Tag: Andrew Miller

Miller time

The Phils have had found some success against Florida lefty Andrew Miller of late. Miller has started against them twice in their last five games, going nine innings and allowing 14 runs.

Werth, Utley and Ruiz all homered off of him last night as the Phils pounded the Fish 11-4. Joe Blanton pitched very well for the Phils, holding the Marlins to a run over six innings. He has allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, throwing to a 2.75 ERA in those games as the Phils have gone 5-1.

The Phillies are 84-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 11-4 last night. They lead the NL East by a game over the Braves. Atlanta is a game and a half ahead of the Giants.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight and lowered his ERA on the season to 5.00.

Hanley Ramirez singled to left with two outs in the bottom of the first. He took second on a wild pitch before Dan Uggla drew a walk. Blanton struck Gaby Sanchez out looking to leave both runners stranded.

He had a 1-0 lead when he started the second. Brad Davis singled with two outs, but Blanton got the pitcher Andrew Miller to line to first for the third out.

He started the third up 2-0. Logan Morrison walked with one out, but Blanton struck Ramirez and Uggla out behind him to leave him stranded.

He was up 4-0 when he started the fourth. He struck out Stanton and Chad Tracy while setting the Marlins down in order.

It was 7-0 when he threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

10-0 when he started the sixth. Morrison led off and hit a 2-1 pitch out to right center. 10-1. Ramirez followed that with a double to left. Uggla followed that and hit a ball to Valdez at short. Ramirez was caught between second and third and tagged out for the first out. Sanchez moved Uggla to second with a single before Stanton flew to right with Uggla tagging and taking third. Blanton struck Tracy out to leave both runners stranded.

Contreras started the seventh with the Phillies leading 11-1 and set the Marlins down in order.

For Contreras it was the first time in three outings that he was not charged with runs.

Herndon started the eighth and hit Morrison with a pitch. He struck Ramirez out for the first out before Uggla homered to left center, cutting the lead to 11-3. Sanchez flew to Victorino for the second out before Stanton and Tracy doubled back-to-back. Tracy’s double scored Stanton and it was 11-4. Davis grounded to third for the third out.

Opponents are hitting .327 against Herndon for the season.

Baez pitched the ninth, seeing his first action since August 24. Emilio Bonifacio walked with one out and was forced at second for the second out when Morrison followed with a ground ball to first. Ramirez grounded to third for the third out.

Herndon threw 31 pitches in the game, Baez 15 and Contreras 14.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Andrew Miller went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Victorino continues to leadoff with Valdez at short in the eight hole.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Werth homered to right with one out in the second, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz and Valdez singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Blanton, but Blanton lined softly back to the mound for the third out.

Victorino singled to left with one out in the third, but Polanco hit into a double-play behind him. Utley homered to right to make it 2-0 before Howard grounded out for the third out.

Ibanez walked with one out in the fourth and Ruiz followed him with a homer to left-center. 4-0. Valdez followed that with a double, but Blanton and Victorino struck out to leave him stranded.

Utley walked with one out in the fifth and was moved to second when Howard followed that with a walk. Werth singled into left and Morrison didn’t field the ball cleanly. Utley scored to make it 5-0 before Morrison threw wildly to third for an error that allowed Howard to score. 6-0 with Werth on second and one out. Ibanez struck out for the second out before Ruiz singled into left. Werth scored to make it 7-0. Valdez grounded to short to finally set the Phillies down.

Blanton and Victorino singled back-to-back to start the sixth. It put men on first and third for Polanco and Polanco singled into center. Blanton scored and it was 8-0 with men on first and second. Utley flew to left for the first out before Howard singled to left, scoring Victorino with Polanco taking third as the throw came home. 9-0. Werth popped to second for the second out before Ibanez drew a walk that loaded the bases. Ruiz followed that with a walk that forced in Polanco. 10-0. Valdez grounded to third for the third out.

No RBI for Werth with less than two outs and a runner on third. Three runs in the inning for the Phils without an extra-base hit. Four singles and a walk.

Dobbs hit for Blanton to start the seventh with the lead at 10-1 and homered to right. 11-1. Utley drew a two-out walk before Howard struck out for the third out.

Francisco, hitting for Ibanez, singled to center with one out in the eighth. Ruiz popped to second for the second out and Valdez flew to left for the third.

Gload, Victorino and Bocock went in order in the ninth.

Victorino was 2-for-6 with two singles. 14-for-his-last-33 (.424). 283/345/480 in 330 plate appearances in the leadoff spot for the season.

Polanco 1-for-5 with an RBI. 222/283/287 over his last 121 plate appearances. He hasn’t homered since July 22 and is slugging .341 in 229 plate appearances since then.

Utley 1-for-3 with a home run and two walks. 365/469/596 over his last 14 games.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-12 with three singles over his last three games after homering for three games in a row.

Werth 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 231/310/449 over his last 87 plate appearances.

Ibanez 0-for-2 and walked twice. First game without a hit for him in his last seven. He’s 11-for-his-last-26 with four walks and six extra-base hits (423/500/846). Hitting just 233/281/377 against lefties for the season.

Ruiz 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI to raise his line on the year to 300/399/437. 371/488/514 in 13 games so far in September.

Valdez was 2-for-5 with a double. 6-for-his-last-20 with two doubles.

Cole Hamels (10-10, 3.06) faces righty Adalberto Mendez (1-0, 0.00) tonight. Hamels hasn’t been charged with a run over his last 25 innings. Over his last three starts he’s thrown 22 scoreless innings, allowing 11 hits and four walks. Opponents have hit .147 against him in those starts. Mendez baffled the Phils in his only career start, holding them to a Brian Schneider single and two walks over six shutout innings. The 28-year-old isn’t Superman, though, as evidenced by his 3.98 ERA and 1.40 ratio in the minors this season when he walked 41 in 86 innings.

Note: This post is also available at philliesflow.wordpress.com. I will copy posts there until the issues with the site are resolved.


Flying Fish

Most people who felt the NL East was anything but a two-team race as the 2008 season began thought it was the Braves that had a chance to keep pace with the Phillies and Mets. That didn’t prove to be the case. The Braves had a miserable season, finishing in fourth place and 20 games out of first.

It was the Florida Marlins that were in the thick of the race early in the season and they did more than keep pace. The Marlins led the East or had a piece of first place for 42 days in ’08 and led the division by a full three games after a win on May 11. Their record peaked at ten games above .500 — they were 30-20 on May 26. The Phils and Mets controlled the division from June on and the Fish went 54-57 after May 26 to finish the year at 84-77, which put them in third place and 7 1/2 games out.

The improvement for Florida was remarkable, however. Coming off of 71 wins in 2007, they improved their run differential by more than 100 runs. Here’s a look at the run differentials for the teams in the NL East for the past five seasons:

rundiff.jpg

In 2007, the Marlins allowed 891 runs and scored 790. They allowed 101 runs more than they scored. In 2008, they allowed 767 and scored 770, so they scored three more than they allowed. That’s a difference of 104 runs, which is the second-biggest improvement from the previous year for a team in the NL East in the past five years behind what the Mets did in 2006. In 2006, the huge improvement by New York shot them past the Phils and the Braves. In 2008, the huge improvement by the Marlins shot them past the Braves but still left them short of the Phils and Mets.

With offense down across the league, the Marlins scored 20 fewer runs in 2008 than they had in 2007. The difference in their pitching was huge — Marlins hurlers were charged with just 767 runs after allowing 891 runs the year before.

In 2007, Marlins’ relievers threw to a 4.05 ERA. In 2008 they threw to a 4.06 ERA. So the massive improvement was in large part due to what the starting pitching did. And the starting pitching for the Marlins is very young. The rotation for this year is penciled in as Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller — Nolasco is the oldest of the group and he turned 26 in December. Nolasco, Johnson and Volstad were all good last year, with Nolasco making the biggest contribution as he threw 212 1/3 innings with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.10 ratio. Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller both have a good chance to be fantastic — the Fish showed dramatic improvement last year with that duo combining to throw to a 5.77 ERA and a 1.62 ratio over 159 innings. If there’s good news for the rest of the division in the Marlins rotation, it’s that Scott Olsen, who was solid for the Marlins in 33 starts last year, was dealt to the Nationals over the winter in a deal that looks like a steal for Washington. The Marlins, however, look like they have more than enough arms to make up for the loss.

While the Marlin’s green line is creeping up closer to where the Mets and Phillies are (and where the Braves had been till last season), the question has to be whether the Marlins are ready to challenge the other teams in the NL East atop the division. I think the answer is no, not yet, for two reasons.

The first is that as much as the pitching is improving, it still has a long way to go. In 2008, only five NL teams, the Braves, Reds, Rockies, Nats and Pirates, allowed more runs than Florida.

The second is that they benefited from an electric offense in 2008 and chances are good that even if the rotation continues to improve the Marlins won’t be fifth in the NL in runs scored in 2009 like they were in 2008. Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham are gone and although neither were outstanding I would guess the Marlins will struggle to replace their production. I’d bet a lot against them having four infielders who hit at least 29 home runs again as well.

I think the thing to worry about is that there is a huge amount of young talent in Florida between all that starting pitching as well as offensive firepower that includes Hanley Ramirez, Cameron Maybin and Jeremy Hermida. That’s a whole lot of moving parts, but if they all got popping at the same time it would be a big problem for the Mets and the Phillies. I think it’s a little tough to predict that’s going to happen in 2009, though.

Finally, on what’s only a slightly related note, I feel I should remind all that the Fish are just a strange and surprising organization. In their 16 year history they have twice won the World Series, but never been closer to winning the NL East than they were in 2005 when they finished in third place, seven games behind the Braves (in 2003 and 1997, they finished second and went to the playoffs and won the World Series, but in each year they finished more than seven games out of first place). So you never know.

The Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Garret Anderson.

Charlie Manuel says something about the chances of Jason Donald and John Mayberry to make the team in this article, but I’m not quite sure I understand what it is.

The Phillies play the Pirates tomorrow. They have announced who will pitch in upcoming games.

MLB Network will be making a reality show about the Phillies bullpen which will debut in June.

Scott Eyre has had assets frozen as part of a federal investigation, which has caused financial problems for him.

Ad: TicketCity has Phillies tickets for spring training and regular season games.


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