Tag: Ben Sheets

Phils put consecutive sellout streak to bed, but tenacity shines through as their if-only-modern-pentathlon-got-the-coverage-it-deserved-we-might-not-have-to-watch-this-mess streak hits one

Alternate headline, “Ben dominated the Phillies last night (if anyone out there still gives a Sheets)” scrapped in an effort to stay family-friendly.

The Phillies’ streak of 257 consecutive home sellouts came to an end last night against the Braves. It’s amazing the streak lasted that long, because the Phillies aren’t very good these days and haven’t been for a while. They looked awful in the game as Ben Sheets baffled them for the second time in two weeks and the Phils fell 6-1.

Sheets has faced the Phils in two of his last three starts, allowing two runs in 13 1/3 innings.

Worley lasted just 3 2/3 innings for the Phils in the game, allowing four runs on six hits. All of the runs the Phillies scored in the game came on a single swing, a homer by Mayberry to start the fourth.

Worley, at least, was sick.

The Phillies are 49-60 on the year after losing to the Braves 6-1 last night. They are 17 games out of first place in the NL East, which is the furthest they have been out this season. They are 2-8 against the Braves this season.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out two.

Over his last seven starts, Worley has thrown to a 5.51 ERA and opponents have hit .335 against him.

He set the Braves down in order in the top of the first.

Brian McCann singled with one out in the second. Dan Uggla was next and hit a ball to right that Schierholtz handled for the second out. Worley walked Juan Francisco, but got Paul Janish to pop to Utley to leave both runners stranded.

Michael Bourn walked with one out in the third and Martin Prado moved him to second with a single to right. Jayson Heyward flew to left for the second out, but Freddie Freeman was next and hit a ball past a diving Howard and into the right field corner. Bourn scored easily and Prado slid in just safe as Schneider tried to block the plate. Manuel came out to argue, but to no avail. The Braves led 2-0. Freeman took third on the play at the plate, which allowed him to score when Worley delivered a wild pitch off the glove of Schneider with McCann at the plate. 3-0. McCann went on to walk and moved to third when Uggla followed with a single to center. Francisco was next and went down on a grounder handled by Worley to leave both runners stranded.

Freeman’s ball was very close fair/foul. Definitely landed foul, harder question is where it went over the bag. Looked foulish. Play at the plate was close, but Prado was safe.

Janish doubled to left to start the fourth and Sheets bunted him to third with the first out. Bourn was next and he singled to left, scoring Janish to put the Braves up 4-0. Valdes took over to pitch to the lefty Heyward. With the count 2-2 on Heyward, Valdes threw to first and Bourn was caught in-between first and second. He should have been out by a whole lot, but Howard made perhaps the worst throw I’ve ever seen, throwing the ball about to where the shortstop would usually be and into left field. Bourn was safe at second. Valdes struck out Heyward to leave him there.

With the lead cut to 4-1, Valdes came back to set the Braves down in order in the fifth.

Valdes goes 1 1/3 scoreless innings and strikes out three in his first appearance with the Phils since July 8.

Rosenberg started the sixth. Francisco led off and doubled to left. Rosenberg struck Janish out for the first out before Sheets bunted Francisco to third with the second. Bourn lined to Rollins to leave Francisco at third.

Rosenberg got Prado to ground to first for the first out in the seventh. Horst came in to pitch to Heyward and Heyward singled to right. Freeman was next and popped out to Schneider in foul territory. It brought McCann to the plate and he lined a ball in to right-center. Schierholtz looked like he had it, but the ball went off the tip of his glove. Heyward scored all the way from first to put Atlanta up 5-1. Uggla moved McCann to third with a double to left, but Horst got Francisco on a ground ball to Howard to leave both runners stranded.

Second good outing in two tries for Rosenberg since rejoining the Phils. Two outings in which he has thrown 3 1/3 scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out four.

Horst didn’t fare as well. He faced five hitters, allowing a double and two singles in his worst outing of the year with the Phils. He was charged with a run in the game, just the second he has allowed this season.

Schwimer struck out Janish and Sheets in a 1-2-3 eighth.

He was back for the ninth, allowing a one-out home run to Heyward to make it 6-1 before getting the next two hitters behind him.

Schwimer allows a run over two innings. He came into the game having not been charged with a run in any of his last eight outings.

Overall the pen goes 5 1/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on five hits without walking a batter. Rosenberg threw 22 pitches, Schwimer and Valdes 20 each. Horst threw 14 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Ben Sheets went (1) Rollins (2) Brown (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Schierholtz (7) Frandsen (8) Schneider. Brown hits second and plays left. The lefty Schneider catches with the righty Kratz on the bench. Phils put a Schierholtz and a Schneider in the same lineup, which should count for something.

Brown singled with one out in the bottom of the first, but was doubled off of first when Utley followed and lined to first.

Schierholtz doubled with two outs in the second and Frandsen walked behind him. Schneider flew to right on a nice running catch by Heyward in the gap to leave both runners stranded.

Down 3-0, Worley and Rollins went down to start the third. Brown was next and was hit on the hand by a 2-2 pitch. Utley was next and squibbed a ball down the third base line for a double to opposite way. It brought Howard to the plate with runners on second and third and two down. Howard flew to center 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

The Phillies were down 4-0 when Mayberry led off the fourth with a home run. 4-1. Frandsen singled with one out, but Schneider grounded into a double-play behind him.

The Phils went in order in the fifth. Pierre hit for Valdes and flew to left for the first out.

Sheets set them down in order again in the sixth.

Frandsen singled with one out in the seventh and the Phillies down 5-1. He moved up to second when Schneider followed with a ground out to first. With the righty Sheets still pitching for the Braves, Wigginton hit for Horst and grounded to third to end the inning.

Manuel uses the righty Wigginton instead of the switch-hitter Martinez or the left Nix against the righty. I assume it’s cause he thought it was too early to use Nix.

Rollins singled to start the eighth and moved up to second when Brown grounded to first for the first out. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty took over for Sheets and got Utley to pop to short for the second out. Howard grounded to Uggla to end the inning.

The Phillies were down 6-1 when righty Cristhian Martinez set Mayberry, Schierholtz and Frandsen down in order in the ninth.

Rollins was 1-for-4. That’s the first time he’s gotten a hit that was not a home run since July 27. 4-for-his-last-33 (.121) with three home runs.

Brown 1-for-3 with a single and a hit by pitch. 286/375/333 in 24 plate appearances so far.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double. 381/500/762 in the first six games in August.

Howard 0-for-4 with three men left on base and an awful throw into left field after Valdes picked off Bourn. He’s hitting .198 for the year after going 4-for-his-last-32 with 15 strikeouts.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with his ninth home run. He has now started six games in a row, hitting 308/357/538 in 28 plate appearances in those games.

Schierholtz 1-for-4 and had McCann’s ball go off the tip of his glove in the seventh. He’s 3-for-his-last-14.

Frandsen 2-for-3 with a walk. 310/355/414 in 31 plate appearances for the year.

Schneider 0-for-3 and left four men on base. Heyward made a nice play in the gap in right-center to take a hit away from him with two men on base. Schneider is 1-for-20 with a single since the end of May.

Hamels (11-6, 3.34) faces lefty Mike Minor (6-7, 5.01) tonight. The Phillies have lost six of the last seven games that Hamels has started. He has a 4.21 ERA over his last 12 outings and has allowed 14 home runs in 83 1/3 innings. That’s a rate of 1.512 homers per nine. In 2011, Hamels allowed 0.792 homers per nine. Minor gives the new, all-lefty Phils another chance to hit against a left-handed pitcher. So far they’ve faced two. Detwiler perplexed them and the righty Kratz drove in both of the runs they scored charged to Saunders. Minor has allowed a run in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts, one of which was shortened by rain after 3 2/3 innings.


Second helpings

It might not be till we’re well into the 2010 season, but I think that when the batting order settles down for the Phillies it will go Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco, Ruiz. In this article, though, Manuel seems to suggest that the Phillies may start the season with Polanco hitting second and Victorino hitting sixth or seventh.

I think he’ll change his mind before 2010 is over. Either way, are the Phillies better off with Polanco or Victorino hitting second?

If you were to make the decision based solely on their numbers from last season, Victorino was clearly the better hitter and the better choice to fill the two-hole in the order. Victorino hit 292/358/445, topping Polanco’s 285/331/396 line for the year in all three categories.

One of Polanco’s biggest problems in 2009 was that he didn’t hit left-handed pitching. At all. Both Polanco and Victorino have been good hitters against lefties over their career — Polanco has a 316/357/462 line against them for his career and Victorino is at 288/357/479. Polanco struggled against them in 2009, though. He played a full season and hit a weak 266/304/434 against left-handed pitching while Victorino pounded away to the tune of 314/385/459.

Given how much better Polanco’s career line against left-handed pitching is than the numbers he put up last season, it sure seems likely he’ll bounce back against lefties in 2010. Lets’ hope so, especially if he’s going to be hitting second against them.

The chart below shows numbers for Victorino and Polanco for ’09 and for their careers along with the average numbers for #2, #6 and #7 hitters in the NL last season (although I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of lineups in ’10 that include Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez with none of those players hitting second that would have Victorino hitting sixth). They are ordered by OPS.

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Victorino ’09 292 358 445 803
Victorino
Career
284 347 428 775
Polanco
Career
303 348 414 762
NL #6 ’09 273 333 423 756
NL #2 ’09 273 337 405 742
Polanco ’09 285 331 396 727
NL #7 ’09 255 319 401 719

So, again, Polanco didn’t have a good 2009. He was outhit by the average NL #2 hitter while Victorino was a lot better than the average #2 hitter. On the other hand, over their careers both players have been better than the average #2 hitter was in the NL in 2009.

The biggest question we’re going to get at least part of an answer to in 2010 is whether the weak ’09 season for Polanco is a fluke or part of a trend. While he and Victorino have very similar numbers over their careers I think it’s very reasonable to expect that Victorino will be the more productive offensive player the rest of the way. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the two have gotten hits, walks or extra-base hits over the past three seasons:

 
Polanco

Victorino
Year % H % BB % XBH % H % BB % XBH
2007 31.2 5.8 7.5 25.1 7.3 7.5
2008 28.3 5.6 7.2 26.6 7.2 8.3
2009 26.1 5.3 6.7 26.1 8.6 8.9

For each of the three categories Polanco’s numbers are down in 2008 and 2009 compared to the previous year. The numbers aren’t as dramatic for Victorino, but his numbers have generally been getting better.

Important to remember is that Polanco had a monster season in 2007, probably the best of his career. He hit a career-high .341 and on-based a career-high .388. So there was a lot of room to fall. In terms of the percentage of plate appearances in which they got a hit or a walk, Polanco buried Victorino in 2007. It was very close in 2008 — 33.86% for Polanco and 33.81% for Victorino with more of Victorino’s hits going for extra-bases. In 2009, Victorino sailed past Polanco. We’ll see if it’s for good or not.

Ben Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Oakland. The linked article also says that Greg Golson is now a Yankee.

Charlie Manuel has lost about sixty pounds.

MLB.com announced it’s list of the top 50 prospects, which includes Domonic Brown at 14 and Phillippe Aumont at 47 (that link is unusually interesting and includes video of the players). Michael Taylor is 35 and Kyle Drabek 17.


More Moyer proves to be the key for Phils

When a pitcher allows three runs over 5 2/3 innings whether or not you think he pitched well or not might depend on how much you like the pitcher. I like Jamie Moyer a lot. It’s pretty hard for a Phillies fan not to like the 45-year-old as he sprints off the mound in pursuit of balls that have already gone foul and comes up big for his team time after time. Last night, pitching on short rest, Moyer gave up a pair of home runs but threw well enough to help the Phillies get a much-needed win.

He pitched well enough for the Phillies to win in large part due to the massive contribution of Ryan Howard. Howard drove in three of the six runs the Phillies scored and homered for the sixth time in the last eight games. After a mostly disappointing season, Howard has driven in runs in each of his last five games. He’s hitting 368/415/1.000 in September.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers last night, winning 6-3 to improve to 80-67 on the season. They trail the Mets by three games in the NL East. They are tied with the Astros in the Wild Card race, both teams trail the Brewers by three games.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. All four of the hits he allowed went for extra-bases, two doubles and two home runs. All three of the runs he gave up came on homers. He struck out five.

Moyer’s 3.68 ERA is 17th-best in the NL.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second up 2-0. He hit Prince Fielder to start the inning and Fielder moved to second on a wild pitch before Corey Hart drew a walk. Moyer struck out Mike Cameron and Bill Hall before he got Jason Kendall to ground to third to leave both runners stranded.

With two outs in the third, JJ Hardy hit a 2-2 pitch out to left to cut the lead to 2-1. Moyer got Ryan Braun to line to first for the third out.

Corey Hart doubled with one out in the fourth. Cameron was next and struck out swinging as Hart was caught stealing third to end the frame.

Up 4-1, he set the Brewers down in order in the fifth.

Rickie Weeks led off the sixth with a double. Hardy was next and hit the ball hard, but Feliz took the grounder for the second out with Weeks holding second. Braun flew to center for the second out. Fielder was next and pounded the first pitch of his at-bat out to center, cutting the lead to 4-3. Madson came in and got Hart on a ground out to short for the third out.

Madson returned for the seventh up 5-3. Hall singled to left with one out, but Kendall followed and lined to short for the second. Lefty Mike Lamb hit for the pitcher Ben Sheets and grounded to second for the third out.

He came back for the eighth, too. Weeks led off with a soft infield single in front of the plate, but Madson struck out Hardy and Braun. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Fielder and walked him on a 3-2 pitch, putting the tying run on base. With runners on first and second, Durbin entered the game and got Hart to ground to third.

Lidge started the ninth with a 6-3 lead and set the Brewers down 1-2-3.

The pen went 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two singles and a walk while striking out three. Madson threw 29 pitches — he had thrown three days in a row before getting a day off on Wednesday. Lidge threw 15 pitches, Eyre 8 and Durbin 1.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Ben Sheets went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth stays in the two-hole against the righty with Victorino sixth, but it’s Feliz at third this time. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a single and was running as Werth grounded out to third, allowing him to move to second with one out. Utley struck out for the second out, but Howard came up with another big swing. He drove the first pitch of his at-bat out to center, putting the Phils up 2-0. Burrell flew to right for the third out.

1-2-3 in the second and again in the third.

Utley started the fourth with a single and came around to score when Howard followed with a double to center. It put the Phils up 3-1 with nobody out and a man on second for Burrell. Burrell grounded to short for the first out before Victorino’s ground out to first pushed Howard to third. Feliz delivered a double to right and Howard scored. 4-1. Ruiz drew a walk before Moyer grounded to first to end the inning.

Rollins blooped a single into left to start the fifth but was thrown out going for second. It cost the Phils a run, cause Werth was next and he tripled to right. Utley popped to first for the second out and Sheets walked Howard intentionally to pitch to Burrell. Burrell flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Utley doesn’t bring the man in from third with one out.

Feliz singled with one out in the sixth and came around to score when Ruiz followed and ripped a double into left. It put the Phils up 5-3. Madson hit for himself with one out and a man on second and struck out. A walk to Rollins put men on first and second, but Werth grounded to third to set the Phils down.

Madson had faced one batter with the bases empty in the top of the sixth.

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

Victorino led off the eighth with a single and moved to second when pitcher Carlos Villanueva tried to pick him off and threw the ball away. Feliz bunted Victorino to third and with Ruiz at the plate the Phillies executed the squeeze — Ruiz got the bunt down in front of the plate as Victorino stormed home to put the Phillies up 6-3. Dobbs hit for Durbin and struck out to end the inning.

Rollins was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Werth 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Utley 1-for-4 and struck out twice. He has one extra-base hit in his last 48 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-3 with a double, a two-run home run and three RBI.

Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Feliz 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Ruiz 1-for-2 with two RBI. He drove in as many runs last night as he did in all of August — Ruiz had one RBI in July and two in August.

Cole Hamels (12-9, 3.12) faces lefty Manny Parra (10-7, 4.03) tonight. Parra has been hit hard by righties, they’re hitting .280 against him for the season compared to .217 for lefties. Parra has allowed 11 runs in ten innings over his last two starts, but only five of the runs have been earned. The Brewers have lost four of the last five games that he’s started. Hamels was hit hard by the Mets on Sunday, allowing four runs over five innings. He’s already thrown 208 innings on the season, which is too many what with the 24-edness and all.


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