One of these things is not like the other

Given that the three leaders on the team were starters who threw a huge number of innings, you can probably guess that the starters overall were a lot better at preventing walks in 2011 than the relievers did.

Here’s the rate at which starters and relievers for the Phils issued walks during 2011:

Batters faced BB % IP BB/9
Starters 4318 221 5.1 1064 2/3 1.87
Relievers 1751 183 10.5 412 1/3 3.99

By percentage of batters walked and by walks per nine innings, the relievers overall combined to walk hitters at more than twice the rate of the starters.

Relievers overall walk more hitters than starters in 2011, but not twice as many. In the NL overall, starters walked about 7.5% of the batters that they faced last year and relievers walked about 9.5%.

The Phils are 2-2 in official Spring Training games after pounding the Blue Jays 7-0 yesterday.

Cliff Lee started the game for the Phils and allowed a walk and two hits over two scoreless innings. Kendrick followed Lee and struck out two in two scoreless. Horst, Schwimmer, Ramirez, Valdes and Diekman all threw a scoreless frame.

Galvis was 1-for-2 with a double yesterday and is 3-for-10 with two doubles in the very early going. Victorino 1-for-3 with two RBI. Wigginton started at third and went 1-for-1 with a double. Ruiz 2-for-2 with a pair of singles in his first official Spring Training action. Laynce Nix went 0-for-3 and is 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts so far.

The Phils play Houston this afternoon with Vance Worley expected to pitch.

This suggests that the Phillies and Cole Hamels are trying to negotiate a long-term contract extension.

Didja know that Todd Zolecki and Jim Salibury wrote a book about the 2011 Phillies and their rotation? They did. You can buy it here or here.

Not walking men

Remember this from about a year ago? In 2010, Phillies pitchers overall combined to walk 416 batters for the year. That was the fewest number of walks issued by an NL team since the 1995 Mets walked 401.

We can now add 2011 to the list and again the Phillies have walked the fewest hitters of any NL team. Here’s the NL team that has issued the fewest walks overall since 1995 (the last time any NL team walked fewer hitters than the Phillies did in 2010 or 2011):

Year Team Walks
2011 PHI 404
2010 PHI 416
2009 STL 460
2008 ARI 451
2007 SD 474
2006 CIN 464
2005 HOU 440
2004 SD 422
2003 MON 463
2002 ARI 421
2001 NYM 438
2000 ATL 484
1999 HOU 478
1998 HOU 465
1997 ATL 450
1996 ATL 451
1995 NYM 401

I have mixed feelings about the Phils cutting down their walk rate even further, cause if they knock or four more walks in 2012 I’m probably going to have to look more stuff up.

It was pretty much a three-man show for the Phils in terms of preventing walks in 2011. As I mentioned in a recent post, Halladay, Lee and Hamels all pitched a ton of innings and excelled at preventing walks. Here’s a look at the walks per nine innings rate for Halladay, Lee and Hamels as a group compared to the rest of the team for 2011:

Innings Walks BB per 9
Halladay, Lee and Hamels 682 1/3 121 1.60
Rest of the team 794 2/3 283 3.21

So that trio walked less than half the hitters per nine innings that the rest of the team did. They also threw a tremendous number of innings, 46.2% of the total innings thrown by the team.

Hamels had the worst walk rate of the group of Halladay, Lee and Hamels at 1.83 walks per nine. No pitcher on the team in 2011 when threw at least 45 innings had a walk rate under two — Blanton threw 41 1/3 innings with a walk rate of 1.96 per nine frames and Joe Savery and Wilson Valdez combined not to walk a hitter over 3 1/3 innings. Among the guys who had at least 50 innings pitched in 2011, Oswalt was the pitcher other than the big three with the best walk rate — he allowed 2.14 walks per nine.

The Phils beat the Yankees 9-3 yesterday and are 1-2 in official action so far in Spring Training.

Blanton got the start and allowed two singles in two scoreless innings. Scott Elarton followed Blanton and went two frames as well, setting down all six men he faced. Austin Hyatt was charged with two runs over two innings. Brian Sanches pitched the seventh and was charged with a run on four singles before Herndon went two scoreless frames.

Domonic Brown continued his reign of butchery in the outfield, misplaying then diving at and missing a ball hit by Brett Gardner in the sixth inning that was called a triple. Kevin Frandsen threw the relay away on the same play for an error, allowing Gardner to score.

Still real early, but Brown has already looked terrible in the outfield.

Martinez hit a two-run homer for the Phils in his only at-bat. Rollins was 2-for-2 and stole two bases. Hector Luna was 1-for-2 with a three-run double, which comes after a home run in the game against Florida State. He seems like a tough guy for the Phillies to carry if he can’t play short. Polanco started at third and went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

The Phils play the Blue Jays this afternoon. Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick are expected to pitch.

Charlie Manuel suggests it’s going to be a while before Utley plays in this article.

Little help here?

Cole Hamels has been pretty fantastic over the past two seasons, making 65 appearances (64 starts) in which he threw to a 2.92 ERA with a 1.08 ratio. He’s gotten just 26 wins over those 65 appearances, though, and part of the reason for that is that the Phils just haven’t scored a lot of runs in the games he has started.

Here’s how the runs the Phillies scored have broken down by starting pitcher over the past three seasons:

Starts Runs R/S Games not started R in GNS R per GNS (RS/GS)/(R/GNS)
Hamels 96 393 4.09 390 1912 4.90 84%
Blanton 67 362 5.40 419 1943 4.64 117%
Halladay 65 299 4.60 421 2006 4.76 97%
Kendrick 48 247 5.15 438 2058 4.70 110%
Lee 44 179 4.07 442 2126 4.81 85%
Moyer 44 212 4.82 442 2093 4.74 102%
Oswalt 35 146 4.17 451 2159 4.79 87%
Happ 26 131 5.04 460 2174 4.73 107%
Worley 23 123 5.35 463 2182 4.71 113%
Myers 10 51 5.10 476 2254 4.74 108%
Martinez 9 52 5.78 477 2253 4.72 122%
Park 7 35 5.00 479 2270 4.74 106%
Bastardo 5 29 5.80 481 2276 4.73 123%
Lopez 5 36 7.20 481 2269 4.72 153%
Figueroa 1 3 3.00 485 2302 4.75 63%
Carpenter 1 7 7.00 485 2298 4.74 148%
Total 486 2305 4.74

So, for example, the table says that over the past three years, Hamels has started 96 games in which the Phillies have scored 393 runs. That’s 4.09 runs per game. Over the same three years, the Phillies have played 390 games that Hamels didn’t start. In those games, the Phillies scored 1,912 runs, which is about 4.90 runs per game. Finally, the column on the far right for Hamels suggests that in the games Hamels started the Phillies scored about 84% of the runs per game than they did in the games he did not.

There are nine pitchers who have started more than 20 games for the Phils over the past three years. Of those, Blanton, Worley, Kendrick, Happ and Moyer have seen the team score more runs per game in the games they started than the games they did not.

For Halladay, Oswalt, Lee and Hamels, the Phils have scored fewer runs in the game they started than the games they did not.

Of the more than 20 starts group, Blanton and Hamels are the guys at the extremes. 5.40 runs per game for Blanton (117% of the runs the Phils have scored in the games he hasn’t started since the end of 2008) compared to 4.09 for Hamels (84%).

Official Spring Training action got underway this weekend with the Phils and Yankees squaring off twice.

The Yankees won Saturday’s game 8-5. Kevin Frandsen and Pence both homered for the Phils. Tyson Gilles was 2-for-3 with a double.

Hamels started for the Phils and allowed a run on a bloop RBI-double by Ibanez over two innings. Bush followed and allowed a run on a solo homer over two frames. Willis, Qualls and Stutes all allowed runs for the Phils — that trio combined to give up six runs on seven hits and two walks over three innings. Qualls allowed three runs in his frame.

The Phils made four errors yesterday as the Yanks topped them 7-4.

Halladay allowed a run in two innings. Piniero charged with three runs over two innings, only one of which was earned. Phillippe Aumont allowed three runs on four hits in an inning, but only one run was earned. Martinez made two errors in the game and Wigginton one. Brown dropped a fly ball in left with some discussion of whether he dropped it while he was transferring the ball from his glove after a catch.

Pence homered for the second straight day. Brown was 2-for-4 with a triple. Freddy Galvis started at short and went 2-for-4 with a double.

The Phils play the Yankees again today with Blanton scheduled to pitch. Talk of Martinez’s errors yesterday and today’s lineup here. Kevin Frandsen seems like a good guy to keep an eye on in the early going — the linked article suggests he will start at second today.

Ryan Howard is in a walking boot and there is no timetable for his return.

This article points out that former Phillie Travis d’Arnaud was great at Double-A last year, hitting .311 with 21 home runs. You know who else is great? Roy Halladay.

This says Jose Contreras looked good throwing on Sunday and that Justin De Fratus has been cleared to play catch.

Also, if you’re looking to support the Phillies, use this Promotional Code and get great discounts on jerseys.

Nothing to see here

Cole Hamels made 31 starts last year in which he threw 213 innings, or 6.87 innings per start. Rotation-mates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee each went more than seven innings a start — 7.30 innings per start for Halladay and 7.27 for Lee.

So, should we be worried that Hamels isn’t going as deep into games? Not so much.

First of all, Halladay and Lee are workhorses who were at the top of the innings pitched list in the NL in 2011. Halladay was second in the NL in innings pitched with 233 2/3 and Lee was fourth with 232 2/3. Hamels himself was tied for ninth with 216 innings.

The other issue is that Hamels is a whole lot younger than either Halladay or Lee.

Table below shows, for Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt, the number of starts each of the four pitchers got by age and the average number of innings they threw per start that year:

Hamels Hamels Lee Lee Halladay Halladay Oswalt Oswalt
21 2 7.00
22 23 5.75 18 5.80
23 28 6.55 2 5.17 13 4.67 20 6.38
24 33 6.89 9 5.81 16 6.44 34 6.82
25 32 6.05 33 5.42 34 7.04 21 6.06
26 33 6.32 32 6.31 36 7.39 35 6.74
27 31 6.87 33 6.08 21 6.33 35 6.90
28 16 6.08 19 7.46 32 6.86
29 31 7.20 32 6.88 32 6.61
30 34 6.81 31 7.27 32 6.52
31 28 7.58 33 7.38 30 6.04
32 32 7.27 32 7.47 32 6.58
33 33 7.60 23 6.04
34 32 7.30
Through age 27 180 6.44 125 5.93 140 6.57 145 6.65

Or, for those of you who prefer your data harder to understand, here’s a picture (points are plotted for years in which each of the pitchers started at least ten games):

During his age 27 season, Hamels went about 6.87 innings per start. That mark is higher than Halladay (6.33 over 21 starts at age 27) or Lee (6.08 over 33). It’s about the same but a little worse than Oswalt. In 2005, Oswalt made 35 starts for the Astros in which he threw 241 2/3 innings, which is about 6.91 innings per start.

I do want to acknowledge that the squiggly line graph is nearly incomprehensible. One thing I think it does illustrate, though, is that after their age 27 seasons, the innings pitched per start numbers for Halladay and Lee generally went up. Oswalt was a different story. He topped out in innings per start during his age 27 season and has been generally downwards since then.

The other thing is that Hamels has made a lot more starts through his age 27 season than the rest of the group has. Having just completed his age 27 season, he has 180 career starts. Through their age 27 seasons, Oswalt led the group of Halladay, Lee and Oswalt with 145. In terms of innings pitched per start through age 27, Hamels has thrown more innings per start than Lee, but a little bit less than Halladay or Oswalt.

The biggest point for the day, though, is that Hamels doesn’t have any problem with not throwing enough innings per start. He does throw fewer innings per start than Halladay or Lee, but so does pretty much everyone else in the world. In 2010, for example, Lee made 13 starts with the Mariners in which he threw 103 2/3 innings, which is a silly 7.97 innings per outing.

Phils beat Florida State 6-1 yesterday. Pete Orr made a couple of defensive miscues in the top of the seventh on a ball through his legs and a bobble of a mighta-been double-play as Florida State scored a run to tie the game a 1-1. Orr led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, though, and the Phils went on to score five times in the frame. Hector Luna hit a two-run shot in the rally. Hunter Pence doubled and walked in two plate appearances. Mayberry started at first and went 0-for-3 with five men left on base.

Austin Hyatt started for the Phils and struck out three in two perfect innings.

This says that Ryan Howard will be sidelined indefinitely after a procedure on Monday “to clean an infection from his surgical wound.” I’m not a medical expert or anything, but I think this might mean it’s okay to call it a setback now.

Erik Kratz says that Phillippe Aumont is a bulldog in this article. I don’t think he’s being literal. I think we would need to start to seriously consider the effectiveness of the scouting process if the fact that Aumont was a bulldog rather than a baseball player had somehow slipped through the cracks before trading for him.

You go longer

In recent posts I have pointed out that in each of the last two years, Phillies starters have thrown at least 70% of the total innings pitched by the team. They’ve also thrown at least 1,000 innings each of the past two years.

To get 1,000 innings from your starting pitchers over 162 games, they need to average about 6.17 innings per start.

Will the starters throw 1,000 innings again in 2012? They’re going to need to keep Halladay, Hamels and Lee healthy and making a whole lot of starts if they are. In 2011, Hallady and Lee combined to make 64 starts and throw 466 1/3 innings. That’s about 7.29 innings per start. In the other 98 games, starters averaged 6.11 innings per start. 6.11 innings per start over 162 games is about 990 innings.

In 2011, Halladay, Hamels and Lee combined to make 95 starts in which they threw 682 1/3 innings (7.18 innings per start). Pitchers other than that trio combined to make 67 starts and threw 382 innings, which is 5.70 innings per start.

Hamels was the member of that group who threw the fewest innings per start in 2011 and he went about 6.87 — if your starters averaged 6.87 innings per start over 162 games, they would throw about 1,113 over 162 starts. As I mentioned above, the non-Halladay, Lee and Hamels starters for the Phils in 2011 averaged 5.70 innings per start. 5.70 innings per start over 162 games is 923 innings from your starting pitchers — that would have been 16th of the 16 NL teams in 2011 (as it was, the Pirates were the team that saw their starters go the fewest number of total innings at 923 1/3).

Roy Oswalt won’t be a Phillie in 2012, at least not to start the year, which seems sure to be a blow to the total number of innings thrown by the starters for the year. Oswalt was well off his career mark for innings pitched per start in 2011, but still averaged 6.04 innings in his 23 starts, a mark that was fourth-best on the team behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels.

It’s not going to happen, but the point for today is that if you wanted to make a case for Joel Piniero in the rotation for the Phils, a big part of it would likely be that he is a good bet to go a lot deeper into games than Worley or Kendrick.

Here’s a look at some of the guys who we could see starting games for the Phillies this year as well as for the former Phil Oswalt. Guys that have been in both the AL and NL have separate entries for their career and NL-only.

Pitcher GS IP IP/Start
Oswalt 326 2135 2/3 6.55
Piniero 263 1639 1/3 6.23
Piniero NL 68 423 1/3 6.22
Blanton 198 1228 2/3 6.21
Blanton NL 80 479 5.99
Bush NL 144 859 5.97
Bush 187 1101 2/3 5.89
Worley 23 135 5.87
Kendrick 98 547 2/3 5.59

First of all, none of those guys on the list comes very close to going as deep into games as Oswalt does. But Piniero is the closest. Piniero was terrible last year, throwing to a 5.10 ERA over his 24 starts and going about 5.74 innings per start. In 2010, though, Piniero averaged 6.62 innings per start over his 23 outings for the Angels while throwing to a 3.84 ERA.

Kendrick doesn’t have much chance to start the year in the rotation barring an injury, but he does seem a good bet to start some games for the Phils this year. In 2011 he started 15 and went 5.53 innings per start, a little worse than his career mark of 5.59.

The rotation to start the year is almost likely to be Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Worley. As mentioned above, Halladay, Lee and Hamels are a pretty fantastic trio to have at the top of the rotation if you’re looking to have your starters pitch deep into games. Aside from who’s going to be healthy and stay healthy, the real questions in the rotation for the Phils are Blanton and Worley.

Last year Blanton made eight starts for the Phils and threw an average of 4.79 innings per start. This misleading, though. He made a small number of starts and two of them were starts by committee at the end of the year when he had been pitching out of the bullpen in which he threw two innings. If Blanton doesn’t go close to or more than six innings a start in 2012, it’s going to be a symptom of a bigger problem. Other symptoms will be a ballooning era and a bunch of guys from the other team running around and around the bases.

Worley, though, is another matter. He went 5.95 innings per start last year and I think it’s likely he’ll be near that mark or worse in 2012. There is, of course, an issue with the age of the pitcher and the number of innings they throw per start. A good example of that is Dave Bush’s career and NL numbers, which show he has thrown more innings per start in the NL than he has in the DH-loving American League. A big part of that was the workload management he saw early in his career — for example, with the Blue Jays in 2005 at age 25, Bush thew just 134 innings in 24 starts, or about 5.58 innings per start. Those numbers may have more to do about not wanting to push him too hard at an early age than the number of innings he could have thrown.

The Phils play Florida State this afternoon. This from the Phillies web site says that righty Austin Hyatt will start with Utley, Ruiz and Polanco not in the starting lineup. The lineup posted in that article suggests Pierre will DH, Brown will play left and Wigginton third with Mayberry at first and Martinez at second.

If I get one wish for Spring Training it’s that nobody gets hurt. If I get two wishes, number two is that Domonic Brown tears it up.

Ryan Howard saw a foot surgeon yesterday.

Shane Victorino sure seems to want to stay in Philadelphia.

It’s been 14 years that are gone forever and are otherwise unremarkable

In my previous post, I pointed out that Phillie starters led the NL in innings pitched in 2011 with 1,064 2/3. So when was the last time an NL team saw its starters throw that many innings? 1998, when the Braves did it.

Here’s the list of the teams that led the league in innings by starting pitcher over the past 14 years:

Year Team IP by starters
1064 2/3
1035 1/3
1003 2/3
983 1/3
968 2/3
1030 1/3
1059 1/3
1007 2/3
1040 1/3
1056 2/3
1074 2/3

In the past six seasons, the only NL team other than the Phillies to get 1,000 innings from their starters is the 2009 St Louis Cardinals.

No team has gotten more innings from their starter since the 1998 Atlanta Braves threw 1,074 2/3. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Danny Neagle all made at least 26 starts for the Braves that year and all of them threw an average of at least 6.45 innings per start. Maddux led the group, making 34 starts in which he threw 251 innings, which is about 7.38 innings per start.

In the DL-loving American League, getting a thousand innings from your starters has happened a little more often in recent history. In each of the past two seasons there were four AL teams that saw their starters toss a 1,000 frames. The Mariners, White Sox and Angels have all had their starters go a thousand innings in each of the last two years while the Rays and Red Sox have each done it once.

This suggests the Phils are going to work more on bunting and mentions Rollins, Victorino, Michael Martinez and Juan Pierre as bunt-for-a-hit candidates. Really hoping we don’t see Victorino bunting 15-20 more times a year in 2012.

The article linked above also says that Conteras’s bullpen session went well yesterday and he could still be ready for Opening Day.

This article suggests that Brian Sanches and David Herndon might be battling for a bullpen spot. I do like Sanches and think there’s a chance he can help the Phils this year, but have some trouble forgetting him allowing four home runs in relief the night the Phils lost their ten thousandth game in team history.

Danys Baez retired. Between 2010 and 2011, Baez made 80 relief appearances for the Phils in which he threw to a 5.81 ERA with a 1.60 ratio.

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