Tag: Adam Dunn

I’m still not doing the Tomahawk Chop, though, I don’t care what anyone says

The Phils are going to the post-season and will have home field advantage throughout. Beyond that, we know that the Reds have won their division and are in while the Braves, Giants and Padres battle for the two remaining NL spots. As of this morning the Giants lead the Padres by two games in the West and the Braves are a game and a half ahead of San Diego for the Wild Card.

So who should we be rooting for to come out on top?

Here’s how many runs per game the five teams have scored this season compared to the average for the league (not including last night):

Team R/G NL AVG R/G  
CIN 4.90 4.36 1.124
PHI 4.71 4.36 1.080
ATL 4.57 4.36 1.048
SF 4.34 4.36 0.995
SD 4.17 4.36 0.956

So, for example, the Reds have scored 4.90 runs per game this season. The average for NL teams is 4.36 runs per game. 4.90 over 4.36 is 1.124, which also means that the Reds have scored about 112.4% of the runs per game that the average NL team has scored this season.

Of the five teams, the Reds, Phils and Braves have all been better than average at scoring runs. The Giants and Padres have been worse than the average NL teams at scoring runs.

The average NL team has allowed 4.38 runs per game. Here’s how the numbers at preventing runs compare for the five teams (again, does not include last night):

Team RA/G NL AVG
RA/G
 
SD 3.63 4.38 0.829
SF 3.65 4.38 0.833
ATL 3.83 4.38 0.874
PHI 3.97 4.38 0.906
CIN 4.29 4.38 0.979

The chart is turned upside down for these numbers. The Padres have been the best of the five teams at preventing runs for the season, allowing about 82.9% of the runs per game that the average team in the NL has allowed.

If you combine the rates at which they have scored and prevented runs compared to the rest of the league, here’s how the results look:

Team Scoring
Runs
Preventing
Runs
Total
PHI 0.080 0.094 0.1739
ATL 0.048 0.126 0.1737
SF -0.005 0.167 0.1621
CIN 0.124 0.021 0.1444
SD -0.044 0.171 0.1277

Two big things I think you can take from that. The first is how slim the margin is between the Braves and the Phils at the top of the list. The second is that the Padres are just a lot worse than the other four teams on the list. One of the teams you should be rooting for to get into the playoffs is the Padres.

Who’s the other, though? From the numbers above it sure looks like we should all be Giants fans. But surely the injury-ravaged Braves aren’t the same team now that they’ve lost Chipper and Medlen and Prado, right?

Here’s what the five teams have done in September:

Team Record RS/G RA/G
PHI 20-6 5.19 3.58
ATL 12-14 3.35 3.81
SF 16-8 3.75 1.85
CIN 11-14 4.20 4.04
SD 11-15 3.00 4.19
       
Total for
Group
70-57 3.898 3.543

A couple of things you should take from that. The first is that the Phillies are playing very well, especially offensively. The Reds may have been better than the Phils at scoring runs overall for the season, but since the start of September the Phillies have scored almost a run per game more than Cincinnati has scored.

The other thing that you don’t want to miss is that the Giants are doing an amazing job at preventing runs. They’ve allowed 48 runs in their past 24 games and the Rockies beat them 10-9 on Saturday. So in the other 23 games they have allowed 38 runs, or 1.65 runs per game.

Here’s how the teams stack up if you compare the number of runs each team has scored and allowed this month to the other teams in the group (not the whole league) and then combine the numbers:

Team Scored Allowed Total
SF -0.04 0.48 0.44
PHI 0.33 -0.01 0.32
CIN 0.08 -0.14 -0.06
ATL -0.14 -0.08 -0.22
SD -0.23 -0.18 -0.41

The Giants pitching has been more dominant than the Phillies hitting, so San Francisco comes out on top on that list. I think there are two important things to come to terms with about the way the Giants have been pitching of late. The first is that if San Francisco allows 1.85 runs per game the rest of the way they’re going to win the World Series. There won’t be much for anyone else to do but watch. The second, though, is that that isn’t going to happen. In August, for example, the Giants allowed about 4.93 runs per game.

It does leave us with the question of who we’d like to see joining the Phils, Reds and Padres in the playoffs. If the Braves were at full strength I think it’s pretty much a no-brainer that you would prefer them to be watching the post-season. The Braves aren’t at full strength, though, and they haven’t been for a long time. The combination of the injuries to Atlanta and the remarkable job San Francisco has done preventing runs of late makes it very close.

On the plus side, it doesn’t matter a whole lot who you’re hoping for — the playoff teams from the NL look likely to be the Phils, Reds, Braves and Giants.

The Nats beat the Phils 2-1 last night. Oswalt pitched well, allowing an unearned run over five innings. Nyjer Morgan walked in the bottom of the first, stole second, took third with the help of a Rollins error and scored on an Adam Dunn ground out to put Washington up 1-0. Ibanez tied the game at 1-1 with a homer off of Jason Marquis in the fourth. Dunn hit a long walkoff home run off of Contreras with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth.

Rollins returned to the starting lineup and went 1-for-3 with a solid single out of the leadoff spot. He also made a throwing error in the first. Bastardo and Baez both pitched a scoreless inning in relief, with Bastardo striking out all three men he faced in the bottom of the eighth in a tie game.


Jacked up

It was bound to happen sooner or later and the Phillies finally had a starting pitcher give them a quality start for the first time this season last night. Joe Blanton gave up a three-run homer to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the first inning, but was very good after that. It didn’t matter much, though, because the bullpen exploded late and the offense didn’t do much of anything. The pen started the seventh down 3-2 and the Nats scored five runs off of Chad Durbin and Jack Taschner before the end of the eighth.

On the good news front, the game featured the ’09 debut of Lou Marson. He was impressive, going 2-for-3 with a double and some nice work behind the plate.

Rollins and Victorino continue to struggle atop the Phillies batting order. They combined to go 0-for-7 last night and are 11-for-68 (.162) on the season.

The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 4-4 on the season. The teams split the two games in the series, with the middle game rained out. The Phillies still haven’t won a game this season when they’ve scored less than seven runs.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a three-run homer by Adam Dunn. He struck out five. It was the first quality start of the year for the Phils, but Myers was arguably better against the Rockies on Saturday as he allowed four runs on four hits over seven.

The Phils didn’t score in the top of the first. Blanton got Anderson Hernandez on a ground ball to second for the first out. Nick Johnson was next and he singled into left. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he singled to left too. The throw into the infield got away from Feliz for an error on the third baseman, allowing the runners to move to second and third. Didn’t matter, though, cause Adam Dunn was next and pounded a 2-2 pitch out to right to put Washington up 3-0. Blanton got Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns on fly balls to end the inning.

Blanton struck out Jesus Flores to start the second before Alberto Gonzalez singled to right. The pitcher Shairon Martis was next and he tried to bunt, but quickly got behind 0-2 and bunted the third pitch foul for the second out. Hernandez flew to left for the third out.

Johnson singled to right to start the third, but Blanton got the next three behind him.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Hernandez and Johnson singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Zimmerman, and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play to third to end the inning.

With the Phils down 3-2, Blanton struck Dunn out looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate to start the sixth. Dukes was next and flew to center for the second out before Kearns hit a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Flores followed with a walk to put two men on for Gonzalez, who flew to right to for the third out.

Durbin entered to pitch the seventh with the Phils still down a run. Josh Willingham pinch-hit for the pitcher Michael Hinckley to start the inning and Willingham hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left to make it 4-2. Hernandez was next and walked on five pitches. Johnson got ahead 2-0, but Durbin got him on a line drive to Rollins at short on the next pitch for the first out. Durbin got ahead of Zimmerman and delivered an 0-2 pitch that was way outside and bounced in the dirt. Hernandez took off for second, but Marson picked it cleanly and threw to second where he get Hernandez, who started late, easily. Still a very nice play by Marson to pick the ball and make a strong throw to second. Durbin’s next three pitches to Zimmerman were balls, putting him on first base with a walk. The lefty Dunn was next, and Manuel called on Taschner to pitch to him. Taschner was well-rested, having made just two appearances on the year the last of which was April 7. Taschner struck out Dunn swinging 1-2 to set the Nats down.

Not a good outing for Durbin, who allowed the home run and walked two, while getting two outs that came on a line drive and a caught stealing.

I was surprised to see Taschner and not Eyre come in to face Dunn with everyone presumably available. Presumably this is because the Phils were at the top of their order and unlikely to hit for their pitcher in the top of the eighth and Manuel wanted Taschner to go another inning.

Taschner did return for the eighth. Dukes led off an hit a 3-0 pitch out to left to make it 5-2. First hit or walk allowed on the season by Taschner. Kearns was next and hit a high popup that Utley took just behind the mound for the first out. Taschner got Flores looking 2-2 for the second out. Gonzalez was swinging first pitch and hit a ball just out down the line in left. 6-2. Gonzalez had 15 career home runs in 2,040 minor league at-bats. Roger Bernadina, who had entered defensively to play left, was next and Taschner walked him. Bernadina stole second as the count went 2-1 on Hernandez before Hernandez singled into right and Bernadina scored to make it 7-2. Johnson walked to put men on first and second. Zimmerman singled into center and Hernandez scored. 8-2 with men on first and second. That was mercifully it for Taschner, and Manuel brought Happ in to pitch. Ronnie Belliard hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and popped up to Happ to end the inning.

Five runs allowed in two innings for the pen on five hits and four walks. Durbin had a rough outing, Taschner got hammered and Happ got the only man he faced. Taschner is surely unavailable today after throwing 38 pitches. Durbin threw 20 and Happ three.

The Phillies lineup against righty Shairon Martis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Marson makes his first start of the year with Ruiz on the DL. Still no start for Dobbs with a righty on the mound.

Utley walked with two outs in the first, but Howard struck out behind him.

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

Marson led off the third with a single into center. Blanton bunted Marson to second with the first out, but Rollins and Victorino both went down to leave him stranded.

Utley started the fourth with a single to center and moved to second on a ground out by Howard. Werth fouled out to the catcher, but Ibanez delivered a single into center to score Utley and cut the Washington lead to 3-1. Feliz grounded out to set the Phils down.

Marson led off the fifth and doubled into right. Blanton again got the bunt down, moving him to third for the first out. Rollins flew to right deep enough to bring Marson home and make it 3-2. Victorino flew to right for the third out.

Second time in the game that Marson got aboard and second time that Blanton bunted him along. This time they scored and everything.

Howard walked with one out in the sixth with the Phils still down a run. Werth popped to the shortstop Gonzalez in short left field for the second out. Ibanez lined a single into left, moving Howard to second. Feliz swung at the first pitch and hit a soft ground ball back to the pitcher to set the Phillies down.

Marson started the seventh and got ahead 2-0, but swung at the next pitch and popped to second. Dobbs was announced as the pinch-hitter for Blanton, and the Nats brought in lefty Mike Hinckley to pitch to him. Bruntlett hit for Dobbs and grounded to second for the second out. Rollins flew to Kearns in right-center for the third out.

Dobbs pinch-hits against a righty, the other team brings in a lefty and Bruntlett hits for Dobbs is happening more than appeals. Bruntlett is a poor best right-handed hitter on your bench against a lefty.

Lefty Joe Beimel started the eighth for the Nats with the Phils down 4-2. Victorino led off and swung at a 3-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone high and flew to left for the first out. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.

Down 8-2, the Phils went in order in the top of the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting .111.

Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his average to .219. Sorry to see him go out of the strike zone to start the eighth, but it’s a little less important if you’re going to lose by six.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk.

Werth 0-for-4.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Feliz 0-for-4.

Marson played very well, going 2-for-3 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. Made a very nice play in the seventh to throw out Hernandez.

Cole Hamels (0-1, 17.18) faces righty Chris Young (2-0, 1.38) tonight as the Phils start a four-game set with the Padres. Hamels got blasted in his only start of the year, allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies on Friday. Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-12 against Hamels in his career with a home run. Young has made two starts for the Padres and comes off an outing on Sunday against the Giants when he allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a batter over seven innings. He allowed one run in that start, but it was unearned. Feliz is 1-for-14 against him for his career. Utley is the only Phillie to have hit a home run against Young, he’s 3-for-8 with a homer.

There will be tributes to Harry Kalas at Citizens Bank Park today and tomorrow.


Left doubt

Off the Mets now and on to the lineup and whether or not it’s a big deal that the Phils hit Utley and Howard back-to-back as well as the general problem with the lack of right-handed hitters on the team. Three related points coming in this and upcoming posts: 1) (today!) Utley and Howard get a higher percentage of their plate appearances against left-handed pitching than many of the other elite left-handed hitters in baseball 2) this is a bigger deal for Howard than it is for Utley and 3) whether it’s because they hit back-to-back or not, in 2008 Utley and Howard both had numbers against relief pitchers that were a) bad and b) worse than they had been in recent years.

Pretty much I’m thinking that a lineup that goes Utley-Howard-Ibanez 3-4-5 isn’t the way to go (or the way the Phillies will go).

Today’s point is that Utley and Howard get more of their plate appearances against left-handed hitting than many of the other best left-handed hitters in baseball.

In 2008, Howard and Utley each got about 38% of their plate appearances against left-handed pitching. By OPS, Utley was the best left-handed hitter (.915) in the NL in ’08 and Howard was fifth best (.881). If you compare the percentage of their plate appearances that came against lefties for 2008 to the percentage of plate appearances that came against lefties for the four other top hitters in the NL, Utley and Howard faced lefties more often.

The chart below presents, for the six left-handed NL hitters with at least 500 plate appearances in 2008 who posted the best OPS, the percentage of their plate appearances that have come against left-handed pitchers in 2008 and in ’06 and ’07:

nlvleft.jpg

In 2006, Adam Dunn got 32.8% of his plate appearances against lefties while Howard got 32.0% of his plate appearances against lefties. Since then, though, none of the rest of the group has gotten as high a percentage of their plate appearances against lefties. That adds up to a lot of plate appearances. Brian McCann, for example, has had 1,617 total plate appearances over the past three years and 480 (29.7%) have come against lefties. Utley has had 2,059 total plate appearances and 752 of them, 36.5%, of them have come against lefties. So Utley has had 442 more total plate appearances, but 272 of them have come against left-handed pitching.

Utley and Howard are also getting a higher percentage of their plate appearances against lefties than the top left-handed hitters in the American League. By OPS, here are the top six left-handed hitters in the AL from 2008 and the percentage of their plate appearances that have come against lefties over the past three years:

alvleft.jpg

The highest mark for that group for the last three years is the 35.5% of Justin Morneau’s plate appearances that came against left-handed pitchers in 2008. Utley and Howard have both faced a higher percentage of lefties in each of the last two seasons.

It should also be noted that, like Utley and Howard, in 2008 Morneau hit almost exclusively behind another very good left-handed hitter. The Twins lineup regularly featured Joe Mauer hitting third and Morneau in the cleanup slot.

Interesting Q&A with Pat Gillick here in which he suggests the Phillies might have been willing to bring Burrell back but the length of the contract that Burrell was looking for was a problem. I also find it fascinating given how regularly Gillick wins the World Series that when asked why he pushed for the Ibanez signing the first thing he mentions is that Ibanez will be a positive influence in the clubhouse. Gillick also suggests that Ibanez may hit for more power at Citizens Bank Park and that he hits left-handed pitching well.

In this article, Charlie Manuel says that Ibanez has hit lefties well for the last few years. Ibanez smoked lefties to the tune of 305/368/497 in 2008, but hit 256/294/356 against them in 2007 and 243/301/362 against them in ’06.

This article says that Feliz hasn’t swung a bat since his surgery in November. Also says that Feliz expects to be ready for the start of the season.


Worth watching

Not running out popups isn’t what made Jimmy Rollins the MVP of the National League, but yesterday it’s what made him a spectator. Rollins failed to show the hustle fans have come to expect from him after hitting an easy fly ball into shallow left field in the third inning. He found himself on the bench a couple of innings later.

Cole Hamels made sure he saw a good show.

Coming off two straight miserable starts, Hamels was simply brilliant. He needed just 103 pitches to throw a three-hit shutout. Rollins’ replacement at short Eric Bruntlett made a brilliant defensive play in the top of the eighth to end the inning and rob the Reds of a run.

The Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, winning 5-0 to improve to 36-26 on the season. They take the four-game set three games to one.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits, all doubles, and walking three. He struck out four.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Edwin Encarnacion walked with two outs in the second. Paul Janish was next and doubled to center, moving Encarnacion to third. Hamels walked David Ross to load the bases and got the pitcher Homer Bailey to pop to first for the third out.

Ken Griffey Jr doubled off the wall in left-center with two outs in the third, but Hamels struck out Brandon Phillips to end the frame.

Joey Votto walked to start the fourth with the Phils up 1-0, but Encarnacion hit into a double-play behind him. Janish flew to left for the third out.

Hamels didn’t allow a base runner in the fifth, sixth or seventh.

He started the eighth up 5-0. Jerry Hairston doubled with two outs and it brought up Jay Bruce. Bruce hit a ball hard in between short and third, but Bruntlett made a diving play to the third base side of short to field the ball. His throw to first was very strong and, with the help of a great stretch from Howard, nipped Bruce for the third out.

With one out in the ninth Phillips grounded to third. Howard was pulled of the bag by Feliz’s throw and Feliz was charged with an error. Votto flew to left for the second out and pinch-hitter Corey Patterson fouled out to first to end the game.

Second complete game shutout in five starts for Hamels.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Homer Bailey went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the first and again in the second.

Ruiz singled with one out in the third and Hamels bunted him to second. Rollins hit a high fly ball into shallow left field. The shortstop Janish backed up and got under it but didn’t catch it. Ruiz scored on the error and the Phils led 1-0. Rollins should have been on second, but didn’t run hard out of the box and had to hold first. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Feliz hit a ball that Bailey fielded and then threw away. Feliz got a single and Bailey was charged with an error that let him go to second. Ruiz walked to put men on first and second with one out. Hamels flew to center for the second out before Bruntlett, who entered the game at short in the top of the inning, hit a ball to right that Griffey dropped for another Reds error. Feliz scored to put the Phils up 2-0 and Ruiz went to third. Victorino followed with a single into center that scored Ruiz and put the Phils up 3-0. Utley flew to center for the third out.

Jenkins homered to right with two outs in the sixth to put the Phillies up 4-0. Feliz followed with a walk but Ruiz grounded out for the third out.

With one out in the seventh, Bruntlett and Victorino walked back-to-back. Utley flew to center for the second out before Howard hit a ground ball to where the shortstop would have been if not for the crazy shift. Howard had a single and Bruntlett scored to put the Phils up 5-0 with Victorino going to second. Burrell grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Rollins was 0-for-2 in the game and 4-for-15 with a double in the four-game set. He’s hitting 289/333/447 for the season.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with an RBI. 2-for-13 in the series. 283/353/386 on the year.

Utley was 0-for-4 and left four men on base. 5-for-14 with a double and a home run in the series. 315/400/664 for the year.

Howard was 1-for-4 with an RBI. 3-for-16 with a double in the series. 206/316/453 for the year.

Burrell was 0-for-4. 3-for-13 with a home run in the series. 277/419/574 for the year.

Jenkins was 1-for-4 with a home run. 4-for-14 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 285/326/448 for the year.

Feliz was 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-14 with a home run in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-22 and hitting 251/294/419 for the season.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a walk and 1-for-7 in the series. 224/297/284 for the year. Two extra-base hits since April 29 and six for the season. Coste was 1-for-7 with a home run in the series is hitting 317/383/567 for the year.

Jamie Moyer (6-3, 4.65) faces righty Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.01) tonight in Atlanta. Hudson has allowed seven earned runs in 22 innings over his last three starts (2.86 ERA). On the season opponents are hitting .244 against him, righties just .224. He has not allowed a home run to a right-handed batter this season. Lefties have hit all seven home runs he has allowed and are slugging .458 against him for the season. Moyer is 4-0 with a 4.05 ERA in his last four starts. Righties are hitting .340 against him for the season, lefties .229.

The Phillies drafted some people.


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