Phillies have been outstanding in Florida, including:

  • Howard: 310/390/746 with ten home runs and a team high 24 RBI.
  • Bruntlett: 370/483/548. Two home runs and seven doubles. Led the Phils with 13 walks.
  • Rollins: 355/429/581 with three home runs in 31 at-bats.
  • Werth: 308/347/662 with six home runs.
  • Ruiz: 351/381/622 with a pair of home runs in 42 plate appearances.
  • Ibanez 308/372/462 in 78 at-bats.
  • Condrey: 1.46 ERA with a 1.05 ratio in ten appearances.
  • Blanton: Threw 22 innings with a 2.45 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. Walked just two batters all spring.
  • Park: 21 1/3 innings. 25 to 2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 2.53 ERA and a 1.03 ratio.
  • Myers: 23 innings with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.26 ratio.
  • Koplove: Struck out nine in 9 1/3 innings with an 0.96 ERA and an 0.96 ratio (not a typo, his ERA and ratio were the same). Looking forward to seeing him pitch for the Phillies.
  • Madson: 2.03 ERA but a 1.43 ratio. Did not walk a batter in 13 1/3 innings, but allowed 19 hits. Opponents hit .328 against him.

There were some guys who struggled, too:

  • Coste: 4-for-32 with four singles and 13 strikeouts. 125/275/125. He did draw five walks.
  • Victorino: 9-for-42. 214/267/310. Didn’t steal a base and drove in just two runs.
  • Dobbs: 13-for-50 with three doubles. 260/333/320.
  • Moyer: Made five starts in which he threw to an 8.27 ERA with a 1.94 ratio. He also struck out 17 in 20 2/3 innings, so let’s cross our fingers he was just messing around.
  • Taschner: Ten appearances between the Giants and Phils he put up a 6.75 ERA and a 2.53 ratio. He also allowed three runs that were unearned. In 10 2/3 innings he issued 14 walks. I’m writing that one again, just because it seems important: In 10 2/3 innings he issued 14 walks. I truly have my fingers crossed about Taschner, but it’s pretty hard for me to see that one working out for the Phils. I’m still holding out some hope they let him start the season in AAA, cause I would be very surprised if he makes a positive contribution in the short term.
  • Eyre: Struck out 15 in ten innings, but posted a 6.30 ERA and a 1.30 ratio. His numbers suffered from a single terrible outing against the Yankees on March 26 when he gave up five runs in an inning.

Chris Coste’s family and Fargo home are safe from flood waters. Now if he could just get Shane Victorino to stop calling him in the middle of the night.

Roster-shaping events are surely coming. I’ll try to post the links as I see them, but there are a host of sites that are better if you’re looking to get the news first, including High Cheese, The Phillies Zone and The Zo Zone.

Baseball-Reference has a new look.

Update: Jon Heyman says that Gary Sheffield will sign with the Mets.

More update: Happ and Taschner have made the opening day roster to pitch out of the bullpen. Majewski will go to the minors after the exhibition games. Ugh.

Ad: Ticketcity has tickets for tonight’s game and regular season games.


Matt Stairs shows those mean kids on the Royals who voted him least-likely-to-be-a-fourth-outfielder-ever-again back in 2005 a thing or two

A word or two on the outfield depth of the Phillies as the team is currently constructed. I’m going to go with two words actually, not and good.

The Phillies front office is probably hard at work trying to add another outfielder. And well they should be. Here’s a brief review of the Phillies depth in the outfield:

Things start out really well with Ibanez, Victorino and Werth. Very nice. Things go downhill from there. Fourth outfielder: Matt Stairs? Fifth outfielder: Eric Bruntlett? Sixth outfielder: Who knows? John Mayberry?

Fourth outfielder is the biggest problem there. Matt Stairs is 41-years-old and made 19 appearances in the outfield last season. He’s not a good defensive player. Right now it sure looks like he’s the guy if Ibanez or Werth go down.

Eric Bruntlett is really a backup infielder and has a whole lot of problems hitting righties, to the tune of a career 221/286/310 line against right-handed pitching. He made more appearances at corner outfield positions last year for the Phillies than he had in all the other years of his career combined.

Who is third on the depth chart at center field behind Victorino and Werth is an interesting question. Whatever the answer is, it’s not good. I think it’s probably Bruntlett.

Who knows who’s behind those two as the sixth outfielder, but Mayberry is presumably up near the top of the list. In the minors he’s hit to a .255 average with a .330 on-base percentage in his career.

And then there’s Werth, who was absolutely fantastic last season and played an enormous part in helping the Phillies win the World Series. Hopefully he’ll be fantastic again. But. Here’s some thing it would be nice if they weren’t true about him, given that Matt Stairs is the fourth outfielder and whatnot: Number of times he’s gotten 400 plate appearances in a season: 1. Number of times he’s hit 20 home runs in a season: 1. Career batting average against right-handed pitching: .251. Number of times he’s driven in 70 runs in a season: 0.

So I think the Phillies need another outfielder, which is why paying Jenkins not to play seems pretty odd.

The consensus seems to be that Happ and Taschner will likely win the last two spots in the Phillies pen. That would give the Phils these 12 pitchers to start the season: Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Park, Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Eyre, Condrey, Happ and Taschner.

My guess on the hitters is these 13: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Dobbs, Coste, Ruiz, Ibanez, Bruntlett, Victorino, Werth, Stairs and Cairo with a good chance that the Phils bring in another hitter in the Cairo spot either before opening day or shortly after the season starts.

Mosebach was sent back to the Angels.

The Phils fell to the Yankees today, losing 8-5.

Kyle Drabeck got the start for the Phils and allowed five runs over 2 1/3 innings. More importantly, Happ followed Drabeck and was also hit hard. Happ allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings on four hits and two walks. Hideki Matsui clubbed a two-run shot off of him in the fourth. Koplove threw a scoreless seventh to drop his ERA to 0.96. Eyre got his down to 6.30 with a scoreless eighth.

Werth was 1-for-2 with a walk and his sixth home run of the spring. Coste was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .133. Cairo is hitting .250 after going 0-for-4 with a walk. Rollins is hot at a good time. He went 2-for-3 with a double and is hitting .355.

The Phils play Washington tomorrow in their final game in Florida. They play the Devil Rays in Philadelphia on Friday night.

Update 4/2: Andruw Jones has likely made the Rangers, making it less likely he’ll be on the Phillies.


Jack and Giles

The biggest news of the past three days is that the Phils traded Ronny Paulino to the Giants for left-handed pitcher Jack Taschner. The Giants then traded Paulino to the Marlins.

The Phillies also released Brian Giles and sent John Mayberry and Carlos Carrasco to minor league camp. The linked article also says that Mike Koplove and Pablo Ozuna will not make the opening day roster.

I’m not a fan of the Paulino trade. I’d rather have Paulino than Taschner and would have liked to see the Phils give Happ a chance to pitch out of the pen to start the year. I would love to see it happen, but it’s hard to imagine that Taschner is going to make a significant positive contribution to the Phils this year. Despite a miserable spring, I have much less trouble imaging Paulino help a team this season.

In terms of the Phillies opening day roster, I think it leaves us with 12 hitters surely on the team: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ruiz, Coste, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Bruntlett, Jenkins and Dobbs.

Jenkins is the guy who is questionable on that list, but I would be surprised to see the Phillies trade or release him.

That leaves Stairs and Cairo as the 13th and maybe the 14th hitter if the Phils carry 14. Stairs still seems to be a candidate for a trade, but it hasn’t happened yet.

These ten pitchers seem sure to be on the team: Hamels, Blanton, Myers, Moyer, Park, Madson, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin and Lidge. Taschner, Happ and Majewski look like the guys that will fill out the staff. I would say that the chances are good that Taschner will make the team given his contract — I think that would be a mistake, though, and hope the Phils send him down to start the year. Assuming they don’t, it would seemingly leave Happ and Majewski both out if the Phils carry both Stairs and Cairo at the start of the season.

The Phillies have played three games since the last post. After going 1-2 they are 11-16 this spring.

Yesterday they pounded the Astros 13-3. Park got the start and allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings on six hits and a walk. Only one of the runs was earned and he struck out seven. In 21 1/3 innings this spring, Park has a 2.53 ERA and a 1.03 ratio. He has struck out 25 and walked two. Really he has. Condrey and Koplove both tossed scoreless innings as well.

The Phillies got home runs from Ruiz, Rollins, Bruntlett and Howard in the game. Bruntlett was 3-for-4 with four RBI and is hitting .364. Ruiz was 1-for-4 and is hitting .367. Rollins went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .280. Ibanez 1-for-1 with two walks.

Sunday Boston topped the Phils 3-1.

Blanton pitched very well, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. Chris Carter hit a solo home run off of him in the second, but the other three hits went for singles. Durbin allowed a run in the eighth to raise his spring ERA to 1.69. Madson kept the Red Sox off the board in the ninth to drop his ERA to 2.19.

A walk to Howard in the third forced in Rollins for the Phillies’ only run of the game. Ibanez went 3-for-4 in the game to raise his average to .290.

On Saturday the Pirates beat the Phillies 10-4.

Moyer got the start and got blasted, charged with seven runs over 5 2/3 innings on 11 hits and a walk. He struck out seven but gave up six extra-base hits, five doubles and a home run. His spring ERA raised to 5.40. Majewski threw a scoreless seventh to drop his ERA to 3.00. Lidge allowed a three-run homer to Garrett Jones in the eighth.

Ruiz had a double and a two-run homer. Howard hit a solo shot, his eighth of the spring.

Happ also pitched in a minor league game on Saturday morning and allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Cole Hamels will not start opening day.

Chan Ho Park didn’t go with whatever’s-best-for-the-team when asked if he would be upset if didn’t win the fifth starter spot. Park has been outstanding this spring and outpitched the other players who were said to be competing for the job.

The Phillies play the Blue Jays tonight with Brett Myers expected to pitch.

Francisco Rodriguez and Brad Lidge won’t both win the Rolaids Relief Man Award this season. You can follow the leaderboard here.

Update: The Phillies released Geoff Jenkins. So I guess I’m surprised.

More update: Chan Ho Park has won the fifth starter job.


JA better Happ to it if he wants to keep pace with Park

Chan Ho Park and Happ have both been great this spring. As good as they’ve both been, though, Park has outpitched Happ and deserves to be the fifth starter based on what’s gone on so far.

Happ has thrown to an impressive 3.15 ERA with a 1.20 ratio in 20 innings. Park, though, has thrown to a 2.87 ERA with an 0.96 ratio in 15 2/3 innings. Here’s what their rates of allowing runs, hits, walks, strikeouts and home runs per nine innings have been this spring:

parkhapp.jpg

Park and his 18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is just impressive. Happ, meanwhile, has given up four home runs in 20 innings. That rate would have him giving up 40 over 200 innings, which is too many. Park has allowed just one home run and also allowed runs and hits at a lower rate while walking fewer and striking out more.

Today the Yankees pounded the Phils 10-2. The Phillies are 10-13 in spring training.

Carrasco got the start and was hit hard. He went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits and a walk. His spring ERA is 5.95. Eyre got bombed in the eighth, allowing five runs in the inning. He gave up five hits, including home runs to Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera. Koplove tossed a perfect ninth to drop his spring ERA to 1.23.

Utley and Howard hit solo home runs to account for the Phillies scoring. Cairo, Ozuna and Mayberry all went 0-for-1 in the game. Stairs was 1-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .231. Paulino was also 1-for-4 with a double, he’s hitting .194.

The Phillies play Houston tomorrow.

Update 3/27: The Phillies fell to the Astros this afternoon, losing 6-5. The Phils are 10-14 this spring.

Myers got the start and allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings on eight hits and a walk. The outing raised his ERA on the spring to 3.79. Robert Mosebach allowed a pair of runs in the eighth to puff his ERA to 9.39.

Werth and Stairs both hit solo homers for the Phils. Mayberry, Ozuna and Cairo were all 0-for-2. Giles 0-for-1. Coste 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an RBI, dropping his average to .095.

Happ is scheduled to pitch tomorrow as the Phils face the Pirates.

The next update to Philliesflow will be on Tuesday.


2009 one last time

We won’t have to wait that much longer to actually see who’s going to be on the Phillies opening day roster, so here’s my final guess.

Still looks like ten hitters we know for sure are on the squad:


Player

Position
1
Ryan Howard

1B
2 Chase Utley
2B
3
Jimmy Rollins

SS
4
Pedro Feliz

3B
5
Shane Victorino

OF
6
Jayson Werth

OF
7
Raul Ibanez

OF
8
OF
9
Carlos Ruiz
C
10 C
11
Eric Bruntlett

UT
12
Greg Dobbs

3B/OF
13
UT
14

Assuming the Phils start the year with 13 hitters, which I think they will, there are three spots left. One has to go to a catcher and another to a fourth outfielder.

The top candidates for the three spots look to include Marcus Giles, Miguel Cairo, Pablo Ozuna, Ronny Paulino, Chris Coste, John Mayberry, Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins.

Of the three spots, one has to go to either Paulino or Coste. Jenkins is a strong front-runner for the second. I think Jenkins is on the team as the fourth outfielder, partly because he’s harder to trade than Stairs because of his contract. He is also far better defensively.

One of Coste or Paulino has to make the team as the second catcher along with Ruiz. Both can be sent to the minors if they’re still in the organization when the season starts and both have been awful this spring. Paulino has hit just 185/267/333 in 27 at-bats. Coste has been slowed by injury and gone just 2-for-18 (.111) with two singles.

I’ve been saying all along that I thought Paulino would make the team. He has gotten a big chance this spring and done nothing with it. Multiple reports, including this one, suggest the Phillies are looking to trade Paulino. The linked article suggests Robert Andino as possible fruit of a Paulino trade. Ew. I would be a little surprised to see Paulino traded, I’ve been assuming Coste is the guy they want to trade. I’m going to flip on this one nonetheless and guess Coste at this point.

That leaves one spot for Cairo, Ozuna, Paulino, Giles, Mayberry or Stairs. I don’t think the Phils will keep three catchers, especially given how badly Paulino has hit this spring. Giles also got a chance, but he has hit just 182/289/273 in 33 at-bats this spring. Despite his solid 279/323/525 line this spring, I think Mayberry is going to the minors. His .323 on-base percentage shouldn’t be overlooked, given that his career on-base percentage in the minors is .330.

I would be more surprised to see the Phils keep Ozuna than Cairo. Ozuna has actually outhit Cairo. Pablo has been on fire this spring and put up a 364/432/455 line in 33 at-bats compared to an also impressive 302/348/535 line for Cairo over 43 at-bats. My guess is if it’s one or the other it will be Cairo rather than Ozuna, mostly just based on the fact that the Phils have given Cairo more time this spring.

That leaves Stairs. I would guess that he will not be with the organization when the season starts. If he is, though, he’s on the team, either in the spot I just gave to Cairo or as the 14th hitter with the Phils going with 11 pitchers.

Ten of the Phillies pitching spots are likely to be filled by these guys:


Player

Position
1
Cole Hamels (left)

SP
2
Brett Myers (right)

SP
3
Joe Blanton (right)

SP
4
Jamie Moyer (left)

SP
5
SP
6
Ryan Madson (right)
 RP
7
Chan Ho Park (right)

SP/RP
8
Clay Condrey (right)

RP
9
Scott Eyre (left)

RP
10
Chad Durbin (right)

RP
11  
RP
12
Brad Lidge (right)

CLOSER

In part because of the minor injury problems with Hamels and Park, I think the Phillies will go with 12 pitchers to start the season despite having three off-days before they play their eighth came of the season. Especially with Hamels having been unable to work up his pitch counts, I think the Phils will want to carry seven relievers.

I think Park won the fifth starter’s job this spring. I think Happ is still on the team to pitch out of the pen as the second lefty. That assumes the Phillies do not add another lefty before the start of the season.

That leaves one spot, assuming the Phils carry 12 pitchers. I think that goes to Majewski or Koplove and both have been very good this spring. Majewski has a 3.27 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 11 innings. Koplove has pitched less, just 6 1/3 innings, but thrown to a 1.42 ERA with a 1.11 ratio. I think it’s interesting that Majewkski has thrown significantly more innings than Koplove, which may mean the Phils are leaning that way. I think Koplove has a better chance to make a significant positive contribution this season, though, so that’s the way I’ll guess.

That slot seems like it would be the one to go if the Phils carried just 11 pitchers, presumably with Stairs being the 14th hitter. The other issue is that if Stairs does get traded, the deal may bring in a player that will start the year with the team and take up a roster spot. That move would also presumably knock off Majewski or Koplove. It could also knock off Happ for the first few games of the season if he proved to be the winner of the fifth starter competition rather than a guy who will pitch out of the pen.

Here’s my guess then:

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Jenkins, Coste, Cairo.

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Park, Madson, Happ, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Koplove, Lidge.

The Phillies did not play yesterday. They play the Yankees today with Carlos Carrasco expected to pitch.

Philliesflow still has a Twitter page.


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