Tag: Alex Rodriguez

Phils starting to regret not trading for Halladay less and less with each passing day

Quite a show for the Phils and Cliff Lee last night as a relaxed-looking Phillies team jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Yankees in the World Series. How good was Lee? Well, Utley hit two home runs before the end of the sixth and that inning ended with the Phils up 2-0 and there’s nobody out there who thinks he was the most important player of the game for the Phillies.

In four starts this post-season, Lee has now pitched 33 1/3 innings. That’s pretty amazing itself, but he has also thrown to an 0.54 ERA and an 0.69 ratio. He has struck out 30, walked three and has not allowed a home run.

Ibanez had a big chance against Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia early in the game, but grounded to second with two outs and the bases loaded in the first to turn the Phils away. Utley connected for a third inning home run to put the Phils up 1-0. In the sixth he hit another off of Sabathia to make it 2-0. Ibanez got another chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and this time he delivered a two-run single that put the Phils up 4-0. Victorino and Howard drove in runs in the ninth to extend the lead to 6-0. Lee was in control the whole game, but did allow back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the ninth. It led to a Yankees run, which scored with the help of a throwing error by Rollins on a double-play that wasn’t meant to be, but the game ended 6-1.

The Phils lead the Yankees one game to none in the World Series after taking the opener 6-1.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing an unearned run on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out ten.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Posada (C/S) (6) Matsui (DH/L) (7) Cano (2B/L) (8) Swisher (RF/S) (9) Cabrera (CF/S).

The Yankees had four players on their bench to start the game, righties Jose Molina and Jerry Hairston and lefties Brett Gardner and Eric Hinske.

Jeter led off for the Yankees in the bottom of the first and struck out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Damon bunted a 1-1 pitch right back to the mound for the second. Lee struck Teixeira out swinging 2-2 to set New York down.

Eleven pitches for Lee in the inning. Eight were strikes.

He struck A-Rod out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the second. Posada was next and he got ahead 3-1 and singled to right. Matsui got ahead 2-0, but Lee threw three strikes in a row to get him swinging for the second out. Cano swung at the first pitch and flew to center.

Lee battled back after getting behind Mastui down 2-0 with a man on base. He threw 16 pitches in the inning and had thrown 27 for the game.

He started the third with a 1-0 lead. Swisher popped to first. Cabrera popped to second. Jeter was swinging first pitch and doubled down the first base line. Damon hit a 1-2 pitch softly to third. Feliz made the play and a strong throw to first, just nipping Damon to end the inning.

Nice play from Feliz ends the inning and keeps Teixeira from coming to the plate with two men on. After throwing 13 pitches in the inning Lee had thrown 40 in the game.

It might not have mattered anyway. Lee struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth and he got some good hitters doing it. Teixeira struck out swinging 2-2. A-Rod struck out swinging 3-2. Posada struck out swinging 2-2.

Lee had struck out seven through four innings. After 16 pitches in the inning he was at 56.

He got ahead of Matsui to start the fifth. He didn’t get the call on a close 1-2 pitch. Or a close 2-2 pitch. Matsui singled into center with the count full. Cano was next and he hit a soft popup right to Rollins. Rollins looked like he was going to let it drop to get the double-play, but instead caught the ball, just barely getting his glove under it. He touched second and threw to first. It didn’t matter since he had caught it, but that wasn’t the call on the field. The call on the field was that it had bounced and Cano beat the relay from second. The umps huddled and got it right — double-play for the Phils. Swisher popped to Werth in shallow right field for the third out.

Lee was up to 69 after 13 pitches in the inning.

He was up 2-0 when he started the sixth. Cabrera flew to right 1-2 for the first out. Jeter got ahead 2-0 and singled into center. Damon got ahead 2-0, too, and he hit a popup to Lee that Lee looked about as bored as you can look flipping out his glove to catch the ball near his waist for the second out. Teixeira hit a 2-0 pitch back up the middle, but Utley took it near second and beat Jeter to the bag to end the inning.

Jeter, Damon and Teixeira all get way ahead of Lee, but Lee gets out of the inning. Seventeen pitches in the inning had him at 86. The way he caught the Damon popup was just weird.

A-Rod grounded to third 1-0 for the first out of the seventh. Posada got ahead 2-0 but grounded softly back to the mound 2-1. Matsui grounded softly to third on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

Nine and 95 for Lee.

He started the eighth up 4-0. Cano led off and hit an 0-1 pitch hard back up the middle. Lee caught it behind his back on one hop and threw to first for the first out. Swisher struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. Cabrera flew to center 0-1 to end the inning.

Pretty amazing play by Lee on a ball hit hard. Eleven pitches in the inning. 106. Swisher had good swings in his at-bat, twice fouling the ball off.

Lee started the ninth up 6-0. Jeter led off and dropped a 1-2 pitch in front of Victorino for a single. Damon was next and he lined a single to right, moving Jeter to second. Teixeira hit a ground ball back up the middle. Utley took it near the bag and flipped to Rollins. Rollins didn’t have a chance to get Teixeira at first, but threw off his wrong foot anyway and the ball went into the dugout. Jeter scored to make it 6-1 with Teixeira at second on the error with one out. Lee struck A-Rod out swinging 1-2 and Posada out swinging 0-2 to end the game.

Lee threw 16 pitches in the ninth inning and 122 in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty CC Sabathia went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (DH/L) (7) Francisco (LF/R) (8) Feliz (3B/R) (9) Ruiz (C/R). The righty Francisco is added to the lineup, hitting in-between Ibanez and Feliz. Ibanez is the DH. I bet Francisco is a little surprised to be starting in the World Series. Feliz should probably be hitting behind Ruiz against a lefty, but I’m pretty sure that Manuel isn’t going to start doing that now.

The Phillies started the game with four players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righty Eric Bruntlett. That’s really not that imposing a bench from the right side of the plate, given that Bruntlett hit 171/224/238 for the season.

Rollins started the World Series by bunting Sabathia’s first pitch too hard to first. Teixeira took it for the first out. Victorino popped to second 1-2 for the second out. Utley got behind 1-2, but came back to work a walk. Howard doubled into right field on an 0-1 pitch, moving Utley to third. Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez got ahead in the count but was swinging 3-1 and grounded out to second to leave the runners stranded.

Sabathia didn’t look very good in the first. He almost had the Phils down in order, but Utley came back from 1-2 to work a walk. Utley doesn’t score from first with two outs on the double by Howard. Sabathia threw 24 pitches in the inning.

It got better for him in the second. Francisco got ahead 3-0 but grounded to third 3-2 for the first out. Feliz grounded to short 0-1 and Ruiz grounded to second 0-1.

Ten pitches in the inning had him at 34 for the game.

Rollins started the third and drove a ball into left-center, but Cabrera tracked it down on the warning track for the first out. Victorino grounded to short 2-2 for the second. Utley was next and got behind 1-2 before he hit a 3-2 pitch just out to right to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to set the Phils down.

First strikeout of the game for Sabathia. Best at-bat for the game for him against Howard right after the home run. Again he gets way ahead of Utley and can’t put him away. After throwing 24 pitches in the inning he was at 58 for the game.

He set the Phils down in order in the fourth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2. Ibanez struck out looking 2-2. Francisco got ahead and flew to center on a 2-0 pitch.

Thirteen pitches in the inning had Sabathia at 71.

Three up, three down again in the fifth. Feliz struck out looking 0-2. Ruiz grounded softly to short on a 1-2 pitch. Rollins popped to third.

Sabathia had set down seven in a row since the Utley home run. Ten pitches in the inning, 81 in the game.

Victorino got ahead 3-0 to start the sixth but flew to center 3-1 for the first out. Utley was next and again got behind in the count, but hit an 0-2 pitch further out to right this time to make it 2-0. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Werth dribbled a 3-1 pitch into right field for a single, but was left stranded when Ibanez followed and struck out swinging 0-2.

So Utley homers, Sabathia sets down eight in a row and then Utley homers again. Third time in three at-bats that Sabathia got way ahead of Utley and didn’t put him away. Twenty-three pitches for Sabathia put him at 104.

Francisco started the seventh and got ahead 3-1 before walking on a 3-2 pitch. Feliz swung at the first pitch and grounded hard to third. Rodriguez started the double-play to clear the bases. Ruiz grounded to third 0-1 to set the Phillies down.

Francisco gets ahead again and finally gets on base. Big no bunt with Feliz, who doesn’t have much chance to get a hit. Nine pitches for Sabathia in the inning, 113 for the game.

Righty Phil Hughes started the eighth for New York. Rollins got ahead 2-0 and hit a ball way out but foul down the right field line before he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and Rollins stole second as the count went 3-1. Victorino swung at a bad 3-1 pitch and missed, but walked 3-2 to put men on first and second for Utley. Lefty Damaso Marte came in to pitch to Utley. Utley got ahead 2-0 but struck out looking 2-2. Howard flew to right for the second out, Rollins tagged and took third. It brought Werth up with men on first and third and righty David Robertson came in to pitch to him. Werth walked on four pitches to load the bases. The righty Robertson stayed in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez got behind 1-2 but hit a 2-2 pitch through the right side and into the outfield. Rollins and Victorino both scored to put the Phils up 4-0 with men on first and second. Francisco hit a 1-1 pitch hard, but A-Rod made a nice play at third to throw him out and end the inning.

I have no idea why you would not bring lefty Phil Coke in to pitch to Ibanez. Maybe you have to face the big lefties in the ninth, but maybe not, too. Huge hit for Ibanez after he came up empty with the bases loaded in the first.

Righty Brian Bruney started the ninth for New York and got Feliz to pop to second for the first out. Ruiz was next and he ripped a 2-1 pitch into left-center for a double. Rollins followed and hit an inside out dribbler that seeped down the third base line for a single that moved Ruiz to third. Victorino ripped a single to right, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-0 and moving Rollins to second. Lefty Phil Coke came in to pitch to Utley. Utley flew to center 3-2 for the second out, with Rollins moving to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Howard hit a 1-1 pitch into right that rolled to the wall. Rollins scored easily to make it 6-0, but Victorino was thrown out trying to score to end the inning.

Second time in the game something odd happened with a ball hit to right field. In the first, Utley didn’t score from first on a double with two outs and in the ninth the Phillies ran into an out at the plate. The Phillies don’t really do either of those things. They don’t make outs on the bases and Utley is a fantastic base-runner who scores from first on a double with two outs. So maybe right field is a little smaller than they thought?

Twice in the last two innings the lefties in the New York pen got Utley with two men on base. Marte struck him out with two on in the eighth and Coke got him with two men on in the ninth.

Still think not bringing in Coke to pitch to Ibanez in the eighth was the critical mistake in the game for New York.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. He hit the ball very well in the third, though, and nearly hit one out against Hughes in the eighth but the ball was just foul. Not a fan of stealing when Victorino is ahead 3-0 and the pitcher can’t throw a strike, though.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a single, a walk and an RBI.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk and two home runs.

Howard 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.

Werth was 1-for-2 and walked twice.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with an enormous two-run single in the eighth.

Francisco was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Feliz looks awful. 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 5-for-37 in the post-season.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a double that started a two-run rally in the ninth for the Phils.

Pedro Martinez faces AJ Burnett tonight in game two.

Play like a dynasty

It’s a little late for any of us to ask the Phillies to play like champions. They’ve been doing that for a while now — they are champions and nothing can ever take that away from this core of outstanding players. But the World Series starts tonight and with it the chance for the Phils to become something more. For this team that has passed every test over the last two years, the challenge in front of them now feels a little like some kind of monstrous mythical beast willed into being just to face them. The New York Yankees. The name just about says it all. But not quite. They are a mighty team with mighty talent, a mighty payroll, 103 wins, home field advantage and baseball history on their side. There isn’t much of a question that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball this year. The good news for the Phillies is that the year isn’t over yet, though, and if you’ve been waiting for someone to help us see just how good the Phils are you won’t have to wait much longer.

Cliff Lee faces CC Sabathia tonight in game one of the World Series.

Sabathia went 19-8 in 34 starts for the Yankees this year, throwing to a 3.37 ERA and a 1.15 ratio over 230 innings. He didn’t allow a lot of hits or home runs and he was fantastic against lefties. They hit 198/198/310 against him.

He was tied for the American League lead in wins, fourth in innings pitched, fourth in ERA and fourth in ratio.

Third in fewest hits allowed per nine innings in the AL, fourth in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings. Not quite as good at preventing walks. This year he walked 2.62 batters per nine innings. He walked about 7.4% of the right-handed batters he faced and about 6.0% of the lefties. 2.62 walks per inning isn’t a bad walk rate at all — it’s just not as good as his rates of preventing hits and home runs. There were 22 players who pitched for the Phillies this year. Fifteen of them had a walk rate that was worse than that. There were also 22 pitchers who pitched for the Yankees and 17 of them had a walk rate that was worse than Sabathia’s.

He’s had four straight years in which he’s thrown at least 190 innings with an ERA under 3.40 and a ratio under 1.20.

Sabathia made one start in the ALDS against the Twins and two starts in the ALCS against the Angels. Between the three games he pitched 22 innings, going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and an 0.75 ratio. He’s allowed three walks, one home run and struck out 20.

He’s pitching very well.

The Phillies faced him in game two of the 2008 NLDS when he was pitching for the Brewers. Milwaukee jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run off of Myers in the top of the first, but the Phils scored five times off of Sabathia in the bottom of the second. Victorino hit a grand slam off of him in the inning and the Phils rolled to a 5-2 win behind seven strong innings from Myers.

Sabathia faced the Phillies on May 24 of this year and allowed three runs over eight innings. The Yankees tied the game at 3-3 with a run off of Lidge in the ninth, but the Phils got an RBI-double from Ruiz off of Tomko in the top of the eleventh and won 4-3.

Ibanez is the Phillie with the most regular season at-bats against Sabathia for his career. He’s 11-for-40 with five extra-base hits and ten strikeouts (275/326/525). Rollins 4-for-11 with two doubles and a triple. Victorino 3-for-7 with three singles, but he had the biggest hit of the game against Sabathia in game two of the NLDS last year. Utley 0-for-3. Howard 3-for-7 with a double. The Phils could sure use Werth tonight, he’s 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Sabathia for his career. Feliz 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Ruiz 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Ruiz has had a fantastic post-season so far. I’d be trying to start lefties against the Phils, too, but when you do it gives them a big weapon at the bottom of the lineup. Ruiz hit 293/370/524 against lefties this season.

Lee went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He doesn’t walk anyone, almost literally when it comes to lefties. He walked six left-handed batters all season. Lefties hit just 241/263/320 against Lee with eleven extra-base hits for the season. Righties had a lot more luck, hitting 283/321/414.

He started games one and four against the Rockies in the NLDS and was fantastic twice. In 16 1/3 innings he pitched to a 1.10 ERA with an 0.86 ratio.

He was also great in his start in game three of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He allowed three singles over eight shutout innings in the game. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out ten.

In his three starts combined for this post-season he has thrown 24 1/3 innings with an 0.74 ERA and an 0.70 ratio.

He made two starts against the Yankees this year, both of which came while he was with Cleveland. On April 16 he allowed a run on seven hits and three walks over six innings as the Indians topped the Yankees 10-1. Posada hit a home run off of him in that game and Swisher had a double. On May 29 he allowed three runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings and the Yankees won the game 3-1. Posada doubled off of Lee in that game.

The Yankees have seen Lee a lot given how long he pitched in the AL. Jeter 11-for-27 (407/467/519). Posada 6-for-21 with two doubles and two home runs (286/273/667). Cano 4-for-18 with four singles (222/263/222). A-Rod 5-for-15 with two home runs and four walks (333/450/733). Swisher 6-for-18 with two doubles (333/458/444). Teixeira 9-for-23 with four doubles and a home run (391/462/696). Cabrera 3-for-11 with a home run. Damon 2-for-22 (091/130/091).

Here are the World Series rosters.

If you want to see what God thinks of money, just look at all the people He gave it to (Dorothy Parker)

Pat Burrell had a big contract in 2008 and he’s going to have a big contract in 2009. He’s not much of a defensive player, but does he produce offense at levels similar to other highly paid hitters? In 2008, Burrell made $14.25 million and posted an OPS+ of 125. Using the salary data that you can access here, I compared his OPS+ to 40 non-pitchers who made $12 million or more in ’08.

Some problems with this, including: 1) it ignores defense 2) even if Burrell is as good an offensive player as the other guys making a lot of money they could all be overpaid. Nate McLouth, for example, made $425,000 in 2008 and was arguably a more productive offensive player than at least 30 of the 41 players on the lists below and 3) I’m comparing the OPS+ of National League players to the OPS+ of American League players. That’s a problem as the formula for OPS+ compares a player’s on-base percentage and slugging to the on-base and slugging percentages for their league rather than for both leagues combined. I have put the OPS+ for AL players in red.

All that said, here it is:

  Made at least $12M in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than Burrell




Carlos Guillen 12.0 420 114
Jose Guillen 12.0 598 96
Paul Konerko 12.0 438 102
Ivan Rodriguez 12.379 398 87
Mike Lowell 12.5 419 103
Troy Glaus 12.5 544 124
Garrett Anderson 12.6 557 97
David Ortiz 13.0 416 123
Hideki Matsui 13.0 337 108
Johnny Damon 13.0 555 118
Jorge Posada 13.1 168 103
Derrek Lee 13.25 623 110
Gary Sheffield 13.326 418 90
Adrian Beltre 13.4 556 109
Alfonso Soriano 14.0 453 121

Unlike OPS+, sOPS+ allows us to compare a hitter’s right/left splits to all hitters in the major leagues rather than just other hitters in his league. Burrell’s sOPS+ against righties in ’08 was 132, against lefties it was 144.

Looking at some of the players who were close to Burrell, Carlos Guillen’s sOPS+ right/left splits were 110/111.

David Ortiz’s were 136/110, suggesting that Ortiz was slightly better against righties and worse against lefties. Baseball Reference calculates Ortiz’s runs created at 79 for 2008 compared to 106 for Burrell.

Mike Lowell’s sOPS+ for ’08 were 108/146. A little better than Burrell against lefties. More than a hundred fewer at-bats and fewer runs created.

Damon 128/104. Runs created of 104.

Glaus killed righties but not lefties, 147/97. Soriano was the opposite, 114/182. Both had lower runs created than Burrell.

  Made at least $12M in ’08 and had an
OPS+ better than Burrell
Player Salary AB OPS+
Chipper Jones 12.33 439 174
12.5 574 151
Carlos Lee 12.5 436 144
Adam Dunn 13.0 517 129
Albert Pujols 13.87 524 190
JD Drew 14.0 368 137

Burrell did have a better runs created than either JD Drew or Carlos Lee, though, because those players had significantly fewer at-bats in ’08 than Burrell. Chipper also had many fewer at-bats but created more runs.

Dunn’s sOPS+ right/left were 143/121.

Here’s the players that made as much or more than the $14.25 million Burrell made in ’08:

  Made as much or more  in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than or equal to Burrell





Pat Burrell



Andruw Jones



Miguel Tejada



Richie Sexson



Jim Thome



Bobby Abreu



Torii Hunter



Todd Helton



Ichiro Suzuki



Derek Jeter



Thome’s sOPS+ was 123/142, again worse than Burrell’s 132/144. Created fewer runs than Burrell.

Torii Hunter 118/122.

The lefty Abreu was better against lefties than righties in ’08, 114/146. His runs created were very similar to Burrell’s — the same using the formula that Baseball-Reference is using and better using the formula used by ESPN‘s baseball stats.

These guys made more money than Burrell and put up a better OPS+:

  Made more money than Burrell and had a
better OPS+





Lance Berkman



Aramis Ramirez



Vlad Guerrero



Rafael Furcal



Magglio Ordonez



Carlos Delgado




Carlos Beltran



Manny Ramirez



Jason Giambi



Alex Rodriguez



Aramis Ramirez comes out on top of Burrell because he pounded right-handed pitching. 163/87. Like Ramirez, Carlos Delgado was better than Burrell, but it was close. Delgado did have a better runs created, but Burrell’s sOPS+ right/left splits are a little better than Delgado’s 133/122. Delgado hit for a higher average, .271 to .250, and outslugged Burrell .518 to .507. He also hit five more home runs (38 for Delgado and 33 for Burrell) and drove in 115 runs to Burrell’s 86.

Burrell created more runs than Furcal, who had just 143 at-bats on the season. He also, however, had a better runs created than Vlad Guerrero (whose sOPS+ right/left were 150/112), Jason Giambi (127/140) or Magglio Ordonez (140/125).

This article points out that Jermaine Dye has a no-trade clause and that the Phillies are one of the teams on his no-trade list.

The Braves are expected to finalize their trade for Javier Vazquez today. This article suggests that the Braves may also offer AJ Burntett a five-year deal and that the Phillies have made an offer to Derek Lowe.

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